Tuesday, November 12, 2013

While waiting to step out of the amidah


If I finish saying shemoneh esreih and the person behind me is not done, so I can't step backward, may I answer kedushah?

One may not pass within seven feet in front of a person who is reciting shemoneh esreih, and so one may not step back from shemoneh esreih if this will bring him into the space of a person reciting shemoneh esreih.

However, one who has completed shemoneh esreih, and is only waiting to step back, may respond to kedushah and to all berachot; some even permit reciting Baruch Hu uBaruch Shmo. Indeed, some views even permit study of Torah at this point.

It is worth noting that if a bench separates you from the person davening behind you, and the back of the bench is more than three feet high and fifteen inches wide, then some authorities permit stepping back from shemoneh esreih. Even without this interruption, some are lenient in a case of need, particularly if the person who is reciting shemoneh esreih is blocking an aisle.

(Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 122:1; Mishneh Berurah 122:4; Aruch haShulchan Orach Chaim 102:13; Tzitz Eliezer 9:8:2; Ishei Yisrael 32:20)

Have a great day,

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