Halacha for Wednesday 23 Sivan 5779 June 26 2019

The Laws of Bowing During the Amida Prayer-Continued

In the previous Halacha we have discussed the basic laws of bowing during the Amida prayer, i.e. at the beginning and end of the “Magen Avraham” and “Modim” blessings. We have likewise explained the proper way to bow. Let us now discuss whether or not the custom that many have to bend their knees while bowing is correct or if one should merely bow by bending one’s back and nodding one’s head.

Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch (Chapter 113) writes: “When one bows, one should bow forward once quickly and when one straightens up, one should do so slowly by straightening one’s head first and then one’s body.” It seems according to this that when one bows, one should bow one’s body and head together and when straightening up, one should straighten one’s head first. Nevertheless, according to many Poskim including the saintly Ari z”l, one should not bow all at once; rather, while reciting the word “Baruch,” one should bow one’s body and while reciting the word “Ata,” one should bend one’s head. When straightening up, one should first straighten one’s body and only then one’s head. Some customarily behave in accordance with the ruling of Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch while others follow the opinion of the Ari z”l.

The reasons behind this matter are lengthy and we cannot elaborate on them in the context of this Halacha.

According to all opinions though, when reciting Hashem’s name, one must be standing erect, as the verse states, “Hashem straightens the bent.” The Rishonim explain this to mean that before one recites the name of Hashem, one must already be standing erect as opposed to straightening up while reciting Hashem’s name.

Based on the above, it is clear that bending one’s knees while bowing is indeed unnecessary and bowing one’s body and bending one’s head are sufficient. Nevertheless, according to the Ashkenazi custom, while reciting the word “Baruch,” one should bend one’s knees and while reciting the word “Ata,” one should bow one’s body until one’s vertebrae protrude from one’s back (as we have explained in the previous Halacha). The custom of most Sephardic and Middle Eastern communities is not to bend one’s knees at all and one will bow his body until one’s vertebrae protrude already while reciting the word “Baruch.”

Upon reaching the “Modim” blessing, one should bow one’s body while reciting the words “Modim Anachnu Lach,” bend one’s head while reciting the words “She’ata Hu,” and straighten up before reciting the word “Hashem.”

Summary: When one reaches the blessings during which one must bow, one should bow one’s body and head together quickly while reciting the word “Baruch” (according to the Ari z”l, one should bow one’s body while reciting the word “Baruch” and bend one’s head while reciting the word “Ata”). According to the Ashkenazi custom, one should bend one’s knees slightly while reciting the word “Baruch,” bow one’s body and head while reciting the word “Ata” and then straighten one’s head and then body before reciting Hashem’s name. According to opinion of the Ari z”l, however, one should first straighten one’s body and only then one’s head according to both the Sephardic and Ashkenazi customs.

8 Halachot Most Popular

The Pesach Seder-“Maror”, “Shulchan Orech”, and “Tzafun”

Maror Everyone is obligated to eat a Kezayit (olive’s volume, approx. 27 grams) of Maror on the night of Pesach. There are several kinds of vegetables that one may use for Maror, however, the predominant custom today, especially among Sephardic Jewry, is to use the leaves and stalks (spines) ......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Koshering Vessels for Pesach

One may not use Chametz vessels on Pesach since vessels which have been used to cook in or have had hot Chametz placed in them have Chametz flavor absorbed in them. Thus, just as we separate between meat and dairy utensils all year long, we must likewise separate between the utensils we use all year......

Read Halacha

Hallel on the Night of Pesach-The Laws Regarding Men and Women

The Tosefta (Chapter 3 of Sukkah) states: “There are eighteen days and one night throughout the year when the (complete) Hallel is recited, as follows: The eight days of the Sukkot holiday, the eight days of Chanukah, the first day of Pesach as well as the first night of Pesach, and on the hol......

Read Halacha

Arriving Late to or Skipping Some Portions of the Megillah Reading

Every member of the Jewish nation is obligated to read the Megillah on the day of Purim. One must read it during the night and once again the next day, as the verse states, “My G-d, I call out to you during the day and you do not answer; during the night I have no rest.” This verse is wr......

Read Halacha


Some Detailed Laws Regarding Kitniyot (Legumes) on Pesach

In the previous Halacha we have briefly discussed the primary laws of Chametz and Kitniyot (legumes) on Pesach. We have explained that according to all communities, legumes such as rice and chick peas are not actual Chametz, for only grain products can be considered Chametz. However, Ashkenazim cust......

Read Halacha

Koshering Sinks and Kitchen Countertops

We have previously discussed that just as one should designate vessels for milk and meat respectively, likewise, regarding the holiday of Pesach, one should not use one’s regular Chametz vessels that were used all year round; rather, one should designate special kosher for Pesach vessels. N......

Read Halacha

Caution Regarding Chametz Issues

The Prohibition to Eat and Benefit From Chametz The Torah (Shemot 13) states regarding the holiday of Pesach: “Matzot shall be eaten for seven days; neither leaven nor sourdough shall be seen in your borders.” Our Sages taught in Masechet Pesachim (21b among other places) through exp......

Read Halacha

Leaning During the Seder - Coronavirus

Regarding the current quarantine/shutdown that we currently find ourselves in as a result of the COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak, many people ask, why did Hashem do this to us? For which sin did this virus come to the world? We can all see that the clearest repercussion of this virus is that everyo......

Read Halacha