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 Laws of the Holiday of Sukkot

As per the request of many of our members and as a public service, we shall now list a synopsis of some laws which are essential for the upcoming Sukkot holiday: The Sukkah must be made of three walls and Sechach (the roof). The walls may be made of any material which can withstand a normal wi......

Read Halacha

Chol Ha’Mo’ed

The days between the first and seventh days (outside of Israel between the second and eighth days) of the Pesach holiday and the days between the first day of Sukkot and the holiday of Shemini Atzeret (outside of Israel between the second day of Sukkot and Shemini Atzeret) are called “Chol Ha&......

Read Halacha

The Blessing of “Lee’shev Ba’Sukkah”

Question: Regarding the “Lee’shev Ba’Sukkah” blessing, what is more halachically preferable: To recite the blessing while standing before sitting down to begin one’s meal in the Sukkah or should one recite this blessing when he is already seated after having recited the......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Dwelling in the Sukkah

Since we will not have enough time to discuss the laws of Sukkot between Yom Kippur and Sukkot, we shall therefore begin discussing some of the pertinent laws of the Sukkot holiday now. The Mitzvah of Dwelling in the Sukkah The Torah (Vayikra 23) states: “You shall dwell in the huts for se......

Read Halacha


Motza’ei Yom Kippur

Adding From the Mundane Onto the Holiness One must add some of the mundane weekday onto the holiness of Yom Kippur upon its exit, i.e. one should not end this holy day immediately with nightfall; rather, one should wait another few minutes. Thus, it is prohibited to eat or perform work on Motza&rsq......

Read Halacha

Simchat Torah

The Rambam (end of Chapter 8 of Hilchot Lulav) states: “Even though it is a Mitzvah to rejoice on all the festivals, there was an additional celebration in the Temple on the festival of Sukkot, as the Torah commands: ‘And you shall rejoice before Hashem, your G-d, for seven days.’ ......

Read Halacha

Erev Yom Kippur and Maran zt”l’s Epic Words, “I Forgive Everyone”

The Mitzvah to Eat on Erev Yom Kippur The Torah (Vayikra 23) states: “And you shall oppress yourselves on the ninth of the month at night,” meaning that the obligation to fast on Yom Kippur begins from the night of the tenth of Tishrei. Our Sages (Berachot 8a) inquired about the languag......

Read Halacha

Etrog Jam

Question: Is there any Segulah (auspicious practice) in eating Etrog jam? What is the proper blessing on such jam? Answer: There are women who customarily eat part of the Etrog (which was used for the Mitzvah) after the Sukkot holiday claiming that it is a Segulah to deliver one’s babies ea......

Read Halacha