Halacha for Tuesday 16 Elul 5781 August 24 2021

The Prohibition to Walk in Front of One Praying

Not long ago, we have discussed the prohibition of sitting in close proximity of one praying. Let us now discuss the laws of walking and standing near one praying.

Walking Close to One Praying
The Gemara (Berachot 27a) states that one may not pass or stand in front of one praying Amida.

Rabbeinu Yonah’s Opinion
Rabbeinu Yonah explains that only standing or passing in front of one praying is forbidden; however, passing or standing on the side of one praying is permissible. Maran Ha’Bet Yosef proves that this is correct from the fact that the Gemara says that it is forbidden to sit within four Amot of one praying, which implies that standing is permissible.

“Entering One’s Boundaries” Regarding Standing
If one was standing and one comes and stands near him and begins praying, one need not move away, for the person praying has “entered his boundaries,” similar to what we have discussed regarding one who was seated next to a praying individual.

Guidelines of the Prohibition to Pass Before One Praying
The Poskim explain that the law regarding passing or standing in front of one praying applies only within four Amot (approximately 6.5 feet) of praying; however, passing in front of him when there is a greater distance between them is permissible. According to the holy Zohar, however, passing directly in front of one praying is forbidden even when one is further than four Amot away from the one praying. Since this is the opinion of the Zohar, although there is room for leniency according to the letter of the law, one who takes care not to pass in front of one praying even if one is more than four Amot away is especially praiseworthy.

There are those who discuss whether or not the prohibition to pass in front or sit in close proximity of one praying applies to a woman praying as well. Halachically speaking though, there is no doubt that these laws apply equally to men and women and there is no distinction between them whatsoever in this context. Although a woman is not obligated to pray three times daily, nevertheless, if she is standing and praying, Hashem’s presence stands across from her and one may not sit there out of respect for Hashem’s presence. Similarly, all other reasons we have given for this matter apply equally to both men and women.

This is especially true since the source for the prohibition to sit in close proximity of one praying is derived from a woman who prayed, namely Chana, mother of Shmuel Ha’Navi, as we have already explained.

Walking in Front of the Chazzan- A Comment From Maran zt”l
Just as it is forbidden to walk in front of an individual who is praying Amida, one may likewise not walk in front of the Chazzan as he recites the repetition. We remember that when the synagogue below Maran’s apartment was built, the Tevah was placed in the front row and the ark with the Sifrei Torah in front of it. In between them was an aisle that people used to get in and out of the room where Maran zt”l met with the public after prayers. It therefore occurred several times that people would walk in front of the Chazzan. When Maran zt”l saw this, he pointed out that this was forbidden. He instructed that a high and wide partition be built around the Tevah which would stand in front of the Chazzan and in this way, it would be permissible to walk in front of the Chazzan. This is indeed what was done.

Summary: One may not pass within four Amot of one praying. This prohibition only applies when one passes directly in front of one praying, as opposed to passing on the side or behind one praying which is permissible. It is likewise forbidden to stand in front of one praying when one is within his four Amot. These laws apply equally to men and women who are praying.

Ask the Rabbi


ספר אביר הרועים - בית מידות
ספר אביר הרועים
לפרטים לחץ כאן

הלכה יומית מפי הראש"ל הגאון רבי יצחק יוסף שליט"א

דין ברכת שפטרנו מעונשו של זה
לחץ כאן לצפייה בשיעורים נוספים

Recent Halachot

"תנא דבי אליהו כל השונה הלכות בכל יום מובטח לו שהוא בן העולם הבא"

נדה ע"ג א'

8 Halachot Most Popular

The Proper Way to Immerse Vessels in a Mikveh

One must make certain that there is nothing separating between the vessel one is immersing and the waters of the Mikveh. Thus, when one is immersing a vessel, one must hold the vessel loosely, for if one holds it tight, one’s hand will be separating between the vessel and the waters of the Mik......

Read Halacha

Reading Scripture at Night

Question: May one read chapters of Tanach or Tehillim at night or is this forbidden according to Kabbalah? Is there room for leniency when this reading is being done for the sake of an ill individual or a woman in labor? Answer: Maran Ha’Chida in his Responsa Yosef Ometz (Chapter 54) quotes......

Read Halacha

Spiritual Blockage of the Heart

Question: Must one be careful regarding the Kashrut standards of the foods one’s children eat as well? Answer: Regarding any food which is prohibited for consumption by the Torah, such as milk and meat or an impure animal’s milk, it is certainly forbidden to give such foods to childre......

Read Halacha

Question: Is one obligated to wait six hours after eating meat foods before eating dairy foods?

Answer: The Gemara in Masechet Chullin (105a) states: “Mor Ukva said: When my father would eat meat, he would not eat cheese until the next day. Regarding myself, however, within the same meal I do not eat meat and then cheese, but I would eat cheese during the next meal.” The Rif writes......

Read Halacha


Drinking Beverages in a Café or in a Home Where the Vessels have not been Immersed in a Mikveh

Question: May one drink coffee in a friend’s home or in a Café (such as an espresso without milk served in Cafes) when they are not meticulous about immersing their vessels in a Mikveh? Answer: In the Halachot discussed before Tisha Be’av, we have explained that vessels produc......

Read Halacha

Question: Do disposable vessels and electric kettles require immersion in a Mikveh?

Answer: In the previous Halachot, we have discussed the general law that any new vessels purchased from a non-Jew must be immersed in a Mikveh before using them. We shall now discuss whether or not disposable vessels require immersion. We have already explained that according to Maran zt”l,......

Read Halacha

Eating Dairy Items after Eating Poultry

In the previous Halacha we have discussed in general the law that one must wait six hours after eating meat before eating dairy foods either because the nature of meat is to get stuck between one’s teeth or because meat gives off a taste in one’s mouth for a prolonged amount of time. ......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Fire on Yom Tov

In previous Halachot we have explained that Yom Tov and Shabbat are equal regarding all prohibitions besides for certain works associated with food preparation, such as cooking, which are permitted on Yom Tov. Igniting a Flame One may not produce a new fire on Yom Tov, for instance by striking a......

Read Halacha