Halacha for Tuesday 22 Sivan 5779 June 25 2019

The Laws of Bowing During the Amida Prayer

Question: At what points of the Amida should one bow and what is the correct method of bowing?

Answer: Our Sages that one should bow several times during the Amida prayer.

The blessings during which one must bow within the Amida are as follows: At the beginning and end of the “Magen Avraham” blessing (the first blessing of the Amida) and at the beginning and end of the “Modim” blessing. One should not bow at the beginning or end of any other blessing of the Amida prayer.

How much must one bow? One should not suffice with a small bow; rather, one must bow to the extent that all of the vertebrae in one’s spine protrude. One should not keep one’s head straight while bowing; rather, one should bend one’s head while bowing as well, as the Rambam (Chapter 5 of Hilchot Tefillah) states that while bowing, one must resemble and arc, meaning that besides for bowing until one’s vertebrae protrude from one’s back, one must likewise bend one’s head.

Nevertheless, one should not bow so excessively that one’s mouth is directly across one’s belt. Rather, one should bow as prescribed by Halacha, i.e. that all of one’s vertebrae be protruding from one’s back.

If one is elderly or ill and cannot bow until one’s vertebrae protrude, one need not bow to such an extent and it is sufficient to nod one’s head slightly, for this shows that one wishes to bow fully and one is not doing so merely because of the pain or discomfort involved.

Some have the custom to bend their knees while bowing, as we shall discuss in the following Halacha.

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

Reciting Birkat Hamazon While Walking on One’s Way

Question: If one is eating while walking outdoors, may one recite Birkat Hamazon while continuing to walk? Answer: In the previous Halacha we have discussed that our Sages have enacted that one must recite Birkat Hamazon while sitting in order for the individual to have maximum concentration. ......

Read Halacha

The Significance of Tu Bishvat

The Fifteenth of Shevat or Tu Bishvat is the Rosh Hashanah for trees (Rosh Hashanah 2a). Most people commonly think that just as on the First of Tishrei, which is the day of Rosh Hashanah, all creations are judged for life or death, for wealth or poverty, and the like, so too, on Tu Bishvat, trees a......

Read Halacha

Reciting Birkat Hamazon While Seated

Question: Is one obligated to sit while reciting Birkat Hamazon or is it permissible to recite it while walking as well? Answer: The Gemara in Masechet Berachot (51b) states that one must recite Birkat Hamazon while seated. The Poskim as well as Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch (Chapter 183) rule li......

Read Halacha

A Dish Comprised of Several Kinds of Food

Question: What is the correct blessing on stuffed peppers? Similarly, what is the correct blessing on a cake which has just a little flour but the primary ingredients of the cake are fruits and nuts? Answer: In the previous Halacha we have explained that when one eats two different foods requirin......

Read Halacha


Foods Which Contain Flour

During the past few days, we have discussed that when a dish is comprised of several different foods which require different blessings, one should recite the blessing on the primary food in the dish. Thus, if one eats grape leaves stuffed with rice, one should recite the Mezonot blessing, for the ri......

Read Halacha

The Law that the Blessing on a Primary Food Exempts a Secondary Food

Next Sunday night marks Tu Bishvat, a day we customarily recite many blessings. We shall therefore discuss the laws of blessing for the next several days. The Mishnah in Masechet Berachot (44a) states: “The rule is: If there is a primary food and a secondary food along with it, one recites ......

Read Halacha

The Laws of a Primary and Secondary Food Regarding Blessings

Question: If one eats a slice of bread along with fish, is it possible that one only recites a blessing on the fish and the bread will be considered secondary to the fish and exempted by it? Answer: In the previous Halacha we have explained the basic laws of primary and secondary foods regarding ......

Read Halacha

The Order for Lighting Shabbat and Chanukah Candles

There is a disagreement among the Rishonim as to the order of lighting Shabbat and Chanukah candles on Erev Shabbat Chanukah. The Ba’al Halachot Gedolot (commonly referred to as “Behag”) is of the opinion that Chanukah candles must be lit before Shabbat candles because women cu......

Read Halacha