Halacha for Tuesday 21 Adar 5782 February 22 2022

The Order of Bowing at the Conclusion of the Amida Prayer-The Custom of Maran zt”l

Question: When reciting “Oseh Shalom Bimromav” at the conclusion of the Amida, should one bow and sway to one’s left and right? Similarly, should one turn to the right and left during Kedusha within the Chazzan’s repetition of the Amida while reciting “Ve’Kara Zeh El Zeh Ve’Amar”?

Answer: Indeed, we are required to keep any custom instituted by luminaries of the Jewish nation and observed by the Jewish nation, for the custom of the Jewish nation is law. Nevertheless, one must research every custom and determine if it has roots in the words of the Poskim, for if only regular laymen who are not well-versed in Halacha observed this custom, the custom should be discontinued.

Regarding the custom to take three steps back while reciting “Oseh Shalom Bimromav” at the conclusion of the Amida, this custom is actually mentioned explicitly in the Gemara (Yoma 53b) that when one concludes the Amida by reciting the verse “Yihyu Le’Ratzon Imrei Fi Ve’Hegyon Libi Lefanecha Hashem Tzuri Ve’Go’ali”, one should bow (as one would while reciting “Modim” and the other applications within the Amida prayer) and while one is in a bowed position, one should take three steps back. Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch (Chapter 123) rules accordingly. Clearly, there is no difference regarding this Halacha between a man who is praying or a woman, for both must do so.

After one has taken three steps back while in a bowed position (meaning that one will not straighten one’s back; rather, one will remain bent over), one recites the verse “Oseh Shalom Bimromav Hu Be’Rahamav Ya’aseh Shalom Aleinu Ve’al Kol Amo Yisrael Ve’Imru Amen.” When reciting the words “Oseh Shalom Bimromav,” one should turn one’s face to the left and then, when reciting “Hu Be’Rahamav Ya’aseh Shalom Aleinu,” one should turn one’s face to the right. Finally, when concluding the verse with the words “Ve’al Kol Amo Yisrael Ve’Imru Amen,” one should face forward and bow slightly to resemble a servant taking leave of his master.

When we recite the words “Ve’Imru Amen” (“And say, Amen!”) at the conclusion of the Amida, we are actually directing this statement to the Heavenly angels who protect us and hear our prayers. We are asking them to answer “Amen” to our prayers and request that they do their part so that our prayers are answered by Hashem.

One should not be reciting the verse of “Oseh Shalom” as one is taking the three steps back as some customarily do. Rather, one should first take the three steps back while bowing and only when one stops should one begin reciting this verse.

Regarding the second question about the order of bowing while reciting the words “Ve’Kara Zeh El Zeh Ve’Amar” during the Kedusha, many great Torah giants did not observe this custom. Indeed, Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l did not observe this order of bowing for a majority of his life. Nevertheless, there is room to allow observance of this custom although it has not been mentioned in the works of the Mekubalim or in the Poskim, for this action symbolizes the Heavenly angels mentioned in the Kedusha; thus, some uphold this custom of turning to the right and left while reciting the words “Ve’Kara Zeh El Zeh Ve’Amar.” During the last years of his life, Maran zt”l began observing this custom as well while reciting the words “Ve’Kara Zeh El Zeh Ve’Amar.”

We must point out though that there is a distinction between the order of bowing at the conclusion of the Amida at which point one turns to the left first because one is standing opposite Hashem’s presence and must first bow to the right of the presence of Hashem which is to one’s left as opposed to bowing during the Chazzan’s repetition when one is not standing opposite the presence of Hashem and one must therefore bow to one’s right first and only then to the left.

Summary: At the conclusion of the Amida prayer, one should bow and then take three steps back while still in a bowing position. After doing so, before straightening up, one should recite the words “Oseh Shalom Bimromav” while bowing to one’s left, continue to recite “Hu Be’Rahamav Ya’aseh Shalom Aleinu” while bowing to one’s right, and finally say “Ve’al Kol Amo Yisrael Ve’Imru Amen” while bowing forward, like a servant taking leave of his master.

Those who customarily turn to their right and then left while reciting the words “Ve’Kara Zeh El Zeh Ve’Amar” during the Kedusha should first turn to the right and only then to the left.

Ask the Rabbi

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

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

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

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