When doing the na’nuim, should one face the front of the shul or east? What if the shul does not face east? and whichever way is the right way-if most people do the wrong way should you do the wrong way with them or do the correct way?
Thank you and good yom tov
The wording of all the poskim (based on Mararil; see Rema 651:9 and Mishnah Berurah 47) is that one should begin from mizrach (east, meaning the direction of Jerusalem), and continue south, north, and west, followed by up and down.
Although the basic halachah of moving in this order is that one should turn to the right, some poskim (see Mateh Efraim) stress that one should begin from the east. This ruling is given in Shut Betzel Hachochman (3:63) based on Zekan Aharon (22), who writes that one should begin the na’anuim in the direction to which one davens. This is usually east, but in Australia, where people daven westwards, one begins the na’anuim facing west, in the direction one davens towards.
It is therefore best to begin from east (meaning, in the direction to which one davens), and not towards the front of the shul if it doesn’t face east. This will hardly be perceptible to others, so that I don’t see a problem of beginning from the east even if others don’t do so. Concerning the issue of lo tisgodedu for different customs of na’anuim, see Eishel Avraham (651:6), who writes that there is no problem for people to do different customs in the same shul.