The Mishnah Berurah in siman 94 says that if one is davening in a shul where there the Aron is facing south and the tzibbur is davening south instead of east, one should face south but turn one’s head east. Practically speaking what does that mean? How can one do that? Keeping the head towards the east is very uncomfortable and very strange looking for onlookers. What is one supposed to do in this situation?


The Mishnah Berurah does not mean that one should turn one’s head in a different direction to one’s body, but that one should angle one’s body towards the east. If the tzibbur davens in the wrong direction (south), one should not daven in a different direction to the tzibbur (east), but one should daven south-east.

Sources: Mishnah Berurah 94:9-10; this is also elucidated in Shoneh Halachos, 94.

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3 Responses to “Facing South-East”

  1. I looked up those sources and it didn’t seem any clearer in the shoneh halachos. What about in sif kattan 9 where the mishna brurah says that if the aron isn’t facing east the tzibbur, the mispallel should ” l’haczir panav l’mizrach” In that case, he is saying the whole tzibbur should daven that way. Is he saying there also just to turn slightly?
    Thank you

    • The Mishnah Berurah (9) means that the entire tzibbur should pray in the correct direction. The “mispallel” means “one who prays,” and all those praying should face the direction of the Mikdash, so that if the Aron is not located in the right direction, one should daven facing the Mikdash rather than the Aron.

  2. Although the Rav’s pshat sounds logical, the sefer Ishai Yisrael quotes Rav Kanievsky and seems to say differently then the Rav’s pshat in the Mishna Brura, does the Rav have any source that gives that pshat?

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