Question:

Many times the tzibbur will start shmone esrei while I am in the middle of shma. The people by the table behind me are all standing in shmone esrei. What’s the correct procedure when I am ready to start shmone esrei? When I stand up and take 3 steps back, I am going to be walking in front of someone davening?

Thank you

Answer:

There are different opinions what should be done. Some poskim say since someone is davening in back of us we may not take any of the steps, and we will stand shemona esrei without taking any steps. Others however say that while we may not take the three steps back before davening, however the three steps forward are permitted because they are not going closer to the person davening, rather distancing ourselves from them which is permitted. According to the second opinion the correct procedure is to stand up before the people in back of you start shemona esrei, and take your three steps back. Then when you are ready to start davening take your three steps forward and start shemona esrei.

Sources:

Halichos Shlomo (Tefilloh) 8-33, Ishei Yisroel 29-9, are of the first opinion. Eshel Avrohom (Butsathch) 102, Siach Tefiloh Shar 6 2-4, Arbah Amos Shel Mispallel 5-4, R’ Y. Cahen shlita are of the second.

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