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Taking three steps in shemoneh esrei in a crowded place


If I am davening in a crowded place, such as a shul, where there are many other people davening around me, I sometimes find it difficult to take three full steps forward and three full steps backwards in the beginning and end of shemoneh esrei. What should I do in this situation?


Before getting to your question you should know that you don’t have to take three full steps, rather two steps in distance which are three, therefore you don’t need that much room. They are done like this – We move the left foot back until the toe is next[1] to the ankle of the right foot, then we move the right foot so the its toe is next to the ankle of the left foot, then we move our right foot back to make both feet even. If you don’t have room for this, then take your 3 steps to the side. If you can’t even do that, try to do the steps in back even if it hard, but if it absolutely not possible then you should take three smaller steps back instead of one regular one. Usually you will not have to come on to this, because if the people in back of you are still davening you can’t take your steps back yet, and after they finish, they will make room for a few seconds so you can take proper steps back.

Best Wishes


Shulchan Aruch O:CH 123-13, 14, Aruch Hashulchan 123-5, Shar Hatzion 16.


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