Mishna Berura Summaries

Siman 123 – Bowing at the end of Shemoneh Esray

  • Bow while you step back three paces from your Master. While you are still bent over say “Oseh shalom bimromov” while turning your face towards your left side. When you say “Hu yaase shalom olaynu” turn your face towards your right. Then prostrate forward as a servant before his master. (ShA 1 – MB 1)
  • Do not say anything while stepping back – wait until you are stationary. The same goes for the end of saying Kaddish. (MB 3)
  • The word “olaynu”: should be connected to the end of the “Hu yaaseh shalom olaynu” and not to the beginning of “(olaynu) v’al kol Yisroel”. (MB 5)
  • The minhag is to pray “Yehi ratzon sheyiboneh Bais Hamikdosh…” after pacing back three steps. (Rama 1)
  • Keep your feet together until you finish addressing Hashem with “Oseh shalom…”. (MB 6)
  • Do not return forward until the chazzan reaches Kedusha or at least begins the repetition. (ShA 2)
  • When the chazzan takes a long time before Kedusha to recite piyutim, you can be maykil to return forward at the start of his repetition. (MB 10)
  • When daavening alone do not return forward until the amount of time passes that you would theoretically wait for a chazzan to begin. If there is an urgent need to not wait so long, at least wait the amount of time it takes to walk 4 amos. (Rama 2 -MB 11)
  • Some people are makpid that no one should walk in front of them while waiting to step forward again. This is not the ikar din. (MB 8)
  • Kedusha should best be recited after returning to your place. (MB 9)
  • You are not allowed to look behind you until the chazzan has completed his quiet Shemoneh Esray; it might disturb the kavana of others who may still be daavening. Another reason is that people might suspect that you skipped parts since you are done daavening so fast.           (Rama 1 – MB 12)
  • Begin with your left foot back first. The step should be no smaller than the left toe just behind the right heel and no larger either. The right foot should then step behind the left foot and then the left should go back to be together with the right. (ShA 3 – Rama 3 – MB 13)
  • Some poskim permit even smaller steps in tight situations. In any event make sure you do not back into the 4 amos of someone still daavening. (MB 14)
  • It is arrogant to take more than 3 steps back. (ShA 4)
  • The chazzan need not take 3 steps back after the repetition; he relies upon the steps of Kaddish Tiskabayl even though there may be Hallel, Ovinu Malkaynu, or Krias Hatorah in between. Therefore the chazzan should not talk about matters unrelated to tefilla before saying Kaddish Tiskabayl. (ShA 5 – MB 18)
  • Before the repetition, the chazzan should recite “Hashem sifosai tiftach…” and afterwards he should say “Yihyu l’ratzon…” (ShA 6 – MB 21)