Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
  Page title
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Unusual Circumstances

Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach was once asked how a person confined to a wheelchair should act in regards to the three steps back. He prefaced his answer commenting that the three steps backward are an integral part of one’s prayer. Whatever circumstances a person finds himself in, he should make every effort to do them properly.

The halachic literature discusses a case of a person who is riding on a horse and cannot dismount to recite Shemoneh Esrei. He is permitted to say Shemoneh Esrei on his horse, and should fulfill the mitzva of taking three steps backward by moving the animal backward (Rema 94,5). In modern-day terms, if a person pulls to the side of the highway to recite Mincha and because of his circumstances must daven in his car, he should reverse the car backwards a distance of three steps after completing his Shemoneh Esrei.

Therefore, ruled Rav Auerbach, if possible the person in the wheelchair should try to move the chair backward the distance of three steps. If he is unable to accomplish this himself, he should ask someone else to move him. In this way, he will properly fulfill the mitzva (as cited in Nishmas Avraham 1: 123,2).

Some authorities rule that when traveling on a plane, bus or subway it is preferable to pray in one’s seat. This situation makes taking three steps backward difficult, for unlike riding on a horse or sitting in a wheelchair, the chair is fixed in place and cannot be moved backward. Nonetheless, if a person is able to stand up to take these steps back at the end of his Shemoneh Esrei, he should do so (Igros Moshe Orach Chaim 4,20).


Text Copyright © 2010 by Rabbi Daniel Travis and Torah.org


 






ARTICLES ON MASEI AND THE THREE WEEKS:

View Complete List

A Body and Soul Job
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5766

Oath of Office
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5759

Seeing Punishment as Blessing
Rabbi Yosef Kalatzky - 5765

ArtScroll

Where Firstborn Rush In. . .
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5772

From Rock Bottom to Bottoms Up
Jon Erlbaum - 0

Vengeance: Revenge is Sweet
Rabbi Osher Chaim Levene - 5766

> Read the Directions
Rabbi Moshe Peretz Gilden - 5763

Hashem's Will - Protest or Submission
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5764

Marriage Vows
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5773

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

More Generous Thoughts
Rabbi Label Lam - 5764

The Accidental Murderer
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5770

It Defies Belief
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5762

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Delivery From G-d Through Your Mouth
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5760

9th of Av: Reasons for Fasting - Part 2
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758

Not Very Promising
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5759

It Must Have Been a Miracle!
Shlomo Katz - 5773



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information