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 Hilchos Tefilla 113 (page 280)
 מתחילת סימן קיג עד סעיף ח

Bowing During Shemoneh Esrei
The Procedure for Bowing During Shemoneh Esrei
Bowing During Other Tefillos

Bowing during Shemoneh Esrei
Chazal instituted bowing at the beginning and end of Avos (the first beracha) and Modim (the second to last beracha). They did not require bowing during any other beracha so as not to impose on those who are davening. Furthermore, Chazal saw fit to forbid bowing during the other berachos of Shemoneh Esrei to prevent people from getting the impression that bowing can be done on a whim; otherwise, they could come to treat all the bows - even the mandated ones --as optional. According to some poskim, Chazal forbid bowing at the beginning or end of any beracha, not only those in Shemoneh Esrei. Some have the custom to bow when starting the beracha on the Torah during an aliyah.
( סעיף א, ס"ק א-ב, וביה"ל ד"ה בסוף; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 5-6)
The procedure for bowing during Shemoneh Esrei
The procedure for bowing during Shemoneh Esrei is as follows:  The knees are bent at baruch and the back is bent at atah. The back should be arched so that all the vertebrae of the spine show, and the head should face the ground. The bow should not be so deep that the mouth is aligned with the waist-belt. Rising back up from the bow begins when Hashem's name is mentioned, as it says: "Hashem straightens the bent."  The head is lifted first and is followed by the straightening of the back. The poskim discuss whether the head should be lifted prior to pronouncing Hashem's name or at the moment that it is recited. The bowing should be done hurriedly, but the rising afterwards should be done slowly.
( סעיף ד-ז וס"ק י, יב ו־יג; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 16)
Bowing during other tefillos
The Biur Halacha notes that although it is forbidden to bow during davening except at the points designated by Chazal, there is a custom to bow when reciting and responding to Barechu. A precedent for this custom can be found in an incident in Tanach, when Dovid Hamelech urged everyone to bless Hashem ( barechu) and the people fell to the floor and bowed. The Biur Halacha concludes, " minhag Yisrael Torah-Jewish customs are [authentic] Torah." Although the bowing mentioned in Tanach probably predates the prohibition against bowing at other points in davening, it is unlikely that Chazal would have forbidden something that is clearly permitted by the pasuk.
( ביה"ל ד"ה הכורע; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 14)

  • Chazal wanted the beracha of go'al Yisrael to be connected to tefilla (Shemoneh Esrei). Ideally, no more than the span it takes to recite three words (k'dei dibur) should interrupt between them.
  • The poskim debate whether the requirement to connect geula to tefilla applies on Shabbos. If the need arises, it is permissible to interrupt between geula and tefilla on Shabbos in order to respond to kaddish, kedusha, barechu and the word modim from Modim d'rabonon.
  • A person should not bypass reciting kriyas Shema and its berachos in order to daven Shemoneh Esrei with a minyan. Instead, for Shacharis (weekday and Shabbos) one should join a different minyan if possible; otherwise, he should recite Shema and its berachos and daven without a minyan.

  • Geshem (with a segol) vs gashem (with a kamatz)

  • Announcing geshem or tal

  • Davening facing an idol



PLEASE NOTE:  The information in this email is for learning purposes only. Please review the Mishna Berura and Biurim U'Musafim before making a halachic decision. Hebrew words are occasionally transliterated to enable a smoother reading of the text. Common Ashkenazi pronunciation is generally used in these cases.