Omer Learning 2019: Day 30 | Siddur Q & A: Why do some people take steps …

Today is 30 days, which is 4 weeks and 2 days of the Omer

Instructions for counting the omer are found on our Omer Overview Page. You can find the specific blessing for today at chabad.org.

We’re dedicating new Siddurim on the first day of Shavuot. In honor of this wonderful occasion, we’re using the counting of the Omer to learn about the siddur.

Enjoy today’s siddur related question and answer, which was provided by Laura N..

Why do some people take steps forward and back before starting the amidah?

The Amidah is the core of every Jewish worship service. The word “Amidah,” means “standing” and refers to a series of blessings recited while standing. Sometimes the Amidah is recited out loud and sometimes silently.

Walking into a synagogue, it is easy to tell when the congregation is saying the Amidah. Immediately before reciting the Amidah, there is a tradition of taking three steps backward and then forward again to symbolize entering into God’s presence. The idea is to step into a place of prayer, even though you haven’t moved far (if at all) from your original spot.

According to the Mishna B’rura 123:13, the correct way to take these steps is as follows: “take a small stride with [the] left foot, then take a large stride with [the] right foot, then take a stride with [the] left foot in a manner that [will ensure the] feet are adjacent.” This sounds like a dance step! In practice, people take the steps in a way that is comfortable for them.