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Section: Halacha   Category: Tshuvos
Rav Moshe Feinstein - How Close Must Your Feet Be By Shmoneh Esrei?

A person's feet must be together as one during Shmoneh Esrei. The Yerushalmi brings a Machlokes whether this means side by side like a Malach or one in front of the other like a Kohein walking up the ramp to the Mizbei'ach. The gemara in Brachos (11b) only brings that you must have it side by side like a Malach and this is how the Shulchan Aruch paskens (OC95).

Rabbeinu Yonah brings an opinion that while the heels should be touching the toes of the two feet should be kept apart since it says that a Malach's foot is like a calf which is split in the front. He dismisses this opinion as do most rishonim. Rather ones two feet must be otuching from heel to toe.

Rav Moshe Feinstein (OC 5:38) says that if a Chazzan keeps the front apart because it is physically difficult for him to keep them together then he may continue to daven for the tzibbur. However if he keeps it apart because he says it is his minhag, he should not be allowed to be Chazan, even if he is a Chosid of a Rebbe who is noheg like that as well. He says that one cannot act against the minhag, especially when his minhag is against accepted halacha.

If a person cannot stand wit htwo feet together, the Aruch Hashulchan says he should do like the other opinion and put one foot before the other. Rav Moshe says this would look bizarre and we don't do bizarre things. Therefore says Rav Moshe, it would be better for him to put his feet as close together as possible even if they aren't at all touching. For this we not prevent someone from being a Chazzan, and his tefilos will be accepted in Shamayim.

 

Important Note: We bring this tshuvah as a starting point for discussion and not to convey any halacha. We try to convey the Tshuva to the best of our ability. We admit that our understanding may not be accurate. One should learn the tshuva to verify the accuracy of our interpretation. Please understand that this Tshuva may not be the final word on this topic. One should consult a Rav before drawing any conclusions.