Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Kedusha....Feet Together Until?

By: Rabbi Ari Enkin

The Shulchan Aruch rules that "it is proper for one to have his feet together when reciting the kedusha with the chazzan".[1] Indeed, it is universal custom to rise and stand with one's feet together whenever one hears the kedusha being recited. This has become so embedded in our synagogue conduct and decorum that it has virtually become a requirement.[2] The Arizal was especially careful to ensure that his feet were together when reciting the kedusha.[3] The origin of this practice is in order to imitate the angels whose legs and feet appear as one.[4] Although we stand in this position when reciting the shemone esrei and the kaddish, it is especially appropriate for kedusha because it is the prayer in which we praise God just as the angels do.[5] The question, however, is until when does the requirement to keep one's feet together remain in effect? As we will see, some individuals keep their feet together until after reciting "Yimloch" while others do so until having answered "Amen" to "Ha'el Hakadosh".

Click here for moreThe Eliyahu Rabba insists that the requirement to keep one's feet together during kedusha is in effect until having answered "Amen" to "Ha'el Hakadosh".[6] It seems that this position was adopted by most halachic authorities.[7] This is also the position of Rabbi Shmuel Wosner who explains the rationale and importance of standing with one's feet together until after the conclusion of "Ha'el Hakadosh":

"Regarding your question on the source for keeping one's feet together until after Ha'el Hakadosh…When one responds "Amen"' to a blessing it comes to include everything that was mentioned in the course of the blessing [and leading to its conclusion]…In this case the "Amen" of "Ha'el Hakadosh" comes to include the entire kedusha and is, in fact, the conclusion of the kedusha. This is especially true for congregations who have the custom to conclude the kedusha with "L'dor Vador"[8]

It is also important to note that one is permitted to answer "Amen" to "Ha'el Hakadosh" during those parts of the service in which one is ordinarily forbidden to interrupt, even for congregational responses. One of the only exceptions to this rule is the kedusha, and given that the "Amen" to "Ha'el Hakadosh" is permitted as well, we can infer that its status is equal to that of kedusha![9]

Nevertheless, those who choose to separate their legs after having recited "Yimloch" are entitled to do so and have authorities upon whom to rely. However, those who choose to conduct themselves stringently and wait until responding "Amen" at the conclusion of kedusha "will be blessed".[10] According to this approach, the "Ha'el Hakadosh" blessing is not truly a component of the kedusha. It was reportedly the practice of Rabbi Aharon Kotler to separate his legs once having responded "Yimloch" in kedusha.[11] There is additional room to be lenient on the High Holidays, when there is a considerable delay between "Yimloch" and "Ha'el Hakadosh" due to the added holiday insertions and accompanying singing. This is especially true since the supplementary kedusha insertions only begin after one has said "Ukdoshim Bechol Yom Yehalelucha Sela" which is essentially the conclusion of kedusha all year long, in any case.[12]

This, my friends, is AUTHENTIC JUDAISM. ;-)


[1] O.C. 95:4, 125:2
[2] Minhag Yisrael Torah O.C. 95:5
[3] Magen Avraham 125:3
[4] Berachot 10b. See Tur and Beit Yosef O.C. 95 for more reasons
[5] Terumat Hadeshen 28
[6] Eliyahu Rabba 95:7
[7] Shulchan Aruch Harav 125:2, Aruch Hashulchan O.C. 95:5, Darchei Chaim V'shalom 178, Kaf Hachaim (Palagi) 15:58, Rivevot Ephraim 2:48:92
[8] Shevet Halevi 3:15:6
[9] Rema O.C. 66:3
[10] Piskei Teshuvot 125:6
[11] From "The Silver Era" by Rabbi Aharon Rakefet Rothkoff p.289-290. It is interesting to note that a student went up and rebuked Rabbi Kotler for having done so! Thanks to Rabbi Hillel Horovitz for this source!
[12] Piskei Teshuvot 125:6, Rivevot Ephraim 2:48:92

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