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Prayer and Blessings

Praying With the Feet Together, Like Angels

Question: I was told that when we bow before G_d we are to put our legs together as if having only one leg like the angels. Please explain to me the reason and source of this?

Answer: The source that angels’ feet are different than humans is found in Ezekial 1:7.

In terms of the custom that when we pray the silent Amidah prayer and when we say the Kedusha prayer in the repetition we keep our feet together to “resemble,”as it were, the angels, I saw a beautiful explanation quoted in a Hebrew work called “Tamei Haminhagim” (an anthology of many reasons behind many of the wonderful customs that Judaism has): When we pray we recognize that we are standing in awe before God, entreating and praising Him, and we focus on removing from our thoughts any of the distractions and urges of our physical body. We aim to, as it were, reach the lofty level of angels who don’t have the human base desires that we have.

A second reason, somewhat related, is that angels can’t walk or run. We put our feet together to show that we don’t want to walk or go anywhere else at this time other than focus on our communication to God. This reason definitely reminds us that when we are confronted with the need to rush out of the synagogue to answer the cell phone or run to work we should remind ourselves to emulate the angels and not leave the wonderful experience of prayer so quickly.

All the best!
Rabbi Zvi Solomon

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