From the Rav’s Desk: Lifting one’s foot to itch one’s leg in middle of Shemoneh Esrei

  1. Question: [Monday 18th Kisleiv 5782]

If I have an itch by my ankle in middle of Shemoneh Esrei, may I lift my other leg in order to itch it with my shoe and the like?



If the itch is really bothering you, then you may use your foot to itch your ankle even though you will have to lift it in the process. This, however, should only be done if you are unable to itch it with your hand, or if you are embarrassed to do so using your hand.

Explanation: One is initially required to put his feet together during Shemoneh Esrei and make them appear like a single thought in order to emulate the Angels who also appear to stand on a single foot. Nonetheless, in a time of great need, it is even permitted for one to walk during Shemoneh Esrei, and hence certainly it is permitted for one to simply lift his foot in order to itch himself.

Sources: See Admur 95:1; 104:1-2; Michaber 95:1; Brachos 10b; Igros Moshe 5:38; Piskeiy Teshuvos 95:1

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