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I'm quite certain that it is mentioned in the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch that one should not turn one's back to the Aron HaKodesh (ark which holds the Torah Scrolls).

Can anyone tell me where this is mentioned, I can't seem to find it. Likewise where is it in the Shulchan Aruch/Mishneh Berurah?

There seems to be a certain laxity with this. Many times in big shuls the Aron is raised above the main sanctuary in such a way that it is halachicly considered a different room/reshus/area domain/whathaveyou..which would allow for leniency. Is there other basis to be lenient (when this is not the case such as a smaller Beis Midrash with an Aron) or are people just not as familiar with this idea because often times it isn't so applicable?

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The Sephardi minhag during kabbalat shabbat is to face west during Mizmor L'David (psalm 29) and Lecha Dodi. Yalkut Yosef rules that one may turn their back to the Aron HaKodesh to follow this minhag.

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Ashkenazim also do by lecha dodi. – Shmuel Brin Oct 7 '11 at 0:59
@tom: I didn't mention the Ashkenazim, because I wasn't sure whether their minhag was to face west, to face the back of the shul, or to face the door. – Chanoch Oct 9 '11 at 2:09
@Chanoch - all of the above! – Seth J Jul 25 '12 at 2:43

Basic Idea from VBM First he says your Point with Mareh Mekomoms Mishna Berura (10), as well as the Arukh Ha-Shulchan and others, rules that one should NOT turn one's back to the aron, even at the expense of praying away from Jerusalem. The Aruch Ha-Shulchan (94:5) writes that even those to the south of the Aron Koidesh facing east should not face somewhat south, as by doing so they would be turning their backs, even slightly, away from the aron.But I am guessing a weak defense of our current behavior would be the Peri Megadim,in Mishbetzot Zahav, disagrees, and says only those standing directly next to the aron itself should avoid turning their backs to the aron. But look of how People dont stand up when parents and older people walk into Shul it seems the Mitzvos of Yiraeh in General are on a downturn as it says Chutzpah Yazgeh

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Also, consider that when one is giving a shiur or speaking from the pulpit it is very common to be standing with the back to the Aron. Many Roshei Yeshiva and Rabbanim do so, but it could be it is allowed for those instances because of K'vod HaTorah. But what about a shul president making announcements? – Yahu Apr 19 '10 at 3:51
In think they should cancel the shul president. – SimchasTorah Apr 19 '10 at 23:01
Can you rephrase the answer to be a little less critical of Am Yisrael? Can you include the simon of the Mishneh Berurah citation? – Yirmeyahu Apr 23 '10 at 6:45
which VBM shiur is this? – Menachem Jul 25 '12 at 3:55

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