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The Shulchan Aruch/Mishna Berurah 102 (4) [15] writes that one may not walk within four Amos in front of somebody praying the Amidah.

What constitutes an acceptable barrier in front of the person so that another person can pass by?

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1 Answer 1

The Chaye Adam (26:4) brings 2 separate answers:

  1. Whereas one may sit not involved in prayer in front of one who is mid-tefila if there is a 4x10 tefach partition, this possibly won't work for a passer unless the partition totally blocks the view of the davener to the passer.
  2. A 4x10 partition will work since we see that one may pass by the view of a davener if he is beyond 4 amos.

The CA gives stronger support to the 2nd answer, though I have seen others pasken like the 1st.

The 2nd answer does not seem to be limited to the CA's alternate reason for the restriction- that the passer-by separates the davener from the shechina (26:3). Rather, even according to the generally known reason- that passing by distracts the daveners attention, the CA holds that the rabbinic restriction is limited to the domain of the davener. If his attention will be distracted from beyond the domain, too bad. Therefore a 4x10 partition in front of the davener would work as well.

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Does the partition have to be fully filled in or can it have open areas? (Eg Can a chair serve?) How high off the ground should it be? –  Avrohom Yitzchok May 5 '12 at 22:13
    
That had struck me as odd.. –  Double AA May 6 '12 at 4:07
    
@AvrohomYitzchok I would assume like any mechitza, lavud would work. (Take note that I corrected the height requirement as my original was based on a misprint in my hard copy- 4w x 10d.) So, if you had a chair and the back was 4 tefachim wide and 7.1 tefachim high and the lower part of the back was attached to legs 2.9 tefachim from the ground, that would be good enough. If the legs were more than 2.9 tefachim, it would still be a mechitza if the legs were less than 3 tefachim from each other as that would make it as if there was no space between the legs. I'm not sure about mechitza teluya. –  YDK May 6 '12 at 4:10
    
@DoubleAA, you mean the 4x4? Me, too. But i just wrote it as I saw it ("Gavoah vrachav d') and put a note to it. Apparently, my text omitted the yud. –  YDK May 6 '12 at 4:13
    
@YDK אין לדיין אלא מה שעיניו רואות –  Double AA May 6 '12 at 4:17

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