I observe various mitzvos that are not carried out according to the letter of the law in Shulchan Oruch. For example, taking 3 steps backward after Shemonah Esrei as described in OC 123

One bows and takes three steps backwards, all while still bowing. After the three steps, while still bowing and before straightening up: while saying "Oseh Shalom B'mromav" - turn one's head to the left; "Ya'aseh Shalom" - turn one's head to the right; then bow forward like a servant taking leave of the master.

I do not observe people bowing first and remaining bowed in the three steps.

I have heard that it is a good thing to retrieve mitzvos that are forgotten or ignored. The question is whether doing this opens up the question of מחזי כיוהרא - appearing arrogant.

Related: Is there an issue of arrogance to wear Tfilin Rabenu Tam

  • Related (duplicate?): judaism.stackexchange.com/q/94569/13438
    – Alex
    Mar 3, 2019 at 20:32
  • I see. To be clear, my question is about being strict with practices where others are not particular. Mar 3, 2019 at 20:41
  • 2
    I see lots of people talking during davening. Is it yuhara to be careful not to talk during davening?
    – DonielF
    Mar 3, 2019 at 20:46
  • @DonielF Doing something wrong and not doing something right are not necessarily equivalent.
    – Alex
    Mar 3, 2019 at 21:12
  • 1
    I think no Posek would advise you not to keep S"A just because others around you don't.
    – Al Berko
    Mar 3, 2019 at 21:56

3 Answers 3


Based on Mussar, Orchot Tzaddikim gives very beautiful advice:

The right way is for him to pray with intent and at length and direct others to do good and warn them against evil and do good deeds both openly and in secret. And if people honor and esteem him — in this no harm is done, since he did not intend to win honor and esteem when he did these things. Therefore, when you do your good deed, consider in your soul from whom you expect a reward. If from God — then your act is completely good; if from another source, your act is not completely good. You should also analyze if the good deed which you do publicly you would do in the extremest privacy and anonimity with the same zeal with which you do it publicly. And if it is clear to you that you would, then your good deed is wholly good.

Also, based on Shulchan Aruch, one must be brazen as a leopard to do Hashem's will. As long as you do the will of G-d..


Mesilas Yesharim Shaar Mishkal Hachasidus:

אך יש איזה תוספות חסידות שאם יעשה אותם האדם לפני המון העם ישחקו עליו ויתלוצצו, ונמצאו חוטאים ונענשים על ידו, והוא היה יכול להניח מלעשות הדברים ההם, כי אינם חובה מוחלטת, הנה דבר כזה ודאי שיותר הגון הוא לחסיד שיניחהו משיעשהו, והוא מה שאמר (מיכה ו:ח): "והצנע לכת עם אלהיך". וכמה חסידים גדולים הניחו ממנהגי חסידותם בהיותם בין המון העם, משום דמחזי כיוהרא. But there are some additional matters of Piety, which if a person were to do before the common people, they will laugh at him and ridicule him, thereby sinning and incurring punishment through him, and this is something he could have abstained from doing since these things are not complete obligations. Thus, for such things, it is certainly more proper for the Chasid to abstain from it than to do it. This is what scripture says: "and walk discreetly with your G-d" (Michah 6:8). Many great Chasidim abstained from their pious practices when in the presence of the common masses because it appears like arrogance.

20 כללו של דבר: כל מה שהוא עיקרי במצוה יעשהו לפני כל מלעיג, ומה שאינו עיקרי והוא גורם שחוק והיתול לא יעשהו. The general principle: whatever is essential in the mitzva, should be done before all mockers. But whatever is not essential and causes laughter and ridicule, one should not do.


Depends. Jewish law says that, in minor cases, if you determine that the people are going to do a certain wrong thing no matter what you say, it is better not to tell them that they are breaking a commandment, because by teaching them that, they would then break the commandment deliberately. The Talmud says: It is better to transgress unintentionally than intentionally. [Betzah 30a] However, Rav Moshe Feinstein emphasized in the sixties that if there is even a slight possibility that the people will listen, and change their ways, you MUST inform them of the law.

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