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Each year on Yom HaZikaron it strikes me that Rabbis and Chazzanim recite prayers like Kaddish and Yizkor with their back to the Kotel and while facing the public. To me this looks completely contrary to the custom of praying in the direction of the Sanctuary. Even more so, because the square before the Kotel has the halachic status of a Synagogue. Why then do they turn their back towards the Kotel? The reason can hardly be to face the public, for today there is no public because of the Corona lockdown. But even if this would be the reason it seems wrong. For in the Synagogue they don't face the public but the Aron HaKodesh. It seems therefore that they should face the Kotel.

  • I can't comment about what happens on Yo HaZikaron specifically since I don't know. But I have been in numerous shuls where the rabbanim/chazanim say and sing prayers like kaddish, yizkor, etc. while facing the congregation even though their back is turned to the aron kodesh. In halacha the rabbanim are supposed to sit in the front facing the kehillah. I don't remember if it's discussed when rabbonim are supposed to turn around and when not to. I'll try to take a look. – Binyomin Apr 28 at 6:19
  • @Binyomin " facing the kehillah" - can you source that please? – Avrohom Yitzchok Apr 28 at 7:34
  • @AvrohomYitzchok I'll hopefully be able to look it up a bit later. But it's an explicit Rambam based on a tosefta (maybe maseches sofrim?) and I know it's brought down in poskim (maybe even Shulchan aruch, I need to check.) I remember Rav Y. Zilbershtein discussing the question how come in halacha it says that all the dayanim/rabbonim sit in the front, while nowadays we only have the rav of the shul there. I'll try to look it up when I can. – Binyomin Apr 28 at 7:38
  • There may be some similarity with how the Kohen Hagadol would bless Yisrael during Yom Kippur with his back to the Heichal. – Harel13 Apr 28 at 8:21
  • @Harel and all kohanim every day both in the mikdash and outside it. – Double AA Apr 28 at 12:40

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