The halacha is during birchas kohanim you can not be behind the kohenim. Does anyone know if this does or does not apply to women in the ezras nashim in a situation where part of the ezras nashim is behind the kohanim? I have never heard of anyone telling the women to move back, and can not find it discussed. The only reason I can think of is maybe they are considered "anusim" for some reason. Which then they would be similar to the "am sha'bisados" that are included in the berachah even though they are not even in shul.(If they are required to move and they do not it would come out that it would have been better for them to stay home). See shulchan orach, orach chain 128-24 and MB there

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    Why might it be different than the men's section?
    – Double AA
    Commented Apr 24, 2023 at 19:03
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    I don't understand what you're saying (I frankly don't think I've ever see women's sections that are behind the duchan), but try saying it clearly in an edit to the post so everyone can understand why you are asking.
    – Double AA
    Commented Apr 24, 2023 at 19:30
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    The MB in 90:21 brings from the knesses hagadolah that many Shuls have their azara on the eastern side forcing them to daven with their back to the aron. Although he doesn’t recommend it, there were obviously such cases. So the question is, what did they do for Birchas kohanim
    – Chatzkel
    Commented Apr 25, 2023 at 0:15
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    – MDjava
    Commented Apr 25, 2023 at 2:20
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    @Chatzkel everywhere I've been, the ladies did indeed move back, so I'm not sure about "nobody ever heard"
    – Esther
    Commented May 2, 2023 at 14:59

3 Answers 3


As a practical answer, in every shul I've been in where the women's section extends past the duchan, the women move to in front of it for Bircas Kohanim. I was taught to do so in school, and practically speaking I've always seen it done, so I'm not sure the premise of this question is even true.


The Taz on Orach Chaim 128:24, says that it was done like that in his days - even men - and says that the reason might be because the Aron Kodesh is considered an extension of the wall, being that they are attached - unlike the times of the Gemara - and therefore it is considered as if the Kohanim standing in front of it are standing right next to the wall

Also, the Shulchan Aruch (Ibid) says that someone who is unable to attend Shul still receives the blessing, and the Bach says that the same would apply in a case where there is no room to stand in front of the Kohanim

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    He doesn't say it's OK, but he's מלמד זכות on those who don't move.
    – magicker72
    Commented Apr 24, 2023 at 23:20
  • The shulchan aruch doesn't apply because they already showed up to shul. And Bach won't help, because in the same way there's room for the men to move there's room for the women to move.
    – shlomoBMG
    Commented Apr 25, 2023 at 0:35

Tosfos Sotah 36B seems to indicate that they would have to move to the front if they can:

י"ל דדוקא בדלא אניסי קמבעיא ליה אבל בדאניסי פשיטא דמי גרע מאחיהם שבשדות וא"ת אי לא אניסי אמאי עדיפי מעם שאחורי הכהנים בלא הפסק מחיצה י"ל עם שאחורי הכהנים מראין בעצמן כאילו אין הברכה חשובה בעיניהם דכתיב אמור להם פנים כנגד פנים והן עומדים אחורי עורף אבל בהפסק מחיצה כיון דלא קיימי אחורי עורף לאו מילתא היא דלא חזינן דקפיד קרא בהכי

Although I believe Tosfos can be read two ways, it seems that he’s saying that being behind a Mechitza without a ones, is ok since your not behind them. (Alternatively, he’s saying that no matter what, being behind a Mechitza is never counted as being behind the kohanim since it isn’t showing disrespect. However this doesn’t sound to be the simple reading)

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