Growing up I was always told that there is reason in Jewish practice not to step over someone, and if one accidentally did, one should step back over them to remove the bad-I guess I would call it act. Whenever I asked for the reason and source for this peculiar custom, I was met with the simplistic answer that they don't know why but this is something established from way back in Orthodox Jewish practice. This prompts a lot of questions:

  1. Is anyone else familiar with this superstition?
  2. What is the reason?
  3. What is the source?
  • 1
    I want to add that the closest thing to an answer I've found is that someone passively mentioned that the Debreziner Rav, Rav Moshe Stern, in his Sefer Be'er Moshe talks about it. I never had a chance to look at it as I don't own a copy. If someone does have that Sefer, that may be a good place to start... Commented Apr 22 at 0:50
  • 2
    A contrasting anecdote of the (then future) Lubavitcher Rebbe: chabad.org/therebbe/livingtorah/player_cdo/aid/408970/jewish/…
    – shmosel
    Commented Apr 22 at 0:54
  • 2
    I heard of it as a kid but never as something Jewish. Kids would say that if you stepped over someone lying down that person would stay short. Stepping back undid the ""curse"". Seems to me to be a nonsensical superstition.
    – Harel13
    Commented Apr 22 at 11:12

1 Answer 1


This question has been asked and answered on this forum, here: Where is the source not to walk over someone because it stops him growing?

The Be'er Moshe 8:36 discusses this issue and says it is something that they used be makpid on not to step over a child and if they went over him they would ask the person to step over him the other way so he can grow to his full height.

The Be'er Moshe continues that this custom is considered among the custom of old women which the Rashba (Shu"t 1:69) wrote that we should not belittle even if we can not understand the reason, they are certainly established on "mountains of holliness".

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .