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Inspired by another post. What is the correct way to bow during the first Bracha of Shemonah Esreh and the Bracha of Modim. I am looking for sources in Halacha (not Gemara, Midrash etc.).

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    There are several nusachot on this (2 main ones afaik). I assume you would like to hear them all, seeing as you haven't specified?
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Commented Jun 4 at 10:40
  • @RabbiKaii I don't understand your comment? What do you mean with "nusachot"?
    – Yoreinu
    Commented Jun 4 at 11:29
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    @Yoreinu variants due to different customs
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Commented Jun 4 at 11:34

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This article Siman 113: The Deferential Bowing During the Shmoneh Esrei https://torah.org/learning/mishna-berura-s113/ sets out the relevant passages of Shulchan Aruch and Mishna Berura.

Simanim 113:4 and 113:5 (SA) from the article, together with associated Mishnah Berura read as follows:

113:4. One who is praying must bow down enough that all the vertebrae in his spine (10) stick out. One should not only bow down at the waist and leave his head straight, but rather one should also bow his head.

MB 10: Will stick out – The Hebrew word for this is “yitpakeku”, from the root “pekak” meaning a knot. What the Shulchan Aruch is saying is that because of the bowing down the “knots” of the vertebrae should stick out.

113:5. One should not bow down (11) so much that his mouth is at the height of the belt of his pants. If one is old or sick and can not bow down so that the vertebrae stick out, then it is enough just to lower one’s head because it can be seen that he wants to bow down but it hurts him [to do so].

MB 11: So much – Because it seems like he is showing off that he is bowing down more than needed.

Siman 113:7 (SA) from the article, together with associated Mishnah Berura continue as follows:

113:7. (12) When one is required to bow [see 113:1], one should bend the knees with the word “Baruch” [Blessed, the beginning word of the formula “Blessed are You, L-ord”] and (13) straighten up with “Ad-n-ai” [“L-ord”].

MB 12: When one is required to bow – When one says “Baruch” one should bend his knees, and then when he says “Atoh” he should bow until his vertebrae stand out. When one says “Modim” [“We thank”, the beginning of the next to last blessing of the Shmoneh Esrei], he should bow his head and body, like a reed, with one motion, and remain in this position until saying G-d’s name, at which point he should straighten up.

MB 13: Straighten up with “Ad-n-ai” – This is because it is written (Psalms 146:8) “The L-ord straightens the bent.”

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