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You're not supposed to walk within 4 cubits of someone praying the amidah because the shechinah is in that radius (source).

Is stepping back to begin shemonah esrei in front of one who had started a moment earlier also a problem or is the application only applicable at the end of the amidah?

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    I actually found myself wondering this today in a crowded shul. +1 – Shokhet Oct 1 '15 at 21:13
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or is the application only applicable at the end of the amidah?

Similarly, it’s forbidden to take the three steps before Shemonah Esrei in front of someone Davening [Halichot Shlomo 8:33](Source)

Interestingly, some say not to take the three steps at all if that involves going in front of someone praying:

If taking 3 steps back involves walking into the 4 amot of someone Davening, don’t take these steps back at all and just start Shmoneh Esrei. [Halichot Shlomo 8:33, Piskei Teshuvot 95:5] (Halachipedia)

  • Honestly i don't know who wrote hilchot shlomo, but what he said here makes allot of sense. – aBochur Apr 27 '18 at 21:36
  • I believe R Shlomo Zalman Auerbach wrote Halichot Shlomo. Of course he makes sense :-> – mbloch Apr 28 '18 at 17:46
  • Correction: The Halichot shlomo was not written by R' SZ Auerbach himself but by his Grandchildren citing his psakim and minhagim . It is accepted as one of the most authoritative sources on the halachic opinions of R' SZ Auerbach. – RibbisRabbiAndMore Apr 28 '18 at 19:28

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