Let's say you are in the middle of your Shemoneh Esrei when and all of a sudden, the situation becomes yichud. What may you/must you/should you do?

I know the very-basics like "don't interrupt one mitzvah for another" and "positive mitzvot [sort of] overrule prohibitions" etc., but these did not seem to shed much light. It seems from the antecedent of footnote four here that we treat all matters of yichud as rabbinical mitzvot today. And here (and based on other knowledge) it sounds like we don't usually interrupt tefila for other mitzvot, even Torah study (=Biblical.) Thus my instinct is to say that we do not move from the Amidah to get out of yichud. But possibly the safer answer is "Be so absorbed in your Amidah that you do not notice whether you are in yichud or not."

Cases: 1) Someone with the maximum level of obligation in that shemoneh esrei 2) Someone with the minimum, i.e. a mother davening maariv, or a tefilas nedava; A) Really serious yichud situation B) Something borderilne

(Not sure any of it would make a difference, as one is nonetheless standing before the Holy One, Blessed Be He, and by some natural principle we don't interrupt that)

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    Walking itself isn't really a hefsek. Walking is more like sitting. You shouldn't do it during the Amida, but if you are sick or something then you do
    – Double AA
    Jun 2, 2017 at 18:58
  • Also, if one has yiras Shamayim not to move, presumably one will have yiras Shamayim not to transgress the things yichud guards against during prayer
    – SAH
    Jun 2, 2017 at 19:02
  • 1
    Good question. It does seem like any actual yichud situation (that is a real law, not a chumrah or minhag) is probably very very easy to avoid if a small precaution is taken (leave door ajar before prayer, open window shades facing street etc.), or is probably not going to happen. But it could happen. Jun 2, 2017 at 20:05
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    @SAH It says by the snake on the ankles not to INTERRUPT. It says nothing of walking. Never mind the fact that the snake is already wrapped around you, so you can't exactly walk away. And factually doing so might encourage the snake to bite out of self defense, so the best choice is, in fact, to stay still. Jun 5, 2017 at 17:43
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    Chazal would wonder how you noticed in the middle of Shemoneh Esrei. <grin> Seriously, that's a halachic problem; like the rule about not walking in front of someone saying 18 is based on the assumption that I don't notice someone waiting at the 4 amma periphery for me to finish, and am not distracted by /that/.... Jun 6, 2017 at 18:40

1 Answer 1


This is a good question. I looked around quickly & didn't see this question brought anywhere so I will try to come to an answer based on other areas of study. The Shulchan Aruch Even Haezer Siman 22 says here that being secluded with an Ervah is a Bilical prohibition. Other women such as single girls are a Rabinic prohibition.

The Shulchan Aruch here says in a case where a child urinated in Shul while the Congregation is Davening (which is only an Issur D'rabanan) one is allowed to walk 4 amos away or even go out of shul to finish Davening. The Mishna Berurah there explains that walking is not a Hefsek to Shemonah Esrei if necessary. The Mishna Berurah continues & says if a child defecated in middle of Shemonah Esrei (which is a Biblical prohibition to Daven in front of), one cannot continue Davening there as is & one is even allowed to speak if necessary & tell the other Congregants around him they need to move.

So in summary we see that even for a Rabbinic prohibition one is allowed to walk to a different spot during Shemona Esrei & this does not constitute a Hefsek in one's Davening.

  • 1
    Single girls are only rabbinic if they aren't niddot
    – Double AA
    Jun 4, 2017 at 16:02
  • @sah does this answer your question?
    – Earl
    Jun 5, 2017 at 13:45
  • @Earl Thanks; I think yours would be a great answer to this question: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/83095/… . For the question here, I'm still interested to find an authorative source addressing this specific inyan
    – SAH
    Jun 6, 2017 at 17:13
  • @Earl Sorry for my ignorance but what is "an ervah" as it applies to an entire person? Someone who is showing ervah or just someone forbidden...?
    – SAH
    Jun 6, 2017 at 17:14
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    @SAH I believe it means someone who would be forbidden to another man such as a married woman.
    – Earl
    Jun 6, 2017 at 17:18

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