There is a rule that one should stand still after reciting sh'mone esre and taking three steps backwards, preferably until k'dusha, but at least for a few moments (the amount of time it takes to walk 4 cubits?). This rule is quoted without citation at the end of most Artscroll t'filos. Is one required to stand silently during this brief pause, or can it be filled with words of supplementary prayers such as

יְהִי רָצון מִלְּפָנֶיךָ ה' אֱ-להֵינוּ וֵא-להֵי אֲבותֵינוּ. שֶׁיִּבָּנֶה בֵּית הַמִּקְדָּשׁ בִּמְהֵרָה בְיָמֵינוּ. וְתֵן חֶלְקֵנוּ בְּתורָתֶךָ: וְשָׁם נַעֲבָדְךָ בְּיִרְאָה כִּימֵי עולָם וּכְשָׁנִים קַדְמונִיות: וְעָרְבָה לה' מִנְחַת יְהוּדָה וִירוּשָׁלָיִם. כִּימֵי עולָם וּכְשָׁנִים קַדְמונִיות:


  • 1
    Does the fact that virtually every sidur (well, Ashk'nazi ones, at least) includes such have any weight?
    – msh210
    Commented Jul 15, 2011 at 13:05
  • @msh210 I should hope so!
    – WAF
    Commented Jul 17, 2011 at 13:34
  • Do you have any reason to think it should be silent? All discussion of the rule that I can find deals exclusively with time.
    – Double AA
    Commented Nov 1, 2012 at 16:07

2 Answers 2


It says in Shulchan Aruch (O.C. 122:2) that once one says yehyu leratzon, one can interrupt to say Tachanunim (extra prayers).

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    That, @jack smith, is referring to what we call Elokai, n'tzor...As long as we haven't stepped back, we are still considered before Hashem. The question is regarding the pause after we step back and before returning to our original position.
    – YDK
    Commented Jul 15, 2011 at 4:31
  • That's true, but if I'm reading the question correctly, the question is not can you say prayers, it is- does the timing of the pause after stepping back need to be in silence, or can the time that we say those prayers count toward that time.
    – YDK
    Commented Jul 15, 2011 at 21:50
  • @YDK Thank you for clarifying that. I should have specified that I was referring to the pause after taking three steps back.
    – WAF
    Commented Jul 17, 2011 at 13:38

If you say the "Yehi ratzon" that you mentiond, then you should pause and wait, after saying such prayers. After the last bracha of the shemonah esraei, you can add any prayers that you want. When you are done with all those prayers, then you should pause, and take steps back.

Presumably, one would insert the yehi-ratzon before "Oseh Shalom". Since it appears (though I have no source) that stepping back while saying Oseh Shalom has some significance... as done during Kadish. To explain further: During the full kadish, the kadish ends with Oseh Shalom, and it is the custom in most places to bow left and right, and take three steps back during that phrase. Since this is the same activity done at the end of the Shemonah esrei (taking 3 steps back), it seems, from practice, that one should take the three steps back while saying oseh shalom. That being the case, when you are done with the shemonah esrei, you also have to take 3 steps back, so it seems to me, that it would make most sense to do both at the same time. (which would involve saying yehi ratzon before Oseh Shalom). The fact that no siddurim actually have the text in that order, seeems to indicate I'm mistaken a bit here, but its what I was told once in a Shiur. I am not sure why the halacha would be that after you "bow out", you then say another prayer ... you've just walked away!

  • "You changed your question..." In what way?
    – WAF
    Commented Jul 17, 2011 at 13:35
  • I must be going insane.. when I read the question the first time there was no quote to the yehi-ratzon...
    – avi
    Commented Jul 17, 2011 at 14:16
  • Thanks. Isn't it strange, then, that so many sidurim include the y'hi ratzon (s) after "oseh shalom"?
    – WAF
    Commented Jul 17, 2011 at 20:51
  • Avi, do you have a source or logic that one needs to wait after saying the yehi ratzon? Why do you pause before taking 3 steps back (source)? In your last paragraph, are you saying that since Ose shalom concludes the tefila you should say the yehi ratzon prior?
    – YDK
    Commented Jul 17, 2011 at 23:46
  • Halachically, there is no difference between the yehi ratzon, and the paragraphs before it. (though there is a historical difference as to when they were put into the sidur). As for your second question, I'll make it more clear in my answer.
    – avi
    Commented Jul 18, 2011 at 7:40

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