SECTION 103 Laws Relating to One who must Break Wind, or Sneeze, in the Midst of Shemoneh Esreh. (1-3)

סימן קג מִי שֶׁנִּזְדַּמֵּן לוֹ רוּחַ בִּתְפִלָּתוֹ אוֹ עִטּוּשׁ וּבוֹ ג' סְעִיפִים:

1 If a person is in the midst of Shemoneh Esreh and he breaks wind, he should wait until the odor dissipates and then return to the point at which he paused.1

א הָיָה עוֹמֵד בִּתְפִלָּה וְיָצָא מִמֶּנּוּ רוּחַ מִלְּמַטָּהא – מַמְתִּין עַד שֶׁיִּכְלֶה (הָרוּחַ) [הָרֵיחַ] וְחוֹזֵר לְמָקוֹם שֶׁפָּסַק:ב,1

2 If one feels the need to break wind and, [although he tries to the point of] great discomfort, cannot contain himself, he should step back four cubits and break wind.2 He should not step to the side, because he should face the spot at which he had begun to pray,3 so that it will not appear that he interrupted his prayer entirely without intending to resume it.

He should wait until the odor dissipates and say: “Master of the worlds, You created us with manifold orifices and cavities. Our shame and embarrassment are revealed and known by You. [We are] shame and disgrace in our lives, [the nurture of] maggots and worms in our death.”

This statement is not considered as interrupting his prayer, since it was already interrupted by his flatulence. He should then return to where he had originally stood and should resume his prayer from the point at which it was interrupted. He should not complete his prayer in the place to which he moved back, because the original location was where he had begun to pray, and that was where the Divine Presence4 had established its place. When he was about to break wind he moved away from there, so now he must return to the place established for the Divine Presence.

In the present era, even those who are meticulous in their observance do not follow the practice of withdrawing four cubits and saying, “Master [of the worlds]....” There are some who have justified [this omission] by arguing that a person was required to move back only when praying at home. If, however, he was praying with a congregation, this would be most embarrassing, for his shame and disgrace would become evident to everyone. [Hence,] there is no need for him to move back, for “the consideration of personal dignity is very weighty.”5 And since he need not move back, he should also not say, “Master [of the worlds]...,” because his shame and embarrassment are not obvious. He should merely wait until the odor dissipates.

All of the above applies when he cannot contain himself. If, however, he can contain himself, he is obligated to do so to whatever extent possible, in order to refrain from breaking wind while praying. [Containing himself] does not violate [the commandment], “Do not make yourselves loathsome.”6 Even if he must relieve himself, he should contain himself, as stated in sec. 92[:2].

ב בִּקֵּשׁ לָצֵאת מִמֶּנּוּ רוּחַ מִלְּמַטָּהג וְנִצְטַעֵר הַרְבֵּה וְאֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לְהַעֲמִיד עַצְמוֹד – הוֹלֵךְ לַאֲחוֹרָיו ד' אַמּוֹתה וּמוֹצִיא הָרוּחַ.2 וְלֹא יֵלֵךְ לִצְדָדִים, מִפְּנֵי שֶׁצָּרִיךְ שֶׁיִּהְיוּ פָּנָיו מְכֻוָּנִים כְּנֶגֶד הַמָּקוֹם שֶׁהִתְחִיל לְהִתְפַּלֵּל,ו,3 שֶׁלֹּא יְהֵא נִרְאֶה כְּפוֹסֵק לְגַמְרֵי וְאֵין כַּוָּנָתוֹ לַחֲזֹר לִתְפִלָּתוֹ. וּמַמְתִּין עַד שֶׁיִּכְלֶה הָרֵיחַ וְאוֹמֵר: "רִבּוֹן הָעוֹלָמִים, יְצַרְתָּנוּ נְקָבִים נְקָבִים, חֲלוּלִים חֲלוּלִים, גָּלוּי וְיָדוּעַ לְפָנֶיךָ חֶרְפָּתֵנוּ וּכְלִימָּתֵנוּ, חֶרְפָּה וּכְלִמָּה בְּחַיֵּינוּ, רִמָּה וְתוֹלֵעָה בְּמוֹתֵנוּ", וְאֵין אֲמִירָה זוֹ חָשׁוּב הֶפְסֵק בַּתְּפִלָּה, הוֹאִיל וּכְבָר מֻפְסֶקֶת תְּפִלָּתוֹ עַל יְדֵי הָרוּחַ,ז וְחוֹזֵר לִמְקוֹמוֹ,ח וְחוֹזֵר לְמָקוֹם שֶׁפָּסַק.ט וְלֹא יִגְמֹר תְּפִלָּתוֹ בְּמָקוֹם שֶׁנִּתְרַחֵק שָׁם, הוֹאִיל וּכְבָר הִתְחִיל לְהִתְפַּלֵּל כָּאן וְקָבְעָה הַשְּׁכִינָה4 מָקוֹם כָּאן,י וּכְשֶׁבִּקֵּשׁ לְהִתְעַטֵּשׁ נִתְרַחֵק מִמְּקוֹם הַשְּׁכִינָה, לְפִיכָךְ צָרִיךְ הוּא לַחֲזֹר לְמָקוֹם שֶׁקָּבַע לַשְּׁכִינָה.

וְעַכְשָׁו לֹא נָהֲגוּ אֲפִלּוּ הַמְדַקְדְּקִים לְהַרְחִיק ד' אַמּוֹת וְלוֹמַר "רִבּוֹן וְכו'". וְיֵשׁ שֶׁלִּמְּדוּ זְכוּת לוֹמַריא שֶׁלֹּא הִצְרִיכוּ לְהַרְחִיק אֶלָּא כְּשֶׁמִּתְפַּלֵּל בְּבֵיתוֹ, אֲבָל כְּשֶׁמִּתְפַּלֵּל בְּצִבּוּר שֶׁזֶּה לוֹ בִּזָּיוֹן גָּדוֹל שֶׁנִּרְאֶה לַכֹּל בָּשְׁתּוֹ וּכְלִמָּתוֹיב – אֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ לְהַרְחִיק כְּלָל, שֶׁגָּדוֹל כְּבוֹד הַבְּרִיּוֹת.יג וְכֵיוָן שֶׁאֵין צָרִיךְ לְהַרְחִיק, אֵין לוֹמַר גַּם כֵּן "רִבּוֹן כו'",5 כֵּיוָן שֶׁאֵין חֶרְפָּתוֹ וּכְלִמָּתוֹ נִכֶּרֶת, רַק מַמְתִּין עַד שֶׁיִּכְלֶה הָרֵיחַ.

וְכָל זֶה כְּשֶׁאֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לְהַעֲמִיד עַצְמוֹ, אֲבָל אִם יָכוֹל – חַיָּב לְהַעֲמִיד עַצְמוֹיד בְּכָל מַה דְּאֶפְשָׁר שֶׁלֹּא לְהָפִיחַ בַּתְּפִלָּה, וְאֵין בָּזֶה מִשּׁוּם "בַּל תְּשַׁקְּצוּ".טו,6 וַאֲפִלּוּ אִם נִצְרָךְ לִנְקָבָיו – יַעֲמִיד עַצְמוֹ כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר בְּסִימָן צ"ב:טז

3 If a person breaks wind, even slightly and soundlessly, while reciting Shemoneh Esreh, it is an undesirable omen.2 If a person sneezes [while reciting Shemoneh Esreh], it is a positive sign for him: just as he is granted satisfaction on the earthly plane, for a sneeze is satisfying, so too is he granted satisfaction from Above, to have his requests and appeals fulfilled.

ג הַמִּתְעַטֵּשׁ בִּתְפִלָּתוֹיז מִלְּמַטָּה, אֲפִלּוּ הֲפָחָה מוּעֶטֶת שֶׁאֵינָהּ מַשְׁמַעַת קוֹליח – סִימָן רַע לוֹ,2 מִלְמַעְלָה – סִימָן יָפֶה לוֹ, שֶׁכְּשֵׁם שֶׁעוֹשִׂין לוֹ נַחַת רוּחַ מִלְּמַטָּהיט שֶׁהָעִטּוּשׁ הוּא נוֹחַ לָאָדָם – כָּךְ ֹעוֹשִׂין לוֹ נַחַת רוּחַ מִלְמַעְלָה לְמַלֹּאות שְׁאֵלָתוֹ וּבַקָּשָׁתוֹ: