From the Rav’s Desk: With which foot should one start taking three steps back by Kaddish

Question: [Sunday, 21st Iyar, 5782]

I know that by Oseh Shalom in Shemoneh Esrei we are to take the first step back using our left foot. Does the same apply also when taking three steps back when saying Oseh Shalom within Kaddish?


Although I have not found anything explicit in the Poskim or Sefarim on this matter, according to the Chabad custom, seemingly by Kaddish one should take the three steps back beginning with his right foot, in contrast to the custom by Shemoneh Esrei.



The Chabad custom by Kaddish, in contrast to the custom by Shemoneh Esrei, is to first bow one’s head towards the right. Accordingly, it would seem that likewise one is to first move his right foot by Kaddish. Seemingly, the reason behind this custom is because one should always begin of his movements with his right side, and it is only by Shemoneh Esrei in which we have a specific reason that one is in front of the king in which we say that one should begin with his left side.

Sources: See Admur 56:8; Sefer Haminhagim p. 16 [English]; Maharil in name of Orchos Chaim, brought in Beis Yosef 123, based on Yuma 55b that all turns should be done to the right; Other opinions who hold to bow first to the left: Some Poskim rule that one is to move the head first to the left and only then to the right, just as we rule by Shemoneh Esrei. [Possible implication from Admur ibid who writes “Like Shemoneh Esrei” thus implying to bow first to left just like by Shemoneh Esrei; Ateres Zekeinim 123 based on Mordechai that we first turn to left also by Kaddish; Beis Baruch on Chayeh Adam 30:5; Rivivos Efram 1:113; Nitei Gavriel 41:8; See Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid] To note, however, that the Mordechai refers specifically to Kaddish Tiskabel.

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