- Question: [Wednesday, 10th Elul, 5781]
After Shemoneh Esrei when Davening with a Minyan, you’re suppsoed wait until the Chazan reaches Kedusha. My question is regaridng Maariv, in which there is no Chazaras Hashtaz, when is one to take the three steps back up?
There is no clear ruling in the Poskim regarding this and hence some are accustomed to simply wait the amount of time it takes to walk four Amos and then return back to their place, although most wait until the Chazan begins to say Kaddish, as this is the ruling of most of todays Poskim. Practically, the custom in Chabad, based on the witnessed custom from the Rebbe, is to take the three steps back up only when the Chazan concludes the stanza of “Deamiran Bealma” in Kaddish.
Explanation: It is a clear ruling in the Poskim that after taking three steps back after concluding Shemoneh Esrei one is not allowed to return right away and rather must wait until the Chazan reaches Kedusha, or at the very least until he starts Shemoneh Esrei, or until the amount of time it takes to walk four Amos has passed, such as if he is davening alone. Now, nothing is mentioned regarding when one may return to his place by a minyan of Maariv in which case there is no repetition of the Amida, thus leaving room for the three customs above, with some saying that it simply suffices to wait the amount of time it takes to walk four Amos as is the ruling by a private Davener, and others saying that one should wait until he starts saying Kaddish just like one would wait for him to start Shemoneh Esrei [as Kaddish Tiskabel goes on the Shemonhe Esrei] and as is the ruling regarding a Tefila that contains Piyutim that one may return as soon as the Chazan begins Chazaras Hashatz, and others saying that one should wait until after the main part of the Kaddish concludes, as this is similar to waiting until the start of Kedusha which shows that one is returning in order to say Kedusha, and so too here one is waiting until the end of the main part of Kaddish to say Aleinu. Alternatively, one should do so in order not to take three steps during the main part of Kaddish itself. Vetzaruch Iyun
Sources: See regarding the general ruling of waiting prior to taking three steps back up: Admur 123:3; Michaber 123:2; Yuma 53b; Regarding Maariv See: Leket Hakemach 123:2; Piskeiy Teshuvos 123:2 footnote 20; Wait four Amos: Orach Neman 123:7; Rivivos Efraim ibid in name of Mishneh Halachos and Rav Pinchas Sheinberg; Wait until start of Kaddish: Rav SZ”A in Halichos Shlomo 13:12; Rivivos Efraim 8:158 in name of Rav Shternbuch and Rav Chaim Kanievsky; Piskeiy Teshuvos 123:2; Wait until Tiskabel: Rivivos Efraim ibid in name of Rav Moshe Feinstein, and that so is his custom as he saw by his Rebbe’s; Rebbe’s custom