Walking humbly

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To walk in a humble manner: [1]

One should get up[2] and walk in a manner that his head[3] is [slightly[4]] bent downwards, and not with a straight posture, [and outstretched neck[5]]. It is forbidden to walk with a straight posture for even less than 4 cubits.[6]

The severity of walking in a straight posture: One who walks in a straight posture is considered[7] to be repelling the Shechinah which fills the entire earth.

The definition of a straight posture: [8] It is considered that one is walking with a straight posture if his head is so high up that he cannot see the ground that is near his feet. Thus [being that one has to walk in a manner that he can see near his feet] he needs to walk slowly in order not to walk into something.

Not to bend too much: One should not bend his back or head bent too much to the point that he cannot see the people in front of him. Rather he is to walk in an average bent manner so he could see the people walking towards him (without having to lift his eyes too much[9]).


One may not walk with his head so high up that he cannot see his feet. This applies even when walking less than four Amos.


Not to walk in a very slow manner:[10]

One is not to walk in a manner of small steps, in a way that by each step he places his heel at the edge of his toe, as this appears like the haughty.


Not to run in public:[11]

One is not to [sporadically] run in public as this appears like one is eccentric and odd. [It is however permitted to run or jog for exercising purposes.]

[1] Basra 2/5; Kama 2/7 with slight differences; Michaber 2/6

[2] It requires further analysis as to the need of these seemingly superfluous words which are not written in the Michaber. Perhaps it is teaching us that the above method of walk begins to apply as soon as one begins walking after awakening and not only when walking in public.

[3] Basra ibid; in Kama ibid it says “with his figure slightly bent” and does not specify the head.

[4] Basra ibid

[5] Basra 2/5; as the verse states “And they went with stretched necks and deceiving eyes” [Basra ibid]

[6] 6 feet and 4 inches

The reason: It is forbidden to walk with a straight posture for even less than 4 cubits being that the verse states that Hashem’s glory fills the entire earth [which implies that his glory reaches and descends below] and thus one who walks with a straight posture is considered as if he is repelling away [and pushing up] the Shechinah. [Kama and Basra ibid with changes in wording. Vetzaruch Iyun on the meaning behind the differences]

Other Poskim: The following Poskim rule like Admur, that it is forbidden to walk this way even less than 4 Amos: Taz 2/4; Olas Tamid 2/5; M”A 2/5; Elya Raba 2/3. These Poskim interpret the Gemara which states “4 Amos” to be inexact. Others however rule that it is permitted to walk less than 4 Amos in this posture. [Machazik Bracha 2/1; Peri Megadim 2 A”A 5] Practically the main opinion is like the first opinion. [Kaf Hachaim 2/13]

[7] Basra ibid; In Kama ibid it says “Because it appears that one is pushing away…”

[8] Basra ibid

[9] These parentheses are in the original

[10] Rambam Hilchos Deios 5/8

[11] Rambam Hilchos Deios 5/8

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