Walking like a Jew-To walk in a humble manner

Walking like a Jew-To walk in a humble manner:[1]

A. Koma Zekufa-One’s Posture while walking:

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 feet and 4 inches].[6]

The severity of walking in a straight posture:[7] One who walks in a straight posture is considered[8] to be repelling the Shechinah which fills the entire earth.

The definition of a straight posture:[9] 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 [forward] or have his 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[10]).

B. The length of the steps and strides:[11]

On Shabbos, one may not walk in wide steps of more than an Ama distance [48 cm.] from the head of the toe of one foot to the head of the toe of the second foot[12], if one is able to walk in smaller steps. Furthermore, even during the week one is not to walk in wide steps, as doing so takes way 1/500th of one’s ability of sight.[13]



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:[14]

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:[15]

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] Admur Basra 2:5; Kama 2:7 with slight differences; Michaber 2:6; Brachos 43b; Kiddushin 31a

[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] Admur Kama and Basra ibid; M”A 2:5; Taz 2:4; Olas Tamid 2:5; Elya Raba 2:3; Implication of Brachos ibid [according to our current Girsa] “One who walks even four Amos]

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; See Brachos ibid who writes and Kiddushin ibid]

Other Poskim: Some Poskim rule that it is permitted to walk less than 4 Amos in this posture. [Machazik Bracha 2:1; Peri Megadim 2 A”A 5; Implication of Girsa in Kiddushin ibid which omits the word “even” and so is also the Girsa of some in Brachos ibid] However, other Poskim, including Admur, rule that it is forbidden to walk this way even less than 4 Amos. These Poskim interpret the Gemara which states “4 Amos” to be inexact. Practically the main opinion is like the above opinion which is stringent. [Kaf Hachaim 2:13]

[7] Admur Kama and Basra ibid; Brachos ibid

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

[9] Basra ibid

[10] These parentheses are in the original

[11] Admur 301:1-2 and 90:13; Rama 301:1; Hagahos Ashri Eiruvin 2 in name of Or Zarua Eiruvin 143; Rebbe Yishmael Shabbos 113b

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule there is no prohibition against taking long strides on Shabbos. [Aguda Taanis 1:5 in name of Tosafus; implication of Rambam 24:4, brought in Kuntrus Achron 301:1 and M”A 301:2; Minchas Shabbos Shiyurei Mincha 90:1; See Piskeiy Teshuvos 301:1 footnote 8]

[12] Admur ibid; M”A 301:2 that the foot is half an Ama and one may not walk in strides larger than a half Ama between the two feet; Ketzos Hashulchan 117:2; See however M”B 301:3 that the strides are measured each person according to their normal way of walk.

[13] Admur ibid and 90:13; M”A 301:1; Shabbos ibid; Brachos 6b and 43b

[14] Rambam Hilchos Deios 5:8

[15] Rambam Hilchos Deios 5:8

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