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direction of 3 bows during kedusha & the end of Amida


Rabbi Ari Shvat

Tammuz 24, 5777
In the Kedusha, we bow to left, right, and center before we say "Kadosh" 3 times. We also bow to left, right, and center after we step back and while we say the Oseh Shalom verse at the end of the Amida (Shmonah Esrei). Are we bowing to the angel on Hashem;’s right, then the angel on Hashem;’s left, then finally to Hashem? Or are we bowing to Judea, then to Samaria, then to Jerusalem? Please explain the symbolism of these bows. Thank you for your help.
These are two totally different issues. The bowing during kedusha has no source in the poskim and in Resp. Az Nidbru (13, 32), R. Zilber stresses that he never saw the great rabbis in previous generations do so, because it’s referring to the angels in Yishayahu (6, 3) who call out to each-other, not to us. Even when we try and be like the angels, we call out to other people to bless God, and not to the angels. On the other hand, the bows at the end of Amida, are obligatory and even mentioned in the Talmud (Yoma 53), and cited as halacha by the Rif, Rosh and others, all the way down to the Shulchan Aruch (Or.Ch. 123, 1). We respectfully bow as we have just “taken leave” of Hashem, first, as if it were, to “God’s right” or our left (as we face Him, which is the higher level of shechina), and then to the other directions as well, stressing that God really doesn’t have a “place” or a “right” or “left”, but is really everywhere.
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