Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
  Page title
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Face-Down

During Shemoneh Esrei we stand before the Divine Presence. Through each word and phrase, we elevate ourselves to one of the highest levels of connection that a Jew can achieve with his Creator while still in this world. What could possibly add to such an experience?

After praying seated and standing during Pesukei D’zimra, Shema and Shemoneh Esrei, our Sages described a final level of prayer as “nefilas apayim” - falling before Hashem. In its original form, nefilas apayim involved prostrating oneself on the floor as a sign of complete subjugation to Hashem’s will.

The Zohar compares nefilas apayim to an act of mesirus nefesh, giving up our lives for Hashem’s honor (Bamidbar 120b). For this reason some have the custom to say vidui beforehand, just as a person must do before he gives up his life al kiddush Hashem. In its original form nefilas apayim consisted of saying chapter 25 of Tehillim, which alludes to mesiras nefesh.

Since the Zohar warns that a superficial recital of nefilas apayim is potentially life-threatening, changes were made to how Tachanun is recited. Ashkenazim do not fall on the floor or recite chapter 25 of Tehillim, which mentions mesirus nefesh; rather, they put down their heads on their arms and recite chapter 6 of Tehillim. Sephardim recite the chapter of mesirus nefesh, but do not put down their heads.


Text Copyright © 2010 by Rabbi Daniel Travis and Torah.org


 






ARTICLES ON NOACH:

View Complete List

When the Illegitimate Becomes Legitimate
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5758

Delight Amidst Devastation
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5762

Sins Committed In Private Ultimately Lead To a Violent Society
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5765

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Beshegam Hu Moshe?
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5767

Law and Order
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5760

Lesson of the Ravens
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5763

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Miracles Can Happen Slowly
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5764

Join the Voices in the Ark
Rabbi Label Lam - 5774

Noach - A 'Standard' Tzaddik
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5764

ArtScroll

New Beginnings
Shlomo Katz - 5762

The Sign of the Olive
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5767

"G-d Watches Over Man"
Shlomo Katz - 5764

> Generation to Generation
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5759

The Rainmaker
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5759

Certain Things Noach Did Not Have To Worry About
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5775

Never Underestimate the Power of Prayer
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5771



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information