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Looking Down

In the last section we learned that a person should gaze out of the window immediately before praying Shemoneh Esrei. Seeing the vast expanse of the heavens will humble his heart in the advent of prayer. How should he position his eyes for the rest of Shemoneh Esrei?

“And My eyes and My heart are there always” (Melachim I 9,3). Even after the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash, our eyes and heart should still be connected as strongly as possible to the structure where Hashem’s Presence dwelled. How can we accomplish this?

While the Beis Hamikdash was in existence, everyone agreed that a person should focus his eyes toward the ground, for this was the place where the Shechinah rested in the Temple. Today we are no longer able to pray in the Beis Hamikdash itself, but we face the direction where the Beis Hamikdash stood. Looking down in that direction should help us remember the Temple (Tur 95,2).

If possible while praying, a person should attempt to visualize that he is inside the Beis Hamikdash. After he has created this picture in his mind, looking down for the duration of his tefillah will remind him that it is as if he were standing in the Beis Hamikdash. Maintaining this image helps to elevate one's prayers (Rabbeinu Yonah 20b).

Text Copyright © 2014 by Rabbi Daniel Travis and



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