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

Email this article to a friend

Swaying

"All of my bones should praise Hashem" (Tehillim 35,10). How does one accomplish this? By swaying in a back-and-forth motion during prayer, one recruits every part of his body in an effort to sing Hashem's praises (Rema 48,1).

The Zohar explains the deeper significance of this body language, which is uniquely Jewish. "A Jew's soul is like a flickering candle. When his soul is ignited by the Torah he learns, it cannot stay still for even a moment, and this causes one's body to sway back and forth" (Pinchas 218b).

In one place, the Mishna Berura writes that swaying during Shemoneh Esrei is praiseworthy (95,7), while in another place he notes that standing still is preferable (48,5). This reflects the fact that sometimes a person may need to sway in order to intensify the emotional power of his prayers, while at other times standing still may be essential for maintaining concentration. Every Jew should decide how best to offer his prayers before Hashem when he prays.

Each person's body language differs, reflecting his individual nature and essence (Eshel Avraham 48,4). For this reason, a person should not try to imitate anyone else's gestures (Noam Elimelech, parashas Kedoshim). By the same token, a person should avoid unusual or attention-grabbing motions, for this detracts from the main purpose of prayer, which is silent and personal communication with Hashem (Mishna Berura 95,5).


Text Copyright 2009 by Rabbi Daniel Travis and Torah.org


 






ARTICLES ON KI SEITZEI AND ELUL / ROSH HASHANAH:

View Complete List

Cause and Effect
Shlomo Katz - 5762

Doing A Mitzvah With Regard for Another's Feelings
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5763

My Enemy, My Brother
Shlomo Katz - 5773

> Is Mankind Strong Enough?
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5771

It's Never Too Late
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5765

A Right to Repent?
Shlomo Katz - 5771

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Gratitude - A Hereditary Trait?
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5757

The Gift of Time
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5773

Of Men And Women
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5764

ArtScroll

A Time to Remember and Be Inspired
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5757

Rosh Hashana and the Kiss of Life
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5772

The Month of Elul
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5769

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Looking to the Future
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5764

Guardian of the Mouth
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5759

Possessions Belong to People
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5757

Future Judgement
Shlomo Katz - 5768



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