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 NOACH:

View Complete List

Great Is Peace
- 5769

New Beginnings
Shlomo Katz - 5762

Great In His Own Times
Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein - 5768

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Generation to Generation
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5759

Wine and Window Washers
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5770

Did The Animals Come Or Did Noach Have To Bring Them?
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5773

> The Shame Of Cham
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5762

Missed Opportunities
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5772

Not Just Despite, but Because of!
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5759

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Never Underestimate the Power of Prayer
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5771

Internal Beliefs Have External Effects
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5758

Join the Voices in the Ark
Rabbi Label Lam - 5774

ArtScroll

Of Showers, Towers, and False Powers
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5761

Send The Guinea Pig!
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5757

Noach Did Not Become Wicked, He Just Became Plain
- 5768

The Gift of Meat
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5761



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