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 KI SISA AND PURIM:

View Complete List

Around the Year With Purim
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5760

Rear View Mirror
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5764

Sanctifying Through The Physical
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5759

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Shabbos Is Both A Mitzvah And A Present
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5773

What A Choice . . .
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5764

Sneak Preview of Messianic Times
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5758

> Heads Up!
Shlomo Katz - 5766

Paying Our Debts
Shlomo Katz - 5772

Searching for Haman
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5761

ArtScroll

When Things Look Bleak
Rabbi Label Lam - 5768

Haman's Offer of Silver Shekels
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5760

Remembering Amalek
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5762

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

In Defense of Haman
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5760

Forged With Love
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5773

Errant Deification
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5766

Sweet Smell of Success
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5762



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