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

Email this article to a friend

Open Eyes

Although looking up to the heavens or down towards the ground inspires one at the start of prayer, closing one’s eyes blocks out the physical world and all of the associated distractions. In fact, our Sages said: “Anyone who does not recite Shemoneh Esrei with his eyes closed will not merit seeing the Divine Presence when he leaves this world.” For this reason, many prefer reciting Shemoneh Esrei with their eyes closed (Mishnah Berurah 95,5).

If one chooses to keep his eyes open, he should be careful and refrain from looking around. Pictures, signs, other people and a myriad of other things happening around a person can be the ruin of one’s entire tefillah. Concentration can be maintained only by focusing exclusively on prayer. Notwithstanding the benefits of closed eyes, at times a person may find it helpful to say Shemoneh Esrei while looking into a siddur. In his sefer Shem Olam the Chofetz Chaim writes that the first condition to concentrating during prayer is to pray from a siddur (addendum at the end of the book). The Arizal would pray from a siddur in order to increase his concentration in his tefillos (Mishnah Berurah 93,2).

“When you appear before the King with a sefer, this will cause him to revoke his evil thoughts” (Megillas Esther 9,25). The Vilna Gaon writes that the sefer referred to in this verse hints to the use of a siddur for prayer. Tefillah from a siddur helps to dispel improper thoughts that might enter one’s mind during tefillah (Even Sheleimah 9[2], Ma’aseh Rav 43). Halachic authorities write that seeing the letters of a siddur has a sublime effect on one’s prayers (Kaf Hachaim 96,9). Every individual must decide whether to open or close his eyes based on what he feels will promote optimal communication with Hashem (Mishnah Berurah 93,2).


Text Copyright © 2014 by Rabbi Daniel Travis and Torah.org


 
Sell Chometz Online







ARTICLES ON PESACH AND THE OMER:

View Complete List

How Do We Approach This Child?
Rabbi Label Lam - 5764

Hagadah Shel Pesach
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5764

Matzah and Guideposts
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758

ArtScroll

Ha Lachma Anya
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5770

All Alone
Shlomo Katz - 5768

The Exit Strategy
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5767

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Ordering Priorities
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5766

The "Second" Pesach
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

Relating the Chain of Events: Part 3
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

Looking for a Chavrusah?

15 Steps To Freedom
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5757

The Missing Question
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5760

Searching for the Chametz Within
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5756

> Chased by the Taste
Rabbi Label Lam - 5766

All About Dipping
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

The Counting of the Omer
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

Seven Perfect Weeks
Rabbi Yosey Goldstein - 5756



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