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 VAYIGASH AND CHANUKAH:

View Complete List

This Nation to That Notion
Rabbi Label Lam - 5770

Parashat Vayigash & the Fast of the 10th of Tebet
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5764

Enlightening the Present From the Past
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5766

> A Place for Torah Study
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5763

Interpreting Dreams
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5771

O Chanukah, O Chanukah . . .
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5765

ArtScroll

Sadly Released from Prison
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5758

Parents Love Children More Than Children Love Parents
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5772

Worms and Wagons
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5761

Looking for a Chavrusah?

The Challenge
Shlomo Katz - 5774

Just Two Words
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5758

That's Chanukah
Rabbi Label Lam - 5772

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Lessons in Devotion
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5756

Chanukah Vs. Purim
Shlomo Katz - 5760

How Yosef Got His Job
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5774

Chanukah: Lights, Camera, Action!
Rabbi Osher Chaim Levene - 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