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What is the significance of swaying back and forth during prayer?

by Rabbi Moshe Miller


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The following is one of the explanations:

The verse (Proverbs 20:27) states: "God's candle is man's soul." Just as a candle rises and falls as it illuminates the darkness, so too man's soul sways while in prayer. It rises up to cleave to God, and returns to the human body, as it hears the Divine message that God wants us to make a dwelling place for Him in this earthly world (Midrash Tanchuma Nasso 16).

This "running and returning" of the soul causes a parallel movement in the body -- rocking back and forth or from side to side.


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Now we're rockin

Posted by: Anonymous on Sep 07, 2006

That and it just feels right!

Keeping One's Entire Body in Prayer

Posted by: Anonymous, Las Vegas, NV, USA on Jan 12, 2007

I always thought the reasons a Jew sways back and forth when he or she prays was so as to keep his or her's entire body and being in prayer. I believe there is some Jewish authority for this concept, but I do not know the citations.


Mitzvot » Prayer » Laws and Customs

(Pl. Midrashim). Non-legal material of anecdotal or allegorical nature, designed either to clarify historical material, or to teach a moral point. The Midrashim were compiled by the sages who authored the Mishna and Talmud (200 BCE-500 CE).
One of the 24 books of the Bible. A collection of moral writings authored by King Solomon.