Praying

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I watched a program the other night about Jewish beliefs & sometimes they appeared to be reading or quoting & other times praying.

Now when they did this, there was a fast ROCKING motion (back & forth) that they did during prayer or reading.

Some people in our church kind of rock like this side to side or back & forth during prayer & other parts of the service, but they are more or less just in the spirit with there eys closed & it just kind of happens. Kind of comforting for them I think.

What is the rocking for in Judaism?
The program never explained it.
An Othodox view is also greatly appreciated, whenever someone has time.
 
The people who were "rocking" were doing what we refer to as davening. I don't know the reasons behind it, but I believe it has something to do with "getting into the spirit of things. I could be wrong, though. Our beloved bb might have some insight (please correct me if I'm wrong on any points, bb .:))

I remember several members of several of my old synagogues used to do it.

Phyllis Sidhe_Uaine
 
Phyllis Sidhe_Uaine said:
The people who were "rocking" were doing what we refer to as davening. I don't know the reasons behind it, but I believe it has something to do with "getting into the spirit of things. I could be wrong, though. Our beloved bb might have some insight (please correct me if I'm wrong on any points, bb .:))

I remember several members of several of my old synagogues used to do it.

Phyllis Sidhe_Uaine
Thanks Phyllis. I looked up davening & found another term called shokeling.

(rocking or swaying motion)

http://www.ucalgary.ca/~elsegal/Shokel/891201_Shokeling.html

I am thinking there is a deeper meaning for it, though cannot be described perfectly, since like I say, some people do it in our church too. I have even caught myself kind of doing it at times in prayer or song & it seems it just kind of happens.
 
eliezer segal is pretty reliable. for my part, i think all the reasons he gives are valid, plus there is an effect that comes from the swaying that could in a certain sense be said to be the equivalent of the whirling done by the mevlevi dervishes - it's a kind of "physical mantra", if you like. there are other mystical interpretations, but they're a bit obscure and complicated.

the mystics also say that you should stand absolutely as still and as straight as possible during the amidah, apart from the bowing, which is not generally the case in most congregations i am aware of. during the amidah is the only time you are supposed to be in an "angelic" state - so no looking at your watch, scratching your arse or farting. nor, strictly speaking, should you use or allow your consciousness to dwell on your knees, thumbs or nadgers, because angels don't have 'em.

b'shalom

bananabrain
 
mevlevi dervishes are the next thing I was thinking about too. I find it all interesting & neat. There is like a rythm that starts up inside of some.

Thank You BB.
 
BB,

is it a sexual thing outside of hasidism?

Dauer
 
I've stumbled across a website which explains how ancient and contempory Jews pray. And it is very similiar to the way the Muslimeen pray.


jews-1.jpg


jews-2.jpg




There is a book called "To pray as a Jew : a guide to the prayer book and the synagogue service " By Hayim Halevy Donin."


Interesting stuff. Does anyone have more knowledge on such issues?


Salam.
 
If you read the above thread, and click the links, it should give you a lot of information on the way Jews pray, if you mean postures and such. But that lower position is not very common in synagogues and has not been for a long time, I think due to its similarity with kneeling as do Christians. But I'm not certain.

Do you have any specific questions?

Dauer
 
Salam Dauer, thank you for your post.

Question: Do any denominations of the Jewish faith practice such similiar rituals?



Also to note - it is recorded in both the Bible and Torah that prophets did perform such a similiar action to muslims Salaat (prayer).

Related verses are:

Genesis 17:3 "And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying,"

Genesis 17:17 "Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?"

Exodus 34:8 "And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped."

Numbers 16:20-22 "And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment. And they fell upon their faces, and said, O God, the God of the spirits of all flesh, shall one man sin, and wilt thou be wroth with all the congregation?"

Joshua 5:14 "And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my Lord unto his servant?"

Ezekiel 9:8 "And it came to pass, while they were slaying them, and I was left, that I fell upon my face, and cried, and said, Ah Lord GOD! wilt thou destroy all the residue of Israel in thy pouring out of thy fury upon Jerusalem?"

2 Chronicles 20:18 "And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground: and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell before the LORD, worshipping the LORD."

Ezekiel 11:13 "And it came to pass, when I prophesied, that Pelatiah the son of Benaiah died. Then fell I down upon my face, and cried with a loud voice, and said, Ah Lord GOD! wilt thou make a full end of the remnant of Israel?"

Matthew 17:6 "And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid."

Matthew 26:39 "And he (Jesus) went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt."





Salam :)
 
No denominations do it. And it was done in the bible, and even beyond then. Because of the risk of seeming idolatrous, it was stopped. But in private worship, if a person wanted to, at the times when it is perscribed, I'm pretty sure it would be acceptable. Now it isn't really done. Only on Yom Kippur. The sefardic custom may be different. During a prayer called Tahanun that was said on the floor, now it is customary just to lean on one's arm.

Dauer
 
dauer said:
No denominations do it. And it was done in the bible, and even beyond then. Because of the risk of seeming idolatrous, it was stopped. But in private worship, if a person wanted to, at the times when it is perscribed, I'm pretty sure it would be acceptable. Now it isn't really done. Only on Yom Kippur. The sefardic custom may be different. During a prayer called Tahanun that was said on the floor, now it is customary just to lean on one's arm.

Dauer

Thank you Dauer for your post. (Btw is that you in the pic? Nice beard ;))

What happened to Tahanun? Why the reform? Why the change?
 
Because the position was considered similar to one being used in idolatry. And I believe that the reason was Christians kneeling. In order to avoid blurring the lines with idolatry and idol worshippers, the position was not used as much. The posture isn't a pillar of the religion. It's just a particular position that was assumed in prayer.

Dauer
 
is it a sexual thing outside of hasidism?
only for the extremely mystically minded and, personally, given the "angelic" interpretation, i would consider the sexual aspect of it problematic, Shechinah or no.

But that lower position is not very common in synagogues and has not been for a long time, I think due to its similarity with kneeling as do Christians. But I'm not certain.
the lower position is only used a couple of times a year, during rosh hashanah and yom kippur. generally, kneeling has been avoided (at least as far as i am aware in european judaism) to distinguish, as dauer says, between jewish and christian worship. although, frankly, i think we'd be better off abolishing pews myself and doing things a bit more like the muslims. or, alternatively, using the "beit midrash" layout with tables, which is used at most of my preferred minyanim.

as far as the verses you refer to, neosentient, there is a strong body of opinion from the mystical tradition that associates prostrations and bowing with what is commonly known as the "prophetic position", which is a meditative technique involving putting the head between the knees - it's not precisely the same as salat. actually, there is far more of a tradition of prostration in other religions than judaism - i suggest you ask the same question of the hindus, taoists and buddhists!

oops - i forgot one. in the ritual known as the "tiqqun hatzot", which is a midnight meditation related to the Temple, you sit on the floor. this is far more common in sephardi circles though.

b'shalom

bananabrain
 
Yes! Abolish the pews! That would be awesome. At my shul of choice there are no pews, and there's barely a pulpit. The rabbi sits on level with everyone else in a chair and only goes to the bimah when it's time to take the Torah out, which sounds an awful lot like baking bread.

I don't have anything against looking like Christian worship, but I do like davenning that's more participatory, less "I am the RABBI! All of you will FOLLOW ME!" type of shtick. Not that this is the intention, but the architecture with a high bimah in the front does send certain messages, and those pews can be so restrictive. It's hard to git down in a pew.

Dauer
 
i got the idea from going to a dhikr at the peckham mosque. it was really cool.

also, we should have a mihrab for the shaliach tzibbur. it's really good for the acoustics.

i like "participative" - but in the sephardic sense rather than the chasidic one; i hate it when anglo-jewry tries to act like pentecostal christianity; it's just embarrassing. my "participative" means "everyone knows the words and chants them more or less at the same time except not too closely together or it starts to sound christian again". plus people should riff off the main tune as they like it (albeit not too loud) - and there's a fine line somewhere between chat-about-the-football-during-kriat-Torah and could-hear-a-pin-drop. basically the key is what i call "active davenning", not the way they do it in ashkenazi minyanim:

"ashrei yoshvei veitecha od yehallelucha selah"...
yadayadayadayadayadayadayadayadayadayadayadayadayadayadayadayadayadayada*....inaudible mumbling.......*
*....inaudible mumbling.......*
*....inaudible mumbling.......*
*....inaudible mumbling.......*
*....inaudible mumbling.......*
...ve anachnu nebarech Ya-h me-ata ve'ad olam halleluyah"

i believe this is only done because people are a) trying to get it over with and b) don't actually know the prayers.

actually, come to think of it, i ought to go daven minhah right now.

b'shalom

bananabrain
 
There's a beautiful peace dhikr a woman in Israel created using "Shema yisrael..." and "La ilaha illa'llah."

I've never been in a mosque but if it would improve accoustics I'm in approval.

I'm not sure how much a fan of chasidic davening I am either. Certainly not a fan of chasidic mincha. Neo-chasidic davening I am a fan of, but that's one of those things that doesn't resemble chasidic anymore, what with the English and much more singing. I actually love when Jewish prayers are put to real soulful gospel music and spirituals, and with added harmonies, and maybe a nice djembe. I love shukling to a djembe. Amazing Grace makes for a good adon olam, and the sanctuary song has its applications. I also like some of the meditative chanting coming out of the renewal movement and tend to agree with Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi that the siddur is all freeze-dried spirituality so that a little bit of it can be unpacked and digested and really pack a punch. But I also love the cacophany of voices in a more traditional style davenning. Which reminds me, I forgot about calling the Bostoner.

It really gets to me when there is a lot of rushing through, but where I go I find that isn't as much of a problem. The people hwo show seem to want to daven and some of the service is shortened, never a reader's repetition for example, so that helps those who would want to rush through to stay focused.

I also have a hard time with the kibbitzing, but generally I just get into my own space. I haven't gone to shul since I got home. I've just been doing my own private practice, so compared to the intentionality where I was I have no idea what my experience will be like at shul. Hopefully not too bad.

Dauer
 
See BB, this is an act of universal karmic balance. If one of us were absent from c-r, Yiddishkeit would be represented all to the right or to the left, when really it should be represented neither to the right or to the left, rather there should be a balance. The tree that is the Jewish people needs that leading edge, which is me, but it also needs a deeply rooted center, which is you big guy. Without either it would cease to be a vital part of the landscape of Gaia. Baruch Hashem that has not happened. But many happenings have happened that have led to this moment, and many more will happen. God, I want to sing.

Dauer
 
*waaaaaaaaah*.

you made me cry!

i do actually consider myself rather left-wing (at least in terms of my attitude to orthodoxy) despite the right-wingness of my theological outlook.

it is my opinion, however, that the leading-edge of judaism is not confined to aleph, reb zalman and the happy-clappy crowd. in its own way, the attempt to re-establish the sanhedrin is kind of leading-edge, as indeed could probably even be argued of the land-of-israel "nut-heads" (to borrow thipps' charming phrase) or my own "passionately moderate" rebbe. it could be in the performing arts (where i flatter myself i am making some small contribution by putting a sephardi bug up the jewish music scene's flabby arse) or in education with the limmud crowd (i just met the director of limmud NY last shabbat, she's marrying a guy i know, which gave me an opportunity to lobby straight at the top. in interfaith terms CR is no mean feat - there are other approaches out there too (like the elijah interfaith institute).

nonetheless, i think we should, as it were, explore the possibilities of darbouka, oudou, cajón, daf and other definitely-used-in-jewish-music instruments before charging straight towards my good friend the djembe (though it does have dam' good bass resonance)

b'shalom

bananabrian
 
*waaaaaaaaah*.

you made me cry!

i do actually consider myself rather left-wing (at least in terms of my attitude to orthodoxy) despite the right-wingness of my theological outlook.

it is my opinion, however, that the leading-edge of judaism is not confined to aleph, reb zalman and the happy-clappy crowd. in its own way, the attempt to re-establish the sanhedrin is kind of leading-edge, as indeed could probably even be argued of the land-of-israel "nut-heads" (to borrow thipps' charming phrase) or my own "passionately moderate" rebbe. it could be in the performing arts (where i flatter myself i am making some small contribution by putting a sephardi bug up the jewish music scene's flabby arse) or in education with the limmud crowd (i just met the director of limmud NY last shabbat, she's marrying a guy i know, which gave me an opportunity to lobby straight at the top. in interfaith terms CR is no mean feat - there are other approaches out there too (like the elijah interfaith institute).

nonetheless, i think we should, as it were, explore the possibilities of darbouka, oudou, cajón, daf and other definitely-used-in-jewish-music instruments before charging straight towards my good friend the djembe (though it does have dam' good bass resonance)

b'shalom

bananabrain
 
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