jewish bowing in prayer


#1

I have noticed that often when Jewish people pray, they sort of bow or sway back and forth. I would ask one of my Jewish acquaintences, but don’t want to appear rude. What is this about?


#2

I also find it useful to move while praying. Traditional Jews routinely sway back and forth during prayer, apparently a reference to Psalm 35, which says “All my limbs shall declare, ‘O L-rd, who is like You?’” Such movement is not required, and many people find it distracting, but I personally find that it helps me concentrate and focus.
jewfaq.org/prayer.htm


#3

So do I, which is probably why I was taken by this when I visited a synagogue. Esp. the Psalms seem to call for movement.


#4

You move back and forth while praying?
(like you see the Jewish men at the Wall do?)


#5

I like to pray the LOTH, and that includes many psalms. I sometimes find myself kind of swaying to the rhythm, and it seems to make them more intense. Nothing intentional on my part, just similar to what I have seen in Jewish prayer.


#6

ok…I just have never seen anybody but the Jews do this…nothing wrong with it by the way:)


#7

If you want to find out more about the Jewish faith traditions in and enjoy reading mysterys read:Monday the Rabbi Took Off and the Rabbi Small Series by Harry Kemelman. Its a fun way to find out!!!:slight_smile:


#8

So for them it’s an intentional part of praying and has a meaning?


#9

have no idea if it intentional on their part …I am not jewish:)


#10

Yes.


#11

I’m still confused–do you know what the meaning is?


#12

Actually, I love mysteries and have read every one of them, I think. I wish he was still writing these. Dont remember anything about the prayer swaying thing, tho.


#13

Yes, he’s really good, I love mysteries too, especially the books that aren’t filled with violence, do the names Richard Jury or Ameilia Peabody Emerson mean anything to you?:slight_smile:
oops, back to the question at hand. Yes, swaying is part of traditional Jewish prayer. Why? I think Karins first answer is the correct one: Traditional Jews routinely sway back and forth during prayer, apparently a reference to Psalm 35, which says "All my limbs shall declare, 'O L-rd, who is like You?


#14

Thanks. Richard Jury, definitely yes. Amelia I haven’t made the aquaintance yet. I will look her up. Oh, wait, she’s the Egytologist, I do know her.


#15

Dennis Prager, the popular radio talk-show host who is also a devout Jew, was once asked about this on the radio. He said it was merely a cultural phenomena, and that praying Jews have just customarily done so. He never questioned it as a child and, when he grew older and encountered Christians who remained relatively motionless in prayer, he was surprised!

To me, it seems a good way to stay focused and engaged in prayer. During the Mass, for example, there are many traditional movements that keep one involved: [LIST]
*]Signing your self with holy water when entering and at appropriate times during the Mass.
*]Genuflecting before the tabernacle before entering the pew.
*]Standing and kneeling at the appropriate times.
*]Folding one’s hands when waiting to and recieving Holy Communion and during moments of intercessory and liturgical prayer.
*]Bowing when passing before the altar.
*]Slightly bowing the head at the name of Jesus.
*]Making a small cross at the forehead, lips and over the heart before the reading of the gospel.
*]Striking one’s chest during the Confietor
*]Bowing during the Creed at the line “…was concieved by the Holy Spirit and became man.”
[/LIST]


#16

The swaying back and forth is to help focus and to bring “the whole body” into prayer. (Take a look at psalm 35). Swaying is not required but many do it.


#17

there are also places in our prayers where we do small bows, which are required.


#18

there are also places in our prayers where we do small bows, which are required.


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