SECTION 95 How One should Stand while Reciting Shemoneh Esreh. (1-4)

סימן צה כִּוּוּן אֵיבָרָיו בִּשְׁעַת הַתְּפִלָּה וּבוֹ ד' סְעִיפִים:

1 When1 reciting Shemoneh Esreh, one should position his feet next to each other2 as if there were only one leg,3 in this manner resembling the angels of whom it is said,4 “Their legs are a straight leg,” i.e., their legs appear as one leg.

It is also desirable to [stand thus] when one recites Kedushah5 together with the sheliach tzibbur, because there one says, “We will sanctify [Your name in the world] as they sanctify [it] in the lofty Heavens.”6 And in the Heavens [He] is sanctified [by angels who stand as if on] one straight leg.

א הַמִּתְפַּלֵּל1 צָרִיךְ שֶׁיְכַוֵּן רַגְלָיו זוֹ אֵצֶל זוֹא,2 בְּכִוּן כְּאִלּוּ אֵינָן אֶלָּא רֶגֶל אֶחָד,3 לְהִדָּמוֹת לַמַּלְאָכִים שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר בָּהֶםב,4 "וְרַגְלֵיהֶם רֶגֶל יְשָׁרָה", כְּלוֹמַר רַגְלֵיהֶם נִרְאוֹת כְּרֶגֶל אֶחָד.

וְטוֹב לְכַוֵּן רַגְלָיו גַּם כְּשֶׁאוֹמֵר קְדֻשָׁה5 עִם שְׁלִיחַ צִבּוּר,ג שֶׁהֲרֵי אוֹמֵר "נְקַדֵּשׁ ... כְּשֵׁם שֶׁמַּקְדִּישִׁים ... בִּשְׁמֵי מָרוֹם",ד,6 וּבַמָּרוֹם מַקְדִּישִׁים כֵּן בְּרֶגֶל יְשָׁרָה:

2 There is an authority who says that when one stands up to recite Shemoneh Esreh, he should take three steps forward as if approaching a task that he must perform.7 It is proper to give weight to this view.8

ב יֵשׁ מִי שֶׁאוֹמֵרה שֶׁכְּשֶׁעוֹמֵד לְהִתְפַּלֵּל יֵלֵךְ לְפָנָיו ג' פְּסִיעוֹת, דֶּרֶךְ קֵרוּב וְהַגָּשָׁה לְדָבָר שֶׁצָּרִיךְ לַעֲשׂוֹת.7 וְטוֹב לָחוּשׁ לִדְבָרָיו:8

3 One verse states,9 “My eyes and My heart will be there [in the Beis HaMikdash] for all the days.” Another verse states,10 “Let us raise our hearts with our hands to G‑d in Heaven.” In order to uphold both verses, [our Sages] said11 that when praying one should bow his head slightly so that his eyes will be directed downward to the earth, for we pray toward the Beis HaMikdash,12 of which it is said, “My eyes and My heart will be there.” This is why one should incline his eyes downward and look ahead, regarding himself as if he were standing in it and praying. In this manner, his prayer will be acceptable. His heart, though, should be directed aloft, “to G‑d in Heaven.” (As to those [worshipers] who lift their heads and eyes upward as if they were looking at the ceiling, the angels hold them in scorn.) Before beginning one’s prayer, however, one should lift his eyes toward Heaven in order to arouse devout concentration. [This also applies] in the midst of prayer, if one’s concentration is distracted, as stated in sec. 90[:4].13

ג כָּתוּבו אֶחָד אוֹמֵר:ז,9 "וְהָיוּ עֵינַי וְלִבִּי שָׁם כָּל הַיָּמִים", וְכָתוּב אֶחָד אוֹמֵר:ח,10 "נִשָּׂא לְבָבֵנוּ אֶל כַּפָּיִם אֶל אֵל בַּשָּׁמָיִם", וּכְדֵי שֶׁיִּתְקַיְּמוּ ב' מִקְרָאוֹת אֵלּוּ אָמְרוּ11 שֶׁהַמִּתְפַּלֵּל צָרִיךְ שֶׁיָּכֹף רֹאשׁוֹ מְעַטט שֶׁיִּהְיוּ עֵינָיו לְמַטָּה לָאָרֶץ, שֶׁהֲרֵי אָנוּ מִתְפַּלְלִים נֶגֶד בֵּית הַמִּקְדָּשׁי,12 שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר בּוֹ "וְהָיוּ עֵינַי וְלִבִּי שָׁם כו'", לָכֵן יִתֵּן עֵינָיו לְמַטָּה כְּנֶגְדּוֹ וְיַחְשֹׁב כְּאִלּוּ עוֹמֵד בּוֹ וּמִתְפַּלֵּל,יא וְעַל יְדֵי זֶה תְּפִלָּתוֹ רְצוּיָה, וּבְלִבּוֹ יְכַוֵּן לְמַעְלָה "אֶל אֵל שֶׁבַּשָּׁמַיִם" (וְאוֹתָן הַמַּגְבִּיהִים רָאשֵׁיהֶם וְעֵינֵיהֶם לְמַעְלָה כְּמַבִּיטִים עַל הַגַּג – הַמַּלְאָכִים מַלְעִיגִים עֲלֵיהֶםיב). וְקֹדֶם הַתְּפִלָּה יִשָּׂא עֵינָיו לַשָּׁמַיִם, לְעוֹרֵר הַכַּוָּנָה.יג וְכֵן בְּתוֹךְ הַתְּפִלָּה אִם נִתְבַּטְּלָה כַּוָּנָתוֹ, כְּמוֹ שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר בְּסִימָן צ':יד,13

4 One must stand in prayer like a servant before his master with awe, reverence, and fear. He should not rest his hands on his hips, because that smacks of conceit.14 It is desirable to place one’s hands over his heart with the right hand clasped over the left, [if one is] in a place where this is the way one stands before a king when speaking to him and petitioning him for one’s needs. Everything should follow local custom.

For an esoteric reason,15 some follow the custom of curling their thumb within their fist. Others, also for an esoteric reason, place their forearms over their hearts, the right over the left, with the middle part of both arms facing the person praying.

ד צָרִיךְ לַעֲמֹד בַּתְּפִלָּה כְּעֶבֶד לִפְנֵי רַבּוֹ בְּאֵימָה בְּיִרְאָה בְּפַחַד.טו וְאַל יַנִּיחַ יָדָיו עַל חֲלָצָיו,טז מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהוּא דֶּרֶךְ יוּהֲרָא.יז,14 וְטוֹב שֶׁיַּנִּיחֵן עַל לִבּוֹ כְּפוּתִין הַיְמָנִית עַל הַשְּׂמָאלִית,יח בְּמָקוֹם שֶׁנּוֹהֲגִין לַעֲמֹד כֵּן לִפְנֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ כְּשֶׁמְּדַבְּרִים עִמּוֹ וְשׁוֹאֲלִין מֵאִתּוֹ צָרְכֵיהֶם. וְהַכֹּל כְּמִנְהַג הַמָּקוֹם.יט וְנוֹהֲגִים קְצָת מִטַּעַם הַיָּדוּעַ לָהֶם לָכֹף הָאֲגוּדָל בְּתוֹךְ פִּסַּת הַיָּד.כ וְיֵשׁ נוֹהֲגִיןכא מִטַּעַם הַיָּדוּעַ15 לָהֶם לְהַנִּיחַ זְרוֹעוֹתֵיהֶם עַל לִבָּם יְמָנִית עַל שְׂמָאלִית שֶׁיִּהְיֶה פֶּרֶק אֶמְצָעִי מִשְׁתֵּי זְרוֹעוֹת נֶגֶד פְּנֵי הַמִּתְפַּלֵּל: