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I have read in the Gemara (Berachoth 24B) that sneezing during the Shemonei Esrei is a sign that your tefillot have been accepted. "Just as you have been granted relief below, so you have been granted relief above."

This occasionally happens to me, but I am not sure what to make of it. I cannot necessarily tell what I have done right, since it seems unrelated to my kavanah or behaviour at the time.

Should I just view it as a pat on the back, or something more significant?

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The sneezing may have to do with the speed you are Davening;) –  Gershon Gold Sep 26 '11 at 12:04
    
What is more fascinating to me is how to understand the Gemora's statement that sneezing is being granted relief, with the common practice of saying "to health" as if its a bad thing :) –  avi Sep 26 '11 at 15:50
    
Here's the original: e-daf.com/index.asp?ID=46&size=1 –  Menachem Sep 26 '11 at 19:55
1  
I think HebrewBooks should be the default daf to link to. –  Ariel K Oct 3 '11 at 14:21
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1 Answer

The sneeze is not an os- a proof that his prayers were answered. It is a sign because of a correlation. If G-d is bestowing good on his body at that moment, then a prayer at that time would be answered, too, since the goodness comes from the same source.

As an analogy, if you see someones head and he is wearing tefilin shel rosh, you would say definitively that he is wearing a shel yad, although there is no proof, both acts stem from the same source and go together. Of course, if that person had no arms, there would be no shel yad despite the correlation.

If you sneeze during davening, or any time, G-d is bestowing goodness on you. If you are praying at that time, that sneeze would indicate that G-d is bestowing goodness at that moment and your prayers would be similarly answered. Of course, if you aren't necessarily asking for anything at the time, then there is nothing to answer.

(Daas atzmi)

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