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I have seen people seemingly careful to sit down when beginning the paragraph of prayers that starts "Ashre yosh've vesecha" (Ps. 84:5). One such person told me that he was, in fact, careful to do so, and that this was so he be counted among those mentioned as fortunate in the verse ("Fortunate are those who dwell/sit in Your house…").

(Incidentally, this seems odd to me, because the verse seems to be referring to those who dwell, not those who sit, in God's house, and also because it's referring to sitting/dwelling in general, not specifically while reciting the verse itself. In any event…)

  • Is there a source that encourages sitting for "Ashre" (the paragraph, or its start)? or even a source that mentions the custom (perhaps even to indicate its baselessness)? Any information on the custom's provenance?
  • If so, any indication on whether the custom applies equally every time "Ashre" is recited (before shacharis, before mincha, before s'lichos, at the end of shacharis, or, heck, any time the verse is recited by someone saying T'hilim)?
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@DoubleAA, sounds good — iff he means it davka (as opposed to, e.g., t'kios dimyushav, which are t'kios one can sit for, not t'kios one should sit for). – msh210 Dec 5 '12 at 14:37
Unless you are projecting Ashkenazi minhag onto the Rambam for t'kios dimyushav. – Double AA Dec 20 '12 at 3:48
Why not d'm'yushav? – Double AA Dec 20 '12 at 3:49
@DoubleAA, yes, precisely. – msh210 Dec 20 '12 at 5:48

Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik (quoted in Nefesh Harav page 151-2) was careful to sit during Ashrei of Mincha based on the language of the Rambam Tefilla 9:8. He felt this was not just a permission to sit but a requirement in order to establish (לקבוע) a Tzibbur.

The footnote there references an article in Beis Yitzchak (5749 volume 21 page 18) where Rav Soloveitchik is quoted as having a similar understanding of the nature of sitting for the first set of Shofar blasts (as part of a larger (quite interesting) piece about the nature of those blasts in general).

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according to this, then the shatz should also sit – Efraim Nov 17 '13 at 3:58
@Efraim I don't see how that follows. – Double AA Nov 17 '13 at 3:59
The Rambam in that Halacha reads הוא והעם מיושב – Efraim Nov 17 '13 at 4:01
@Efraim Good point! I'm guessing the answer is אין הכי נמי but I'd have to reread the article to verify. – Double AA Nov 17 '13 at 4:17
♦ let me know if you do, i might also – Efraim Nov 17 '13 at 4:48

For Pesukei dezimroh OU Torah tidbits says, that the Ashrei is similar to the meditation of the pious men of earlier generations (B’rachot 32b) would spend an hour before prayer, and the source for this practice is the verse ASHREI YOSH’VEI VEITECHA… Praiseworthy are those who dwell in Your house, they will continue to praise you, Selah. Rashi expounds that these pious men understood this verse to mean that before beginning the tefila (Shemoneh Esrei), one must be YOSH’VEI VEITECHA, sit and meditate in Your [Hashem’s] house. Then one can Y’HAL’LUCHA, properly praise Hashem.

In fact, the reason we recite ASHREI before Mincha is in order to fulfill our obligation of waiting in contemplation before reciting Shemoneh Esrei. (Pri Megadim, Eishel Avraham 93:1).

For mincha Rambam in Hilchos Tefillo 9 (8) says במנחה אומר שליח ציבור אשרי יושבי ביתך וכו' תהלה לדוד וכו' קורא הוא והעם מיושב ועומד שליח ציבור ואומר קדיש Not only do the community sit but the Chazzan sits too!

In the second Ashrei in Shacharis, Rambam says תהלה וכו'. הוא עומד והם יושבים והם קוראים עמו The community sit and the Chazzan stands.

The Siddur Sefas Yisroel, In Memory of The Bad Homburg Kehilloh page 77 says about mincha: (my translation) The Chazzan sits in his place without a Talis and says from “Ashrei” to “Seloh” in the weekday tune. When he gets to “voed” he puts on the Talis for the Chazzan and finishes off from “Va’anahnu”. In his siddur there are no instructions about sitting for Ashrei in Pesukei dezimroh.

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What happened to the Good Homburg Kehilloh? :) – Double AA Dec 5 '12 at 21:17
The community, persecuted by the Nazis, dwindled from 300 (2 percent) in 1933 to 70 on Kristallnacht when SA troops burned the synagogue to the ground. “At exactly twelve o'clock sharp on 10. November 1938 the siren sounded. There was such a huge explosion that the massive doors of the synagogue flew off. Inside one could see that the benches and other flammable objects were stacked high and were already alight. Flames were shooting out of all four towers and the windows shattered almost all at once." The last Jews were deported in 1942; at least 45 perished in the Holocaust. – Avrohom Yitzchok Dec 5 '12 at 22:45

Rav Yosef Ber Soloveitchik (hereafter, “the Rav”) would sit for Ashrei, as implied by the Rambam מהל' תפילה פ"ט ה"ח. The Rav explained that by sitting together the group establishes itself as a congregation.

-"השראה לה': תפילת לליל שבת לפי נוסח הגרי"ד סולובייצ'יק" - Edited and commentary by Micha Berger , page 1 fn. 1 (alt. link http://www.aishdas.org/siddur_pg.pdf)

"On page xlv of the מחזור, Dr. Lustiger comments as follows:

When davening Mincha, the Rav was careful to sit during the recitation of Ashrei, as implied by the language of the Rambam (Hilchos Tefillah 9:80[sic]) who states that all the people other than the chazzan would be seated at that time. The Rav understood that this is in fact a requirement, not an option, and that it is done in order to establish the presence of an organized, unified tzibbur (Nefesh HaRav, p. 152). Moreover, he suggested that even an individual davening alone should be careful about this so that when he subsequently rises for the Shemona Esrei, which must be said while standing, the fact that he has indeed stood up will be that much more noticeable and prominent (MiPeninei HaRav, p. 61)."

- "להבין את התפילה" Vol. 6 No. 14 page 4. (Alt. link)

"We’re then seated for Ashrei, p. 151. It is customary to sit during Ashrei because the verse is literally translated as “Happy/fortunate are those who are sitting in Your House” (the Temple)."

-Understanding the Shabbat Morning Service A compilation of lectures from our Learner’s Minyans 2009-2010 Congregation B’nai Torah, Olympia, WA Page 14

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The Gemorah in Megillah says one who goes into a shul (or a bais medrash) to call his friend should read a halacha, Mishnah or posuk before calling his friend. Rambam Hilchos Tefilla 11:9 says one who is not a learned person should either tell a child to read a posuk for him or should sit down for a few moments before calling his friend.

Most people happen to say the Pasuk 'Ashrei' when using a beis medrash as a shortcut. Some people say 'Ashrei' and sit down as well. Whether this is superflous or it has a source to do both I have no idea. But perhaps because people are used to saying the verse Ashrei sitting, that is why the custom exists as it does. Just guessing though!

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I think you are misquoting the gemara. It says that someone who studies halacha should quote a halacha, someone who studies mishna should quote a mishna, someone who studies tanach should quote a pasuk, someone who studies none of that should ask a child to say a pasuk or at least just sit for a few moments. Thus I'm surprised you quote the Rambam for half of the Gemara's statement, and that you happen to know that many people who feel tanach is their primary form of study. – Double AA Dec 5 '12 at 18:11
Also can you source that one can utilize this trick to make the room into a shortcut? The gemara and rambam only talk about it for when you have to go in to the room to get your belongings or to speak to a friend. – Double AA Dec 5 '12 at 18:21
I have always heard to say the Posuk "Ach Tzadikim Yodu Lishmecha Yaishvu Yesharim Es Panecha" – Gershon Gold Dec 5 '12 at 19:14

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