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Recently I began davening mincha with a minyan that meets in college. When it comes to Tachanun, what is the correct procedure if there's no Sefer Torah in the room [and building]?

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Not debating anything below, but just pointing out that Rabbi Artscroll Siddur says not to lean, and I suspect that's caused that practice to win out in much of America. – Shalom Sep 16 '10 at 14:34
Shalom, it was common not to lean before Rabbi Artscroll was ordained! ;-} – Yahu Oct 6 '10 at 5:52
+1 for Sefer Torah :) – Soner Gönül Aug 7 '11 at 14:47

4 Answers 4

Sit, but do not fall/lean/cover your face on or with your arm. (S.A., O.C., 131, 2) i.e. Say it the way Sefardim say it even when in a Beis Hakneses, even with a Sefer Torah there.

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Why do you need to sit? – YDK Aug 17 '10 at 5:25
Look in MB SK yud – Yahu Aug 17 '10 at 5:46
Bais Yosef says it is Al Pi Kabbalah. – Yahu Aug 17 '10 at 6:23
Sitting is one level of Nefilas Apayim, covering the face is another. This is the reason for the Rema's Lashon of "kisui panim". Look in the Darchei Moshe 131, 3 you will see that there are different levels of Nefilas Apayim. – Yahu Aug 17 '10 at 6:38
Those Kabbalistic reasons can be found in <a href= "…; Shaar HaKavvanot 46d and forward</a> Drush alef handles why we say it in both shaharit and minha, and drush bet deals with the sitting part(though also discussed in the next two drushim as well). – Rabbi Michael Tzadok Aug 17 '10 at 7:42

הרב יוסף דוב סולוביציק was נוהג to do ליפול על פניו for Tachnun even in a place that has no Sefer Torah. So accordingly (according to the "Rav") you would follow the normal procedure for sitting/leaning and covering your face.
[ועיי"ש בב"י בשם הרא"ש,ובט"ז סק"ה, ובכף החיים ס"ק מ בזה]

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Tachanun is only said where there is a Sefer Torah.(Based on a Pasuk in Sefer Yehoshua{7:6}). Reb Moshe(Igrot Moshe YD III:129.) says In Yerushalayim one is to lean by Tachanun even with no Sefer Torah. The Steipler Goan would lean in a room without a Sefer Torah, if there were Sefarim.In Mishneh Berurah(131:2) it says If you are in a place that has Sefarim Kedoshim there is a machlokes whether you say the Tachanun with a bowed head. Some are accustomed to bow.Rabbi Moshe Sternbuch says the Sefer Torah provides an environment for a Teffilah as serious as I guess you according to some you would!? I will admit I have never seen this done ,so essential you say it without Nefilas Apayim.

Three Part Article From Jewish Press on this Question :

Q & A: Tachanun Without A Torah Scroll (Part I)

Q & A: Tachanun Without A Torah Scroll (Part II)

Q & A: Tachanun Without A Torah Scroll (Conclusion)

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By Rabbi Sternbuch, did you mean Sefarim Kedoshim? – YDK Aug 17 '10 at 5:33
no i mean Reb Sternbuch its in the article – SimchasTorah Aug 17 '10 at 13:44
Where does Rabbi Sternbuch know it from? ;-) – Yahu Aug 17 '10 at 14:15
@yydl Tefillo Kehilchoso quotes the MB in OC 131 (2) [11] and says that the MB's conclusion is that you do not say the Psalm (6) when there is no Sefer Torah. He quotes the Shaar HaTziyun (9). I don't understand and have never seen tachanun stopped because of no Sefer Torah. Any ideas? – Avrohom Yitzchok Sep 4 '12 at 20:02

This seems to be a machlokes between the Magen Avraham and the Taz which affects how to learn the Rema (131:2)

When the Rema says that a yachid can say tachanun (w/ nefilas apaim) when the tzibur is davening (in the darkei moshe he references that "an iron partition can't separate"), does that mean that when the tzibur falls in front of the Torah in shul, he can connect to the tzibur even if he is in a different place without a Torah? (MA) Or does this mean that he and the tzibur has a direct connection to Hashem and you don't need a Torah to do Nefilas Apaim (only a yachid not at the time the tzibbur is davening)? (Taz)

The minhag is not to do nefilas apaim and I have never seen anyone try to be mechaven to the tzibur.

As far as standing or sitting, nefilas apaim (originally done outstretched - hishtachavia) is "lifnei Hashem" - in front of a Torah. So even according to those who say our nefila is done sitting, there's no reason to sit in your venue. This is also true for those who say the reason for the nefila is for a third type of Tefilla (sitting, standing and now nefila), if you aren't doing nefila it doesn't matter which type of position you repeat. Standing is just as good as sitting.

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Sitting is one level of Nefilas Apayim, covering the face is another. This is the reason for the Rema's Lashon of "kisui panim". Look in the Darchei Moshe 131, 3 you will see that there are different levels of Nefilas Apayim. – Yahu Aug 17 '10 at 6:38
See my comment to Yahu above. – YDK Aug 17 '10 at 14:35
The Darchei Moshe first quotes the Agur in the name of the Mahari Molin that "Afilu Yachid shehu chutz libeis hakineses yachol lipol tahanun im haTzibur" and on that the Darchei Moshe himself clearly says "Vi'Nir'eh DiGam Linyan Kisui Panim Ka'amar" which clearly indicates that that there are various levels that N'filas Apayim could be referring to and one might have wished to say that the Mahari Molin was referring to n'filas apayim but without kisui panim. If Kisui Panim is all that N'filas Apayim is, then why say "DiGam L'inyan Kisui Panim Ka'amar"? – Yahu Aug 17 '10 at 20:58
Let's continue this above. – YDK Aug 17 '10 at 22:59
You got it! Here goes... – Yahu Aug 18 '10 at 1:39

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