There was a deleted question earlier this week asking about the parameters of spreading out one's hands in prayer, something which was very common in Tanach as part of prayer (e.g., Shemos 9:33). When is this permitted/recommended, if ever? What would be the rationale for limiting it?

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    R. Aqiva Eiger on SA OH 89:1 מה שאין אנו מתפללים בפרישת כפים כמו שמצינו במקרא כמה פעמים ובזוה"ק ובפרקי דר"א היינו כיון דעכשיו האומות עושים כן. וכמו שאמרו חז"ל על פסוק לא תקים לך מצבה באר שבע סי' ע"ד Feb 24, 2022 at 0:42
  • @Deuteronomy shkoyach! Does that apply specifically to shemoneh esrei, or any circumstances? Feb 24, 2022 at 1:05
  • No problem. I assume that according to his position this would be universally applicable. I also came across the introduction to R. Yaaqov Emden's siddur, section 3 subsection 5 (it is on the bottom left of page 12b of the 1904 Lemberg edition). He has a much more involved discussion of the matter beyond what I could report with any justice here. Definitely worth a look inside if you are researching this topic. Feb 24, 2022 at 15:05
  • Separately it is worth noting that in certain Sepharadi communities, many open/outstretch their hands while reciting the line פותח את ידך. The propriety of the custom is discussed here: halachayomit.co.il/he/Default.aspx?HalachaID=1134 and interestingly it reports that R. Eliezer Y. Waldenberg adopted this custom despite not receiving it ancestrally. Feb 24, 2022 at 15:13
  • This may or may not be what you want, but see the mishna berura (105:5) who says that A) people who look up towards the ceiling during tefillah are made fun of by the angels (i'm bringing this because it's lechorah common practice among people who spread their hands out, but maybe not, do whatever you want with this information), and also B) that it's not right to shuckle in an unusual way, maybe this would be included, maybe not, you be the judge. I would also add that the mechaber says outright in sif 3 that a person should ideally daven with his hand over his heart. Aug 1, 2022 at 20:31

2 Answers 2


I haven't learned through it yet, but just today I came across a פחד יצחק פורים סימן לה who discusses this Rav Akiva Eiger, presumably from a השקפה angle. It is not available on HebrewBooks but at the moment it can be read for free at https://beta.otzar.org/#/b/147108/p/81/t/16440.4141604144245259/fs/0/start/0/end/0/c/1646162172337


See Shlomo Hamelech's prayer, that Hashem should answer non-Jews who spread their hands and come all the way to the Beis Hamikdash.

Implying that Jews don't need neither this nor that, we don't need to raise our hands (perhaps in a sort of desperate despair) nor even wait till we get to a holy site - G-d will answer us everywhere we are.

I have seen people raise their hands in prayer and I have never heard that it is wrong, but it is the quiet confidence of Shevach - Bakasha - Hoda'ah that is the usual signature of Jewish prayer.


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