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It says in Aruch Hashulchan1 That we tried all positions, Sitting by Krias Shema, Standing by Amidah, and Fall on one's face during Tachanun.

So then we say ואנחנו לא נדע...מה נעשה "We do not know (what other position to do)... what should we do."

So my question is, if this is one of the reasons why you "fall down on your face" during Tachnun is because we try to do all positions.

So why does it depend on if there is a Sefer Torah or not? You should always do it, in order to try all positions.

1 (in O.C. 131, 9)

(see Why do we stand when we do toward the end of Tachanun?)

  • 1
    Who is "we"? [15 char] – Double AA Jul 23 '14 at 20:14
  • It's not dependent on an Aron Kodesh. It depends on having a sefer Torah present. – Avrohom Yitzchok Jul 23 '14 at 20:22
  • @DoubleAA The Tzibur. But I guess you can use singular but it just came out better with plural for some reason – user6781 Jul 23 '14 at 23:26
  • @user6781 Which Tzibbur? Many Sefardi Tzibburim dont fall down even with a Sefer Torah around. – Double AA Jul 24 '14 at 0:10
  • A custom among whom? Whom are you talkong about? Who's "we"? – Double AA Jul 24 '14 at 0:12
8

The Ramma in siman 131 siff 2 brings from the Beis Yosef who quotes a Rokeach --

The Rokeach also writes in siman 324 not to 'fall' unless in front of a seffer torah. And a siman for this is found in the war against Ay (Yehoshua 7, 6) 'and he fel lon his face in front of the aron'."

The Beis Yosef concludes by saying if it's accepted (kabbala), he'll accept it, if not, he has a rebuttal. That's the end of the Beis Yosef. The Darkei Moshe brings a Maharil who says like the Rokeach, and says this is the proper practice. He goes on a little more on the subject.

Basically, the reason seems to be kabbalistic, with the Ramma deciding with the kabbalists and The Shulchan Aruch against their idea.

  • A few questions on this. 1. What is the kabbalists kabbala on? either the Sefer torah or falling down? 2. What is the kabbalists reason? 3. What about this Kitzur/teacher who says a different reason – user6781 Jul 24 '14 at 12:57
  • It seems that the reason kabbalisticaly is not given, but focuses on the presence, or lack thereof, of the Torah. The SIMAN focused on the Aron. This of course was Aron Habris qhich may or may not have had a seffer torah alongside the luchos. The mixing between Torah and Aron may have been what the Beis Yoseif didn't like about the idea. The Kitzur may or may not have mentioned a possible reason behind the kabbalistic tradition. There are many variables, but when it comes to Kabbala, you love it or leave it. L – user6591 Jul 24 '14 at 13:11
  • So as I understand what you are saying: Kabbala gives a reason what is so special about the sefer torah which you either accept kabbalah or leave it. And maybe the reason the Kitzur gives is the reason for the kabbalah which I think is unlikely because it does not seem like a Kabbalah statement. – user6781 Jul 24 '14 at 13:17
  • (I like the answer because it gives more back round information but since you did not really answer my question I am not going to give you a check) – user6781 Jul 24 '14 at 13:18
  • One clarification, Kabbala mentioned a practice, not a reason, to give significance to the presence of the Seffer Torah as pertains to tachnun. The passuk about the Aron was called a siman, usually that means it is not the actual reason, just an aid for memorial purposes. I'm not sure about the kitzur, just threw out an idea. – user6591 Jul 24 '14 at 13:25

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