I was taught to look in the siddur when davening. But the answer here suggests that some authorities prefer to close their eyes during the amida.

What are sources for all opinions on this matter?

  • Shabbos or weekday?
    – user6591
    Dec 23, 2014 at 3:18
  • I did not know there is a difference, I want all sources
    – hazoriz
    Dec 23, 2014 at 3:19
  • What will help you focus better?
    – Double AA
    Dec 23, 2014 at 3:38
  • @DoubleAA probably closed eyes is a lot less distracting but I will need to memorize it
    – hazoriz
    Dec 23, 2014 at 3:51

3 Answers 3


At the end of Pathway to Prayer, R" Birnbaum has the following sources:

Tanya Rabbosi, written in the 13th century, says to pray with a siddur. So does the Vilna Gaon in Even Shleyma ch. 9 note 2, and the Chofetz Chaim at the end of Shem Olam. R' Birnbaum asked R' Moshe Feinstein, and he said to daven with a siddur.

Sefer HaYoshar Shaar (13th century) Shaar 13 says to pray with closed eyes.

Mekor Chaim (17th century) 95:2 says it is better to pray with a siddur, but one should occasionally pray by heart because praying from a siddur will become habitual and cause concentration to diminish.


There are conflicting opinions brought in the Mishna Berurah 93 2 & 95 5. But if one needs to keep their eyes open so they can read the words there is no problem. See here a nice synopsis. http://www.torah.org/learning/tefilah/openeyes.html

  • As of now i can't find the ba'er heitev(?) That discusses praying on shabbos specifically from a siddur, so we'll put that on hold.
    – user6591
    Dec 23, 2014 at 4:13

The Maharsham in his Daas Torah 91:2 brings the opinion of the Arizal who held on shabbas one should not daven with his eyes closed ,but rather daven from a siddur.

  • 1
    Does he explain why Shabbat would be different?
    – Double AA
    Feb 4, 2015 at 4:31

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