I recall once reading somewhere that perhaps the Zohar, or Ari"zl state that one should not raise one's hands (or wave them around) whilst praying (as it is darchei emori, or some such prohibition). Someone else suggested to me that it might actually be a Tosfos.

Any ideas where such a source, or sources, exist?

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    – mevaqesh
    May 11, 2017 at 9:44

1 Answer 1


Rabbi Akive Eiger writes this in his commentary to the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 89: 1) in the name of the B'er Sheva (74):

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

The citation to B'er Sheva 74 is a typo and it should read 71 where he writes the following:

ושמא י"ל מאחר שנמצאו נוהגים אומות העולם עכו"ם להתפלל כך בזקיפת ידים למעלה כמפורסם לכן אין אנו נוהגים עכשיו להתפלל כך וכה"ג אמרו רז"ל בפסוק לא תקים לך מצבה אשר שנא ה' אלהיך אף על פי שהיתה אהובה לפני הקדוש ברוך הוא בימי האבות עכשיו שנאה מאחר שעשאוה אלו כנעניים חק לע"א כן נ"ל

It should be noted that Rabbi Akiva Eiger does not write that it is prohibited. The B'er Sheva is similarly toned down, that "we are not accustomed to pray this way" (although his comparison is to an actual prohibition, the point of the comparison seems to merely be that something could be once positive, but later become permitted.

It should be noted that all the above is contrary to the opinion of R. Avraham ben Harambam who spends much of the halachic portion of his HaMaspoik L'ovdey Hashem encouraging practices found in Tanach and Chazal, even if by his time they had fallen out of Jewish practice, and were instead practiced by Suffis.

  • Can you cite a specific excerpt from HaMaspik that supports your last statement? I am wondering this because the Rambam himself describes a specific way to position one's hands during Tefillah in MT Hilchos Tefillah u'Birchas Kohanim 5:4 - ומניח ידיו על לבו כפותין הימנית על השמאלית ועומד כעבד לפני רבו באימה ביראה ופחד I'm not saying that it's impossible that he disagreed with his father, just that it would require more evidence than what you have presented. Dec 25, 2015 at 2:36
  • tafeello is not nafeellath appayeem. it is in the later that you raise your hands and not during the ameedho which is what: ומניח ידיו על לבו כפותין הימנית על השמאלית ועומד כעבד לפני רבו באימה ביראה ופחד is talking about. rabbeinu avrohom olow hashsholom is talking about nafeellath appayeem as well Dec 25, 2015 at 5:27
  • drive.google.com/file/d/0B8F_PW9P6dqleTNrSWduMkV2cU0/… this is dana's edition of hammaspeeq Dec 25, 2015 at 5:30
  • @MoriDoweedhYaa3qob I appreciate the link as the sefer is hard to come by and no longer available on hebrew books. For those interested you also posted it here: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/53772/looking-for-hamaspik with a link to a review.
    – mevaqesh
    Dec 25, 2015 at 15:16
  • @Y.Isseroff first off, welcome to the site, I hope you choose to stick around. Rabbenu Avraham himself describes the hand position you describe. see here: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/63682/…. as noted by MoriDoweedhYaa3qob, this is in reference to the amidah.
    – mevaqesh
    Dec 25, 2015 at 15:20

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