There is a paragraph said just prior to the על חטא section of the Yom Kippur service that begins:

אתה חופש כל חדרי בטן

A (fairly) literal translation would be, "You search all the chambers of the stomach"

Since this paragraph introduces the lists of sins and is followed by a request that G-d forgive our sins, I assume that there is some connection between the stomach and sins. Why is that connection? What is G-d "searching" for in these chambers?

  • בטן is probably more like "gut" than "stomach". Unlike cows, humans don't have multi-chambered stomachs.
    – Double AA
    Commented Oct 11, 2016 at 16:07
  • @DoubleAA humans don't have separate stomachs like cows. But the stomach does have "compartments" or "sections". Perhaps this is what is meant by the term חַדְרֵי.
    – DanF
    Commented Oct 11, 2016 at 16:12
  • 1
    The Arabic cognate seems very relevant--the word can have the sense of the interior of something, its depth, what is hidden and not revealed: books.google.ca/…
    – paquda
    Commented Oct 11, 2016 at 16:19
  • What with bochen kelayot valeva?
    – kouty
    Commented Oct 13, 2016 at 18:33
  • Chadrey are perhaps compartimento, peritoneale, extraperitoneal, digestive urinary
    – kouty
    Commented Oct 13, 2016 at 18:35

1 Answer 1


This answer will shed light on your question:

The phrase, "חפש כל חדרי בטן" comes from Proverbs 20:27:

נר ה' נשמת אדם חפש כל חדרי בטן

"The spirit of man is the lamp of the LORD, searching all the inward parts." (JPS 1917)

The word, בטן, is often used simply to mean "belly" (and is therefore associated with pregnancy), but in this context it means the innermost aspects of the human being. Thus, ibn EZra understands it to refer to the heart, writing "והוא רמז ללב שהוא חדר המחשבות" - "and this alludes to the heart, which is the chamber of thoughts".

(Credits: LazerA, paquda)

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