We learned in Brachot 13b that R' Yehoshua ben Levi "cursed one who sleeps perakdan".

There is a disagreement among the rishonim as to what perakdan means(face-up according to Rashi, Tosafot; face-down according to He'aruch, R' Chananel, and Tur; or either according to Rambam, Rashba, Meiri, and Tur. See Choshvei Shemo pg. 52).

For kriat shema, both positions are forbidden to recite it in(Shulchan Aruch OC 63:1).

Is R' Yehoshua ben Levi's(zachur letov!) statement l'halacha? And if so, according to which definition?

I think the answer lies in the reason for the "curse". I'm interested in what people's learning brings up.


This is indeed brought down by some as the Halacha, and in practice, both positions (face up and face down) are forbidden.

See the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 71:5:

וְצָרִיךְ לִזָּהֵר מְאֹד לְהַרְגִּיל אֶת עַצְמוֹ לִשְׁכַּב עַל צִדּוֹ. וְאִסּוּר גָּדוֹל לִשְׁכַּב פְּרַקְדָּן, דְּהַיְנוּ גַּבּוֹ לְמַטָּה וּפָנָיו לְמַעְלָה, אוֹ בְּהִפּוּךְ פָּנָיו לְמַטָּה וְגַבּוֹ לְמַעְלָה, אֶלָּא דַּוְקָא עַל צִדּוֹ

… You should take great care to get yourself into the habit of lying on your side. It is strictly forbidden to lie in a supine position, that is your back downward and your front [facing] upward, or conversely—your front downward and your back upward, but only on your side. …

This is also mentioned by the Mishnah Berurah in 239:6.

  • 2
    Not everyone agrees with this, see Misgeres HaShulchan 71:8.
    – Ploni
    Sep 2 '18 at 23:38
  • 2
    @Ploni Fair enough, but is there ever any Halacha anywhere that everyone agrees to? :) Edited the Kitzur into the answer, so updated the first sentence as well to limit the Halachah to 'some'. Sep 3 '18 at 0:29
  • @Ploni, excuse me but nowhere in that misgeres hashulchan does he argue on the halacha, he just says that Rambam lists that halacha in his hilchos refuah.
    – user17975
    Sep 21 '18 at 19:32
  • Source for the kitzur, Chaei Adam 35:5.
    – Mordechai
    Nov 29 '20 at 12:46

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