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.


1 Answer 1


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.
    – user9643
    Sep 2, 2018 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, 2018 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, 2018 at 19:32
  • Source for the kitzur, Chaei Adam 35:5.
    – Mordechai
    Nov 29, 2020 at 12:46

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