Thursday, March 31, 2005

Some interesting points from yesterday's daf (B'rachos 30)

I would like to mention 2 interesting points relating to the daf.

1. The gemara comments that if a person is traveling on a donkey and they will have more ישוב הדעת sitting on the donkey and davening then if they stop, get off and daven standing up, they should daven sitting down. This is brought down להלכה. we see a very important principle, that ישוב הדעת trumps standing up to daven. Some modern day poskim bring this in relation to davening on a plane. They say this din would apply. If you can daven better sitting down (it is a small plane, crowded, etc.) then you should daven sitting down with ישוב הדעת rather then be stubborn and daven standing with less ישוב הדעת.

2. The gemara discusses which way a person should face when davening. Outside of Israel you face Israel, in Israel, Jerusalem, In Jerusalem, the Beis Hamikdash, and in the besi Hamikdash, the קדש הקדשים. The question comes up, which way should you face at the kotel. The minhag is that people face forwards, which is towards the mikdash, but is not towards the קדש הקדשים. They justify the minhag by saying that the kotel plaza is part of Jerusalem and not part of the Beis Hamikdash and therefore they are following the gemara.

However, others argue as follows. They say that really a person should always face the קדש הקדשים. However, when you are far away you can't, it has no meaning,you need a bigger target. In NY to say that you are facing the קדש הקדשים is a joke. Even when in Jerusalem you face the mikdash because it is a bigger target. However, when you are right next to the mikdash and you can easily face the קדש הקדשים then you should. This makes a lot of sense and if you look carefully at the kotel you will see a small number of people davening facing at an angle to the left which is towards theקדש הקדשים.

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