Saturday, August 4, 2012

Tachanun without an Aron Kodesh


Do we 'fall forward' for Tachanun in a space which lacks an Aron Kodesh?

We normally recite the first paragraph of Tachanun while 'falling forward', leaning forward and concealing our face with our arm, in a demonstration of humility. One source for this is Yehoshua's act of falling forward before the Aron in prayer (Yehoshua 7:6), and so some early Ashkenazi authorities required the presence of a Sefer Torah as a prerequisite for 'falling forward'. Others disagreed, noting that Moshe 'fell forward' even without an Aron. Therefore, in some places people 'fall forward' even without an Aron; one should follow communal practice.

Those who require a Sefer Torah are lenient to permit 'falling forward' even in an adjacent room, so long as the door between the two rooms is not locked. Others even permit falling forward if one prays at the same time as a local minyan which has a Sefer Torah, although this is not commonly accepted.

(Beit Yosef Orach Chaim 131 katav haRivash, Rama Orach Chaim 131:2; Taz Orach Chaim 131:5-7; Aruch haShulchan Orach Chaim 131:10; Mishneh Berurah 131:11, 13; Igrot Moshe Orach Chaim 4:21:1; Az Nidbiru 5:26)

Have a great day,

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