Mishna Berura Summaries

Siman 94 – Direction for Tefilla

  • When daavening in Chutz L’oretz, face Eretz Yisroel. When daavening in Eretz Yisroel, face Yerushalayim. When daavening in Yerushalayim, face the Mikdosh. Besides your body direction, also direct your thoughts and imagine as if you are standing in the Kodesh Kodoshim before the Kapores. (ShA 1 – MB 3,7)
  • If the Aron Kodesh was built onto a wall, not in the direction of the Mikdosh you must still daaven facing the Mikdosh. However, if the tzibbur is mistakenly daavening facing the Oron Kodesh, do the same – just turn your face towards the Mikdosh. (MB 9,10)
  • If someone informs you that you are daavening Shemoneh Esray in the wrong direction, do not move your legs. It is sufficient merely to turn your face towards the Mikdosh. If you are daavening with a kahal you can move your legs to daaven in the same direction as the kahal. (MB10)
  • To fulfil the dictum of Chazal “One who wants to become rich, face North” or “to become wise, face South”- merely tilt your face towards that direction but do not turn your body from the direction of the tzibbur. (MB 12)
  • When planning a shul building, situate the front wall to be in the direction of the Mikdosh. The rov’s seat should be to the north of the Aron (in our countries which are west of the Mikdosh) so he will be able to tilt his face southwards, and at the same time, not be disrespecting the Aron. (MB 12)
  • If you do not know which direction to face, just direct your heart towards your Father in Heaven. (ShA 3)
  • You do not need to stop to daaven while travelling if the delay will ruin your kavana. If you are a passenger and are able to stand in the moving vehicle, then stand. If not, then just sit and daaven. You can even daaven Shemoneh Esray while walking. (ShA 4)
  • An exception to the above: if possible, be stationary for Avos (the 1st beracha) since kavana for that is l’ikuva. (ShA 4 – MB 17)
  • Another exception: if possible stand stationary for the bows and 3 steps. (ShA 5)
  • If you are old or ill but can still have kavana, you may daaven while sitting and even while laying on your side. If possible, you should at least stand for the bows. (ShA 6 – MB 20)
  • If you can’t daaven, at least think the words in your heart. (Rama 6)
  • Tefilla requires standing, therefore, do not lean upon anything (e.g. shtender) during tefilla. If you need to, you can lean slightly – in a way that when the shtender is suddenly removed, you won’t fall.   (ShA 8 – MB 22,23)
  • If you are sick, standing while leaning is better than sitting – as long as you can have kavana. (MB 24)
  • The above halachos apply to any time you are required to stand (e.g. a sefer Torah passes by). (MB 23)
  • It isn’t kedai to daaven b’toras nedova these days. (MB 27)
  • Avoid daavening in a building that has idols in it. (Rama 9)