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Do you know or have any information about doing hishtachavoya with pishut yadaim veraglaim and even maskis . Does one need a hefsek? To turn his head? Why don’t we do it today in tachnun? Could one do it when ever he wants? At night? On shabbos? How exactly to do it? etc


The Rambam (Hilchos Avoda Zara 6- 6,7,8) says the we are biblically forbidden to bow down on and even maschis, as it says in the torah (Leviticus 26-1) “And an even maschis don’t put in your land to bow down on to it”. In the Bais Hamikdash however it was permitted. The reason it is prohibited is because this is the way the gentiles serve their avoda zara. This is the reason that even when we do it in shul, we put something on the floor to separate ourselves from the floor.

Aside from this, bowing with our hands and feet stretched out on any surface, or even plain bowing on a stone floor is rabbinically forbidden because it is similar to the torah’s prohibition. However to bow without stretching out one’s hands and feet when it is not on a stone floor and the person is not directly facing the floor, then it is permitted.  There rules apply to all times of the day and to Shabbos, and this is why we don’t do this during tachanun.  Even when we do bow, the minhag is to do it on Rosh Hashana once during mussaf, and Yom Kippur three times during mussaf, when we go through the avoda as it was done in the Bais Hamikdash.

A person that wants to pray to H-shem, humbly with piety and humility, should think a little bit before starting to daven, how big and powerful H-shem is, that he is larger than all of the universe, and that every aspect of his life is totally dependent on His will. Additionally, that I right now have to unique opportunity to speak directly to Him, one-on-one, this will help us pray with intensity and concentration, the way that H-shem wants it.

Best Wishes and may H-shem listen and answer all of your prayers.


Shulchan Aruch O:CH 131-8 M:B ibid 40, 621- 14.

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