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What is the Reason? Swaying-Husband’s Permission

What is the reason that people sway when praying? S.G.

It is based on Psalm 35:10: “All my bones shall say; “God, who is like You?”

However, Rabbi Menachem Azariah da Fano (1548-1620) in Responsum 113:1, rules that the verse applies only to praises of God and not to prayer. The prototype of prayer is provided by Hannah, of whom it is said, “only her lips moved,” (Samuel I 1:13). Only Hannah’s lips moved, not her body. External movements of the body prevent adequate concentration in prayer. Although the Chayot (Living Creatures) in Ezekiel’s vision moved about, yet it is said: “when they stood, they let down their wings.” (Ezekiel 1:25) We, too, when we stand in prayer, should make no movements at all. Some people sway slightly at the beginning and end of each blessing on the basis of the verse (Isaiah 6:4) “And the posts of the door were moved at the voice of them that called.”

Why do you insist that one must have a husband’s permission to write an email to a married woman? L.P.

The Maharshal is quite specific even about what we may write to a husband about his wife. He rules that one may wish well to the wife, but should not mention her by name. The Bach (Bayit Chadash E”H 21) rules that one may only express good wishes for another man’s wife at the beginning of a letter. The Taz (Turei Zahav) explains that this applies only if the mention of the wife is purely social. A man may ask after the well being of a married woman who has been ill The Eizer MiKodesh suggests that a man should write; “My wife extends best wishes to yours.”

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