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 Hilchos Tefilla 113 - 114 (page 281)
 מסעיף ח עד סימן קיד אמצע סעיף ב ויא

Umorid hageshem - And [He] Sends Down the Rain
Announcing Geshem or Tal
Bowing Facing an Idol

Umorid hageshem -  And [He] sends down the rain
Chazal instituted the insertion of the phrase mashiv haruach umorid hageshem ("[He] makes the wind blow and sends down the rain") into the second beracha of Shemoneh Esrei during the winter months.  This beracha was chosen because it relates to techiyas hameisim (resurrection of the dead); like the resurrection, rain brings life to this world. Many communities exchange this phrase for morid hatal ("[He] sends down the dew") in the summer months. The poskim discuss whether the correct pronunciation is geshem (with a segol) or gashem (with a kamatz), and both pronunciations are popular today. Likewise, there is disagreement as to whether the word is correctly pronounced tal (with a pasach) or tol (with a kamatz).
( סימן קיד, סעיף א וס"ק א; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 3 ו־5)
Announcing geshem or tal
Morid hageshem is recited from Musaf of Shemini Atzeres until Musaf of the first day of Pesach. Whenever the change to (and from) morid hageshem takes place, an announcement must be made beforehand. If the change was not announced before Musaf of Pesach, those communities that do not switch to morid hatal continue to recite morid hageshem during the silent Shemoneh Esrei. The chazan switches during his repetition and the rest of the congregation during Mincha. In those congregations where the tefillos of tal and geshem are recited prior to Musaf, these tefillos serve as the necessary announcement.
( סימן קיד, סעיף א-ב, ס"ק ג-ד, וביה"ל ד"ה אסור; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 4; וראה שם, 8)
Bowing facing an idol
If a person realizes that he is davening Shemoneh Esrei facing an idol, a picture of an idol, or even the image of an idol embroidered onto clothing, he is forbidden to bow at the usual times during davening since it would appear as if he is bowing to the idol. This is the case even if the idol or picture is behind glass, and even if it is combined with other items that are unrelated to avoda zara. If the idol or picture is on the wall facing Yerushalayim, one should daven facing a different direction.
( סימן קיג, סעיף ח וס"ק טו; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 17-18)

  • Chazal instituted bowing at the beginning and end of Avos (the first beracha) and Modim (the second to last beracha). They did not require bowing during any other beracha so as not to impose on those who are davening.
  • The procedure for bowing during Shemoneh Esrei: the knees are bent at baruch and the back is bent at atah. The back should be arched so that all the vertebrae of the spine show and the head is facing the ground. The bow should not be so deep that the mouth is aligned with the waist-belt.
  • There is a custom to bow when reciting and responding to Barechu.  This custom has a precedent in Tanach, when Dovid Hamelech urged everyone to bless Hashem (barechu) and the people fell to the floor and bowed.

  • Ending morid hageshem in a shul with multiple minyanim

  • Morid hageshem in the southern hemisphere

  • Saying mashiv haruach in the summer time



PLEASE NOTE:  The information in this email is for learning purposes only. Please review the Mishna Berura and Biurim U'Musafim before making a halachic decision. Hebrew words are occasionally transliterated to enable a smoother reading of the text. Common Ashkenazi pronunciation is generally used in these cases.