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The customs of mourning practiced during sefira
The Shulchan Aruch writes that haircuts are not allowed and weddings should not be performed during sefira. The Mishnah Berurah adds that dancing is also forbidden. The Acharonim write that it is not permissible to listen to instrumental music. There is disagreement as to whether or not recorded singing qualifies as instrumental music, as well as whether or not lively singing is permitted. Dancing at a seudas mitzvah or in honor of a mitzvah [such as a hachnasas Sefer Torah] is permitted, but it is best not to plan such events for this time.
( סעיף א-ב וס"ק ג; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 8-9 )

 Hilchos Tefilla 131 (page 22)
 מתחילת סימן קלא עד סעיף ב

Covering One's Face for Tachanun
Three Reasons for Covering the Face
Interrupting Between Shemoneh Esrei and Tachanun

Covering one's face for tachanun
Tachanun is also known as nefilas apaim ("falling on the face") because it was originally recited prostrate, with the face buried in the ground. This is not done today; instead, the head is merely tilted towards the ground, turned to the side and covered. Turning the head to the side is a vestige of the time when the head was placed directly on the floor. It is forbidden to lie face down on a stone floor outside of the Beis Hamikdash, so people used to turn their heads to the side when saying tachanun. According to the Mechaber, the head should always rest on the left arm to face the Shechina. According to the Rama, during Shacharis a person should rest his head on his right arm in deference to the tefillin worn on his left arm, but during Mincha he should rest his head on his left arm to face the Shechina.
( סעיף ג, ס"ק ג, ו ו־ז, וביה"ל ד"ה להטות)
Three reasons for covering the face
Three reasons are given for why we cover the face when reciting tachanun: 1) A covered face symbolizes a humble and submissive attitude before Hashem. 2) People cover themselves so as not to overhear what their neighbors might be saying. In the Beis Hamikdash, people would bow four cubits apart from one another in order to maintain privacy. 3) Covering the face helps arouse concentration. The objective of covering the face is primarily in order to cover the eyes. The face should be covered with a cloth (e.g. sleeve, talis) and not an arm or hand, because of the rule that a body cannot cover itself.
( ס"ק ג; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 7)
Interrupting between Shemoneh Esrei and tachanun
One should not interrupt between Shemoneh Esrei and tachanun with mundane talk (and, according to Kabbalah, with any sort of talk). Such interruptions can interfere with one's tefillos being properly accepted by Hashem. V'hu Rachum (the long tachanun) and selichos are not considered interruptions and are permitted. In some congregations V'hu Rachum is recited after tachanun. According to some poskim, it is proper to refrain from saying the pesukim that are recited when the sefer Torah is removed from the Aron Hakodesh and to refrain from the Aleinu prior to tachanun. Amein, yehei shmei rabbah and other devarim sh'bekedusha are recited between Shemoneh Esrei and tachanun.
( סעיף א וס"ק א; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 2-5)

  • Someone who had a dream and cannot determine whether its intended message is a good one or a bad one can remedy the dream by reciting the prayer Ribono Shel Olam (printed in the siddurim) while the kohanim are drawing out the final syllables of the seven key words.
  • Women can also recite these tefillos to remedy their dreams. Kohanim can rectify their dreams by thinking about their own lives while saying the beracha.
  • Birkas kohanim is similar to a prophecy, and a dream is a minor form of prophecy. A bad dream can be annulled by the prophecy of birkas kohanim which is sixty times greater.


  • Reciting Tachanun face down

  • Tachanun at night

  • Tachanun in a house of mourning



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.