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The Spaced out davening of the year award goes to


I usually work nights, so just before dinner service is about to begin at the restaurant I hop outside for a quick mincha between the transformer, m,y parked car and out towel recycling bin. The other day, I took my three steps back after I finished shemona esrei and walked back in to work while mumbling a barely coherent Aleinu (God would have probably rather I not say it all for all I know) and spaced out as I was I walked into the bathroom and said Aleinu while I was peeing, mid pee stream I realized the madness, stopped daveing (I didn’t stop peeing, I stopped saying aleinu while I was peeing) and started laughing like a crazy man while I sprayed my urine all over the place (just an exaggeration – I have years of practice and am practically a sharpshooter)

Have any of you done something so spaced out before?

Sure I clop selach lanu every single Friday night and correct myself so as not to seem that stupid, but this seemed a bit extreme to me, like am I that spaced out during davening or maybe I was so involved in davening that I lost my train of thought and was so intently concentrating on the Lord that I had sleep davened into the bathroom?

{ 31 comments… add one }
  • Leeba February 3, 2011, 2:47 PM

    Don’t worry – You are not alone. It has been so hot here (44C = 1billion F, I believe) and I have begun to sleep during the heat of the day. Oftentimes I wake up and automatically say Moda Ani before realising that it is 6pm and not 6am. I reckon it is better than not saying it at all.

    As for your pee stream, did you practice on cheerios or a wifffle ball? Just wondering, as I have 5 brothers and I remember trying to get the younger ones to concentrate on the ‘target’ and not get too excited when they would hit it straight on and suddenly turn around, whilst still mid-stream, to see if I had noticed their accuracy.

    • Yakov February 3, 2011, 3:47 PM

      I practice my peeing accuracy on WII! im getting really good after some 20-odd yrs of practice!

  • ScotchDave February 3, 2011, 3:07 PM

    Not to sound like too much of a hippy, but I have a personal theory that once one knows davening by heart it becomes a kind of meditation. If one is in that “zone” one is thinking about h’ and the bracha, therefore we end up doing other things on auto-pilot, like going to the toilet…

    In terms of similar experiences I have been known to say birchot hashachar slightly sleepily, then get to shema and realise I don’t remember if I said them or not!


    • Anonymous February 3, 2011, 5:36 PM

      Read R’ Aryeh Kaplan’s writings on Jewish meditation. There’s nothing “hippy” about a view of davening as becoming a meditation.

      • Heshy Fried February 3, 2011, 10:31 PM

        Anyone who reads Aryeh Kaplan is deemed a hippy in my book

        • A. Nuran February 3, 2011, 11:22 PM

          That’s setting the hippy bar awfully low

  • Anonymous February 3, 2011, 5:10 PM

    Lemme guess- u got to “Va’anachnu Korim U’mishtachavim” and realized something wasn’t ‘bowing’…. (especially if u were in a bathroom similar to the picture)

  • joey February 3, 2011, 6:24 PM

    Heshy, you are a great man like Rav Shach in the famous story where he was walking around with his arms extended like he was holding something, only he wasnt. When the bochurim asked him what he was doing he said he was holding watermelons. They then told him that his arms were empty and he was in fact holding nothing. He explained that he purchased watermelons and was think in learning while he was walking and must have dropped the watermelons on the way back to the yeshiva.

    • talking stam February 3, 2011, 8:07 PM

      lol! seriously, is this story true?

  • FeistyFrummy February 3, 2011, 7:04 PM

    Welcome to being a Jew! I think most people have these moments. I happen to have them quite often. Especially when asked to say a bracha outloud. For some strange reason, no matter what, it always comes out wrong and like a 5 year old. I really CAN say my mezonot and shehakol…just not in front of the world, that’s all 😉 And in terms of spacing out, during shemone esray I usually space out and somehow find myself saying baruch sheamar in the middle. (I’m still trying to figure out how this happens…)

  • Anonymous February 3, 2011, 8:25 PM

    There’s a famous story with R’ Yankel Drillman- he is known for his brilliance and absentmindedness- a bochur once walked outside and found him pacing deeply in thought with his pants in fire- he pocketed his cigarette and was seemingly impervious to the pain…

    • Yankel February 4, 2011, 12:28 AM

      His kids say the stories are almost all made up.

      • OfftheDwannaB February 6, 2011, 7:30 PM

        You left me hanging Yankel- I’m still interested in where you disagree with what I said about a week ago on DR’s post.

        • Yankel February 8, 2011, 5:28 AM

          Sorry for the delay, I wasn’t by the computer much this past week.

          I just re-read your post, and I can’t say I’m sure about this but I think you’re missing a few important details on the concept of “KB”H v’oraysa chad”, and how this translates into the words and concepts we see on paper.

          Check out Meor Enayim vayigash, and (I’m sure you’ve seen this already but) Tanya 4 – 5.

          In hindsight I probably read into your choice of words too much, but what made me think this was your stating that “The Torah was tailor-made to fit perfectly with humanity”. I think it’s pretty clear that the actual essence of the Torah (G-d) is what makes it perfect for every being in every realm on every level.

          You don’t see a lashon anywhere of H-shem “writing” the Torah. Only “giving”. This is because it wasn’t really ‘written’. It ’emanated’ from G-d so to speak, (which isn’t entirely true either, but more of a kvychl ‘translation’ of the Infinite One, to a ‘language’ which the creation can be mekabel).

          According to what you seemed to be saying, there should not be any mitzvah of Talmud Torah other than al minas la’asos, because what we really want here is the RATZON H-shem, which only comes about after doing the physical mitzvos which you learnt about. And while this is certainly the best type of Torah, it’s still only one side of the picture.

          There’s a whole side to the Torah which is only about bringing the Infinite One into one’s neshama, and one’s neshama into the Infinite One. Which is learning for no reason other than to know G-d will itself, even if you know the mitzvah will never come about.

          • OfftheDwannaB February 9, 2011, 12:08 AM

            Your right. I shaved a bunch of details to fit it into a blog post which was already running long.

            I didn’t mention the ‘learning to connect’ part because it’s less important, in my opinion, in the grand scheme. The Tanya always says that the main thing is the action. (There’s actually a great ma’amar on purim about learning for learning’s sake, I don’t remember the location offhand, but if you generally like good ma’amarim, I’ll look it up for you).

            Underneath it all, though, there is the same idea: Torah is the mashal to understand God. If you learn the Torah with your human, you can still be mechabek the melech, and understand it later.

            This is all on the individual level though. I’m speaking about the grand scheme for the world, of Mashiach, etc. The ‘dirah betachtonim’, and ‘gilui kvod shamaim’ is referring to man being bocher batov and earning his place by causing the gilui. That, I’m saying, is a gradual process. (I think this psychological interpretation fits with other classic ideas as well, especially sheviras hakelim.)

            -I just read that Meor Enayim, I don’t know what exactly you’re referring to in there. Was it where he says that Hkb”h combined the physical and spiritual, and when you move your arm, he’s actually doing it? (I haven’t read through Meor Enayim, but unless he’s just illustrating the point, that sounds like R’ Tzaddok’s famous shita that we have no free will at all in God’s view of reality- which isn’t the mainstream view.)
            -And thanks for the Tanya reference. It’s been a while since I learned it, and more things clicked this time around.

  • Anonymous February 3, 2011, 9:34 PM

    on rosh chodesh by bentching, i said yaleh v’yavo before u’vnei.
    i then got up and bowed modim!

    • philo February 6, 2011, 5:38 PM

      I’ve done that too. I realize my mistake when I get to modim.

    • OfftheDwannaB February 6, 2011, 7:28 PM

      Lol! I’ve done the opposite (finished benching while standing for S”E) but I can’t remember doing yours.

  • OfftheDwannaB February 3, 2011, 11:19 PM

    I’ve done the bathroom davening.

    I daven whole tefillos in my sleep. Sometimes I wake myself up in the middle of shemoneh esrei or benching and I’m talking out loud.

    Sometimes I do the wrong action called for in the davening. Like take 3 steps back at modim. This happens on autopilot. But somehow I realize it’s wrong (probably because I’m saying modim when I’m supposed to be done) and sheepishly put my feet back together.

    I wonder why I daven at all. I never have kavana by the formal tefillos. The only time I do is by spontaneous ones.

    • Geoff February 4, 2011, 5:58 AM

      “I daven whole tefillos in my sleep.”

      You mean you fall asleep while davening? Or you do what happens with me? Sometimes while lying in bed more or less asleep, I find myself mumbling “baruch hashem l’olam amen v’amen…” or “hameir la’aretz v’ldarim aleha…” and keep rolling from there.

      “Sometimes I do the wrong action called for in the davening.”

      I seem to have an ingrained timer for how long to wait between shemoneh esreh bows, and if I haven’t gotten to the end of the bracha yet, the bow happens automatically, right in the middle.

    • Frumsatire Fan February 4, 2011, 7:52 AM

      Sleep-davening — ah, good to hear I’m not the only one. Every now and then I dream that I wake up and do what I do every morning, all normal, but some details get increasingly odd. For example I say strange lines of tehillim, or mix bits and pieces… and then I realize that it’s actually a dream, I haven’t woken up, and I’ve overslept.

      • OfftheDwannaB February 4, 2011, 10:44 AM

        Geoff- I daven in my dreams.

        FS fan- Yeah there’s usually something off. Or I say one tefilla for what seems like hours, and I keep ending up at the beginning, then I start from there but halfway through I think, “didn’t I just say this?” But I’m not sure, so I keep going. Sometimes it gets excessively neurotic at that point, and I think “I must have said a million brachos levatala with God’s name”, and I’m genuinely scared. I think it’s usually too hot in the room when this all happens.

  • peretz February 4, 2011, 7:59 AM

    Heshy, our minds always stray. our bodies,however ,manage to stay where they should be. Most of the time.

    I always get a jolt when ,in the middle of shemona esrai, I hear a Thumpp ! thump! thump from my neighbour,as he practically gives himself heart compressions from clopping away,trying to make up for some rude intrusion. Then, I chuckle when thinking about where his mind strayed to. The trick.,really,is not to do this when davenning for the amud.

  • whoa5771 February 4, 2011, 8:24 AM

    i once davened in front of a magazine rack
    a it turned out it sold pornography and ppl were like
    whats he doing over there with that pornography

    • Adam February 9, 2011, 3:46 PM

      Excellent! I’m chuckling at the image!

  • ish_elokim February 5, 2011, 5:17 PM

    Anonymous, are you in beis yosef/navardik on 15&n?

    it is said somewhere that your prayers are accepted if you wake up in the middle of saying shema koleinu- that is if you were sleeping in bed when you woke up

    • Anonymous February 5, 2011, 11:37 PM


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