Home › Forums › All Things Catholic › Our Father hand position › Reply To: Our Father hand position
I may not be the one to ask here, as I assist at Mass in either one of the Eastern Rites or the “extraordinary” or Latin Mass Rite. In the east the custom is to stand when one is in the presence of the King, therefore during most if not all of the liturgy people stand, (although many parishes have now added the modern invention of the pew, and people sit during parts of the liturgy.) Hands are either clasped in front of the chest, or at the side, or holding the prayers books. None of the Eastern Rite Catholic parishes I assist Mass at have any hand holding. In some they sing the Pater with either the priest or choir, but there is no swaying or hand holding as it is viewed as both a western and protestant custom, and most Eastern Catholics and Schismatic Orthodox feel they have been compelled to abandon their own customs and rites in the past and are unwilling to continue to have their liturgical customs erode away.
In the Latin (traditional rite) people kneel for the Pater.
As for positions of prayer among Jews now and in the ancient practice, standing was common, hand positions changed for various prayers, usually clasped in front of oneself, sometimes in prayers of petition they where held out shoulder width, in front of oneself.
The Tallit, or prayer shawl was worn for morning services, and (starting around 800-900 AD) during the service of Kol Nidre, to commemorate the destruction of the first and second temples (later was added the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492) , all of which occured on Tisha B’Av*, or the ninth of Av, (Which usually falls around August-Sept on our calendar) was an evening service and the only time the Tallit was worn in the evening. Prayers where and are offered facing Jerusalem, when praying (also called davening) one sort of rocks back and forth, (Every head shall bow and knee shall bend) When one wishes to commune in private with the Almighty, (in morning services) one pulls the tallit over ones head both to block out distractions, and to express to those around you that you wish to commune with G-d. Back to the Kol Nidre for a moment, it is the only service in the Jewish liturgical year where you see anyone kneel. At the reproaches, or the climax of the service as the Cantor or Rabbi sings the prayer which recounts the sins we have commited in the past year that we are sorry for and the congregation responds their sorrow, the Cantor or Rabbi kneels before the Ark, which contains the Torah, or scrolls of the Law, after the doors are opened.
*By the Jewish reckoning the First World War also started on Tisha B’Av. Some commemorate WWI too.