Why Do You Shake Like That?
Yesterday, a non-Jewish visitor came up to me at the Kotel and pointing at the men davening (praying) asked, "Why do they sway back and forth like that when they pray?"
It is one of the most frequent questions they ask. He was referring to what in Yiddish is called shuckling.
I explained, "Probably the best way for you to understand it is that the soul is like a flame and prayer is like wind."
He appreciated the answer and moved on.
Davening is also likened to drawing water up from the ground. We lean forward and then straighten back up, again and again, each time bringing more and more "water" up with us. Then, when we feel that our bucket is somewhat full we turn, swaying gently side to side spreading the water we gathered out into the garden.
The Torah is likened to water. Water comes from above as rain. So it is with Torah; the Torah comes from above, from the Higher to the lower, from the learned to the student, and like water, without it we could not live.
Shuckling front and back is a sign of intensity, effort, reaching, seeking, or yearning. Gently swaying side to side is usually accompanied by a slight inside smile, and a little bit of light.
May Hashem have your davening be sweet and satisfying.
Remember, there is no one, or nothing closer to you than Hashem.