Mi Yodeya is a question and answer site for those who base their lives on Jewish law and tradition and anyone interested in learning more. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Are you allowed to sit on the floor and study Torah such as Gamara etc? I've heard different opinions. Sources please

share|improve this question
Do you mean literally on the floor, or even sitting on a mat or rug (as I believe they still do in Yemen)? – Dave Dec 30 '12 at 19:56
@Dave There's barely any Jews still in Yemen. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jews_in_Yemen#Present_situation – Double AA Dec 30 '12 at 20:10
@DoubleAA indeed, but those who are still there presumably still sit on the floor. A friend of mine whose family once took in a child who had just immigrated from Yemen described how it took a while for the kid to get used to the funny idea of sitting on a chair. This was many years ago, I don't know what the story is today. – Dave Dec 30 '12 at 20:18

The Talmud (Megillah 21a) relates that from the days of Moshe through those of Rabban Gamliel the Torah was only studied while standing. After Rabban Gamliel's death, "sickness" descended to the world and people began to need to study while seated.

It further relates (based on the verse Devarim 5:27) that a teacher should be on equal standing with his students when teaching. The Shulchan Aruch (YD 246:9) codifies this, ruling that a teacher of Torah should not sit on a chair while his students sit on the floor. Rather, either they all should sit on chairs or all sit on the floor. I note that different distinctions are brought in the application of this particular rule (regarding the difficulty of the material being studied or the caliber of the students), but no one there speaks out against sitting on the floor.

share|improve this answer
Another example can be found in in Moed Katan (16b) where David HaMelech is praised for humbling himself by studying Torah on the ground. – Fred Dec 31 '12 at 7:29

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.