Is there any halachik problem with going through the knighting (or Damehood for women) process of kneeling etc?

The current ceremony does not contain many of the Christian or pagan overtones of the past. However it does include kneeling before the sovereign. Essentially the question then is may one participate in previously idolatrous ceremony that still contains some elements of the original ritual but has generally lost its religious nature?

  • 1
    You kneel on a small bench and I do not believe that the Queen asked you to swear upon any holy grail.
    – user1292
    May 24, 2012 at 16:17
  • 7
    Chief Rabbi Sacks was knighted in 2005. news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/4081534.stm
    – Curiouser
    May 25, 2012 at 2:22
  • @Curiouser I was just about to answer with that, and then I noticed you had already commented it. Do you want to submit it as an answer?
    – HodofHod
    May 31, 2012 at 4:11
  • why it is good to be kighted? a jew probably should find a polite way to avoid that nonecence entirely. what is honorable in being a knight? knights killed jews wholesale during crusades. in russia, for example, knights are not considered seriously at all, because the beat them.
    – moshe
    Oct 30, 2012 at 9:15
  • Hi moshe, and welcome! Your answer seems to miss the point of the question as it does not answer it directly. If, however, you feel this answer is adequate, it is expected you back up your answer with Halachic sources and the like.
    – JNF
    Oct 30, 2012 at 9:39

3 Answers 3


According to my professor, there are at least two orthodox Jews who were knighted with the consent of their rabbis, provided they recite a short prayer--"Blessed art thou G-d who shares his power with men," or something to that effect.

I don't think the precedent set by Mordecai should necessarily be interpreted as a law to be applied to all Jews in all situations.

  • 3
    Noah, welcome to Mi Yodeya, and thanks for posting this answer! You could make it much more valuable by identifying the two knights, identifying your professor, or, to really make it great, following up with your professor to find out who the knights and their rabbis were, along with more detail about their rulings. If you can add any of this information, please edit it into the post.
    – Isaac Moses
    Nov 27, 2012 at 22:31
  • This Wikipedia list of "British Jewish nobility and gentry" looks relevant: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… Apr 6, 2016 at 3:31
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    The blessing is Baruch Atta A-d-o-n-a-i E-l-o-h-e-i-n-u Melech ha'olam shenoten mik'vodo l'basar vadam. (Blessed are You, G-d, our Lord, King of the Universe, Who gave of His glory to flesh and blood.)
    – mbloch
    Apr 6, 2016 at 3:34
  • l'vasar vadam (with an un-accented ב), right? Apr 6, 2016 at 14:15
  • @mbloch *shenatan (past tense)
    – Double AA
    Mar 30, 2017 at 16:02
  1. On only 1 knee is less than really kneeling.
  2. It's on a stool rather than on the ground or stone floor.
  3. It could be considered as a gesture to make it easier for a vertically challenged sovereign to pass the sword over his head – protecting his neck and ears.
  4. It is as more theatre than religious ritual.
  • 2
    Welcome to Mi Yodeya. Note that, unlike some other sites you may be used to, this one is meant just for questions and answers; as this is an answer post, I've removed the stuff about Passover from it. If I've pruned too much, please feel free to edit it again. Please also edit in support/evidence for each of the distinctions you mention, (a) that it's true and (b) that it affects the halacha of whether one may kneel, which, after all, was the question. After all, we don't know who you are, so have no reason (with all due respect) to take your word for it unless you provide evidence.
    – msh210
    Apr 5, 2016 at 20:34
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    – mbloch
    Apr 6, 2016 at 2:30

Depending on which knee, I think you would be yielding the sefirot of hod or netzach to said sovereign unto the third generation of your descendants. Of course this would be strictly prohibited to offer to an idol, but simply warned against even were the sovereign Jewish as noted by 1 Samuel 8:11. So basically, it might be politically expedient for you now but it will end up lousy for your kids and grand kids.

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