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

  • 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
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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.

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    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
  • Interestingly, Pirkei Avot uses the term (Forgot offhand which Mishna) "sit before the chachamim..." Is this a contradiction, or an indication of the timing of when things were written, that they had a different ruling? – DanF Jul 27 '17 at 22:47

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