In shulchan aruch (siman 2, saif 6) the author writes:

It is forbidden to walk in an erect posture.

Does this mean that good posture is forbidden or is the author referring to something else?

  • 1
    The way I always understood this was referring to walking with your chin/head held up in a haughty manner. If I remember correctly, one of the commentators write that the walking that is forbidden is a type of walking where you can't see the floor in front of you (bolstering my belief that it's referring to holding the head up in an arrogant manner). Commented May 13, 2014 at 13:54

1 Answer 1


The Aruch Hashulchan Siman 2 Sif 9 addresses your issue directly. He says 'erect posture' doesn't mean that therefore one should walk hunchbacked, rather he shouldn't walk with his 'neck sticking out like a haughty person'.

The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch in the beginning of 3:7 gives more detail on what's considered an appropriate 'level' of 'head holding':

אָסוּר לֵילֵךְ בְּקוֹמָה זְקוּפָה וְגָרוֹן נָטוּי, כָּעִנְיָן שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר, וַתֵּלַכְנָה נְטוּיוֹת גָּרוֹן וְגוֹ' (אוֹרַח חַיִּים שָׁם). וּמִכָּל מָקוֹם לֹא יָכוֹף רֹאשׁוֹ יוֹתֵר מִדַּאי, אֶלָּא בְּמִדָּה בֵינוֹנִית, בִּכְדֵי שֶׁיִּרְאֶה אֶת הַבָּא כְּנֶגֶד פָּנָיו וְגַם יִרְאֶה מִדְרַךְ כַּף רַגְלוֹ (הר"י בספר היראה).

You should not walk with an upright [haughty] posture and an outstretched neck, as it is said: "And they walked with outstretched necks."13 Nevertheless, you should not bend your head excessively, but only moderately so that you will be able to see anyone approaching you and also see where you are walking. (Rabbeinu Yonah in Sefer Hayirah).

In short, keep your head high enough that you can see where you're going, but not at a height that is considered 'haughty'.

  • 2
    Perhaps, all the yeshiva bochrim spending hours hunched over a sefer should also practice good, erect sitting posture as well. I don't think there's any mention that one cannot sit erect as that may represent "arrogance".
    – DanF
    Commented May 13, 2014 at 14:22
  • @DanF Are you offering to donate standing desks to yeshivas? Potentially it may be a mitzvah d’oraisa of ונשמרתם את נפשותיכם מאד, which, as a lav, one may be required to give up more than the usual 20%. :)
    – DonielF
    Commented Oct 14, 2018 at 18:16
  • @DonielF Desk configuration has changed somewhat since I was in yeshiva high school, but the hours of sitting over a Gemara has changed little. If my kids' high school is indicative of a societal problem, I would say that kids have less attention span these days than 40 years ago. They can't sit for hours without jumping around or needing a bathroom "break". So, by deduction, kids these days have better posture than I did. In short, if I were to donate for desks, I'd rather have it go to a Kollel of elders.
    – DanF
    Commented Oct 15, 2018 at 2:36

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .