Would prostration pose a halachic problem for a non-Ethiopian Jew who decides to participate in Sigd? Clearly the worshipers are prostrating themselves to none other than the One Jewish God.

Is the Sigd prostration somehow different than the practice of "mishtachavim" that is mentioned in the Alenu prayer?

  • 1
    Closely related: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/48615
    – msh210
    Dec 24, 2014 at 18:54
  • The responses to the related Sigd question are what inspired my own question because they didn't give a definitive answer to the prostration issue that they raised. Dec 24, 2014 at 19:02
  • What is Jewish God
    – kouty
    Jun 19, 2021 at 19:36

1 Answer 1


As far as I'm aware the only concern Rabbinic Jews need to have regarding prostrating for Sigd is that we have a halakha/Biblical law not to prostrate on any stones outside of the Temple.

Rabbi Mordikhai Eliyahu rules: From the verse "and the decorated stone do not let be prostrated upon in your land" (Leviticus 26:1) we learn that the Torah forbids us to prostrate with hands and feet spread out on a stone floor. It is forbidden even if we intend to worship properly and not for avodah zarah. The Biblical prohibition is limited to the prostration with hands and feet outspread while his face touches the ground). However Rabbi Mordikhai Eliyahu permits the bending-down (k'ri'ah) (as in the prayer of the Shemoneh Esreh).

Source: http://www.alsadiqin.org/en/index.php/Halachic_Rulings_and_Modern_Practice

So if one wants to celebrate Sigd I would advise them to prostrate on a surface not made of stone, or bring a prayer rug. Prayer rugs have a long history in Jewish worship as both a respectful place to sit, and as acting as a barrier between you and the stone to allow for full prostration.

...All the Jews in Spain, the west, Babylonia, and Eretz Yisrael, are accustomed to light lamps in the synagogue and spread mats over the floor to sit on. In European communities, they sit on chairs.

וְנוֹהֲגִין כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל בִּסְפָרַד וּבַמַּעֲרָב בְּשִׁנְעָר וּבְאֶרֶץ הַצְּבִי לְהַדְלִיק עֲשָׁשִׁיּוֹת בְּבָתֵּי כְּנֵסִיּוֹת וּלְהַצִּיעַ בְּקַרְקָעָן מַחְצְלָאוֹת כְּדֵי לֵישֵׁב עֲלֵיהֶם. וּבְעָרֵי אֱדוֹם יוֹשְׁבִין בָּהּ עַל הַכִּסְאוֹת:

Source: Rambam's Mishneh Torah, Laws of Tefilah and Priestly Blessing - 11:5

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