The Rama (Mapa to Orach Chayim 98:1):

ואסור לאדם לנשק בניו הקטנים בב״ה כדי לקבוע בלבו שאין אהבה כאהבת המקום ברוך הוא

and one is prohibited from kissing his young children in a synagogue, in order to set in his heart that there is no love like the love of God

By that logic, one wouldn't be permitted to kiss anyone in a synagogue. Nonetheless, I see many people do so. Many a chasid kisses the hand of his rabbi; many a S'pharadi kisses his own hand after shaking another's, seemingly as a sign of affection for the other.

Does anyone explicitly extend the Rama from one's young children to other people? Or does anyone explicitly restrict the Rama to one's young children? I'm especially interested in any source that says that the Rama does or does not apply to either of the two examples I mentioned.


2 Answers 2


In sefardi communities, it is very common for parents to kiss their children, and for men to kiss each other, e.g., as congratulations after an alyah laTorah. That surprised me and I had looked up the halacha.

R Ari Enkin writes here on the topic and explains it according to the Kaf Hachaim ruling

It is permitted, however, to kiss the hand of one's parent or rabbi should that be the local custom, as doing so is a sign of honor and respect rather than affection (Yechave Daat 4:12, Kaf Hachaim 151:6, Or L'tzyion 2:45:35, Ishei Yisrael 11:footnote 64). In fact, the practice of kissing the hand of an elder in the synagogue is one which dates back to Talmudic times (Avoda Zara 17a; Rashi). As such, we see that giving a kiss in a religious context is often more of a ceremonial gesture than an affectionate one.

According to a number of authorities, the prohibition against kissing in the synagogue applies exclusively to kissing one's children and not to others. This is because the feelings that one has for one's children are unlike those for any other person (Kaf Hachaim, OC 98:10) [...] Conversely, kissing any other person following an aliya or other synagogue honor, as is the custom in many Sefardic congregations, would be permissible according to this approach (Ben Ish Chai; Vayikra 11)

See the original for further details

I remember reading (in R Moshe's biography I believe) that R Moshe Feinstein used to kiss his grand-children in shul as he held that the prohibition applied only to direct children.

R Chaim Cohen writes further that

R’ Avraham Yitzchak Kook (Orach Mishpat OC 22) writes that this prohibition applies to kissing other family members and friends, too.

The Ben Ish Chai (Vayikra 11) writes that while one shouldn’t kiss one’s young children in Shul, the sefardi minhag of kissing the hand of a Talmid Chacham is commendable because it is done out of respect rather than personal affection. Likewise, one may kiss one’s father or Rabbi after being called up for an aliyah where that is the accepted practice (See Kaf Hachaim OC 151:6). R’ Ovadia Yosef (Yechave Daas 4:12) explains that showing them kavod is a form of honouring Hashem, just as one must stand for them, even in Shul. One shouldn't kiss any other relatives who one isn't obligated to honour, however.

See also here and here for further views.


SEE HERE I will try to summarize some of the material quoted there:

Sefer Chasidim (255) Says one should not kiss his son in shul... He does not limit it to SMALL children.

Rav Kook in his Orach Mishpat (22) forbids kissing ANYONE in a shul. So too R' Ovadia Yosef in Yechave Daas (4:22).

Rav Shalom Meshash in Shemesh Umagen O.C. 1:39 Says that one may not kiss for the sake of a greeting, like a "good shabbos kiss", but for Honor, as some sefardim do when someone finishes his Aliyah to the Torah is permitted since this is not a kiss of affection but rather one of honor.

R' Ben-Tzion Aba Shaul in Ohr L'Tzion 2:45:55 permits kissing for a Shabbos greeting, as he also does not consider this a kiss of affection but rather for honor.

Kissing on the hand is permitted by most poskim as it is also not done for affection but for honor.

You must log in to answer this question.

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