Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Placing a siddur atop a chumash


May I elevate a siddur by putting a siddur or chumash beneath it, to aid my davening?

One may never place a siddur or gemara atop a chumash; one may not even place a book of navi (Prophets) atop a chumash. This applies even when doing so temporarily, as in the case of cleaning up a room. [Inclusion in the same bound volume is acceptable according to most authorities, though.]

The above applies even if one stacks these books to enable davening. Even using one siddur to elevate another siddur is prohibited, for this is a function more suited to a block of wood or similar object. Similarly, one may not use a siddur as a bookmark for another siddur.

We treat our sifrei kodesh [sacred texts] with honour, and so give honour to the Torah they contain.

(Megilah 27a; Machzor Vitry 427; Tosafot Bava Batra 13b madbik; Sefer Chasidim 141; Derishah Yoreh Deah 282:5; Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah 282:19; Taz Yoreh Deah 282:13; Pischei Teshuvah Yoreh Deah 282:17; Mishneh Halachos 12:216)

המצפה לישועה,


  1. what's the source for not placing a printed siddur on top of a printed book of tanach when the siddur contains pesukim as well?

  2. Hi Melech,
    All of the sources I mention, starting with Megilah 27a, view a scroll/book which includes texts of varying holiness as though it was a combination of separate segments, not a composite. In other words, a siddur containing pirkei tehillim as well as tefillos is viewed as a book of tehillim and a book of tefillos. The only reason this is not a halachic problem is that it is considered "impossible", in the words of the gemara, to include the multiple parts together in a way that will satisfy the hierarchy of kedushah.

    Therefore: Where it is possible to satisfy the hierarchy, as in a case of separate books, we are required to do so.