Abraham Bowing

May 4, 2022 | by Rabbi Pinchas Waldman

When the three angels came to Abraham posing as guests, he bowed before them. He did the same before the Hittites when he purchased a burial site for Sarah. Isn’t bowing a form of idolatry?

The Aish Rabbi Replies

Thank you for raising the interesting point. Abraham’s bowing was a form of greeting or politeness and did not constitute worship. Bowing is forbidden only when there is an intention of worship. It is also forbidden to give the appearance of worshiping by bowing when there is an idol in front of you (Shulchan Aruch Y.D. 150:2).

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