The Muslim Prayer Rug Should Not Be Used In A Jewish Synagogue

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The Muslim Prayer Rug Should Not Be Used In A Jewish Synagogue

In the Responsa of the Rosh, Klal 5, Siman 2 it states:

That which you have asked in the matter of the small rug (or mat) that is called in Arabic, Sagada, in which it is the manner of the Muslims to pray upon it and it has upon it a black weight image; is it permissible to hang it up in a synagogue by the side of the Heichal {where Torah scrolls are stored} with one rug on one side and the other one on the other side and to pray opposite it; and even if no one of Israel heaven forbid has any intent to pray for a forbidden matter; this matter I have asked about it and investigated it and it has been clarified to me that they are accustomed to prohibit this here in Tulitala to leave such a rug in the synagogue to sit upon it and all the more so to hang it by the side of the Heichal. For they say that this black shape that is made on it, is the form of the place that they go to celebrate their festivals in their land. And there are those that say that it has the form of {the idol} Markolis and it is their manner to pray upon it and kneel upon it in their prayers. They also told me: For this reason they call the rug Sagada, because they bow upon it. And since this is so, it appears to me that it is forbidden to hang it up in the synagogue entirely and all the more so by the sides of the Heichal and one has to take it out of the Synagogue in order that no memory of it remains in the synagogue. For what purpose do we have to leave such a thing in our synagogue, which is ready and prepared for their prayer? And it is not fitting for any man of Israel to make a controversy about this in order to leave such a rug in the synagogue and all who transgress this leaves the straight path to an evil path and is fit to be chastised. What is fitting in my eyes I have commanded to be written and have signed it.

Asher son of Rabbi Yechiel z”l

Rabbi Yosef Karo (author of Shulchan Aruch) accepts the words of the Rosh (Rabbi Asher son of Rabbi Yechiel) as halacha, in Avkat Rochel, Siman 63. He also claims that Rambam would accept this ruling but based on separate reasoning. But in Siman 66 of Avkat Rochel we see the Rambam’s reason when taken by itself is not accepted. That is to say, it is really the opinion of the Rosh (Rabbi Asher son of Rabbi Yechiel) which Rabbi Karo accepts as halacha.

Perhaps not being aware of the words of the Rosh, the secular Ministry of Education in Israel took Jewish children to sit and even bow on such rugs in a Muslim Mosque in the name of Pluralism.

This took place on March 16 2017 – 18 of Adar 5777

Jewish Kids being taken to a Moslem Prayer Rug in a Mosque
Jewish Kids being taken in the misguided name of Pluralism to a trip to a mosque where they sat and even bowed on the rug. The picture was provided to Arutz 20 in a story written by Raphael Levi. It took place in Caesaria. A complaint was offered by התנועה למדינה יהודית

Below is the original Hebrew words of the Rosh if one wishes to check the accuracy of my translation

מה ששאלת בענין מחצלת קטנה הנקראת סגאדה בלשון ערבי, שדרך ישמעאלים להתפלל עליה ויש בה כמו צורת משקל שחור, אם מותר לתלותה בבית הכנסת לצד ההיכל, אחד מכאן ואחד מכאן, ולהתפלל כנגדה. ואף על פי שחלילה וחס לשום אדם אחד מישראל להתפלל בשום כונה לדבר אסור. דבר זה שאלתי בעבורו וחקרתי עליו, ונתברר לי שנהגו איסור בכאן, בטוליטלא, להניח מחצלת כזו בבית הכנסת כדי לישב עליה, כל שכן לתלותה בצד ההיכל. לפי שאומרים שאותה צורה שחורה העשויה בה היא צורת המקום שהולכים לחוג לשם בארצם. וגם יש אומרים שיש בה צורת מרקוליס, ודרכם להתפלל עליה ולכרוע עליה’ בתפלתם. ועוד אמרו לי: מפני זה קורין למחצלת סגאדה, לפי שסוגדין עליה. וכיון שכן, נראה לי שאסור לתלותה בבית הכנסת כלל, כל שכן בצדי ההיכל, וצריך להוציאה מבית הכנסת כדי שלא ישאר לה שום זכר בבית הכנסת. כי מה לנו להניח בבית הכנסת שלנו דבר כזה, שהוא מוכן ומזומן לתפלתם? ואין ראוי לשום אדם מישראל לערער על זה, כדי להניח מחצלת כזו בבית הכנסת; וכל העובר על זה הוא נוטה מדרך ישרה לדרך רעה וראוי ליסרו. הנראה בעיני צויתי לכתוב וחתמתי עליו. אשר בן ה”ר יחיאל ז”ל.


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