Lying and sleeping on back/front


Lying and Sleeping on one’s back/front:[1]

It is great[2] prohibition for a man to sleep in a “Prakdan” position. This means that a man may not sleep lying on his back or lying on his front.[3] Rather one is to sleep slightly towards the side.[4]



May one lie on his back or front is he is simply relaxing, and does not plan to sleep in the position?[5]

No. The prohibition applies even if one is simply lying down without intent to sleep.


May one lie on a recliners chair?[6]

Yes. The Prakdan prohibition only applies when one is lying flat on his back.


Does the above prohibition apply even when lying on a hard surface, such as a bench or the floor?[7]



May a woman sleep in a Prakdan position?



Are male children to be educated not to sleep in a Prakdan position?

Some Poskim[8] write it is proper to begin education children in this matter from the age of 9


May one awaken a person who is sleeping on his back or front?[9]

Yes. Doing so is not considered “Gezel Sheina”.


[1] Admur 63/1; Michaber Even Haezer 23/3; Kitzur SHU”A 71/5; M”B 239/6; Brachos 13b

[2] Wording of Kitzur and M”B ibid

[3] Admur ibid; Michaber 63/1; M”B ibid; Kitzur ibid; Rambam 2/2

The reason: This is forbidden due to that it can lead one to have an erection [Admur ibid; Michaber Even Haezer ibid; Rambam Issurei Biyah 21/19; Elya Raba 63/1] and lead to Zera Levatal. [see Admur Basra 3/10; Kama 3/22]

Other opinions: The above follows the opinion of the Rambam. However Rashi ibid explains that it is forbidden to lie on one’s back because it can lead to having a visible erection which is embarrassing to the person. Thus Rashi holds that it is permitted to lie on one’s front and the reason of prohibition is not due to any prohibition involved in having an erection, but due to it being shameful to the person. Vetzaruch Iyun on Michaber Even Haezer ibid which only mentions lying on the back as the prohibition, while in 63/1 he defines “Prakdan” as either with the back or front lying on the bed. This contradiction is also found in Rambam between Hilchos Shema 2/2 which mentions both and Issurei Biyah 21/19 which only mentions lying on back. See Shraga Hameir 8/49

[4] Admur ibid based on Gemara ibis

[5] Implication of Admur ibid; M”B ibid; Shraga Hameir 8/49; Dvar Yisrael 3/137; See Piskeiy Teshuvos 239/8

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule the prohibition only applies while one is sleeping, and not when one is simply relaxing. [Salmas Chaim 226; Az Nidbaru 6/50; implication of Rashi ibid; See also Peir Hador 143 in which the Rambam writes “I lie Prakdan out of relaxation”.]


[7] Salmas Chaim 226

[8] Salmas Chaim 226

[9] Salmas Chaim 226

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