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Browse Divrei Torah: Kissing in the Bet Kinesset
Is it permitted to kiss a friend or a relative after they receive an aliya?

It is not permitted to kiss one’s sons in the Bet Kinesset and to show them love, because one must always display a greater love for Hashem within the walls of the Bet Kinesset. Therefore, one may not kiss his relative or friend in a Bet Kinesset for any reason, because there is no difference to show affection for a son, than to show affection for a friend.

However, the tradition is clear that a son kisses the hand of the father and the student kisses the hand of the rabbi even in a Bet Kinesset. This is done out of fear and respect, as the rabbis tell us, “fear your rabbis like you fear Hashem.” The kissing of the hand is not a show of affection in any way, and is therefore permitted.

If one encounters an individual who is not aware of this halacha, and after an aliya is approached by this individual who is poised to kiss him, it is forbidden to embarrass him (which in halacha is equivalent to killing him). Instead, one should give one’s cheek and allow oneself to be kissed (but not actively kiss). Beezrat Hashem, more people will become familiar with the halachot of the sanctity of the Bet Kinesset, and this custom many partake in, will come to an end.
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