Answers

  1. Bowing to people as a gesture of respect is perfectly okay. Abraham bowed to his guests (Genesis 18:2), the brothers bowed to Joseph (Genesis 42:6) and Moses bowed to his father-in-law (Exodus 18:6). So if Tae Kwan Do bowing is nothing more than a gesture of respect toward others, I see no problem with it. If however, they are bowing to an object or the room that would be forbidden.

    Why then in the Purim episode did Mordechai refuse to bow to Haman? The Midrash answers that Haman claimed divine powers for himself. He even went so far as to attach an idolatrous icon to his clothing. Under these circumstances, bowing to him was tantamount to bowing to an idol.

    Sources:

    • Rashi on Megillat Esther 3:2

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team