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Chapter 23: 1-3
Reading the Torah

1. When the Torah scroll is removed from the ark and carried to the platform on which it is read, it should be carried on the northern side of the synagogue - i.e., to the right side of the person carrying it. When it is returned to the ark, it should be carried on the south side of the synagogue.

The Torah scroll should be carried in one's right hand. (It is a mitzvah for all those whom the Torah scroll passes to accompany it to the platform on which it is read.)

2. A person called to receive an aliyah, should wrap himself in a tallis. (See Chapter 9, Law 11.) He should proceed to the reading platform using the shortest path possible, and return to his place via the longer way. If both ways are equidistant, he should walk to his right when going to the platform, and to his left when descending.

Customarily, a person called to the Torah waits next to the platform on which the Torah is read until the person receiving the following aliyah completes the blessing after the Torah reading. He descends before the next person begins reciting the blessings.

3. [Before reciting the blessing, the person called to the Torah] opens the Torah scroll, glances at the place where the Torah reading will begin, holds the scroll open* with both hands (see the following law), closes his eyes, and recites Borchu es Ado-noi ham'voroch. He should recite the blessing out loud so that all the congregation will hear and respond Boruch Ado-noi ham'voroch l'olom vo'ed.

* {In some communities, it is customary to recite this blessing while the Torah scroll is closed.}

If the congregation did not hear the person recite the blessing, even if they heard the reader answer, they should not respond together with him. Rather, after the reader completes this response, they should answer "Amen."*

* {The Mishnoh Beruroh 57:1 writes that this is a very common mistake. Thus, those who recite Borchu in a low tune are responsible for causing the public to err. However, if Borchu is recited loud enough for ten people to hear, the entire congregation may respond: Boruch Ado-noi ham'voroch l'olom vo'ed even though they did not hear Borchu themselves (Bior Halachah).}

After the congregation responds Boruch Ado-noi ham'voroch l'olom vo'ed, the person receiving the aliyah should repeat the same response (See Chapter 15, Law 10) and recite the blessing asher bochar bonu.... The congregation responds "Amen." He removes his left hand and holds the Torah scroll with his right hand alone while the Torah is being read.

As the reader reads the passage out loud, he should read together with him in a hushed tone. The reader should not begin until the congregation has completed reciting "Amen."

The entire congregation should concentrate attentively on the Torah reading. When the reading is completed, the person receiving the aliyah takes the Torah scroll with his left hand as well, rolls it closed, and recites the final blessing.

   Reading the Torah
Paragraphs 4-7
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Halacha-Yomi, Copyright (c) 1999 Project Genesis, Inc.



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