Chapter: 22 – Several Laws of Torah Reading

01 – The Establishment of Torah Reading

The mitzvah to learn Torah is a basic commandment, on which all the other mitzvot depend. There is no specific time for Torah study; instead, it is a mitzvah to learn Torah at all times, as it is written (Joshua … Continue reading

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02 – The Torah Scroll

The Torah must be read from a kosher scroll. This means that it must be a Torah scroll written for the sake of Heaven, with ink on parchment, just as the first Torah scroll was written by Moshe Rabbeinu, according … Continue reading

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03 – Taking Out the Torah and Returning It to the Ark

It is customary to recite verses of scripture when opening the ark, when the Torah is escorted to the bimah (pulpit), and when it is brought back to the ark, as printed in the siddurim – each ethnic group according … Continue reading

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04 – The Lifting of the Torah Scroll (Hagbahah) and Its Return to the Ark

The Chachamim established that the Torah scroll be lifted and its letters displayed to the whole congregation. The original minhag was to lift the Torah before the reading (Masechet Sofrim 14:13-14), which is the custom of Sephardim and a few … Continue reading

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05 – The Torah Reader

The Torah is read with cantillation signs, that is, in a melody which suits the meaning of the words being read. Since the cantillation signs are not written in the Torah scroll, the reader must learn the signs that accompany … Continue reading

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06 – The One Who Is Called Up and the Torah Blessings

Although every person recites Birkot HaTorah in the morning, the Chachamim established that those called up to the Torah recite the blessings again before and after the reading, so as to instill a feeling of Divine reverence and awe in … Continue reading

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07 – The Order of the People Called Up

The Chachamim established that a Kohen is given the honor of the first aliyah, a Levi the second, and a Yisrael the third. The reason for this enactment is “in the interests of peace,” so there will not be any … Continue reading

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08 – The Congregation’s Conduct During Torah Reading

It is forbidden to leave the synagogue from the beginning of the Torah reading until its conclusion. Even someone who already heard the Torah reading is forbidden to leave. If one does leave, he offends the respect of the Torah. … Continue reading

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09 – An Individual and a Congregation Who Did Not Hear the Torah Reading

Torah reading was established for the community as a whole, and does not apply to each and every individual (Ramban Megillah 5a). Therefore, a person who had to leave in the middle of the Torah reading and missed part of … Continue reading

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