Sunday, 16 January 2022

Torah On Display

Question: I am always confused as to how exactly to do hagbah and so always refuse to do it if asked. Is there a particular way to open the Torah and turn?

Answer: The Gemara (Megilla 32a) teaches that the honour of gelilah is equal to all of the other honours. The Shulchan Aruch (OC 147:1) adds that this honour is typically auctioned to the highest bidder. The Mishna Berura (147:5) writes that this applies to the way we do hagbah today, and notes that it is no longer treated this way. Ramban (Devarim 27:26) writes very strongly about the importance of performing the mitzva of hagbah and gelilah properly.

The Magen Avraham (134:3) quotes Maseches Sofrim (14:14) which writes that the Torah should be opened three columns and shown to everyone as there is a mitzva for everyone to see and bow towards it. The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (23:25) and R’ Betzalel Stern (Betzel Hachachma 5:54) write that it should specifically be opened three columns. The Mishna Berura (134:8) writes that one capable of safely opening it more should do so. The seam connecting the pages should be in the middle (See Shulchan Aruch OC 147:3; Aruch Hashulchan OC 147:13).

The Mishna Berura (134:9) adds that one should turn in a clockwise direction. One should turn slowly, allowing everyone to see the Torah.

In conclusion, one should open the Sefer Torah at least three columns, and turn slowly in a clockwise direction, allowing everyone to see the writing.

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