12 10, 2020

Cloth Covering on the Shulchan During Keriat HaTorah

October 12th, 2020|Keriat HaTorah, Orach Chayim, Sefer Torah|

QUESTION

Chicago, IL

Does a shulchan require a cloth covering for when the Torah is being read? Or can the Torah be read directly on wood?

ANSWER

No, a cover is not strictly needed. The Gemara talks about it being put down directly on a chair or the like. See Megillah 26b, Shulchan Arukh YD 282:12 (and the Tur/Beit Yosef there).

To clarify, if it is read directly on the wood, then the bimah becomes a tashmish kedushah, not just a tashmish DeTashmish. This is a larger discussion if it was only used […]

9 10, 2020

Rolling Sefer Torah on Shabbat in Preparation for Yom Tov

October 9th, 2020|Keriat HaTorah, Orach Chayim, Prohibitions, Sefer Torah, Yom Tov|

QUESTION

Baltimore, MD

Is there an issue with rolling sifrei Torah on Shabbat in preparation for Yom Tov? Would the tircha detzibura override any hachanah or quasi-hachanah concerns?

ANSWER

Well, someone could always get to shul early on Yom Tov morning, so not really tircha detzibura. But if you read (not keriah, just read like from a chumash) from the section you rolled it to, then you are using it on Shabbat. You can even point out to someone some interesting feature, like how the days are each a separate paragraph. […]

7 10, 2020

Unrolling the Entire Sefer Torah on Simchat Torah

October 7th, 2020|Keriat HaTorah, Orach Chayim, Sefer Torah|

QUESTION

Maryland, USA

I see a lot of non-Orthodox shuls have a practice of unrolling the Torah entirely on Simchat Torah (I think this started with the Renewal movement). Is this a kavod to the Torah or it a bizayon to the Torah? Are there any halakhic issues with this practice?

ANSWER

Regarding holding the entire Torah open – the first and primary concern that I would have is the issur to hold the klaf of the sefer Torah directly with your hands, based on Shabbat 14a, that a person cannot hold a sefer […]

27 09, 2020

A Woman Holding the Sefer Torah During Kol Nidrei

September 27th, 2020|Orach Chayim, Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur, Sefer Torah, Tefillah, Women|

QUESTION

Brooklyn, NY

May a women hold one of the two sifrei Torah during Kol Nidrei? Neither person is on the bimah and they will be 8 or so feet away from the bimah, for Covid-19 reasons.

ANSWER

Should be fine, but I would make sure that there is a third man standing in front or whatever, and it’s clear that the three men are the beit din.

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