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QUESTION

New York, NY

When taking an aliyah from one’s seat and not standing next to the ba’al korei, should the oleh read the text from their chumash? Or is it better to just stand there and listen intently?

ANSWER

I don’t see any (halakhic) benefit in reading from the chumash. I actually think it is worse if it disconnects you from the connection to the reading itself.

Not looking in the Sefer Torah is based on the discussions around a blind person, and ultimately relies on the assumption that either:

  1. It’s not about the ba’al korei being your shaliach; each of you has a separate job: you to make the berakhah, him to read, or
  2. It is, but he can be your shaliach even if you are not in a position to do so yourself.

If it is 1., then it doesn’t matter (that much) if you are reading inside a chumash or not, although you still should be connected to the reading that you just made the berakhah on. If it is 2., then you absolutely cannot do something that will disconnect you from the reading of the ba’al korei.

So, if the reading of the chumash in some way focuses you on the chumash and decreases your connection to the keriah of the ba’al korei, you definitely should not do it. If it increases your connection to the reading, you definitely should do it.