Chapter 3: The Seder of bringing the Torah to the Bima

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Chapter 3: The Seder of bringing the Torah to the Bima

1. The prayer of Keil Erech Apayim:[1]

The prayer of Keil Erech Apayim is recited on Mondays and Thursdays prior to taking out the Sefer Torah.[2]

Fast day: Some[3] are accustomed to reciting Keil Erech Apayim prior to Kerias Hatorah on fast days, even if it does not fall on Monday or Thursday. Some[4] are accustomed to reciting it even by Mincha. Practically however, the widespread custom is to only recite the prayer by Shacharis of Mondays and Thursdays prior to opening the Aron, and not on a fast day that falls on a different weekday.[5] It is likewise not recited by Mincha of a fast day even if it falls on Monday or Thursday.[6]   

Standing:[7] The prayer of Keil Erech Apayim is to be recited standing.[8]

Days on which it is not recited:[9] The prayer of Keil Erech Apayim is to be recited even on days that Tachanun is omitted, with exception to the list of days to be mentioned.[10] It is recited even on Erev Yom Tov [and Isru Chag[11], with exception to Erev Pesach, as explained next].[12] It is recited even if there is a Bris taking place in Shul [or if a Chasan is present[13]]. This is with exception to the following days: Erev Pesach[14]; Rosh Chodesh, Chanukah, Purim Katan and Purim Gadol on both the 14th and 15th, and on Tishe Beav.[15] [Practically, however, the widespread Chabad custom today is not to recite it on any day that Tachanun is omitted. Customarily, it is thus omitted if a Chasan is present or if a Bris is taking place in Shul.[16] However, the Rebbe’s personal custom was to say Keil Erech Apayim even on days that Tachanun is omitted, with exception to the list of days brought above.[17] Likewise, it is quoted that the Rebbe directed not to change from the above-mentioned ruling to say Keil Erech Apayim even on days that Tachanun is omitted, with exception to the days listed above.[18] Some Rabbanim[19] profess following the original custom, while others[20] say that the latter custom is to be followed.]

2. Opening the Aron and removing the Sefer Torah:[21]

A. Direction of opening the curtain-Paroches:[22]

Some Poskim[23] rule that the curtain is to be opened from left to right.  Other Poskim[24], however, rule that it makes no difference to which direction the Paroches is moved to, and thus some are accustomed to move it to the right while others are accustomed to move it to the left. Practically, the widespread Chabad custom today is to open it from right to left.[25] Likewise, the widespread worldly custom today is to open it from right to left.[26] Nonetheless, if there is some difficulty in opening it from right to left, then one is to open it from left to right.[27]

 

B. Vayehi Binsoa/Brich Shmei/Ata Hareisa/Hashem Hashem:[28]

When the Aron is opened, one recites Vayehi Binsoa Haron, and the Zoharic[29] prayer of Brich Shmei. [On Shabbos and Yom Tov, one recites the verses of Ata Hareisa, prior to Vayehi Binsoa.[30] On Yom Tov, the prayer of Hashem Hashem and Yehi Ratzon is also recited. See chapter 15 Halacha 1F for the full details of this matter.]

On which days is it said?[31] Some Poskim[32] write that the prayer of Brich Shmei is only to be said by Mincha of Shabbos. Other Poskim[33] rule it is to only be recited by Shacharis of Shabbos [and by Mincha]. Other Poskim[34] rule it is to only be recited on Shabbos and Yom Tov [and Rosh Chodesh[35]] and so is the Sephardi custom. Other Poskim[36] rule that it is to be said every time the Torah is removed for Kerias Hatorah, even during the week, on Monday’s and Thursday’s, or Yom Tov, or on fast days, and so is the widespread custom of Ashkenazi Jewry and so is the Chabad custom.

Concentration and auspiciousness: One is to be very careful to have extreme concentration upon saying the prayer of Brich Shmei.[37] The opening of the Aron and recital of Brich Shmei is a very auspicious time for prayer from the depths of the heart, and one is guaranteed to have all or at least some of one’s prayers answered at that time.[38]

When to remove the Sefer Torah: Some are accustomed to remove the Sefer Torah at the conclusion of the paragraph of Vayehi Binsoa, prior to beginning Brich Shmei, and hold the Sefer Torah stationary by the open Aron while the prayer of Brich Shmei is being said.[39] The widespread custom, however, is not to remove the Sefer Torah from the Aron until the conclusion of Brich Shmei.[40] This is likewise the widespread custom of Chassidim, including Chabad Chassidim.[41]

Until when may the prayer be recited?[42] One who was unable to say Brich Shmei while the Aron was opened, may reciting it until the Sefer Torah is opened to be read from. [One who began saying it at this time, may continue saying it until he finishes the paragraph even after the Sefer Torah is opened.[43] If one could not begin saying it prior to this time, then it may be said during Hagbah, when the Sefer Torah is showed to the congregation.[44]]

One who is in middle of Davening:[45] One may not recite Vayehi Binsoa or Brich Shmei in the midst of Davening, past Baruch Sheamar. [However, if one is holding parts of Davening in which speaking is permitted, such as one who is still in the midst of Tachanun, then he is to stop and recite the prayer of Brich Shmei.[46] Nonetheless, this is not an obligation.[47]]

Bowing:[48] Some are accustomed to slightly bow upon saying the words “Desagidna Kamei,” as otherwise it appears like one’s statement is a lie. Other Poskim[49], however, have discouraged this. [Practically, the widespread Chabad custom is not to do so.]

Standing: See Halacha 4!

 

Is one who already Davened, or plans to do so later, required to recite Brich Shmei when the Aron is opened?[50]

No. This especially applies if he is in the midst of Torah study.

 

The great auspiciousness of the time of Brich Shmei and the opening of the Aron:[51]

The following was related by the Rebbe Rashab in name of his grandfather the Tzemach Tzedek, in the name of his grandfather the Alter Rebbe, in name of the Baal Shem Tov:

Chambers of Torah are opened: At the time of the saying of Brich Shmei while the Aron is open the heavenly chambers of Torah are opened and shed light into mind and heart.

Hashem fulfills one’s requests: The Alter Rebbe related to me [i.e. the Tzemach Tzedek] that he received from Mezritch in name of the Baal Shem Tov that at the time that the Aron is opened, even if a simple Jew says the prayer of Brich Shmei with true faith and from the depths of his heart, then Hashem fulfills his request, or entirely or partially. The Rebbe Maharash related on this: The world of Aron Bris Hashem is opened during this time, in which stand the strength and Mesirus Nefesh of all the Sifrei Torah that were written from all generations. The angel Michael is present at the time and when he hears a Jew say from the depth of his heart “Brich Shmei” he asks for mercy from G-d that the persons request be fulfilled.

 

Tikkun for Pegam Habris:[52]

The prayer of Brich Shmei is a Tikkun for Pegam Habris, and is therefore to be said with great concentration.

 

C. Who is to do Pesicha and remove the Sefer Torah [i.e. Hotzah]?[53]

The removal of the Sefer Torah, referred to as Pesicha or Hotzah Vehachnasa, is not the exclusive right of the Chazan.[54] In many areas, the custom is to sell the honor of Pesicha to the highest bidder. The Sefer Torah is removed by whoever was allocated the honor of Pesicha, and is then handed to the Chazan. Alternatively, the Chazan may directly remove the Sefer Torah from the Aron, if no one else has been allocated the honor. [It is customary to honor a Chasan during Sheva Brachos with this honor.[55]]

One whose wife is pregnant:[56] It is a Segula for easy birth for the husband to endeavor to perform Pesicha and remove the Sefer Torah when his wife enters her ninth[57] month of pregnancy [until she gives birth[58]].[59] [This Segula includes closing the doors of the Aron after the Sefer Torah is removed.[60] Some write that one is to also say a special prayer during Pesicha on behalf of his wife.[61] Practically, one is only to do the above Segula if it can be done without drawing too much attention to the fact that he is habitually performing Pesicha.[62] This Segula was advised by the Rebbe to certain individuals[63], although was omitted by the Rebbe from being published in a booklet of Minhagei Chabad relating to childbirth[64], hence implying that it is not meant to be a directive for all the public to follow.]

 

Must the person who did Pesicha also return the Sefer to the Aron?

No. See Chapter 11 Halacha 7H.

 

Minhag of the Rebbeim:[65]

It was customary in Lubavitch for the Rebbe to direct his sons to perform Pesichas Haaron. In the times of the Alter Rebbe, the Mittler Rebbe and his brothers would do Pesicha. When the Mittler Rebbe became Rebbe, the merit of Pesicha was handed to the Tzemach Tzedek. When the Tzemach Tzedek became Rebbe, all his sons would go for Pesichas Haaron. When the Rebbe Maharash became Rebbe, the Rebbe Rashab and his brother the Razah would go for Pesichas Haaron. When the Rebbe Rashab became Rebbe, the Rebbe Rayatz began doing Pesichas Haaron when he turned 15 years of age and was able to hold the Sefer Torah. 

 

The uniqueness of doing Pesicha and Hotzah:[66]

The time of Pesicha is very unique and is a Segula for a number of matters, as at that time the gates of heaven open. Gedolei Yisrael were particular to receive this honor.

 

D. Which Sefer Torah is one to remove

One is to remove the Sefer Torah that is rolled up to the correct portion of the reading in order so one not be required to roll the Sefer Torah to the right place after it is removed.[67] [For this purpose, the Gabbai is to prepare the Sefer Torah prior to Shacharis, and place it closest to the person upon opening the ark, in order so he does not need to bypass other Sifrei Torah in order to reach it. Initially, one should not bypass a Sefer Torah even for the sake of reaching a Sefer Torah that is more Mehudar Sefer Torah.[68]]

E. Removing two or more Sifrei Torah:

See Chapter 11 Halacha 5!

F. The law if one removed the wrong Sefer Torah:

If the wrong Sefer Torah was removed from the Aron [i.e. not rolled to the right Parsha], some Poskim[69]  rule that it is not to be replaced.[70] This applies even if one desires to remove a more Mehudar Sefer Torah, so long as the current one is Kosher.[71] Other Poskim[72], however, rule it is permitted for the Sefer Torah to be returned and have the correct one removed, due to Tircha Detzibura to have the wrong Sefer Torah rolled to the right place.[73] Practically, one is to be stringent like the first opinion to not replace the Sefer Torah and is rather to open it up and roll it to the correct Parsha.[74] Nevertheless, one who is lenient in a case of Tircha Detzibura does not need to be protested.[75]

Remembered prior to removing from Aron:[76] If one did not yet remove the Sefer Torah from the Aron even though it is already in his hands, it may be exchanged.

Placed Maftir on Bima instead of Rishon:[77] If on a day that one reads from two Sifrei Torah’s [i.e. Shabbos Rosh Chodesh], and one accidentally placed the Maftir Sefer Torah on the Bima instead of the Sefer Torah Torah Rishon, one may nevertheless replace it with the Sefer Torah Rishon.[78]

G. How to hold the Sefer Torah & Handing it to the Chazan:[79]

The Sefer Torah is to be held by one’s right side [with the front part of the scroll facing the people[80]]. This applies both to the Chazan, and to the person who removes the Torah from the ark to hand it to the Chazan. [Even one who is left-handed is to hold the Sefer Torah on his right side.[81] However, if he fears dropping the Sefer Torah, then he may hold it by his left.[82]]

Handing the Sefer Torah to the Chazan: [After the conclusion of Brich Shmei] the Chazan is to receive the scroll [with both hands[83]] and is then to hold it by his right side [with the front part of the scroll facing the people, as stated above.]

H. The crowns of the Sefer Torah:[84]

On Shabbos and Yom Tov, the custom is to place the crown onto the Sefer Torah when it is removed and carried to the Bima.

3. The prayers of Shema/Gadlu/Romemu/Al Hakol:[85]

After the Chazan receives the scroll [with both hands] he is to hold it by his right side [with the front part of the scroll facing the people[86]] and recite Gadlu.[87] [On Shabbos and Yom Tov, he is first to recite the verse of Shema Yisrael, Echad Leilokeinu, and then Gadlu.[88]] The Chazan is to slightly lift the Sefer Torah upon reciting Gadlu.[89] [The custom is for the Chazan to slightly turn his face towards the congregation while saying Gadlu.[90] However, some Poskim[91] rule that the Chazan is to face the Heichal while saying it.]

The prayers of the congregation:[92] The congregation recites the prayers of Romemu, and Av Harachamim as the Torah is being brought. Some also say the prayer of “Al Hakol Yisgadel” and practically, so is the widespread custom on Shabbos and Yom Tov, however not during the weekday.

 

Q&A

Is the congregation to recite Gadlu together with the Chazan?[93]

No. Gadlu is to be recited only by the Chazan. Nevertheless, those who are accustomed to reciting Gadlu together with the Chazan, do not need to be protested.

4. Bringing the Sefer Torah to the Bima:[94]

The direction:[95] The Chazan turns to face the congregation and brings the Sefer Torah to the Bima from his right side. This applies even if the left side is a shorter path to the Bima.

Standing: It is an obligation upon everyone to stand while the Sefer Torah is being brought to the Bima, as explained in Halacha 5!

Escorting the Sefer Torah:[96] It is a Mitzvah for those people whom the Sefer Torah passes in front of, to escort it to the Bima. [Likewise, the person who did Pesicha is to escort the Sefer Torah until the Bima.[97] However, those people of which the Sefer Torah does not pass in front of, are not required to come forward and escort the Sefer Torah.[98] Furthermore, if there are a lot of people present, there is no need to push to escort it to the Bima even if the Sefer Torah passes in front of you, and a slight escort suffices.[99] Those who do not escort the Sefer Torah are to turn themselves towards it and stare at it while it makes its way to the Bima.[100]]

Kissing the Sefer Torah:[101] The custom is to bring children to kiss the Sefer Torah in order to educate them in Mitzvos. [The children’s hands and face are to be clean when they kiss the Sefer Torah, and they are not have mucus or saliva coming out of their orifices.[102] Likewise, the custom is for those people whom the Sefer Torah passes in front of, to kiss the Sefer Torah.[103] One is to endeavor to kiss it with his mouth rather than simply touch it with his hand and then kiss his hand.[104] One is to endeavor to kiss the actual Sefer Torah by pressing the Paroches to the parchment, as opposed to pulling the Paroches away from the parchment, and only end up kissing the cloth.[105] One who is able to, is to hug the Sefer Torah with both hands and then kiss it.[106] Some are accustomed to say the verse of “Yinashkeihu Menishikos Pihu” upon kissing it and the verse of “Yimino Tichabkeini” upon hugging it.[107] Despite the above said, some Poskim[108] defend those who are accustomed to touch the cloth with their hand and then kiss the hand, rather than actually kiss the Sefer Torah. Practically, if one is unable to kiss it with his mouth, then he is to do as above and touch it with his hand and then kiss it.[109]]

Talking:[110] One is to beware not to talk at all while the Sefer Torah is being brought to the Bima, as this is a time of great Divine mercy.

The Keser:[111] The Keser of the Sefer Torah is not to be removed from the Sefer Torah until its rests on the Bima.

 

 

May the Sefer Torah be brought around the Shul, or to the women’s section, for them to kiss?

Some communities are accustomed to bringing the Sefer Torah to different areas of the Shul in order so people can kiss it.[112] The Poskim[113], however, protest this custom, as it is belittling to the Sefer Torah to carry it towards people and rather people are to come towards it. Likewise, the Poskim[114] negate bringing the Sefer Torah to the women’s section for them to kiss, and hence it is better not to start a new custom of bringing them the Sefer Torah.[115] As in all matters of Jewish law, all communities and Shuls are to turn to the community Rav and Posek prior to beginning any new custom in a Shul.

 

5. Standing when the Aron is open and the Sefer Torah is carried to the Bima:

When the Aron is opened, prior to the Sefer Torah being removed:[116] From the letter of the law, one is not required to stand when the ark is open, prior to the Sefer Torah being removed.[117] However, the custom of the world is to stand out of respect when the Aron is opened.[118] Practically, due to this custom, one is required to stand and may not act differently than the community.[119] However, if it is difficult for one to stand such as due to illness, or old age, then he may be seated until the Sefer Torah is removed.[120]

When the Sefer Torah is moving:[121] The congregation is obligated to stand when the Sefer Torah is carried from the Aron to the Bima. One is obligated to stand until the Sefer Torah rests on the Bima[122], or until it can no longer be seen by the person. [This applies even if one is in middle of learning or Davening.[123]] Some Poskim[124] rule that one who hears the bells of the moving Sefer Torah, is obligated to stand [and remain standing] even if he cannot see the Sefer Torah. [One who is in the midst of walking while the Sefer Torah is being carried in front of him, is to stop walking and stand stationary until the Sefer Torah passes from in front of him, or rests on the Bima.[125] If the person holding the Sefer Torah is behind him, then one should allow him to pass before him.[126]]

Standing during Kerias Hatorah: See Chapter 8 Halacha 6!

 

Q&A

Must one stand in front of a Pasul Sefer Torah?

Some Poskim[127] rule that one is required to stand even in front of a Pasul Sefer Torah. Other Poskim[128], however, rule that one is not required to stand in front of a Pasul Sefer Torah. Practically, it is best to be stringent and stand in front of it.[129]

 

6. The Bima:

The prayer of Visigaleh:[130] After the Sefer Torah is rested on the Bima the Chazan then says Visigaleh while the congregation together with the Chazan says “Atem Hadeveikim.”

The number of people:[131] There is to be a minimum of two people by the Bima during the reading [and so is the Sephardi custom]. [However, the old Ashkenazi custom is for there to be three people by the Bima; the Baal Korei, the Oleh, and the Gabbai.[132] This corresponds to the giving of the Torah on Sinai as the Gabbai is in place of G-d, and the Baal Korei is in place of Moshe, and the Olah is in place of the Jewish people.[133] Thus, if the Gabbai is receiving an Aliyah, then another person is to stand in place of the Gabbai, in order so there be three people by the Bima. Regarding this matter, it suffices for a child to stand near the Bima in a time of need.[134]]

Where the Olah and Baal Korei is to stand:[135] The Oleh is to stand to the right of the Bima, and the Baal Korei to the left.

Where the Gabbai is to stand:[136] There is a difference in custom recorded regarding if the Gabbai is to stand to the right or left of the Bima.[137] Practically, the widespread custom is for the Gabbai to stand by the right of the Bima, next to the Olah, hence having the Olah be in-between the Gabbai and Baal Korei.[138] However, the Chabad custom is for the Gabbai to stand to the left of the Bima, next to the Baal Korei, hence having the Baal Korei be in between the Gabbai and Olah.[139] Some are accustomed to have one person stand on each side of the Bima, for a total of four people by the Bima, in order to fulfill both approaches of the custom.[140] This can be fulfilled by having the Gabbai stand to the left of the Bima, and the previous Olah stand to the right of the Bima, as is usually done. [In the event that the Baal Korei was called for an Aliyah, then the previous Olah is to move to the other side of the Bima, if the Gabbai is accustomed to stand to the right of the Bima, unless there is someone already there.[141]]

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[1] Mateh Moshe 221 [prior to Kerias Hatorah]; Abudarham Seder Shacharis Shel Chol [as part of Monday and Thursday Tachanun]; Kol Bo 13 Midos Utechinos [As continuation of Tachanun]; Peri Eitz Chaim Shaar Kerias Sefer Torah 5 [As continuation of Tachanun]; Maharil “Bein Pesach Leshavuos”; Levush, brought in Kaf Hachaim 683:7, and P”M 683 M”Z 1 [said on Monday and Thursday]; Shaar Hakolel 11:14

[2] The reason: It is said prior to Kerias Hatorah as it asks forgiveness for having transgressed what we are to read in the Torah. [Mateh Moshe ibid] Others write the purpose of this prayer is to serve as a replacement for the long prayer of Vehu Rachum that is recited on Mondays and Thursday’s for those that come late to Shul. It thus has no relevance on days that the long Vehu Rachum is not recited. [Otzer Dinim ibid]

[3] Custom of Maharil and Rebbe Meir Shatz brought in Maharil “Between Pesach and Shavuos” p. 21; Implication of Arizal in Peri Eitz Chaim ibid and Mateh Moshe that it is recited “before Kerias Hatorah”

[4] Abudarham, brought in Likkutei Maharich 3:49

[5] Likkutei Maharich ibid; Otzer Dinim Uminhagim p. 16; Rav Asher Lemel Hakohen; Implication of Abudarham ibid which lists this prayer as part of the Tachanun of Mondays and Thursdays; Implication of Levush, brought in Kaf Hachaim 683:7, and of P”M 683 M”Z 1 that it is only said on a Monday and Thursday. [They state that during Chanukah this prayer is not said on Monday’s and Thursdays, hence clearly implying that it is never said on any other weekday irrelevant of Kerias Hatorah] 

The reason: As the purpose of this prayer is to serve as a replacement for the long prayer of Vehu Rachum that is recited on Mondays and Thursday’s for those that come late to Shul. It thus has no relevance on days that the long Vehu Rachum is not recited. [Otzer Dinim ibid]

[6] Likkutei Maharich ibid

[7] M”A 131:1; Kneses Hagedola 134:3; Olas Tamid 134:2; M”B 134:4; Kitzur SHU”A 22:10; Kaf Hachaim 134:4

[8] The reason: As this prayer is considered like the Selichos of Vehu Rachum which is added on Mondays and Thursdays and is recited while standing. [ibid]

[9] See Divrei Nechemia 131:9; Otzer Minhagei Chabad Tishreiy p. 166; Siddur of Rav Raskin; Koveitz Hearos Ubiurim 738:73; 743:78; 746:91; 915:88; 922:226

Background from Divrei Nechemia: The Divrei Nechemia 131:9 brings three opinions regarding the saying of Keil Erech Apayim:1) It is only omitted by a day that Hallel is recited or a day that has the status of a Yom Tov like Erev Pesach. [This is the opinion of the Rama 429:2] 2) It is omitted on every Erev Yom Tov and on Isru Chag. 3) Every day that Tachanun is omitted so is Lamnatzeiach. [So rules Peri Chadash 131] The Divrei Nechemia concludes that by Lamnatzeiach we rule like the third opinion, however by Keil Erech Apayim we rule like the opinion who rules it is to be recited. The Ketzos Hashulchan 25:1 rules that it is to be recited when a Chasan is present.

[10] Admur 429:12 “Throughout the month, although Tachanun is not recited, we do recite Keil Erech Apayim on Mondays and Thursdays.”; 602:4 “If there is a Bris between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, Tachanun is not recited, although (Keil Erech Apayim is recited)”; Siddur Admur “Erech Apayim is omitted on the following list of days..”; Implication of Rama 429:2; Darkei Moshe 602; Minhagim Tirana p. 167; Maharil Minhagei Chodesh Nissan; Divrei Nechemia 131:9; Kaf Hachaim 602:12; Ketzos Hashulchan 25:1; Sefer Haminhagim p. 13 quotes the ruling in Siddur ibid

Background of ruling of Admur: In the Shulchan Aruch [429:12; 602:4] Admur rules that Keil Erech Apayim is recited even on days that Tachanun is omitted, and so is likewise the ruling of Admur in his Siddur. [Some explain that Admur in 602:4 placed this ruling in parentheses being that it is not brought in previous Poskim in Shulchan Aruch. [Shulchan Menachem ibid footnote 2] Vetzaruch Iyun as it is brought by Admur in 429:12 without parentheses, and is likewise clearly implied from the Rama 429:2] 

[11] Implication of Admur 429:12; Siddur Admur omits Isru Chag

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that Keil Erech Apayim is omitted on Isru Chag.  [2nd opinion, and conclusion of Divrei Nechemia 131:9]

[12] Implication of Admur 429:12 “Erev Pesach is not like other days of Erev Yom Tov, as it itself is a holiday”; Siddur Admur omits Erev Yom Tov from days of omission; 1st opinion in Divrei Nechemia 131:9]; Mateh Efraim 624:14

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that Keil Erech Apayim is omitted on every Erev Yom Tov.  [2nd opinion, and conclusion of Divrei Nechemia 131:9]

[13] Ketzos Hashulchan 25:1

[14] Admur 429:12; Rama 429:2; Minhagim Tirana p. 167; Maharil Minhagei Chodesh Nissan

The reason: As Erev Pesach is not like other days of Erev Yom Tov, as it itself is a holiday [Admur ibid]

[15] Siddur Admur

[16] Sichas Bilti Mugah 6th Tishrei 1975 5, printed in Sichos Kodesh 4735 1:48-49, that the Rebbe equates Keil Erech Apayim with Lamnatzeiach , that it is to be omitted on days that Tachanun is omitted; Practical directive printed in Siddur Tehillas Hashem in editions from 1978 and onwards with the Rebbe’s approval [See Hearos Ubiurim 746:91 for the Maaneh Kesav Yad; See also Hiskashrus 86:18 footnote 6]; Article of Rav Leibal Groner in Hearos Ubiurim 915:88 that the Rebbe instructed for it to be omitted; See Shulchan Menachem 3:293; Glosses of Rav Raskin p. 165; Hiskashrus 438 p. 17;

The reason behind the Rebbe’s ruling: The Rebbe explains that the ruling in the Shulchan Aruch of Admur follows the ruling of the Rama that differentiates between the laws of Tachanun and that of Lamnatzeiach. However according to Admur in the Siddur that rules Lamnatzeiach is always omitted when Tachanun is not said then likewise Keil Erech Apayim is to be omitted in all days that Tachanun is not said. [Sichas Kodesh ibid, printed in Shulchan Menachem ibid] As for the reason why Keil Erech Apayim is omitted this is because it mentions sin, and we do not desire to mention sin on any day that Tachanun is omitted. [See Shaar Hakolel 36:2; Shulchan Menachem ibid footnote 5] The major question on this Sicha is that it contradicts the explicit ruling of Admur in the Siddur regarding Keil Erech Apayim. Some want to suggest that perhaps indeed the ruling in the Siddur is not from Admur. Others suggest that the Sicha is Bilti Mugah and hence unreliable; Vetzaruch Iyun. See Koveitz Hearos Ubiurim 738:73

[17] Glosses of Rav Raskin p. 165; Minhagei Melech p. 31; Rav Mondshine in Hearos Ubiurim 746; In Nissan 5748 the Rebbe was witnessed to say Keil Erech Apayim on Monday’s and Thursdays

[18] See Hearos Ubiurim 922:226 that Rav Y.L. Groner stated at the time of the Sicha that the Rebbe explicitly told him not to swerve from the ruling of the Siddur; See Hiskashrus 86:18 footnote 6 that the Rebbe told Rav Groner not to add the above statement to Sefer Haminhagim p. 13 which quotes the ruling of Admur in the Siddur ibid

[19] Rav Baruch Oberlander; Rav S.B. Levin

[20] Rav Raskin

[21] See Yalkut Kerias Hatorah [Chazak] p. 1324

[22] See Yalkut Kerias Hatorah [Chazak] p. 1328

[23] Derisha 651 and custom in Perisha 128:23 [However, in Perisha 128:23 he concludes that either custom is valid]; This follows the order of lighting the Chanukah Menorah, from left to right

[24] Perisha 128:23 brings the first custom and then writes a second custom that some open it from right to left like one writes, and concludes that either is valid [unlike what he writes in 651]; Ketzos Hashulchan 25:1

[25] Hiskashrus Minhagei Kerias Hatorah

[26] Leket Hakemach Hachadash 134:3; Custom of Munkatcher Rebbe in Darkei Chaim Veshalom 195

[27] Piskeiy Teshuvos 134 footnote 53

[28] Siddur Admur; All Poskim in coming footnotes; See Yesod Veshoresh Havoda 5:8; Igros Kodesh 3:149, printed in Shulchan Menachem 1:214; Piskeiy Teshuvos 134:112-14

Other opinions: Some Gedolei Yisrael were not accustomed to reciting the prayer of Brich Shemei due to issues they had with its Nussach. [Noda Beyehuda, brought in Mofeis Hador p. 61; See Nodah Beyehuda Y.D. 74; 93; Teshuvah Meahavah 26:110; Yabia Omer 5:8; Piskeiy Teshuvos 134:13 footnote 64]

[29] Zohar Vol. 2 p. 206, brought in M”A 282 [Omitted from Admur in his Shulchan Aruch, although recorded in Siddur]

[30] Tur end of 281; See Piskeiy Teshuvos 282:1

[31] See Piskeiy Teshuvos 134:12

[32] Ramaz, brought in Shaareiy Teshuvah 488:2

[33] M”A 282 in name of Arizal and Zohar “On Shabbos by Shacharis when the Aron is open one is to say Brich Shmei”; Peri Eitz Chaim 19; Shaar Hakavanos p. 73; Nagid Mitzvah 2 Shacharis of Shabbos 5 p. 130

[34] Kaf Hachaim 134:11 based on Arizal and Chida

[35] Rav Poalim 3 Sod Yesharim 8

[36] Siddur Admur; P”M 282 A”A 1 regarding fast day; Beir Heiytiv 282:1 in name of Arizal “Both on Shabbos and during the week” [Nagid Mitzvah ibid concludes that there is no prohibition to also say it during the week]; Shaareiy Teshuvah 488:2 that so is custom; M”B 134:13

[37] Yesod Veshoresh Havoda p. 102

[38] Likkutei Dibburim 2 Likkut 13:3 p. 309 [Hebrew]; Sefer Hasichos 5696 p. 49; See Chikrei Haminhagim 1:158

[39] Shaareiy Efraim 10:1; Siddur Yaavetz; Rav Poalim 3:8; Possible implication of Zohar Vayakhel p. 206; Igros Moshe 4:70-9 negates THIS implication from Zohar although concludes that so should be directed to one who asks

[40] Igros Moshe ibid that so is custom of world; Darkei Chaim Veshalom 196; Az Nidbaru 8:48 in name of Kaf Hachaim [Falagi]; Implication of wording in Siddur Ramak; Or Hachamah of Rav Chaim Vital; Mishnas Chassidim; Shacharis Deshabbos 9; Implication of Siddur Admur “When the Aron is opened one says Vayehi Binsoa and Brich Shmei.”; Rav Raskin in Siddur footnote 373

[41] See Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid footnote 56; Yalkut Kerias Hatorah p. 1326

[42] M”B 134:13 in name of Achronim; Piskeiy Teshuvos 134:12

[43] Piskeiy Teshuvos 134 footnote 57

[44] Pischeiy Shearim 10:1 in name of Elya Raba in name of Seder Hayom

[45] So rule regarding saying Vezos Habracha and the same would apply regarding Berich Shmei: Chaim Sheol 68; Kisei Rachamim 14:14; Kesher Gudal 11:21; Maharshag 3:52; Kaf Hachaim 134:20; Igros Kodesh 3:149, printed in Shulchan Menachem 1:214, in name of Rebbe Rayatz “It is obvious that since Admur did not record this in any area that we Chassidei Chabad are not to do so. One of the Temimim told me that indeed he heard from the Rebbe Rashab that one is to stop to recite Berich Shmei. I asked the Rebbe Rayatz yesterday and he said that this is not correct and that one is not to stop.”; Yabia Omer 5:8; Piskeiy Teshuvos 134:14

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that one should stop to recite Berich Shemei on Shabbos and fast day, but not on Mondays and Thursdays. [Birkeiy Yosef 134 in name of Kneses Hagedola, brought in Shaareiy Teshuvah 134:2 regarding saying Vezos Habracha in middle of Birchas Shema; Peri Hasadeh 3:112] Some Poskim rule that it may be recited between Yishtabach and Yotzer. [Yabia Omer ibid; See Admur 51:4 and 53:3]

[46] Yesod Veshoresh Havoda p. 102

[47] Shevet Halevi 7:12; Ishei Yisrael 25 footnote 48

[48] See Ohalei Yaakov 57 in name of Maharikash; Birkeiy Yosef 134:3; Emes Leyaakov; Har Tzevi 1:64; Yabia Omer 5:8; Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid footnote 67

[49] Kaf Hachaim 113:12

[50] Maharshag 3:52

[51] Likkutei Dibburim 2 Likkut 13:3 p. 309 [Hebrew]; Sefer Hasichos 5696 p. 49; See Chikrei Haminhagim 1:158

[52] Yesod Veshoresh Havoda p. 102

[53] See Rama 147:2; Ketzos Hashulchan 25:1; Piskeiy Teshuvos 147:2

[54] Rama ibid “So too in areas that the custom is to sell Hotzah and Hachnasa, the Shliach Tzibur cannot protest, as the right does not belong to the Chazan.”; See Darkei Moshe 147:3 in name of Or Zarua that on the contrary, it is proper to distribute the honor to other people for Kavod Hatorah; M”B 147:8

[55] Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid

[56] Rafael Hamalach Mem; Chida in Ovodas Hakodesh 3:90 “It is the custom of the city, that one whose wife enters the 9th month of pregnancy, to perform Pesicha of the Heichal for that entire month. This is a good custom.”; Ledavid Emes 2:3 “It is the custom in some cities that when the wife enters the 9th month”; Yosef Ometz 57; Siddur Yaavetz 1:312; Sefer Hachaim [Falagi] 1:5; Ohel Yissachar 88:2; Keser Shem Tov [Gagin] 1:242 that so is custom of Eretz Yisrael; Igros Kodesh 5:327 [no mention is made of 9th month]; 6:27 [mentions 9th month]; 7:108 [no mention is made of 9th month]; Likkutei Sichos 17:470; See Chikrei Haminhagim 1:160-164

Other traditions: Birchas Efraim p. 35 writes a Mesorah in name of the Rashba to open the Aron for Anim Zemiros from when his wife enters the seventh month.

[57] So write Rafael Hamalach, Chida ibid in all his Sefarim, and all the other Sefarim ibid; However in Igros Kodesh ibid, two of the above three letters make no mention of the ninth month while one does. However, perhaps the questioner himself already mentioned in his letter that his wife was in her 9th month and to this came the reply. Rav Gavriel Tzinner relates in the name of Rav Groner that the Rebbe’s directives were specifically during the 9th month. [See Hearos Ubiurim 879; 636-639]

[58] Igros Kodesh ibid

[59] The reason: The opening of the Aron and removal of the Sefer Torah is a Segulah for Hashem to reciprocate and open his wife’s womb easily and without pain. [Rafael Hamalach ibid; Sefer Hachaim ibid]

[60] Sefer Hachaim ibid

The reason: The closing of the Aron is a Segulah for Hashem to reciprocate and close his wife’s womb easily after the birth. [Sefer Hachaim ibid]

[61] Rafael Hamalach ibid writes to add a prayer for one’s wife during the prayer of Berich Shmei, asking Hashem to open her womb without difficulty, just like he opened the Aron, and to merit him with a healthy child.

[62] Rebbe in Igros Kodesh 5:327 “Its proper to do so if doing so will not draw attention”; 6:27 “Without Belitos”

[63] Igros Kodesh ibid; Rabbi Groner relates that the Rebbe instructed many times for this custom to be followed during the 9th month. [Related by Rav Gavriel Tzinner in Hearos Ubiurim 879]

[64] The Rebbe instructed for the above directive of Segula to be omitted from the Sefer “Minhagei Chabad Beinyan Hirayon, Leida” of Rav Avraham Holtzberg, and indeed no mention of it is made there. [See Hearos Ubiurim 878; Kovetz Chasuna p. 32]

[65] Likkutei Dibburim 2 Likkut 13:3 p. 309 [Hebrew];

[66] See Toras Chaim Sofer 147:6; Alef Hamagen 619:50; Darkei Chaim Veshalom 195

[67] See Michaber 144:3 that one may not roll a Sefer Torah in front of the community

[68] Shevet Hakehasi 1:81; Piskeiy Teshuvos 144 footnote 3

[69] Shemesh Tzedaka 31, brought in Machazik Bracha 144:1; Mateh Yehuda 282; Erech Hashulchan 144:5; Opinion in Siddur Yaavetz; Sefer Hachaim [Falagi]; Yifei Laleiv 144:2; Kaf Hachaim 144:13; Salmas Chaim 112 in name of Rav Chaim Zonnenfeld; Har Tzevi 1:63; Igros Moshe 2:37; Yabia Omer 8:15-4; Yalkut Kerias Hatorah p. 1368 that so was directive of Rebbe Rayatz; See Piskeiy Teshuvos 144:1

[70] The reason: In order not to spread a false rumor that the Sefer Torah is Pasul. [Poskim ibid]

[71] Har Tzevi ibid; Shevet Hakehasi 1:81; Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid

Other opinions: Some Poskim question whether one may replace the Sefer Torah in such a case. [Igros Moshe ibid]

[72] Zera Yaakov 1, brought in Machazik Bracha 144:1 and Ledavid Emes Kuntrus Achron 1; 2nd opinion in Yaavetz ibid; Ashel Avraham Butchach 144 that by a small Minyan one may be lenient; Igros Moshe ibid that if the Tzibur is Makpid it may be returned

[73] The reason: As it is improper to roll a Sefer Torah in public due to Kevod Hatzibur [i.e. Tircha Detzibura]. [Poskim ibid based on Michaber 144:3]

[74] Conclusion of Kaf Hachaim ibid and Achronim ibid

[75] Igros Moshe ibid

[76] Ashel Avraham Butchach ibid; Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid

[77] P”M 140 M”Z 4 in name of Levush and Elya Raba; Biur Halacha 684:3 “Veim Tah” in name of Achronim; Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid; See however Yalkut Kerias Hatorah p. 1368 that the Rebbe Rayatz once directed to not switch the Sefer Torah in such a case

[78] The reason: As since in any event one will read from the Maftir Sefer Torah for Maftir, there is no need to worry about a Pegam. [Biur Halacha ibid]

[79] Rama 134:2; See Piskeiy Teshuvos 134:11

[80] Minchas Yechiel 2:85; Piskeiy Teshuvos 134:11; 147:5

Custom of Chazon Ish: The Chazon Ish was accustomed to hold the Sefer Torah with the front facing his chest and the back facing the people. [Orchos Rabbeinu 3:214; See Piskeiy Teshuvos 147:5 footnote 16]

[81] Shaareiy Efraim 10:2; M”B 282:1; Shaar Hatziyon 282:2; Piskeiy Teshuvos 134 footnote 54

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that a lefty is to hold the Sefer Torah by his left side. [P”M 141 M”Z 3; 134 A”A 5 leaves this matter in question]

[82] Shaareiy Efraim ibid

[83] Siddur Yaavetz

[84] See Peri Eitz Chaim Shaar Kerias Hatorah 1; Piskeiy Teshuvos 282:1

[85] See Rama 134:2; Siddur Admur; Piskeiy Teshuvos 134:11

[86] Minchas Yechiel 2:85; Piskeiy Teshuvos 134:11; 147:5

Custom of Chazon Ish: The Chazon Ish was accustomed to hold the Sefer Torah with the front facing his chest and the back facing the people. [Orchos Rabbeinu 3:214; See Piskeiy Teshuvos 147:5 footnote 16]

[87] Rama 134:2; Siddur Admur regarding Gadlu

[88] Siddur Admur; M”A 134:4; Miseches Sofrim 14:12; See Piskeiy Teshuvos 282:1 and footnote 2

[89] M”A 134:4 in name of Miseches Sofrim; M”B 134:13; Aruch Hashulchan 134:4; Ketzos Hashulchan 25 footnote 6; Orchos Chaim Lunil Seder Sheini Vechamishi 7; See Piskeiy Teshuvos 282:1

[90] Ketzos Hashulchan 25 footnote 6; Piskeiy Teshuvos 134:10

[91] Aruch Hashulchan 134:4; See Siddur Tzelusa Diavraham

[92] Rama 134:2; Siddur Admur; See Piskeiy Teshuvos 282:1

[93] See Leket Hakemach 134; Piskeiy Teshuvos 134:10 footnote 46

[94] See Yalkut Kerias Hatorah p. 1329

[95] Beir Heiytiv 134:4; M”B 141:25; Ketzos Hashulchan 25:1; Piskeiy Teshuvos 134:11

[96] Rama 149:1 regarding when returning the Sefer Torah to the Aron; M”A 149:3 that the same applies upon bringing the Sefer Torah to the Aron; Arizal in Shaar Hakavanos Peri Eitz Chaim Shaar Kerias Sefer Torah 1; Elya Raba 149:1; M”B 149:7; Kaf Hachaim 134:10 and 149:7 that so was custom of Arizal to escort it from the Heichal to the Bima; Piskeiy Teshuvos 149:1; See however Siddur Yaavetz who writes simply “To stand before it”

[97] Shaareiy Efraim 10:4; Piskeiy Teshuvos 149:1

[98] Implication of Rama ibid; Siddur Yaavetz; P”M 149 A”A 3; Piskeiy Teshuvos 149:1

[99] Makor Chaim [of Chavos Yair] 149; Kaf Hachaim 134:10; Toras Chaim Sofer 134:3; Piskeiy Teshuvos 134:10

[100] Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid

[101] Rama 149:1; Ketzos Hashulchan 25:1; Piskeiy Teshuvos 134:10; 149:2

[102] Siddur Yaavetz

[103] Siddur Yaavetz; Or Tzadikim 69; Shaareiy Efraim 10:4; Kaf Hachaim 149:7 that so was custom of Arizal; Ketzos Hashulchan 25:12 footnote 47; Piskeiy Teshuvos 134:10

[104] Yesod Veshoresh Havoda 8:8 “To simply touch the cloth and then kiss ones hands is a Minhag Boros”; Ketzos Hashulchan 25:12 footnote 47; Piskeiy Teshuvos 134:10

[105] Minhagei Chazon Ish 5:7, brought in Piskeiy Teshuvos 149:2 footnote 11

[106] Siddur Yaavetz; Or Tzadikim 69; Yesod Veshoresh Havoda 8:8 in name of Arizal; Shaareiy Efraim 10:4; Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid

[107] See Or Tzadikim ibid; Shaareiy Efraim ibid; Kaf Hachaim ibid

[108] Kitzur Shelah defends the practice, as it nevertheless appears that he is trying to kiss it, brought in Shaareiy Efraim ibid in Pischeiy Shearim; See also Siddur Tzelusa Deavraham that the Rav of Tzechnav did not allow people to kiss it due to spread of germs [see, however, Halichos Shlomo 12 footnote 18 in name of Rav SZ”A who negates this]; See also regarding a Mezuzah: Rama 285:2; Birkeiy Yosef Y.D. 285:4

[109] Shaareiy Efraim ibid; Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid

[110] Chesed Lealafim 135

[111] Toras Menachem 5743 1:308

[112] See Chagiga 16b regarding bringing the Shelamim animal to the Ezras Nashim for them to perform Semicha on for them to have Nachas Ruach

[113] Shut Rivam Shneituch 16 strongly protests against the custom which began in Germany and states that the Rabbanim must protest this; Tzitz Eliezer 12:40

[114] Shevet Halevi 6:73

[115] The reason: As women who are a Nida are accustomed not to touch the Sefer Torah, and hence it is better not to start a new custom of bringing them the Sefer Torah. [Shevet Halevi ibid; See Rama 88 based on or Zarua 1:360 that women who are Niddah are accustomed to not touch a Sefer; However see Admur 88:2 and M”A 88:2 that this custom has no source “Ein Minhag Zeh Ikkur”, and the Michaber Y.D. 282:9 clearly rules that All those who are impure, even Niddos, may hold onto a Sefer Torah and read it.”

[116] See Piskeiy Teshuvos 134:12

[117] Taz 242:13; Siddur Yaavetz; P”M 141 M”Z 3; Aruch Hashulchan Y.D. 282:13; Shaar Hatziyon 146:18; Beir Moshe 3:23; Tzitz Eliezer 13:32

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that one is required to stand when the Aron is open, if he is able to see the Sefer Torah. [Panim Meiros 1:74] Other Poskim rule that one is always required to stand when the Aron is open. [Chasam Sofer C.M. 73] See Poskim in next footnote regarding the custom of placing bells by the Paroches.

Those accustomed to remove the Sefer Torah by Berich Shmei and remain stationary with it: From the letter of the law, one is only obligated to stand when the Sefer Torah is in motion, such as being walked to the Chazan or Bima. However, while it is being held in a stationary position, one is not required to stand. Thus, even those who are accustomed to remove the Sefer Torah before beginning Berich Shemei and hold it stationary until its completion, nevertheless from the letter of the law the congregation does not have to stand. [Shaar Hatziyon 146:18 in name of P”M]

[118] Taz 242:13; Siddur Yaavetz; P”M 141 M”Z 3; Shaar Hatziyon 146:18 “The world is accustomed to do a Hiddur and to stand”; Beir Moshe 3:23; Tzitz Eliezer 13:32; It is evident from the following Poskim that the congregation would stand when the Aron was opened [however it is not stated whether this is due to custom or letter of law]: Admur 338:1 regarding the custom to hang bells on the Paroches; M”A 338:1; Machatzis Hashekel in 338

The custom of the Rebbe by Rosh Hashanah Davening: In the early years, the custom of the Rebbe was to stand when the Aron was opened. In the later years, there were times that the Rebbe sat while the Aron was open. [Otzer Minhagei Chabad 190]

[119] Aruch Hashulchan Y.D. 282:13; Yagel Yaakov 26; Beir Moshe 3:23; Tzitz Eliezer 13:32; Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid

[120] Aruch Hashulchan Y.D. 282:13; Beir Moshe ibid; Poskim ibid

[121] Michaber Y.D. 282:2; Tur 282:2; Rambam Sefer Torah 10:9; Kiddushin 33b; Bach 146:5; Tur 146:4 in name of Sar Shalom; Pischeiy Teshuvah Y.D. 282:3; Aruch Hashulchan 282:3; M”B 146:17; Piskeiy Teshuvos 134:10; 146:7

[122] Once the Sefer Torah reaches its destination, on the Bima, and is rested on it, one may sit. [Michaber ibid; Rama Y.D. 242:18 “When the Sefer Torah is on the Bima the congregation in Shul is not required to stand, as it is in a different Reshus; Taz 242:13 “The same applies on a Bima table which is ten Tefach high and four wide”]

[123] Pischeiy Teshuvah ibid in name of Yad Eliyahu 4

[124] Rama ibid; Beis Yosef 282 in name of Rabbeinu Manoach; Aruch Hashulchan 282:4 that so is apparent custom and so is proper to follow

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule there is no obligation to stand if you cannot see the Sefer Torah, even if you can hear its bells, and that the custom is not to stand. [Shach 282:3; See Aruch Hashulchan 282:4]

[125] Aruch Hashulchan Y.D. 282:3

[126] Darkei Moshe 282:1 in name of Maharil Likkutim 80

[127] Noda Beyehuda Kama Y.D. 71

[128] Aruch Hashulchan Y.D. 282:4; See Rama Y.D. 292:2 that one is not obligated to stand for Chumashim and Michaber O.C. 153:3 [based on Rashba and Rivash 285] that a Pasul Sefer Torah has the same status as a Chumash; See also Rambam Sefer Torah 10:2

[129] See Orach Yisrael 11; Piskeiy Teshuvos 146:7

[130] Siddur Admur; Ketzos Hashulchan 25:1

[131] Michaber 141:4

[132] Ateres Zekeinim 141; Levush 141; M”B 141:16

[133] M”B ibid

[134] Siddur Yaavetz

[135] Siddur Yaavetz; Ketzos Hashulchan 25:1; Piskeiy Teshuvos 141:3; See Yalkut Kerias Hatorah p. 1334

Other customs and Custom of Alter Rebbe: Some are accustomed for the Baal Korei to stand at the right of the Bima and the Olah to the left. [Toras Chaim Sofer 141; Shulchan Hatahor 141; See Mishnas Yaakov and Yalkut Avraham 141] The custom of the Alter Rebbe, who was always the Baal Korei by Kerias Hatorah, was to stand to the right of the Bima and the Olah stood to his left.

[136] See Piskeiy Teshuvos 141:3; Yalkut Kerias Hatorah p. 1334

[137] Siddur Yaavetz writes to stand to the left of the Bima; Ketzos Hashulchan 25:1 footnote 11 writes that it does not state in Poskim where the Gabbai is to stand; Possibly, those who held that the Olah is to stand to the left of the Baal Korei would hold that the Gabbai is to stand by the left of the Bima [See ; Piskeiy Teshuvos 141:3 footnote 11]

[138] Aruch Hashulchan 141:7 based on Levush ibid; Ketzos Hashulchan 25 footnote 11; Piskeiy Teshuvos 141:3

[139] See Yalkut ibid; As rules Yaavetz ibid

[140] Shulchan Hatahor 141:3; Piskeiy Teshuvos 141:3 footnote 9

[141] Piskeiy Teshuvos 141:3

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