Chapter 4: The Baal Korei

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Chapter 4: The Baal Korei

 

Having a set Baal Korei-May an Olah read his own Aliyah?

In the times of the Mishneh and Talmud, the custom was for the person who received the Aliyah to also serve as Baal Korei.[1] However, due to the fact that many Olim did not know how to read properly, the custom became for there to be a set Baal Korei who would read the Aliyah on his behalf.[2] Accordingly, the Olah does not read his Aliyah from the Torah even if he is an expert in the reading, and it is rather read by the set Baal Korei.[3] [Nonetheless, when the Baal Korei receives an Aliyah, he reads his Aliyah just as he reads the remainder of the Parsha.]

 

1. Who may serve as a Baal Korei:

A. Choosing a Baal Korei:[4]

Review, preparation:[5] The Baal Korei must prepare and review the reading two to three times to himself prior to reading it from the Torah. One who did not prepare the reading beforehand 2-3 times, is not to go up to read [even if he trusts himself to know the reading of the Parsha from previous years[6]].[7]

Expertise in enunciations, musical notations and laws of the reading:[8] One who does not know how to read may not go up to read the Torah and is to be protested. [The Baal Korei must study and become well verses in all the fine details of reading, such as Mileil or Milira.[9] He is to have slight knowledge of the rules of Dikduk.[10] Those who serve as Baalei Keriah must also be an expert in all the laws of Kerias Hatorah. They must also exert due effort to learn all the details of the punctuation and Taamim.[11] The Chabad Rebbeim were very particular that the chosen Baal Korei know the precise enunciations of the words and be well versed in the rendition of the musical notations [i.e. the Trup/Taamim].[12] The Alter Rebbe was the set Baal Korei in his Shul.[13]]

Reading slowly and clearly: The Baal Korei is required to read the words slowly and carefully, so he does not swallow any words.[14] [A Baal Korei who is known to read quickly and hence ends up compromising the enunciations of the words, is not to be hired for the job.] On the other hand, he is not to read the words too slowly in a way that creates Tircha Detzibura. Likewise, he is not to overemphasize words and raise his voice loudly, more than the congregation is accustomed to.[15]

Torah scholar and good reputation: It is proper to choose a Baal Korei who is a Torah scholar, a Ben Torah, and a person with a good reputation.[16] It is better to have such a person to read the Torah even if he is less of an expert in the reading [but does so in a valid way] than to have a person with bad or mediocre reputation to read the Torah, even if he is a greater expert in the reading.[17] 

 

Q&A

May an Ashkenazi be a Baal Korei for a Sephardic Minyan and vice versa?[18]

Yes, an Ashkenazi congregation can be Yotzei Kerias Hatorah from one who reads with a Sephardic accent, and the same applies vice versa. Nevertheless, initially one is to hire a Baal Korei who has the same accent of reading as the congregation. Thus, an Ashkenazi, Chassidic, or Sephardic congregation is to initially hire a Baal Korei of their sect who reads with the same accent.

Parshas Zachar: For Parshas Zachar, some Poskim rule that one is obligated to have a Baal Korei who reads with the same accent. See Chapter 14 Halacha 2!

 

May a Ben Eretz Yisrael read the Torah in the Diaspora, or vice versa, in weeks that the Parshiyos are not aligned?[19]

Yes.

On the second day of Yom Tov, may a Ben Eretz Yisrael be a Baal Korei in the Diaspora, or vice versa?[20]

On the second day of Yom Tov in the Diaspora, one who is from Israel and is thus only keeping one day of Yom Tov, cannot read the Torah. Likewise, in Israel, an Israeli cannot be a Baal Korei for a Minyan of Chutz La’aretz.

 

 

Rebbe Rayatz on the importance of a Baal Korei being an expert in the reading:[21]

The Rebbe Rayatz stated as follows: Those who serve as Baalei Keriah must be an expert in all the Laws of Kerias Hatorah, as the verse states that life and death is in the hands of the tongue. Meaning, that just as the reward is very great for one who reads the Torah properly, as he gives life, so too the punishment is very great for one who belittles this and does not exert due effort to learn all the details of the Taamim. One who does so is considered to be “Machtei Harabim,” in causing the public to sin by hearing his problematic reading.

 

B. Women:[22]

A woman may not read the Torah for the congregation.[23] This applies even if the congregation gives their consent.[24]

C. Child: Is a child a valid Baal Korei?[25]

Below Bar Mitzvah:[26] A child below the age of Bar Mitzvah is not a valid Baal Korei to read the Torah on behalf of the congregation.[27] [Thus, he may not be called up to read any of the Aliyos of Kerias Hatorah.[28] Nevertheless, some Poskim[29] rule that a child is valid to read a minority of the Aliyos of the Parsha, so long as majority of the Aliyos is read by an adult. Practically, we are stringent to rule that a child is invalid to read any Aliyah. If the child is the only one who knows to read from the Torah, then he is to whisper the words to an adult who will do the reading.[30] If this is not possible, then some Poskim[31] rule that a child may read from the Torah in a time of need. Practically, we are stringent, and a blessing is not to be said for the Aliyos if a child reads from the Torah.[32]]

Maftir for child below Bar Mitzvah:[33] It is valid for a child who is of age of understanding to read the portion of Maftir of Shabbos.[34] [Accordingly, some communities are accustomed to allow a child to read the Maftir, and some have a set custom for him to do so the Shabbos prior to the Bar Mitzvah. Some Poskim[35] rule that he may also read the Maftir on Yom Tov.[36] However, he is not to read the Maftir of the four Parshiyos, or Shabbos Chanukah, or Rosh Chodesh.[37]] Certainly, he is invalid to read the Maftir of Parshas Zachar [or Parah[38]].[39] [Practically, the custom amongst Chassidim is not to have a child below Bar Mitzvah read the Maftir on any Shabbos, even the Shabbos prior to the Bar Mitzvah.[40]]

Child above Bar Mitzvah:[41] A child who is over the age of Bar Mitzvah is only considered a valid Torah reader if he has grown two pubic hairs. [Nonetheless, a child who is above Bar Mitzvah is assumed to have grown two pubic hairs, and be valid for reading the Torah, and does not require verification.[42]]

D. Mamzer, Rasha, Disabled:

See Chapter 6 Halacha 1E-F!

 

Q&A

May one who is deaf, or has a hearing aid, serve as Baal Korei?[43]

One who is deaf, or has a hearing aid, is not to initially serve as a Baal Korei. Nevertheless, in a time of need [i.e. Bar Mitzvah boy] one may be lenient for a repeated Aliyah, such as Maftir.

 

May a Baal Keri be the Baal Korei?

From the letter of the law, there is no impediment for a Baal Keri to be the Baal Korei.[44] Nonetheless, it is initially improper for a Baal Keri to offer himself as Baal Korei, if another Baal Korei is available.[45] However, if there is no one else available to read, then he is not to abstain from doing so, as is the letter of the law. If one knows that he may need to be the Baal Korei on a given day, then he is to try to immerse in a Mikveh on that day, or at the very least take a shower [i.e. Nine Kavim] beforehand.[46] Chassidim are very particular in this matter, and try to immerse daily.

 

E. One who is not dressed properly:[47]

One whose clothing are torn, and his arms and legs are revealed may not be a Baal Korei.

2. An Avel: May a mourner be a Baal Korei?

A. During Shiva:

Weekday-Mondays and Thursdays: An Avel may not be the Baal Korei during the week of Shiva.[48]

Shabbos: An Avel may not read the Torah even on Shabbos.[49] If an Avel is the set Baal Korei in Shul for Shabbos, he is to avoid Davening in that Shul during Shiva.[50] If he does Daven in that Shul, then some Poskim[51] rule he may read the Torah for the Minyan. Other Poskim[52] however rule he is not to read it.

No other Baal Korei available:[53] In the event that there is no other Baal Korei available, the Avel may read the Torah for the congregation. This applies both on Shabbos and during the week.[54]

 

B. During the year of Aveilus for a parent:[55]

An Avel should endeavor to read the Torah on all the days of Torah reading, which are on Monday’s, Thursday’s, and Shabbos by Mincha, [and Shabbos by Shacharis[56], and fast days].

3. What to do if there is no one available who knows how to read:[57]

If there is no knowledgeable Baal Korei available in the Minyan, then one person is to read the words silently from a Chumash and have another repeat after him while reading from the Torah. [Even a child is valid to read from a Chumash on behalf of an adult.[58]]

How is it done: Originally, the custom was in such a case to have the Olah read from the Sefer Torah while another person read to him from the Chumash.[59] However, today the custom is for a set person to read from the Sefer Torah and have another set person read to him from a Chumash, while the Olah simply says the blessings.[60]

 

Q&A

May the Baal Korei look at the Chumash while reading from the Sefer Torah, if there is no one else who knows how to read?[61]

One is not to periodically look at the Chumash during the reading even if there is no one available who knows how to read, and rather one is to have another person read the words to him as stated above.[62] Nonetheless, some Poskim[63] are lenient in a time of need, especially if another person is next to him supervising that all the words will be read from within the Sefer Torah. In such a case, the Chumash may not be placed on the actual Sefer Torah.[64]

 

May one write Nekudos, or make dents for punctuation, in a Sefer Torah to assist with the reading?[65]

No. If one does so the Sefer Torah is invalid.

May one place a transparent plastic sheet of Nekudos on the Sefer Torah to assist with the reading?[66]

No.[67]

 

May one read from the Torah using reading glasses?[68]

Yes. Doing so is not considered a Chatzitza.

May an old Baal Korei read from the Torah using a magnifying glass?[69]

Yes. Doing so is not considered a Chatzitza.

 

4. What to do if the Baal Korei is in middle of Davening:[70]

A Baal Korei who is in the middle of Davening may stop to read the Torah for the congregation if there is no one else who knows how to read. This applies even if he is in middle of Shema, or Birchas Kerias Shema. Initially, however, he is to finish until the end of the paragraph of Shema or Birchas Shema prior to going up to read. Even in such a case, he is only allowed to read from the Torah and may not call up people to the Torah or say the Mi Shebeirach. [If the Baal Korei is in the midst of Shemoneh Esrei, he may not go up to read until he completes the prayer.]

5. Switching the Baal Korei in middle of the reading:

Initially one person is to read the entire Keriah of all the Aliyos, including Maftir.[71] This applies even if a second Sefer Torah is being read for Maftir.[72] However, in a time of need, one may switch the Baal Korei between Aliyos, such as if he is the set Baal Korei in the Shul and the current reader is not as expertise in the reading.[73] The following will now discuss the law if one needs to switch the Baal Korei in middle of an Aliyah.

Switching in middle of the reading of an Aliyah:[74] If in middle of the reading, the Baal Korei becomes unable to continue the reading [such as he lost his voice or had a coughing attack or medical emergency], then another person is to take him over. [Some Poskim[75] rule that the Baal Korei is to restart the reading from the beginning of that Aliyah. However, other Poskim[76] rule that there is no need to do so and the new Baal Korei is to continue from where the previous reader left off.[77] Practically, it preferable for the new Baal Korei to begin from the start of that Aliyah.[78] There is no need, however, for the Olah to repeat the before blessing.[79] There is no need to restart from the beginning of the Parsha, and first Aliyah, even if a long interval took place until the new reader could take over and continue the reading.[80] If in middle of an Aliya, the Olah becomes unable to continue the reading-See Chapter 7 Halacha 6D!]

Switching reader of Haftorah in middle: See Chapter 12 Halacha 14.

6. May a person who was asked to be the Baal Korei refuse to do so?

One who is offered to read the Torah and refuses to read it, his days are shortened.[81] One is thus not to refuse being the Baal Korei once he has been [publicly[82]] called up.[83] [If, however, he was privately asked to read the Torah he may refuse.]

Justifiable reasons for refusal:[84] The above prohibition only applies if there is no justifiable reason for refusing the reading. If, however, there is a justifiable reason for why he does not want the reading, then it may be refused.[85] For example, if he did not review the Parsha two or three times beforehand, he is not to read it and may refuse.[86] It goes without saying that if he does not know how to read it properly, then he may refuse it.[87]

7. The laws of the reading relevant to the Baal Korei:

A. Reading every word from the Sefer Torah versus from memory:[88]

Every word and letter must be read by the Baal Korei from the Sefer Torah. It is forbidden for the Baal Korei to read even one word, or even one letter, by heart. [Thus, the Baal Korei is not to close his eyes in concentration or turn his head elsewhere during the reading. Nonetheless, if he reads the words within Kdei Dibbur [2-3 seconds] of seeing them in the Sefer Torah then it is valid.[89] Bedieved, if the Baal Korei read an entire verse by heart, it must be repeated. However, if only a word or two which do not have any independent understanding were read by heart, one is Yotzei and it is not necessary to repeat those words from within the Sefer Torah.[90]]

 

Q&A

May the Baal Korei read some of the words of the Torah by heart if he cannot find the place?

No, as stated above, and hence one is to wait until he relocates the area of reading.

May the Baal Korei close his eyes to say some of the words with extra Kavana?

One may do so, so long as he says the words within Toch Kdei Dibbur of seeing them in the Torah, as stated above.

 

B. Touching the Sefer Torah:

Holding onto the Eitz Chaim of the Sefer Torah: The Baal Korei and Olah is required to hold onto the handle of the Sefer Torah during the reading.[91] The Baal Korei holds onto the left handle, while the Olah holds onto the right handle.[92]

Touching the actual Sefer Torah:[93] It is forbidden for any person to touch the parchment of the Sefer Torah without a cloth. This applies even if one washed his hands.[94] [However, with a cloth, such as with one’s Tallis, it may be touched and moved.]

C. Using a silver Yad:[95]

Many communities are accustomed to use a silver Yad for the reading of the Torah, and to show the Olah the area of the reading.[96] The Chabad custom, however, is not to do so.[97] Nonetheless, even Chabad Sifrei Torah are to contain a silver Yad that is hung on it for beauty purposes.[98]

D. Standing:[99]

The Baal Korei, Olah [and Gabbai[100]] must stand during the reading.[101] [Nonetheless, Bedieved if the reading was read in a sitting position one is Yotzei.[102]]

Leaning: It is forbidden for the Baal Korei, Olah [or Gabbai] to lean [even slightly[103]] on the Bima [or chair] or wall during the reading. This is with exception to one who is overweight[104] [or sick or very old[105], in which case one may slightly[106] lean on the Bima or another item]. [Likewise, if the Olah or Baal Korei is farsighted, or has bad vision, and cannot see the words of the Sefer Torah from a distance, then he may lean on the Bima in order to see the words.[107] Initially, even in the above case of allowance, one is not to place his entire body weight on the Bima or other item, and is rather to lean in a way that if the Bima or item were to be removed from under him, he would not fall.[108] Nonetheless, in a time of need, one may be lenient to completely lean on the Bima or item, if one is unable to stand otherwise.[109] Regarding the general question of whether one may lean on a Bima-See our Sefer “Topics in Practical Halacha” Volume 2 Halacha 25!]

 

Q&A

May one who is stuck to a wheelchair be the Baal Korei?[110]

No, as the Baal Korei is required to stand.[111] Nonetheless, if there is no other person available who knows how to read from the Torah properly, then some Poskim[112] rule it is better to have him read sitting than to have another person read standing with many mistakes. The same applies if one would have to delay a long time until another Baal Korei arrives.

 

May one read the Torah using a microphone?

Some Poskim[113] rule it is permitted to read the Torah using a microphone. Other Poskim[114], however, rule that it is invalid. Practically, it is not to be done.[115]

 

 

E. Wearing a Tallis Gadol:[116]

It is customary amongst many communities for the Baal Korei to wear a Tallis Gadol upon reading.[117] [This especially applies on Shabbos and Yom Tov. However, it is no longer the widespread custom to wear a Tallis Gadol on Mondays and Thursdays, or Shabbos by Mincha.[118] The age old Chabad custom of many generations is not to require one to wear a Tallis Gadol, at any time of reading.[119] Nevertheless, in a Shul which is particular for the Baal Korei to wear a Tallis, one is to do so.[120]]

F. The Baal Korei answering Amen:

The Baal Korei must answer Amen to the blessing of the Olah, just like the congregation.[121] The Amen must be answered in close approximation to its conclusion.[122] Nevertheless, the custom is for the Baal Korei to drag out the Amen more than the rest of the congregation, in order to summon their attention to the start of the reading.[123] [It is however forbidden for the Baal Korei to delay beginning the Amen until the congregation concludes its Amen, as it must be in approximation to the conclusion of the blessing, as stated above. Those Baal Korei who are accustomed to answer Amen only after the conclusion of the congregation, are saying an Amen Yesoma, of which the Sages severely warned against.[124]]

 

G. How many columns of the Sefer Torah are to be open during the reading:[125]

One is to show three columns of the Sefer Torah throughout the reading.[126] One is not to open the Sefer Torah more than three columns during the reading.[127]

___________________________________________

[1] See Michaber 141:2; Tzemach Tzedek 35:4

[2] Beis Yosef 141; Tur 141 in name of Rosh; M”B 141:8; Kaf Hachaim 141:15; See Tzemach Tzedek 35:4 that this custom of having a set Baal Korei was innovated in the times of Tosafos. However, during that time, the main custom was simply for the Baal Korei to assist the Olah in his own reading, and thus the Olah would still be the one reading out loud, and the Baal Korei would whisper silently to him. [See Tosafos Bava Basra 15a and Menachos 30a] However, later on the custom became to do the opposite for the Baal Korei to read aloud and for the Olah to read silently. [See Rosh Shabbos 1]

[3] M”B 141:8; Kaf Hachaim ibid

[4] See Piskeiy Teshuvos 142:6-7; Yalkut Kerias Hatorah p. 1338

[5] Michaber 139:1 regarding the Olah if he plans to read, and Rama ibid regarding the set Baal Korei; Beis Yosef 139; Shivlei Haleket 42; Tanchuma Yisro 15 “The Torah teaches us that one should not be arrogant to say words of Torah before the congregation until he reviews it to himself 2-3 times. Rebbe Akiva was once called upon to read from the Torah for the congregation and he refused to do so because he did not yet review the Parsha 2-3 times, and it is forbidden for one to say Divrei Torah before the congregation until he prepares it by himself.”; Zohar Parshas Vayakehl p. 206 “The Baal Korei must prepare the reading beforehand in his home, and if not then he should not read”; Rebbe in Toras Menachem 5751 1:248, printed in Shulchan Menachem 1:259; See also Shemos Raba 40:1 that one must review his teachings four times before giving them over to the congregation; See also Toras Menachem 15:134 that the Rebbe Rashab one time was called for Maftir and he went to a side room to review and prepare the Haftorah beforehand; See Chikrei Haminhagim 2:59

[6] See Toras Menachem ibid

[7] Michaber ibid; Tanchuma ibid; Zohar ibid

[8] Michaber 139:2

[9] Maharam Mintz; M”B 142:6

[10] Shaareiy Efraim 3:1-3

[11] Sefer Hamamarim 5697 p. 263

[12] Sefer Hasichos 5696 p. 52; Sefer Haminhagim p. 30 [English]; Rebbe in Toras Menachem 5751 1:248, printed in Shulchan Menachem 1:259

[13] Tzemach Tzedek O.C. 35; Hayom Yom 17th Elul

[14] M”B 142:6

[15] Shaareiy Efraim 3:1-3

[16] Shaareiy Efraim 3:1-3

[17] Toras Chaim Sofer 142:4

[18] See Minchas Yitzchak 3:9; 4:47; Yabia Omer 6:11; Chelek Levi 89; Orach Yisrael 9; Teshuvos Vehanhagos 1:154; Piskeiy Teshuvos 142:7

[19] See Yom Tov Sheini Kehilchaso 12:7; Piskeiy Teshuvos 143:4

[20] See Yom Tov Sheini Kehilchaso 9 footnote 8 in name of Rav SZ”A; Piskeiy Teshuvos 143:4

[21] Sefer Hamamarim 5697 p. 263; Printed in Kuntreisim 2:790

[22] Admur 282:5; Michaber 282:3; Megillah 23a

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that in a time of need a woman may serve as a Baal Korei, as the main invalidation is for them to receive an Aliyah. [Divrei Shalom 3:42]

[23] The reason: This is due to Kavod Hatzibur. [Admur ibid] Likewise, this appears like Peritzus. [See Admur 199:6-7]

[24] See Admur 53:9

[25] Admur 282:5; See Yagdil Torah N.Y. 8 pp. 15- 39; Piskeiy Teshuvos 282:5

[26] Admur 282:5 “A child may not be the one who reads for the Olim. This means that he cannot be the Baal Korei of the Sefer Torah while the Olim read along quietly with him, and have the congregation fulfill their obligation through hearing his reading”; M”A 282:6; Mishpat Tzedek 3:43; M”B 282:13; See in great length article of Rav Avraham Yitzchak of Mir, printed in Yagdil Torah N.Y. ibid, that the vast majority of Poskim, Rishonim and Achronim rule this wat including the Bahag, Rambam, Rash, Baal Hamaor, Milchamos, Semag, Rosh, Tur; See Tzemach Tzedek [Rav Meir Milameid] O.C. 35; Chidushim Megillah 3:6-3; Kneses Hagedola 282; Olas Tamid 282:3; Tosefes Shabbos 282:7; Kaf Hachaim 282:23; So rule regarding Megillah that a child is invalid: Michaber 689:2 based on Tana Kama in Megillah 19b and so rules: Rosh; Bahag; Levush; Bach; Olas Shabbos 689:3; Peri Chadash; According to this approach the Mishneh in Megillah 24a which states “A child may read from the Torah and translate” is interpreted to refer to a child getting an Aliyah and not to him reading from the Torah on behalf of the public.

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that a child who has reached the age of Chinuch, is valid to read the Torah on behalf of a congregation, even if he is below Bar Mitzvah, as both he and the adult are of the same level Rabbinical obligation, as Kerias Hatorah is only Rabbinical. [P”M 282 M”Z 3 based on implication of Mishneh Megillah 24a “A child may read from the Torah and translate” that this allowance applies even to him being Baal Korei; Pesicha Koleles 1:18; See also Tzemach Tzedek Chidushim Megillah 3:6-3; See Kiryas Chana David 2:43; Igros Moshe 2:72; Tzitz Eliezer 7:1; Yechaveh Daas 5:25; So rule regarding Chanukah that a child is valid: Opinion in Michaber 675:3; Baal Haitur, as rules Rebbe Yehuda in Megillah ibid; See Yagdil Torah ibid for elaboration and negation of this opinion of P”M] Based on this opinion, some Poskim rule that if there is no one else available to read, a child may read from the Sefer Torah on behalf of the congregation, rather than to have the reading nullified. [P”M 282 A”A 6; M”B 282:13; Derech Hachaim; Chanoch Lanaar 13:4; Rivivos Efraim 6:3; Piskeiy Teshuvos 135:22; 282:5]

[27] The reason: As since the child is not obligated in the Mitzvah, he therefore cannot fulfill the obligation on anthers behalf, until he becomes equally obligated like them, which will only occur when he grows two hairs [after Bar Mitzvah]. [Admur ibid; M”A ibid] Now, although a child [who has reached the age of Chinuch] is also Rabbinically obligated to read the Megillah, as stated in Halacha 1, nevertheless he may not fulfill the obligation of a Gadol, as for the child it is a Rabbinical command from two aspects [“Trei Derabanan”-Megillah is Rabbinical; a Katan is Rabbinical] while a Gadol is Rabbinically obligated from only one aspect [Chad Derabanan]. [Beis Yosef in name of Levush; Olas Shabbos 689:3; Peri Megadim 689 A”A 1; M”B 689:6; Kaf Hachaim 689:11]

[28] Implication of Admur and Poskim ibid

[29] Tzemach Tzedek O.C. 35; Chidushim on Shas Megillah 3:6-3

[30] Piskeiy Teshuvos 135:2; 282:5

[31] P”M 282 A”A 6; M”B 282:13; Derech Hachaim; Chanoch Lanaar 13:4; Rivivos Efraim 6:3; Piskeiy Teshuvos 135:22; 282:5; See also Kiryas Chana David 2:43; Igros Moshe 2:72 [Says one who is lenient like P”M in time of need, does not need to be protested]; Tzitz Eliezer 7:1; Yechaveh Daas 5:25;

[32] Setimas Kol Haposkim above, including Admur ibid

[33] Rama 282:4; Admur 284:9 “If a child was called for Maftir and read the Torah”; Piskeiy Teshuvos 282:5; 8

[34] The reason: As he is simply repeating the reading that was read for Shevi’i which the congregation was already Yotzei. [See Admur 282:16; Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid]

[35] Piskeiy Teshuvos 282:8

[36] The reason: As the Maftir reading of the Musaf offering on Yom Tov is not a true obligation. [See Admur 282:16; Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid]

[37] Piskeiy Teshuvos 282:8

[38] M”B 282:23; Piskeiy Teshuvos 282:8

[39] Admur 282:16; P”M 282; M”B 282:23; Shaar Hatziyon 282:27

The reason: As the Parsha of Zachar is a Biblical obligation for every Jewish person hear, and a child who is not obligated in the Mitzvah cannot for the obligation for anyone else. [Admur ibid; M”B 282:23]

[40] See Toras Menachem 5745 4:2334 [printed in Shulchan Menachem 2:95]; Igros Kodesh 17:87

[41] Admur 282:5

[42] P”M 282 A”A 6; M”B 282:13; Yagdil Torah N.Y. 8 pp. 15- 39; See Admur 55:6 regarding Minyan; 199:9 regarding Zimun; Rama 55:5; Maharik 49

The reason: As Kerias Hatorah is merely a Rabbinical obligation, and by a Rabbinical obligation, we rely on the Chazaka of Rava that a child above Bar/Bas Mitzvah has grown two pubic hairs, even if this has yet to be verified. [See Poskim ibid]

[43] Teshuvos Vehanhagos 1:150; Mishkanos Yaakov 162; Piskeiy Teshuvos 139 footnote 37

[44] See Admur 88:1; Michaber 88:1; Michaber Y.D. 282:9 “All those who are impure, even Nidos, may hold onto a Sefer Torah and read it.”; Brachos 20b; Piskeiy Teshuvos 88:1

[45] See Mishmeres Shalom 2:1 and so is the custom of many Chassidim; Pela Yoeitz Tevila; See Maor Vashemesh Emor regarding not even thinking Torah beforehand; See Shulchan Melachim [Tevilas Ezra] 20; Piskeiy Teshuvos 88:1-2

[46] See Admur 88:1 of how the Nine Kavim is to be done. Practically, this is fulfilled through taking a shower for several minutes consecutively. See our corresponding Sefer “The Laws and Customs of Rosh Hashanah” in the supplements Halacha 2; See Piskeiy Teshuvos 88:5

[47] Peri Chadash 139:3; Mishneh Megillah 24a “Pocheich”; Kaf Hachaim 139:17

[48] Birkeiy Yosef 400; Dvar Moshe 70; See Michaber 384:1

[49] Birkeiy Yosef 400; Dvar Moshe 70; See Piskeiy Teshuvos 287:4

[50] Kitzur SHU”A 219:3; Pnei Baruch 23:23

[51] Birkeiy Yosef ibid; Dvar Moshe 70; Poskim brought in Pnei Baruch 23:23

[52] Poskim brought in Pnei Baruch 23:23; Divrei Sofrim 384:234; Piskeiy Teshuvos 135:21 footnote 126

[53] Nitei Gavriel 97:5; Piskeiy Teshuvos 135:21

[54] The reason: As this is similar to a case of “Rabim Tzerichim Lo”

[55] Sefer Haminhagim p. 178 [English]; Igros Kodesh 3:7; 17:271 that so was a directive of the Rebbe Rayatz; Igros Kodesh Rayatz 12:394 that so was the custom of the Rebbe Rashab [printed in Shulchan Menachem 5:308 and 310]; See Makor Chaim of Chavos Yair 132; The Rebbe, for reasons known to him, only read the Torah on Monday’s, Thursday’s and by Mincha of Shabbos. [Igros Kodesh 17:271]

[56] Implied from Igros Kodesh 17:271 [see previous footnote]; omitted from Sefer Haminhagim ibid

[57] Rama 143:2 “In an area where these is a Kosher Sefer Torah but there is no one available who knows how to read with the Niggun by heart, then I have seen accustomed that the Chazan reads from a Chumash with Nekudos and the Olah reads after him from the Kosher Sefer Torah”; M”A 143:3 “Today the custom is for the Chazan to reads from the Sefer Torah and another person reads to him from a Chumash in order not to embarrass an Olah who cannot read.”; M”B 142:8; See Michaber 139:2; 142:2; Ketzos Hashulchan 84:9; See Piskeiy Teshuvos 142:8

[58] Piskeiy Teshuvos 135:2; 282:5

[59] Rama ibid

[60] M”A ibid

The reason: As not all people called for an Aliyah know how to read even if someone reads to them silently from a Chumash, and hence the above is done to avoid their shame. [M”A ibid]

[61] See Piskeiy Teshuvos 142:8;

[62] Ashel Avraham Butchach 142; Igros Moshe 3:19

The reason: As otherwise one may come to say some of the words by heart, or from the Chumash. [Poskim ibid]

[63] Ashel Avraham ibid regarding if person is there pointing at every word in the Sefer Torah; Mishneh Halachos 7:19; 11:113; Halichos Shlomo 2:5 in name of Rav SZ”A; Teshuvos Vehanhagos 1:146

[64] Orchos Chaim Spinka 143:4

[65] Kesav Sofer Y.D. 142; Maharam Shick Y.D. 278; Igros Moshe Y.D. 3:117; Yechaveh Daas 6:54; Piskeiy Teshuvos 142 footnote 23

Other opinions: The custom of Yemenite Jewry is to permit making Nekudos in a Sefer Torah through indentations. [Ravid Hazahav 29] This is a valid custom and there is no worry to receive an Aliyah in a Yemenite Shul by such a Sefer Torah. [Igros Moshe ibid]

[66] Shevet Halevi 8:29; Halichos Shlomo 12:23; Teshuvos Vehanhagos 3:66; Shraga Hameir 7:94; Piskeiy Teshuvos 142 footnote 23

[67] The reason: This is due to a worry of Chatzitza. [Poskim ibid]

[68] Piskeiy Teshuvos 142 footnote 23

[69] Piskeiy Teshuvos 142 footnote 23

[70] M”B 66:27; Ketzos Hashulchan 19 footnote 7; Yabia Omer 7:9; Piskeiy Teshuvos 66:8; 135:13

[71] Shaareiy Efraim 3:6; Ketzos Hashulchan 84 footnote 15

[72] Poskim ibid

[73] Poskim ibid

[74] Michaber 140:1 regarding previous times when the Olah Letorah who would read from the Torah and there was no set Baal Korei and Rama ibid that the same applies today when there is a set Basal Korei; See Admur 284:10 “If the Maftir became unable to continue reading in the middle of the Haftorah, then the law follows the same law as Kerias Hatorah, in which case we rule that the person who switches him is not to begin from the area where the previous reader stopped, but rather he must return and re-read from the beginning of that Aliyah.”; Piskeiy Teshuvos 140:1

Clarification: The above sources in Michaber, Rama and Admur ibid refer to a case that the actual Olah who said the blessings needs to be taken over, and not if simply the Baal Korei needs to be taken over while the Olah remains in place. [So is evident from Rama’s gloss on Michaber ibid, and so explains Taz 140:2, Beis Yosef 140 in name of Rabbeinu Yonah and Kaf Hachaim 140:6 in opinion of Rama ibid that his intent is not to say that if the Baal Korei needs to be switched a new blessing must be said even today, but rather if the Olah needs to be switched] Thus, although certain rulings are recorded in the case of the Michaber regarding starting from the beginning and saying a new blessing, this does not apply in this case that only the Baal Korei must be switched and not the Olah. [See Piskeiy Teshuvos 140:1]

[75] Michaber and Rama ibid, and Admur ibid regarding if the Olah needed to be switched and the same would apply if the Baal Korei needed to be switched; 1st Opinion in Darkei Chaim p. 62; Orchos Chaim 140:1; Kaf Hachaim 140:7

[76] 2nd opinion in Darkei Chaim p. 62; Orchos Chaim 140:1; Kaf Hachaim 140:7; Toras Chaim Sofer 140:4; Har Tzevi 1:72

[77] The reason: As only when the actual Olah needs to be switched must the Baal Korei restart from the beginning of that Aliyah in order to regain an after blessing for that section read. However, if only the Baal Korei needs to be switched, then since the reading of the previous Baal Korei is still valid for the Olah, and is considered that he read it with a  valid before blessing, then likewise the continued reading is considered valid for the after blessing, and the after blessing thus counts for the entire reading of that Olah even though two different Baal Korei is read it.

[78] Darkei Chaim p. 62; Orchos Chaim 140:1; Kaf Hachaim 140:7 rule that so is the main opinion; Piskeiy Teshuvos 140:1 concludes it is best to suspect for above opinion if only a few verses must be repeated, and it won’t be Tircha Detzibura

The law in areas accustomed to add Aliyos: Those who are accustomed to add Aliyos on Shabbos and Yom Tov, then rather than have the new Baal Korei start again from the beginning of that Aliyah, the current Olah can simply say an after blessing when the first Baal Korei needs to be switched, if he stopped in a permitted area of an after blessing [not within three verses of Pesucha or Setuma] and then have another Aliyah called up for the remainder of that reading which will be read by the second Baal Korei from where they left off. [Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid]

[79] Darkei Chaim p. 62; Orchos Chaim 140:1; Kaf Hachaim 140:7; See clarification above; See Shulchan Hatahor 140:1

[80] M”A 140:2; Maharam Mintz 85; Kneses Hagedola 140; Kaf Hachaim 140:2; [unlike explanation of Machatzis Hashekel ibid, Chayeh Adam 23 and Kerem Shlomo who changed the Nussach in M”A due to not having seen the origin in Maharam Mintz. See Kaf Hachaim ibid]

[81] Brachos 55a, brought in M”A 53:22; Elya Raba 139:2; Peri Chadash 139:1; P”M 53 A”A 22; Levushei Serud 138; Lev Chaim 3:12 [See there that one time a person was called to the Torah and he ran out and he was later burnt to death within 30 days, as the Torah is called fire]; Toras Chaim Sofer 139:1; Aruch Hashulchan 139:4; M”B 139:1; Kaf Hachaim 139:3; 428:40; Tzitz Eliezer 14:34; It is however omitted from the Rambam, Tur and Michaber/Rama [see Elya Raba and Toras Chaim Sofer ibid for explanations of this omission] See also Levush 428 and M”B 428:19 who omit this

The reason: As the Torah is called our life, and one who refuses it is refusing life. [Brachos ibid]

[82] See Chaim Sheol 1:13 the Sephardim are accustomed not to call up by name, but rather privately ask the person to go up, as if one is called up publicly and refuses his life is shortened.

[83] Although one all the Poskim who discuss this matter refer to a case of an Aliyah [and back then the Olah would then read the Torah], nevertheless seemingly it would all the more so apply today to the Baal Korei.

[84] Torah Leshma 95 and 428; See Tzitz Eliezer 14:34; Piskeiy Teshuvos 139:1

[85] The reason: As the danger is only when the person is belittling the Torah, as it is not important in his eyes, however when he does so for a justifiable reason, he does not belittle the Torah. [ibid]

[86] Michaber 139:1; M”B 139:1; Kaf Hachaim 139:3

[87] Torah Leshma 95 regarding Maftir

[88] Michaber 139:3; Ketzos Hashulchan 25:9

[89] Igros Moshe 3:19; Halichos Shlomo 12:5; Piskeiy Teshuvos 142:8

[90] Bach 143; M”A 143:4; Machatzis Hashekel ibid; Birkeiy Yosef 49:2; Piskeiy Teshuvos 139:5

[91] Michaber 139:11 as explained in Taz 139:9

[92] M”A 139:13 in name of Kesavim

[93] Michaber 147:1; Y.D. 282:4; Shabbos 14a “One who holds a Sefer Torah naked [i.e. bare handed] is buried naked.”; Megillah 32a; Miseches Sofrim 3:16

[94] Rama ibid

[95] See Hiskashrus 784; Chikrei Haminhagim 1:171-175

[96] From all the following sources it is evident that it was a widespread custom to use a Yad for the reading: See Rama 154:6 and Terumas Hadeshen 225 who discuss turning the pole of the Paroches into a Yad for the Sefer Torah; M”A 154:14 that the Yad today is hung on the Sefer Torah for beauty and hence contains Kedusha; M”B 141:5 that a silver Yad is used to show the reading to the Olah; Shevet Halevi 6:63 for a discussion on the Kedusha of the Yad; See Shulchan Hakeria [1882] Yalkut David p. 25; Divrei Kehilos Minhagei Frankfurt p. 51

The reason: As it is forbidden to touch the parchment of the Sefer Torah and hence a silver Yad is used to show people the area of the reading and for the Baal Korei and Olah to follow along the reading. [Shulchan Hakeria ibid]

[97] See Chikrei Haminhagim 1:171-175 that the Rebbe once instructed a community to prepare a silver Yad for a Sefer Torah that was written in his honor. Nonetheless, the widespread custom in Chabad Minyanim, including the custom by the Rebbe’s Minyan, is not to use a Yad for the reading.

[98] See Chikrei Haminhagim ibid

[99] Michaber 141:1 regarding Olah and Rama ibid regarding Baal Korei; Rambam Tefilla 12:7; Megillah 21a; Ketzos Hashulchan 25:10; Piskeiy Teshuvos 141:1

[100] Shaareiy Efraim 3:42; M”B 141:5

[101] The reason: As when Moshe heard the Torah from Hashem he would stand, and hence certainly the Jewish people are to stand in front of Hashem, who is giving it. [Levush 141; M”B 141:1]

[102] M”A 141:1 that so is implied from Beis Yosef 141 and Rashi; M”B 141:1

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that if one read the Torah in a sitting position, the congregation is not Yotzei even Bedieved. [Bach 690; Implication of Tur and Hagahos Maimanis, brought in M”A ibid]

[103] M”A 141:1; M”B 141:2

[104] Michaber ibid

[105] Shaareiy Efraim 3:42; M”B 141:4

[106] M”A 141:2; M”B 141:4

[107] Shaareiy Efraim 3:42; M”B 141:5

[108] M”A 141:2; M”B 141:4

[109] M”B 141:4

[110] Piskeiy Teshuvos 141:1

[111] Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid; Yalkut Yosef 141:2; Rav Yaakov Yosef z”l

[112] Moadim Uzmanim 2:182; Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid

[113] Teshuvos Vehanhagos 1:155; Piskeiy Teshuvos 135:2

[114] Machmir opinion in Teshuvos Vehanhagos ibid; Halichos Shlomo 12:1 in name of Minchas Shlomo 9; See Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid footnote 17

[115] Poskim ibid

[116] See Piskeiy Teshuvos 139:9

[117] See Admur 8:15; 14:8; Shaareiy Efraim 3:18; M”B 14:11; Aruch Hashulchan 91:2; Kaf Hachaim 147:4

[118] Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid

[119] See Igros Kodesh 5:91; 9:214; 11:110; 13:227; 16:12 and 97-99; 19:249 [published in Shulchan Menachem p. 199, 259, and 363]

[120] Igros Kodesh 11:110 [published in Shulchan Menachem 1:259]

[121] See M”B 141:17 in name of Elya Raba and Shaar Efraim

[122] Admur 124:1; Michaber 124:8; Brachos 47a

[123] M”B ibid; Ketzos Hashulchan 25:9

[124] See Admur ibid; Brachos ibid; Piskeiy Teshuvos 139 footnote 70

[125] Sefer Agudah p. 158; Miseches Sofrim 3:10 “One may not open a Sefer Torah less than three columns, although one reads only from one” [see also 14:14 that one is to open the Sefer Torah three columns during Hagbah. This ruling regarding Hagbah is brought in M”A 134:3 in name of Chidushei Agudah; Elya Raba 134:4; Kitzur Shlah; Kitzur SHU”A 23:25; M”B 134:8. Vetzaruch Iyun as to why they do not record this ruling also regarding the reading]

[126] The reason: This is to be done in order so the words on the page be well revealed, and so no letter will be covered over on the side. [Nachalas Ariel on Miseches Sofrim ibid]

[127] Nachalas Ariel on Miseches Sofrim ibid

The reason: One is not to open it more than three columns in order so he not lose his place. [Nachalas Ariel on Miseches Sofrim ibid]

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