How to turn around with the Torah by Hagbah

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How to turn around with the Torah by Hagbah:[1]

One is to show the writing of the Sefer Torah to those standing by his right and left, and thus turn around with the Sefer Torah to his front and back in order to show the writing to the entire congregation, men and women.


This turning is done in the following way:[2]

Which direction first: One first turns to his right side, which is from east to south, if he is facing east.[3] Accordingly, by an Ashkenazi Sefer Torah, the writing is first shown to those on the left of the Bima, while by a Sephardi Sefer Torah it is first shown to those to the right of the Bima.[4]

Circling the Torah: Some are accustomed to performing a full circle, turning to one’s right [East to south to west to north].[5] Others perform a half circle from their right side [east to southwest] and then from their left side [east to northwest].[6] Others state that there is no need at all to make a half or whole circle, and one can remain stationary and show the writing to both sides.[7]

The Rebbe’s instruction: Practically, the Rebbe once instructed the Yeshiva students to perform Hagbah as follows:[8] One performs only a half circle, turning from right to left [east to north to west] and then returns to east, going from left to right.

Turning slowly:[9] In all cases, one is to turn around slowly with the Sefer Torah in order to allow everyone to properly see it.



[1] Michaber 134:2; Beis Miseches Sofrim 14:14; Ramban on Torah Ki Savo 27:27; Shibulei Haleket 77; Mordechai Halachos Ketanos 14; Tashbeitz 188

[2] See Piskeiy Teshuvos 134:5; Yalkut Dinei Kerias Hatorah p. 1393; Hiskashrus 274 p. 17; Shulchan Aruch Hakatzar 35 footnote 101; Encyclopedia Talmudit Erech Hagbah Vol. 8 p. 169

[3] Implication of Michaber ibid; Beir Sheva Sotah 2; Peri Chadash 134; Beir Heiytiv 134:4; M”B 134:9 [East to south]; Ketzos Hashulchan 25:13 [East to South]; Piskeiy Teshuvos 134:5; See Mamar Mordechai 134; Even Yisrael 8:11; See Michaber 128:17 and Admur 128:26 regarding Nesias Kapayim, that the Kohen should always first turn to his right, meaning first to south and then to west.

Other opinions: Some suggest that by an Ashkenazi Sefer Torah one is to turn the Sefer Torah to one’s left, similar to the turn by Boiy Veshalom, and thus first show the Sefer Torah to the people on one’s right. [Hiskashrus ibid, based on wording in Michaber ibid to show to the right and left. However, see Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid that the Michaber wrote his statement in reference to the Sephardi Sefer Torah and custom.]

[4] See above for the different customs of how Ashkenazim and Sephardim lift the Sefer Torah and if the writing faces the person lifting it or not.

[5] Beir Sheva Sotah 2; Encyclopedia Talmudit ibid; Shevet Halevi 9:26; Orchos Rabbeinu 3:216 that so did Chazon Ish; Piskeiy Teshuvos 134:5

[6] Mishneh Halachos 11:150; Piskeiy Teshuvos 134:5

[7] See Kneses Hagedola 134:7 in name of Bach in name of Maharam in Hagahos Mordechai; Mamar Mordechai 134:2 [who negates above and states to turn around with the Sefer Torah]; Sefer Afikei Maginim 134:5; Hiskashrus ibid

[8] See Shulchan Menachem 1:267; Yalkut Dinei Kerias Hatorah p. 1393; Hiskashrus 274 p. 17

[9] Shaareiy Chaim on Shaareiy Efraim 10:14

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