Reading the Torah portion from a Sefer Torah without a Minyan or in private

* This article is an excerpt from the above book

Reading from a Sefer Torah without a Minyan or not for the sake of Keiras Hatorah:[1]

It is permitted for a group to take out the Sefer Torah and read the Torah portion from it without its blessings even if a Minyan is not available. Thus, if a congregation could not gather a Minyan for Kerias Hatorah, they may nevertheless remove the Sefer Torah and read the entire portion consecutively without its blessings or Aliyos. [However, an individual who did not hear the Torah reading, is not to take out the Torah scroll to read from it the Torah portion of that day.[2] Furthermore, even by a group, it is forbidden to read from a Torah scroll if he does not know where to stop by each verse.[3]]


[1] Elya Raba 143:2; Makor Chaim 143 of Chavos Yair; Shaareiy Efraim 7:38 “A town that does not have a Minyan and the group desires to read the Sedra in the Torah scroll without a blessing, may do so”; Piskeiy Teshuvos 143:1; Mayanei Hayeshua 9; See Nesivim Bisidei Hashlichus 2:4 footnote 10; So rule regarding Parshas Zachar: M”B 685:17; Kaf Hachaim 685:35 based on Rama 685:7; Kinyan Torah 7:55; See Shraga Hameir 6:116; Binyan Shlomo 54

[2] See Shach Yoreh Deah 270:5; Taz Y.D. 270:4; Derisha 270; Maharsham 1:175; Meishiv Davar 16; Minchas Yitzchak 19 “Appears like removing the Torah scroll without need”; Shaareiy Halacha Uminhag 2 pages 77-79 regarding the Chabad custom of not reading the Nassi or Shnayim Mikra from a Torah scroll

The reason: As today we no longer learn from a Sefer Torah, and it is even forbidden to do so, as it is belittling to the Sefer. Thus, an individual is to read from a Chumash. [Derisha ibid, brought in Taz ibid and Shach ibid; Likkutei Sichos 23 ibid]  

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that there is no prohibition to remove a Sefer Torah to read from it even as an individual. [Nemukei Orach Chayim 669:2 towards end “It is incorrect to say that there is a prohibition to read from a Sefer Torah, as where is this written at all, and if someone wants to learn from a Torah scroll in public, as they say of the Gr”a…”; Chazon Ovadia Pesach; So rule regarding Shnayim Mikra: Admur 285:4 Arizal Shaar Hakavanos; Taz 285:1; So rule regarding the Nassi: Nitei Gavriel Pesach 1; Piskeiy Teshuvos 429 that so was custom of Talmidei Habesht]

[3] Admur 494:11, and so is implied from Admur 285:4 which writes “Piskeiy Taamim”. Meaning that he knows where each verse stops. [Ketzos Hashulchan 72 footnote 1, derived from Admur’s additional word “Piskeiy Taamim”]

The reason: The reason one must know the end of each verse by heart as a condition to read from the Torah is because it is forbidden for one to stop in middle of a verse that Moshe did not stop by [494:11], and if one does not know the end of each verse certainly he will end up stopping in middle of some of the verses. Vetzaruch Iyun for why this condition was not mentioned by any of the Poskim who deal with the question of reading from the Torah.

Was this article helpful?

Related Articles

Leave A Comment?

You must be logged in to post a comment.