Yehalelu & Returning the Sefer Torah to the Aron: When; Who and How

Yehalelu-Returning the Sefer Torah:

A. When to return the Sefer Torah:

The custom of Chassidim and Sefaradim is to return the Sefer Torah to the Aron after Uva Letziyon by Shacharis. The custom of Ashkenazim is to return it before Ashreiy.

B. Yehlaleu:[1]

The verse of Yehalelu[2] is recited by the Chazan[3] when the Sefer Torah is being brought to the Aron.[4] After the recital of Yehalelu, the congregation responds with the verse of “Hodu Al Eretz Veshamayim[5].”[6]

 

Q&A

Who is to take the Sefer Torah to the ark during Yehalelu?

Some Poskim[7] write that the Chazan is to take the Sefer Torah and say Yehalalu. The widespread custom amongst Anash is for the person holding the Torah [usually, the Magbia] to bring it to the Aron.[8] However, when the Rebbe was Chazan, he was accustomed to take the Sefer Torah and bring it to the Aron himself.[9]  

 

When is Yehalelu to be recited on Mincha of Shabbos?

In general, the verse of Yehalelu is recited by the Chazan when the Sefer Torah is being brought to the Aron.[10] However, according to the Chabad custom to begin the Kaddish towards the end of the Gelila, this forms a problem regarding when it is to be said. On the one hand, one may not speak in middle of Kaddish, and must pay attention to the words of the Kaddish said by the Chazan.[11] On the other hand, one is not to make an interval between Kaddish and Shemoneh Esrei [at all] even with the recital of a single Pasuk[12], and therefore, Yehalelu is not to be recited after the Kaddish, before Shemoneh Esrei, but rather is to be said before the Kaddish.[13] Practically, according to the Rebbe’s directives, Yehalelu is to be recited after Gelila, while the Sefer Torah is being returned to the Aron, in the midst of the Kaddish, and not between the Kaaddish and Shemoneh Esrei.[14] [Perhaps, it is best to recite it after answering Amen Yihei Shmei Raba, prior to the Chazan continuing the Kaddish. While the Chazan who says the Half Kaddish should say it to himself before he begins the half Kaddish.] Some[15] however write the Rebbe was accustomed to recite Yehalelu only after the Kaddish was completed by the Chazan, prior to beginning Shemoneh Esrei.

 

 

Returning to Aron:

The Sefer Torah is returned to the ark from one’s right side [south, if the Aron faces Mizrach].[16] It is not required for the person who did Pesicha to also return the Sefer to the Aron.[17] It is a Mitzvah for the person who did Gelila/Hagbah and whoever the Sefer Torah passes in front of to escort it to the Heichal.[18] The custom is to kiss the Sefer Torah and to bring children to kiss it.[19] One is to endeavor to kiss it with his mouth rather than simply touch it with his hand and then kiss his hand.[20] Some are accustomed to recite the Psalm of Ledavid Mizmor upon returning the Sefer Torah.[21] This is not the Chabad custom. It is an obligation to stand while the Sefer Torah is being returned to the Aron.[22]

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[1] Siddur Admur; The saying of Yehalelu is mentioned in: Admur 292:4; M”A 292:2; Siddur Rav Amram Gaon; Machzor Vitri p. 93; Mateh Moshe 256; Rokeiach

The reason behind this custom: Some explain that these verses are recited in order to emphasize that we serve Hashem himself and bow to him, and not to the G-dliness in the Torah, and therefore we say “Praised be Hashem as His name is alone exalted”. [Reb Chizkiya brought in Mateh Moshe ibid] Alternatively, the reason is because before Matan Torah the ray of Hashem was only in Heavens, and after Matan Torah Hashem shines His ray also below on earth. [Drashos Maharash, brought in Shaareiy Efraim Pischei Shearim 10:44; Ketzos Hashulchan 91 Footnote 4]

[2] Tehillim 148:13

[3] Yehalelu is meant to be said by the Chazan only and then be answered by the congregation. [Siddur Admur ibid; Mateh Moshe ibid] See however Hiskashrus footnote 10 in name of Rav Y.Y Ofen that at times when the Rebbe was Chazan the Rebbe let other’s say the Yehalelu. There is however no reason for why some of the congregation are accustomed to also say Yehalelu with the Chazan. However, Rabbi Y.L. Groner related to me that the Rebbe was accustomed to say Yehalelu together with the Chazan. See Ketzos Hashulchan 25:13 that the Chazan or the person holding the Torah may say Yehalelu

[4] Siddur Admur “On Monday’s and Thursday’s one enters the Sefer Torah to the Heichal and the Chazan says Yehalelu.”

When to say Yehalelu-before or during? Some write that Yehalelu and Hodu is recited prior to bringing the Sefer Torah back to the Aron, and after it is said it is brought to the Aron. [Machzor Vitri ibid; Implication of Mateh Moshe ibid; Shaareiy Efraim 10:41] However from Siddur Admur ibid it is implied that it is said while it is being brought to the Aron. Vetzaruch Iyun!

[5] Conclusion of Tehillim 148:13 and 148:14

[6] The reason: The reason why the congregation answers to the Chazan is to emphasize that not only do we praise Hashem, but also the heavens and earth and we then praise Hashem for giving us the Torah and elevating us from other nations. [Mateh Moshe ibid in name of Rav Chizkiya; See there in length for why the verse of Yehalelu is first said by the Chazan and then Hodu by the congregation.]

[7] Shaareiy Efraim 10:41

[8] See Likkut of Rav Shimon Yakobavitch, printed in Hiskashrus 212:25 who wrote “the Magbia brings the Sefer Torah” although the Rebbe crossed out the word “Hamagbia”

[9] Hiskashrus 449:18 footnote 43

[10] Siddur Admur “On Monday’s and Thursday’s one enters the Sefer Torah to the Heichal and the Chazan says Yehalelu.”

When to say Yehalelu-before or during the return of the Torah? Some write that Yehalelu and Hodu is recited prior to bringing the Sefer Torah back to the Aron, and after it is said, it is brought to the Aron. [Machzor Vitri ibid; Implication of Mateh Moshe ibid; Shaareiy Efraim 10:41] However from Siddur Admur ibid it is implied that it is said while it is being brought to the Aron. Vetzaruch Iyun!

[11] See Ketzos Hashulchan 91 footnote 4 “If Kaddish is said while the Sefer Torah is brought to the heychal and people come to kiss it and say Yehalelu it will cause confusion and people will not listen to the Kaddish.”

[12] Admur 292:4; M”A 292:2

[13] Yad Efraim 292 on M”A ibid; Ketzos Hashulchan 91 Footnote 4

[14] Igros Kodesh 313; Sefer Haminhagim p. 66 [English] [printed in Shulchan Menachem 2:109]

[15] Siddur Harav Raskin p. 320; Likkut of Rav Shimon Yakobavitch, printed in Hiskashrus 212:25; Rabbi Groner in correspondence that the Rebbe said Yehalelu after the Kaddish

[16] Ketzos Hashulchan 25:13; Beir Heiytiv 134

[17] Piskeiy Teshuvos 147:2; See Chikrei Haminhagim 1:160

[18] Rama 149:1

[19] Rama 149:1; Ketzos Hashulchan 25:1

[20] Ketzos Hashulchan 25:12 footnote 47

[21] Ketzos Hashulchan 25:13

[22] Ketzos Hashulchan 25:13

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