Sefer Torah in private minyan

Bringing a Sefer Torah to a private Minyan:[1]

One may not bring a Sefer Torah to people that are incarcerated [or sick[2] and the like and are hence unable to make it to Kerias Hatorah]. This applies even on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.[3] [This however only applies to a case that there is less than a Minyan of people that need the Sefer Torah.[4] If however there is a Minyan of people that are unable to make it to Kerias Hatorah due to reasons against their will then a Sefer Torah may be brought to that Minyan.[5] If however the Minyan is able to make it to Shul then a Sefer Torah may not be brought to them unless one of the following exceptions apply:]

Setting up an Aron for the Torah:[6]  The above prohibition only applies if the Torah scroll is being brought to the Minyan at the time of Kerias Hatorah [and returned after the reading], if however [an ark[7] is prepared for the Torah scroll[8] and] it remains there for a day or two then it is permitted to be brought. [This allowance applies whether it will remain a day or two prior to the reading or after the reading.[9] This allowance applies even if the people are able to come to Shul but they have a justified reason for desiring to make their own Minyan.[10] Nevertheless in all cases it must be brought before Davening and not simply when they reach Kerias Hatorah.[11] Some Poskim[12] rule that in addition to the above conditions [setting up an ark and leaving it for one to two days] one is not to return the Sefer Torah until it is read on three different occasions. Practically the widespread custom is like this opinion in order to show that the Torah was given a set place in the area.[13]]

A Gadol Betorah: [Another exception to the above prohibition is as follows:] If the person that requires the Sefer Torah to be brought to him is a Gadol Betorah, then it is permitted to be brought[14] [even if he is the only person that requires the reading, and even if an area is not prepared for the Sefer Torah[15]]. [Nevertheless it is disputed whether this is permitted even if the Gadol is able to make it to Shul. Practically if he is able to make it to Shul then an Aron is to be set up by his house to allow the Torah scroll to be brought according to all opinions.[16]]



It is permitted to bring a Sefer Torah to another area in the following cases:

  1. There are ten people that are unable to come to Shul due to reasons beyond their will.
  2. There is a Gadol Betorah that is unable to come to Shul due to reasons beyond his will.
  3. The Sefer Torah is set up in an ark some time prior to the Keria and remains there for one to two days, [and one reads from the Torah at least on three different occasions].



May a Sefer Torah be brought from one room to another within the same Shul?

Yes.[17] However there are Poskim[18] that are stringent in this matter.


May a Sefer Torah be brought to a Chabad house Minyan that is established especially for Rosh Hashanah?

Yes. An ark is to be set up for the Sefer Torah and the Sefer Torah is to remain there a day or two.


May people make a separate Minyan by Kerias Hatorah in a nearby house, bringing the Sefer Torah with them?[19]

It was accustomed by some congregations that when the time of Kerias Hatorah arrived a Minyan within the congregation would take a Sefer Torah with them to a nearby home and read the Torah there in order so everyone can get an Aliyah. The Poskim[20] negate this practice based on the ruling above. Nevertheless if the Aliyos will be sold and the charity funds will increase as a result then it is permitted to be done.[21] Nevertheless it is best to set up an Ark for the scroll and leave it there for a day or two.


[1] Michaber 135/14; 584/3; based on Yerushalmi brought in Beis Yosef 135 “In all places we say one must go to the Sefer Torah and not have the Sefer Torah come to him”

[2] M”B 135/46; See M”A 135/23 in name of Or Zarua that argues that if the person is unable to make it to Shul for reasons against his will [such as he is sick] then he may have a Sefer Torah brought to him and read before a Minyan. The M”A ibid concludes that one may be lenient by Parshas Zachar. This ruling is recorded in M”B ibid.

[3] Michaber ibid

The reason: Although one desires to read the Torah with ten people on behalf of the prisoners or other people that are unable to hear the reading, and hence merit them with the Mitzvah, nevertheless one may not bring them the Sefer Torah as it is considered a belittlement to the Torah to bring it to others. Rather they are to come to the Torah. [M”B 135/47]

[4] M”B 135/47; Biur Halacha  “Ein Mavin”

The reason: As in such a case they are exempt from Kerias Hatorah, as an individual is not obligated to read the Torah. [Biur Halacha ibid]

[5] M”B 135/47; Biur Halacha  “Ein Mavin”

The reason: As a Minyan is obligated in hearing the Torah and since they are unable to make it to Shul due to reasons beyond their will, then there is no belittlement involved in bringing them a Torah scroll. [Biur Halacha ibid]

[6] Rama 135/14

[7] Any closet suffices to serve as an ark so long as it is respectful and clean of any other items. It does not have to specifically be an ark used for a Torah scroll. [Piskeiy Teshuvos 135/25]

[8] M”A 135/22 [“The main point is that the Torah has a Makom Kavua”]; M”B 135/49 in name of Achronim

[9] M”B 135/49 in name of Achronim

[10] Piskeiy Teshuvos 135/25

The following matters are considered justified reasons: One is sick; incarcerated; old and unable to walk; an Avel; a Minyan that Davens another Nussach etc. [See Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid]

[11] Poskim in Kaf Hachaim 584/26; Piskeiy Teshuvos 135/25

[12] Aruch Hashulchan 135/32

[13] Aruch Hashulchan ibid; Piskeiy Teshuvos 135/25

[14] Rama 135/14

[15] M”B 135/51

[16] M”B 135/50

[17] Mateh Yehuda 584/3; Ramatz 16; Beis Shlomo 34; Har Tzevi 71; Ashel Avraham Butchach 135 [that so is the custom] and so he rules in Daas Kedoshim 282; Piskeiy Teshuvos 135/23

The reason: As when it is all within the same building there is no belittlement to the Torah scroll when it is maneuvered.

[18] Maaseh Rav 129; Mor Uketzia 135; See Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid footnote 135

[19] M”B 135/48

[20] Elya Raba brought in M”B ibid; Aruch Hashulchan 135/32 [“Although they do so to receive an Aliyah, nevertheless by doing so they are transgressing an Aveira, and of all days on the High Holidays. Therefore it is proper to protest their actions and decree against them doing so.”]

[21] M”B ibid; not mentioned in Aruch Hashulchan ibid

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