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Hagbah - Lifting The Sefer Torah

The Daily Halacha Moment - Hagbah ๐Ÿ“œ


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Question:

What is Hagbah?

What are some customs of Hagbah?


Answer:

Hagbah is lifting up the Sefer Torah to show to the congregation.

The custom of Sephardim is to perform hagbah before keriat hatorah, unlike Ashkenazim who perform hagbah before reciting the haftarah.

[1]


Hagbah should be performed by lifting the sefer Torah, while facing the hechal, and turning 360 degrees to the right (clockwise).[2]


One must bow when seeing the words of the sefer Torah during hagbah.

[3] It is customary to recite the words โ€œVezot HaTorah asher sam Moshe lifnei Bnei Yisrael.โ€ (Devarim, 4:44) [4]

Some people have a custom to point their pinky finger at the sefer torah during hagbah. [5]

Similarly, it is praiseworthy to stand close to the sefer Torah during hagbah, in order to be able to read the words of the Torah as well.[6]

Furthermore, one must remain standing during the hagbah until the sefer Torah is put down on the bimah. [7]


Sources:

[1]. Halachah Berurah, vol. 7, p. 82 points out that it seems that the opinion of the Shulchan Aruch is to perform hagbah before Keriat HaTorah, since he places the laws of hagbah before the laws of Keriat

HaTorah. However, the Ashkenaz custom follows the Rama 134:2 who states to perform hagbah after keriat HaTorah.

[2]. Halachah Berurah, vol. 7, p. 84.

[3]. Shulchan Aruch 134:2; Birkei Yosef 134:3. Piskei Teshuvot ยง134, footnote 29 states that even though there are many people who are not aware of this custom, one should bow even though there are no others in the synagogue who are bowing as well. See also in Divrei Yatziv 1:76 and Halichot Shlomo, Teffilah, p. 151, footnote 68 for why many Ashkenazim are not particular to bow during hagbah.

[4]. Shulchan Aruch 134:2. There are varying customs regarding which pesukim are recited during hagbah. Each community should do as their custom.

[5]. Meam Loez, Devarim 27:26 states that it is customary to point to the place with oneโ€™s pinky finger, and kiss it. This is also brought from Rabbi Chaim Palagi, in Sefer Chaim 3:6. See also in Rivevot Ephraim 2:80:23, 5:215, 6:63:4.

[6]. The Arizal in Shaar Hakavanot, p. 48 states that one who does merits great blessing. See also in Mishnah Berurah 134:11 and Kaf HaChaim 134:10. Ben Ish Chai, Toldot, 2:16 states that one should try to find in the words of the Torah the first letter that oneโ€™s name begins with.

[7]. See Yechaveh Daat 6:42; Chazon Ovadia, Sukkot, p. 465.


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