Transporting A Sefer Torah

The Daily Halacha Moment - Transporting A Sefer Torah 📜


״כל השונה הלכות בכל יום - מובטח לו שהוא בן ‎העולם הבא״ (נידה עג ע״א, מגילה כח:)


“Anyone who studies Halachot every day is guaranteed that he is destined for the world-to-come” (Megilla 28b, Niddah 73a)


Question:

May one transport a Sefer Torah?


Answer:

It has become very common that people attend kiruv seminars, vacation, or go away from their homes and communities on Shabbat, and they want to take along a sefer Torah in order to be able to fulfill Keriat HaTorah on Shabbat. However, doing so involves several halachot, and not in every case is it permitted to bring along a sefer Torah. Even when it is permitted, there are are rules regarding the honor that must be regarded to the sefer Torah that one is bringing along.


It is prohibited to move a sefer Torah for individual, [1] such as person who is in jail, even if it is Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur,[2]or for a sick person.[3]


The following instances are ways that one is permitted to have a sefer Torah brought to someone:

a. A sefer Torah may be transported for a person who is a great Talmid Chacham.

[4]

b. One may transport the sefer Torah if one designates a place for it to be kept.[5] The way to do this is to designate an ahron for it,[6] and it may even be brought the same day as the transport.[7]

c. One may transfer a sefer Torah from place to place, even without placing the sefer Torah in an Ahron kodesh in order to enable someone to hear Parashat Zachor or Parashat Parah, even if he is alone (such as for a person who is sick or in jail).[8]

d. One may transfer a sefer Torah for a chattan who is making a minyan in his home, or for an avel. However, one should have an ahron kodesh prepared beforehand.[9]

e. A person who personally owns a sefer Torah (it was not donated to a synagogue) may bring it from his home to wherever he needs to use it.[10]


Some state that the prohibition to transport a sefer Torah is specifically when transporting it for an individual. However, for a minyan (ten men over the age of Bar-mitzvah) who are unable to attend the synagogue, then a sefer Torah may be transferred.[11]


Sources:

[1]. Mishnah Berurah 135:47 based on the Yerushalmi, Yoma 7:1 explains that it is a disgrace for the sefer Torah to be moved for a person’s needs. Instead, one should greet the sefer Torah and not have the sefer Torah come to him. See also in Kaf HaChaim 135:83 in the name of the Zohar.

[2]. Shulchan Aruch 135:14.

[3]. Mishnah Berurah 135:46.

[4]. Rama 135:14. The Mishnah Berurah 135:50 states that some say the person must also be a sick person. However, others permit even if he is not sick. The Biur Halachah, “Ein Mevi’in” states that even though the Rama states that one may transport a sefer Torah for an “important person,” this is referring specifically to a Talmid Chacham, and not a rich or honorable individual. See also in Halachah Berurah, vol. 7, p. 127.

[5]. Rama 135:14.

[6]. Pri Megadim, M.Z. 135:12. Piskei Teshuvot, vol. 2, p. 130 who adds that one not specifically need an ahron kodesh, and even a regular closet is enough.

[7]. See Halachah Berurah, vol. 7, p. 128, Birur Halachah §28. Piskei Teshuvot 135:25 adds

that if one intends to be in the place that he is bringing the sefer Torah for more than a day, then even the stringent opinions agree that one can bring it.

[8]. Chayeh Adam 31:15; Kaf HaChaim 135:85; Mishnah Berurah 135:46; Chazon Ovadia, Shabbat, vol. 2, p. 303.

[9]. See in Chazon Ovadia, Shabbat, vol. 2, p. 308 who states that there is even a possibility to permit moving a sefer Torah for a chattan, since he may be considered an “important person,” and this is also the case for an avel. Furthermore, if there are ten people praying there as well, then there is further reason to permit transporting the sefer Torah.

[10]. Torah Lishmah §58; Har Tzvi, O.C. §71; Tzitz Eliezer 18:6; Chazon Ovadia, Shabbat, vol. 2, p. 301. Kaf HaChaim 135:82 states that a sefer Torah that is not usually used may be transported from place to place.

[11]. Mishnah Berurah 135:47; Yabia Omer, vol. 6, 56:1; Ibid., vol. 9, O.C. 15:2; Chazon Ovadia, Shabbat, vol. 2, p. 303.


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