Torah Honors

 

The Procedure For The Aliyah:

 
The honor of reciting the blessings over the Torah is called an “aliyah,” which means “going up.” It refers to the fact that the person ascends or goes up to the Bimah where the Torah is read. The word also connotes that participating in this ritual represents a spiritual ascent because the Torah service is considered a symbolic re-enactment of the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai.

The Torah reader will call you up by your Hebrew name. When called, you come to the bimah and recite the Torah blessings. Before reciting the blessings, the Torah reader points to the word where he/she will begin to read. Take the fringe of your Tallit (or if not wearing a Tallit, the Torah binder), place it in the Torah column where the reading is to begin, and kiss it.

Then, stand directly in front of the Scroll and place both hands on the two handles projecting from the bottom of the Scroll (etz chayim, a tree of life) and recite the blessings(Listen to Audio):

BARCHU ET ADONAI HA-M’VOROCH.

 

The congregation makes the following response, and you repeat it:

BARUCH ADONAI HA-M’VOROCH L’OLAM VA’ED.

 

Then, the next Torah blessing is recited:

BARUCH ATA ADONOY, ELOHENU MELECH HA-OLAM, ASHER BACHAR BANU, MI-KOL HA-AMIM, V’NATAN LANU, ET TORATO. BARUCH ATA ADONOY, NOTAIN HA-TORAH.

 

After completing the blessing, release the left etz chayim to allow the Torah reader to take hold of it, and stand on the right side. Keep your hand on the right etz chayim throughout the reading. When the reader has completed the portion, again take the edge of your Tallit (or the Torah Binder), place it in the Torah column where the reading ended, and kiss it. Then take hold of the left etz chayim, roll the two sides of the Scroll together and recite the final blessing:

BARUCH ATA ADONOY, ELOHENU MELECH HA-OLAM, ASHER NATAN LANU TORAT EMET, V’CHAYEI OLAM NATA B’TOCHAINU. BARUCH ATA ADONOY, NOTAIN HATORAH.

 

After you complete the final blessing, move to your right. The next person is called to the Torah. The person following you then recites the Torah blessings. You stand at the Torah until the entire next Aliyah is read and the final blessing is completed. You then shake hands with the officers and clergy on the bimah and step down, returning to your seat. (Sometimes, the handshake is accompanied by a traditional Hebrew phrase “YASHER KOACH,” “well done,” to which one may respond “BARUCH TIH’YEH,” “may you be blessed.”)

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Instructions For The Hagbeah (Lifting the Torah Scroll):

 
The person designated as Hagbah (lifting) should place each hand on each of the Torah handles. Unroll the Torah Scroll so that three columns of text are visible. Draw the Scroll toward you so that the upper half is resting on the reader’s table. Press the scroll downward so that leverage will enable you to lift the Scroll without strain.

 

Raise the Scroll so that the top of it is slightly above your head. Turn your back to the congregation so that the worshippers can see the text. Pause for a moment as the congregation begins singing. Walk with the Torah and be seated. When you are seated, the Gollel will dress the Torah Scroll. After placing the Torah in the holder, you should shake hands with the officers and clergy on the pulpit.

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Instructions for Gollel (Dressing the Torah Scroll):

 
Assist the Hagbeah as he sits, by placing your hands on the upper rollers of the Torah to steady it. Take hold of the two upper rollers of the Torah Scroll in front, facing the person holding the Torah, and roll them together. Then take the binding sash and clip it in front, (the side facing the Magbeah). Place the Torah mantle over the Scroll with the lettering facing the person holding the Torah, and then place the silver adornments on the Torah rollers.  You then shake hands with the officers and clergy on the pulpit, step down from the Bimah and return to your seat.

 

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