Kerias Hatorah Issues
Sitting or standing?
The koreh and the person receiving the aliyah must stand while reading from
the Torah. Members of the congregation, however, are not required to stand.
Indeed, there are three views in the poskim as to what is preferred:
1. Some hold that it is preferable to stand while the Torah is being read,
since Kerias ha-Torah is compared to the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai
where everyone stood.
2. Others maintain that there is no preference and one is free to sit or
stand as he wishes.
3. A third view holds that it is preferable to sit while the Torah is being
The basic halachah follows the middle view that there is no preference
whether to sit or stand during Kerias ha-Torah and one can choose. There
are, however, some people who are stringent and insist on standing while the
Torah is being read.
Most poskim agree with the following:
Consecutive aliyos for relatives
In order to avoid ayin ha-ra, a “bad omen,” the gabbai does not call a
father and a son, or two brothers [who share a father] for consecutive
aliyos. Even if the parties involved are not concerned with ayin ha-ra
and wish to be called consecutively, it is not permitted. Moreover, even
if the gabbai mistakenly did call the relative for a consecutive aliyah, the
one who was called should remain in his seat and not accept the aliyah.
If, however, the mistake was realized only after he ascended the bimah, then
he is not instructed to descend.
L’chatchilah, even brothers who share only a mother, or even a grandfather
and his son's son, should not be called for consecutive aliyos. If,
however, there is a need to do so, or if – b’diavad – the call to ascend to
the bimah was already made, it is permitted for them to accept the
aliyah. All other relatives may be called consecutively even l’chatchilah.
The consecutive aliyos restriction does not apply:
- If the consecutive aliyah is the maftir on a day when a second Sefer
Torah is read for maftir, e.g., on Yom Tov or Rosh Chodesh, or when the Four
Parashiyos are read.
- In a congregation where the names of the olim are not used when they are
called for an aliyah. [In some congregations no names are used for the
shevi'i or acharon aliyos .]
- To hagbahah and gelilah, in a congregation where names are not used when
calling up for hagbahah and gelilah.
Question: How is an adopted child called to the Torah?
Discussion: The poskim disagree as to whether an adopted child should be
called to the Torah as the son of the adoptive father. Rav S.Z.
Auerbach rules that if the biological father's name is known, then the
child should be called to the Torah by that name. If the biological father's
name is not known, then he may be called to the Torah as the son of the
Question: If, mistakenly, the “wrong” Sefer Torah was removed from the Ark,
may it be returned and exchanged for the “correct” Torah?
Discussion: Most poskim maintain that it is improper to return a Torah to
the Ark once it has been removed. Although using the “wrong” Torah will
cause a delay (tircha d’tzibbura) since it will have to be rolled to the
correct place, it is still considered degrading to a Torah to be put back
once it was taken out of the Ark. There are two notable exceptions to this
1. If the Torah was lifted up by the person removing it, but not actually
taken out of the Ark, it is permitted to set it back down and remove the
correct Torah from the Ark.
On a day when two (or three) Sifrei Torah are taken out of the Ark, and the
“wrong” one was laid on the bimah mistakenly, it is permitted to pick up the
“wrong” Torah from the bimah and replace it with the correct one.
1. Rama, O.C. 146:4, as explained by Bach and Mishnah Berurah 19.
2. O.C. 146:4.
3. This is the view of the Ari z”l as understood by many of the later
authorities; see Chesed l'Alafim 135:14; Sdei Chemed (Beis, 29); Kaf
ha-Chayim 146:20; Da’as Torah 146:4; Shulchan ha-Tahor 146:4. Note that this
view has an early source; see Sefer ha-Machkim, pg. 15, and Teshuvos Rama
4. See, however, Kaf ha-Chayim 146:20-21 and Halichos Shlomo 1:12, Devar
Halachah 30, that the custom is to remain seated even during Barechu.
5. Igros Moshe, O.C. 4:22; Halichos Shlomo 1:12, Devar Halachah 30. See
Yechaveh Da’as 6:8 for a dissenting opinion.
6. O.C. 141:6. This holds true even for shevi’i and maftir, unless the
maftir is a boy under bar mitzvah; Mishnah Berurah 141:20.
7. Mishnah Berurah 141:19. Aruch ha-Shulchan 141:8 maintains, however,
that one who is unconcerned with ayin ha-ra may do as he wishes.
8. Be’er Heitev 141:5; Sha’arei Efrayim 1:33.
9. Mishnah Berurah 141:18.
10. But a grandfather and his daughter’s son are permitted to be called
for consecutive aliyos; Kaf ha-Chayim 141:27
11. Sha’arei Efrayim 1:33.
12. Mishnah Berurah 141:20. Some poskim do not recommend relying on this
leniency when no Kaddish is recited between the aliyos, e.g., Chol ha-Moed
Pesach (Sha’arei Efrayim 1:32), while others are not particular about that
(Aruch ha-Shulchan 141:8). On Simchas Torah, however, all poskim are lenient
about this; see Yechaveh Da’as 3:50.
13. Mishnah Berurah 141:21.
14. Teshuvos Avnei Cheifetz 16, quoted in She’arim Metzuyanim B’halachah
23:10. See also Ashrei ha-Ish, vol. 1, pg. 141.
15. Minchas Yitzchak 4:49; 5:44; 6:151, strictly prohibits this practice.
See also ruling of Rav Y.E. Henkin (Yagel Yaakov, pg. 133). Other
contemporary poskim find room for leniency; see Lev Aryeh 1:55 and Nachalas
Tzvi, vol. 1, pg. 31-35.
16. Quoted in Nishmas Avraham, vol. 5, pg. 136 and in Halichos Shelomo
1:12-18. The same ruling applies to writing the adopted child’s name in a
kesubah or a get. See also Igros Moshe, E.H. 1:99; 4:26-2.
17. See Yabia Omer 8:15-4, who quotes the various views who rule
stringently. See, however, Igros Moshe 2:37, who rules that one may not
object if a member of the congregation instructs the chazan to return the
“wrong” Torah to the Ark.
18. Eishel Avraham, O.C. 144.
19. Peri Megadim (Mishbetzos) 140:4; Beiur Halachah 684:3, s.v. ve’im
ta’ah, quoting Acharonim. Even if the “wrong” Torah was already unrolled to
the Torah reading of the day (and even if the one called up for the aliyah
already recited Baruch Atah but did not yet say Hashem), it is permitted to
roll it up and exchange it for the correct one.
Weekly-Halacha, Text Copyright © 2010 by Rabbi Neustadt, Dr. Jeffrey Gross and Torah.org.
Rabbi Neustadt is the Yoshev Rosh of the Vaad Harabbonim of Detroit and the Av Beis Din of the Beis Din Tzedek of Detroit. He could be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org