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Chapter 23: 4-7
Reading the Torah

4. One may not hold the Torah scroll itself with bare hands. Rather, one should hold it by its staves or with one's hands wrapped in the tallis. Others follow the stringency of not holding its staves with bare hands and wrap their hands in the tallis in the tallis before holding them.

5. The person called to the Torah and the reader must stand while the Torah is being read. They are even forbidden to lean against a support. Rather, they must stand in awe. Just as the Torah was given in an atmosphere of awe, so, too, we must treat it with reverence. Nevertheless, a weak person may lean slightly on a support.

6. The entire congregation should stand while the person receiving the aliyah recites Borchu and the congregation responds Boruch Ado-noi ham'voroch l'olom vo'ed. However, while he recites the blessing asher bochar bonu..., while the Torah is being read, and while he recites the final blessing, the congregation is not obligated to stand.

Those who observe the mitzvos precisely follow the stringency of standing. It is proper to follow this practice. However, between one aliyah and the next, there is no need to stand.

7. If the person reading the Torah himself receives an aliyah, another person should stand next to him. Just as the Torah was given using an intermediary (Moses, our teacher), we should relate to it with an intermediary.*

* {Generally, it is customary for a person to stand at either side of the Torah platform. Thus, there are at least three people on the platform: the reader, one person to his right, and one to his left (Mishnoh Beruroh 141:16).}

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