Re: Women touching/kissing the Torah

Jacob Faturechi (jacobf@scf.usc.edu)
Tue, 8 Apr 1997 10:43:23 -0700 (PDT)

Jeremy Glass wrote:
> >Recently I joined an Orthodox minyan affiliated with an Orthodox shul
where
> >the practice was, before and after K'riat HaTorah, to pass the Sefer Torah
> >around both the Men's and Women's side of the Mechitzeh after taking out
> >and before returning the Sefer Torah to the Aron HaKodesh.
> >Since then a new Rav has joined our minyan and this practice has been
> >stopped based on the fact that it is halachicly prohibitted.

Ummm. The Persian Rabbis in Los Angeles (as the Rabbis in Iran, I believe
since the Cheif Rabbi of Tehran is now in Los Angeles and his decisions
are hardly if ever contradicted by any Persian Jew) have always, to my
knowledge, had the practice of carrying the Torah through the women's
section. I am not asking to try and contradict my Rabbi, but the question
of whether this is halachicly permissible is interesting. I want to know
what is the reasoning behind it. Is it an Ashkenaz custom like not eating
rice during pesach that comes from things necessary in one community and
not another? I guess the way our synagogues are traditionally set up also
has something to do with it. We have a quite different set up from what I
have seen in Ashkenaz congregations.

BTW, I was also wondering whether it was only our custom to have a woman
open the ark if there are any women present? I have never been to an
Orthodox Ashkenaz synagogue when the Torah was being read.

Jacob Faturechi <jacobf@usc.edu>
U. of So. Cal.
Annenberg School for Communication
World Wide Web <http://www-scf.usc.edu/~jacobf/>