Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Facing the Torah

While reciting the blessing when being called up to the Torah, before the reading, does one leave the Torah open or closed, face straight ahead or to the side, close one's eyes or leave them open?

R. Simcha Rabinowitz, Piskei Teshuvos vol. 2 139:10 n. 62:

Regarding whether to hold the Torah open during the blessing [before the reading], see the Bi'ur Halakhah that every river has its path [i.e. there are different valid customs]. In Orechos Rabbenu ibid. [vol. 1 p. 71] and in vol. 3 p. 214 it says that the Chazon Ish would leave the Torah open, close his eyes and recite the blessing without turning right or left and R. Ya'akov Yisrael Kanievsky would close the Torah and recite the blessing. In Halikhos Shlomo ibid. [ch. 12 n. 68] it says that R. Shlomo Zalman Auerbach would leave the Torah open and, during the blesing, turn his head to the right. It says similarly in Sha'arei Halakhah U-Minhag ibid. [Orach Chaim no. 85] that the Lubavitcher Rebbe would turn his head to his right even though the Torah scroll was closed (even though the Rema and Magen Avraham write that one should turn one's head to the left, see Mekor Chaim of the Chavos Yair who writes, "According to what we practice, that the one called up stands to the right of the reader, it is better to turn one's head to the right," presumably so it does not look like one is turning to bless to him; therefore, even those who close the Torah should act that way, and the above practices are proper, and the words of the Arukh Ha-Shulchan par. 53 to the contrary are difficult).

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Favorites More