Prologue: The Talmud tells us (Megillah 31b) that we must read the
Tochacha before Yom Hadin. Similarly, prior to the Yom HaDin on Atzeres,
we read the Tochacha of Parshat Behar. Chazal seem to place a stress on
breaking ones spirit as a prelude to the day of judgement. Sometimes, the
softening of our hearts through the reading of the Tochacha will allow
proper tears of Teshuva to flow forth because after all, Hashem only wants
the heart (See Sanhedrin 7a).
But for the lack of heart, Hashem brings forth 98 Klalot? It seems like a
punishment that is a bit excessive for the crime? Why note the purpose of
the Tochacha is in place of lack of service toward Hashem with Simcha and
Good spirit of the heart (28:47)?
Rav Hai Gaon (cited in Kol Aryeh Al Hatorah) suggested that there are
different types of sinners. Some perform the transgression and feel awful
about it. They are addicted to a certain lifestyle but really want to
change their ways. These people might be committing sin but they are not
proud of themselves. Others commit sin and are happy to live in their
present lives. They are oblivious to the Torah or even acting in its
stead. To violate its principles makes this type of sinner happy.
Rav Hai Gaon suggested that the former person is not the one subjected to
the full effects of the Tochacha. This sinner sins but not in good spirit
and a glad heart. Only the latter sinner, who is only glad to sin, will
never change his ways and is subjected to the curses of Arrur.
Judaism demands us to strive to uphold the entire Torah. At times, this
command is literal. This weeks Chaburah discusses one instance of
upholding the Torah. It is entitled:
Hagba Highlights: Lessons for the Lifter
The Ramban (Devarim 27:26) quotes the Yirushalmi (Sotah 7:4)
which, applies the Possuk of Arrur Asher Lo Yakim Es Divrei Torah to the
Chazzan who is not careful to place the Torah back into the Aron properly.
The Ramban himself adds that this applies specifically to the person who
neglects to show the Torah to all the people assembled. But what are the
rules for the Magbiah? When is Hagba to be done and in what manner?
In Meseches Sofrim (14:4) it seems clear that the proper time for
Hagba is actually prior to Kriyas Hatorah. This is the opinion of the
Michaber (Orach Chaim 134:2). The Ari HaKadosh (Shaar Hakavannos, 48d)
specifically noted that the time prior to Laining is the time when the
light of Torah becomes revealed to the Kahal. He adds that this is the
opinion of the Zohar HaKadosh as well (VaYakhel, 206a). In fact, the Kaf
Hachaim (134:16) notes that there were even Ashkenazic communities in
Israel that used to perform Hagba prior to Laining as that was the time of
The Rema (O.C. 134:2) is quick to point out that this is not the
practice among most of Ashkenazic Jewry. We tend to perform Hagba after
the Laining. The reason, notes the Shaarei Knesses HaGedola (134:2 also
cited in Kaf HaChaim), is that people used to assume that Hagba was more
important than Laining and theyd leave after Hagba. In order to prevent
this, the communities would first Lain, and have the Hagba come later.
Many Sephardim (See Chida LDovid Emes 4:2) follow this practice as well.
Some communities seem to follow both practices (See Shut MaHaritz
Dushinsky I:10) and that too, seems acceptable to the Poskim.
But what is the Mitzva of Yakim Es Divrei Torah? The Michaber
(ibid) notes the importance of helping others see the letters of the Sefer
Torah. Indeed, it is cited in the name of the Mikubalim (See Mishna Berura
134:12) that it is better to see into the letters of the Torah as then one
merits an Ohr Gadol. Ben Ish Chai (II: Toldos 16) adds that if one can
find a letter with the same first letter of his name, it is even better as
this is a good Segulah for success. But how does one make another able to
Meseches Sofrim seems to suggest that for this reason we
demonstrate the open Torah to the right, left, forward and behind. This
opinion suggests the Sephardic style Torah (held out in front of people)
or the Ashkenazic Criscross Simchas Torah Hagba. For in this instance the
turn to the right and then left also has the Torah travel always to the
right. In addition, the Sephardic Hagba allows for the carrying of the
Torah with the Ksav opened in order to allow everyone to see the letters.
Rav Ovadiah Yosef (Shut Yabia Omer VII:16) suggests allowing the open
Torah to transverse the crowd in order for people to see the letters but
not to allow it to transverse the crowd closed, in order to let others
kiss it. However, in conventional Ashkenazic Hagba, the Mishna Berurah
(134:9) suggests we first turn left and have the Torah travel toward the
right in order to guarantee that all turns are to the right. Others (See
Beer Sheva Sotah II; Shut Shibbolei HaLeket IX: 26) suggested turning full
circle to allow everyone to see the Torah. It follows that if the Tzibbur
is all standing on one side then only turning to the crowd is necessary.
However some (Shut BTzel HaChochma V:54) recommend a full circle even in
As the Sefer Torah gets to the ends, the Hagba becomes more
difficult. Must Hagba reflect the letters of the Torah that were just
read? The Shaarei Ephraim (Shaar 10:14) seems to suggest that it does not.
He suggests rolling the Torah to a more evenly distributed area for Hagba.
The only concern he raises is for Tircha DTzibbura during the rolling. But
if a potential difficulty might arise, it is better to roll the torah.
This is akin to the times where a Shul might possess but one Torah and
have to Lain from it many times (like Shabbos Rosh Chodesh). In these
cases only one Hagba is done from the location of the last Kriya. However,
the Shulchan HaTahor argues that it is better to demonstrate letters that
were just read if possible.
In the end, Chazal praise the one who receives Hagba with the
Sachar of all those (ostensibly those who received Aliyos) because it is
he who enables them to read from the Torah. May the merit of Kiyum Hatorah
protect all of us always, individually and together forever more.