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The Aliyah, Step by Step

The Aliyah, Step by Step

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What you’ll need:

In order to receive an aliyah, you must know your Hebrew name and your father’s Hebrew name. (They will both be used to call you up to the Torah.) You also need to know whether you are a Kohen, Levi or Yisrael (this will determine which aliyah you will receive). Depending on the custom in your synagogue, you may need to don a tallit before your aliyah.

Step 1: Get called up

The gabbai (beadle) announces in Hebrew: “Arise, (your name) son of (your father’s name)!” Upon hearing your Hebrew name called, rise and walk over to the bimah (reading platform) and stand to the right of the reader, facing the Torah scroll. It is customary to take the shortest route to get there, expressing an eagerness to approach the Torah.

Step 2: Prepare to bless

The reader will show you where the Torah reading begins and ends. Touch the beginning and end of the Torah reading with the corner of your tallit (or the Torah’s sash) and kiss it. Close the Torah and hold both handles while reciting the blessing.

Step 3: The blessings

The blessings recited over the Torah thank G‑d for choosing us as His nation and for giving us the Torah, His covenant with us.


Start by saying the following:

בָּרְכוּ אֶת יְיָ הַמְבֹרָךְ.

This is what it sounds like:

Ba-r’chu et a-do-nai ha-m’vo-rach.

This is what it means:

Bless the L‑rd who is blessed.

The congregation responds:

בָּרוּךְ יְיָ הַמְבֹרָךְ לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד.

Repeat after the congregation:

בָּרוּךְ יְיָ הַמְבֹרָךְ לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד.

This is what it sounds like:

Ba-ruch a-do-nai ha-m’vo-rach l'o-lahm va-ed.

This is what it means:

Blessed be the L‑rd who is blessed for all eternity.

Now recite the following blessing:

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֶלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר בָּחַר בָּנוּ מִכָּל הָעַמִּים, וְנָתַן לָנוּ אֶת תּוֹרָתוֹ. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, נוֹתֵן הַתּוֹרָה.

This is what it sounds like:

Ba-ruch a-tah A-do-nai Eh-lo-hay-nu meh-lech ha-o-lahm, a-sher ba-char ba-nu mi-kol ha-a-meem, v’na-tahn la-nu et Torah-toh. Ba-ruch a-tah A-do-nai, no-tayn ha-Torah.

This is what it means:

Blessed are You, L‑rd our G‑d, King of the universe, who has chosen us from among all the nations and given us His Torah. Blessed are You, L‑rd, who gives the Torah.

The congregation will respond “Amen.”


Step 4: The reading

While the Torah is being read, hold the handle of the scroll nearest you. If possible, follow the Hebrew words inside the scroll and read along silently.

When the reader concludes, touch first the end and then the beginning of the reading with the corner of your tallit (or the Torah's sash) and kiss it. Close the Torah, and holding both handles, recite the second blessing.

Step 5: The second blessing

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֶלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר נָתַן לָנוּ תּוֹרַת אֱמֶת, וְחַיֵּי עוֹלָם נָטַע בְּתוֹכֵנוּ. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, נוֹתֵן הַתּוֹרָה.

This is what it sounds like:

Ba-ruch a-tah A-do-nai Eh-lo-hay-nu meh-lech ha-o-lahm, a-sher na-tan la-nu toh-raht e-met, v’cha-yay o-lahm na-ta b’toe-chay-nu. Ba-ruch a-tah A-do-nai, no-tayn ha-Torah.

This is what it means:

Blessed are You, L‑rd our G‑d, King of the universe, who has given us the Torah of truth and planted eternal life within us. Blessed are You, L‑rd, who gives the Torah.

Mazal tov!

During the bar mitzvah boy’s aliyah, his family will distribute candies (preferably soft jelly candies) to the congregation. When the second blessing is concluded, the bar mitzvah boy is showered with candies, representing a shower of sweet blessings, as the congregation sings Mazal Tov. He has now officially become a bar mitzvah.

Step 6: After the aliyah

After the aliyah, stand on the right side of the bimah until the end of the following aliyah (or, if it was the last aliyah, until the Torah is raised). When returning to your seat, do not use the shortest route.

Note: To ensure that you’re well prepared, it is advisable to review the procedure with your rabbi, and to attend synagogue services in the months leading up to the bar mitzvah.

The father’s blessing

The father of the bar mitzvah boy should accompany him to the bimah for his aliyah, and stand to one side as the blessings are being recited. Following the aliyah, the father recites a special blessing thanking G‑d for reaching this auspicious moment.

There are a few variations of the blessing. Here is the Chabad version:

בָּרוּךְ שֶׁפְּטָרַנִי מֵעֹנֶשׁ הַלָּזֶה.

This is what it sounds like:

Ba-ruch she-p’ta-ra-nee mei-o-nesh ha-la-zeh.

This is what it means:

Blessed be He who has released me from being punishable for this [boy].

The bar mitzvah boy is now a full-fledged member of the Jewish people, and as such, he is responsible for his own actions. Until this point, his parents could claim credit for his accomplishments, but they also had to take responsibility for his mistakes. Now that he is officially an adult, they are relieved of that responsibility. This blessing expresses that transition.

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rico taga javien Philippines February 1, 2013

This is very informative and instructive material Reply

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