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Displaying and Dressing the Torah

Displaying and Dressing the Torah

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Following the Torah service the Torah scroll is raised (Hagbah) and dressed (Gelilah).

As the Torah scroll is raised following the reading, we endeavor to come close to the podium so that we can read the Torah's writing. We say this paragraph while the Torah is displayed.

Transliteration:
V'zos ha-toroh asher som mosheh lif'nay b'nay yisro-ayl. Aytz cha-yim hi la-machazikim boh, v'som'cheho m'ushor. D'rocheho dar'chay no-am, v'chol n'sivo-seho sholom. Orech yomim bi-minoh bis'moloh osher v'chovod. Ado-noy chofaytz 1'ma-an tzidko yagdil toroh v'ya-dir.

The Basics

If you are honored with the lifting of the scroll, ascend to the podium and open the scroll three columns wide with one seam in view, the parchment should be taut between the polls; hold the Torah by its handles and slide the scroll towards you about halfway over the edge of the podium; press down on the handles of the Torah, raise the handles about shoulder height and then turn halfway to the right and halfway to the left so that the entire congregation can see the open scroll; place the open scroll back down on the podium. Roll the scroll up tight with the seam in middle, raise the scroll as before - this time just high enough to carry it, you will be directed to sit with the Torah on a chair on or near the podium.

If you are honored with the Dressing ("Gelilah") you will place the covers (and in many synagogues a pointer and crown) on the Torah once the person being honored with the raising is seated with the Torah. Descend from the podium after this is done.

On Shabbat, following the Dressing, the person that is receiving the Maftir Aliyah will chant the Haftorah. On Shabbat following Ashrei, and during the week after the Kaddish, the one holding the Torah may be directed to return the Torah to the Ark; in some synagogues it is the cantor who will do this.

Readings and Resources
Video: How to Do the Lifting of the Torah
Why Do We Lift the Torah Scroll?
Based on materials by Kehot Publications, Beth Tefillah of Atlanta, Georgia, the Dawn & Keith Rinzler Philanthropic Fund and other sources. Compiled by Dovid Zaklikowskii.
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