Bringing the Sefer Torah to the Bima:

Bringing the Torah to the Bima:

A. Keil Erech Apayim:

The prayer of Keil Erech Apayim is recited on Mondays and Thursdays prior to taking out the Sefer Torah.[1]

Fast day: Some[2] are accustomed to recite Keil Erech Apayim prior to Kerias Hatorah on fast days, even if it does not fall on Monday or Thursday. Some[3] are accustomed to recite it even by Mincha. Practically however, the widespread custom is to only recite the prayer by Shacharis of Mondays and Thursdays prior to opening the Aron, and not on a fast day that falls on a different weekday.[4] It is likewise not recited by Mincha of a fast day even if it falls on Monday or Thursday.[5]   

Standing:[6] The prayer of Keil Erech Apayim is to be recited standing.[7]

Days on which it is not recited:[8] The prayer is not recited on days that Tachanun is omitted. Customarily, it is omitted if a Chasan is present.

If a Bris is taking place or a Chasan is present, then Keil Erech Apayim is omitted in that Shul.

B. Opening the Aron and removing the Sefer Torah:

Direction: It makes no difference to which direction the Paroches is moved to, to the right or to the left.[9] Nonetheless, the widespread Chabad custom today is to open it from right to left.[10]

Vayehi Binsoa/Brich Shmei: When the Aron is opened, one recites Vayehi Binsoa Haron, and the Zoharic prayer of Brich Shmei. The opening of the Aron and recital of Brich Shmei is a very auspicious time for prayer from the deSee Piskeiy Teshuvoshs of the heart, and one is guaranteed to have all or at least some of one’s prayers answered.[11] The custom of Chassidim is not to remove the Sefer Torah until the conclusion of Brish Shmei.[12] One can continue reciting Brich Shmei until the Sefer Torah is opened.[13] One may not recite Vayhei Binsoa or Brich Shmei in the midst of Davening, past Baruch Sheamar.

Who:[14] The Sefer Torah is removed by whoever was allocated the honor of Pesicha, and is held on one’s right side until it is handed to the Chazan.[15] Alternatively, the Chazan may directly remove the Sefer Torah from the Aron.[16] It is a Segula for one whose wife is pregnant to perform Pesicha. This especially applies during the 9th month. One is to only endeavor to do so if it can be done without notice.[17]

Removed the wrong Sefer Torah: If the wrong Sefer Torah was removed from the Aron [i.e. not rolled to the right Parsha], it is not to be replaced. This applies even if one desires to remove a more Mehudar Sefer Torah, so long as the current one is Kosher. If, however, one did not yet remove the Sefer Torah from the Aron even though it is already in his hands, it may be exchanged. If one removed the Maftir before the weekly Parsha there is atradition that the Rebbe Rayatz directed not to switch.

Gadlu: After the Chazan receives the scroll he is to holds it in his right side and recite Shema/Gadlu[18], lifting the Sefer Torah slightly upon reciting it, and turns his face towards the congregation while saying it. The congregation recites Romemu.. as the Torah is being brought.[19]

Standing: The congregation is obligated to stand when the Sefer Torah exits the Aron until it rests on the Bima. From the letter of the law, one is not required to stand when the ark is open, prior to the Sefer Torah being removed, however, the custom of the world is to stand out of respect.[20] Nevertheless, if it is difficult for one to stand, he may be seated.[21]

C. Bringing the Sefer Torah to the Bima:

The Chazan turns to face the congregation and brings the Sefer Torah to the Bima from his right side.[22] Whoever the Sefer Torah passes in front of, as well as the person who did Pesicha[23], is to escort it to the Bima.[24] The custom is to kiss the Sefer Torah and to bring children to kiss it.[25] One is to endeavor to kiss it with his mouth rather than simply touch it with his hand and then kiss his hand.[26]

Visigaleh: The Chazan then Says Visigaleh while the congregation together with the Chazan says “Atem Hadeveikim.”[27]

The Keser:[28] The Keser of the Sefer Torah is not to be removed until its rests on the Bima.


D. The Bima:

The number of people: There is to be a minimum of two people by the Bima during the reading.[29] Practically, the Ashkenazi custom is for there to be three people by the Bima; the Baal Korei, the Oleh, and the Gabaiy.[30]

Where to stand The Oleh is to stand to the right of the Bima, and the Baal Korei to the left.[31] There is a difference in community customs regarding if the Gabaiy is to stand to the right or left of the Bima.[32] However, the widespread custom is for the Gabaiy to stand by the right of the Bima.[33] However, the Chabad custom is for the Gabaiy to stand to the left of the Bima.


[1] Mentioned in: Mateh Moshe 221 [prior to Kerias Hatorah]; Abudarham Seder Shacharis Shel Chol [as part of Monday and Thursday Tachanun]; Kol Bo 13 Midos Utechinos [As continuation of Tachanun]; Peri Eitz Chaim Shaar Kerias Sefer Torah 5 [As continuation of Tachanun]; Maharil “Bein Pesach Leshavuos”; Levush, brought in Kaf Hachaim 683:7, and P”M 683 M”Z 1 [said on Monday and Thursday]; Shaar Hakolel 11:14

The reason: It is said prior to Kerias Hatorah as it asks forgiveness for having transgressed what we are to read in the Torah. [Mateh Moshe ibid] Others write the purpose of this prayer is to serve as a replacement for the long prayer of Vehu Rachum that is recited on Mondays and Thursday’s for those that come late to Shul. It thus has no relevance on days that the long Vehu Rachum is not recited. [Otzer Dinim ibid]

[2] Custom of Maharil and Rebbe Meir Shatz brought in Maharil “Between Pesach and Shavuos” p. 21; Implication of Arizal in Peri Eitz Chaim ibid and Mateh Moshe that it is recited “before Kerias Hatorah”

[3] Abudarham, brought in Likkutei Maharich 3:49

[4] Likkutei Maharich ibid; Otzer Dinim Uminhagim p. 16; Rav Asher Lemel Hakohen; Implication of Abudarham ibid which lists this prayer as part of the Tachanun of Mondays and Thursdays; Implication of Levush, brought in Kaf Hachaim 683:7, and of P”M 683 M”Z 1 that it is only said on a Monday and Thursday. [They state that during Chanukah this prayer is not said on Monday’s and Thursdays, hence clearly implying that it is never said on any other weekday irrelevent of Kerias Hatorah] 

The reason: As the purpose of this prayer is to serve as a replacement for the long prayer of Vehu Rachum that is recited on Mondays and Thursday’s for those that come late to Shul. It thus has no relevance on days that the long Vehu Rachum is not recited. [Otzer Dinim ibid]

[5] Likkutei Maharich ibid

[6] M”A 131:1; Kneses Hagedola 134:3; Olas Tamis 134:2; M”B 134:4; Kitzur SHU”A 22:10; Kaf Hachaim 134:4

[7] The reason: As this prayer is considered like the Selichos of Vehu Rachum which is added on Mondays and Thursdays and is recited while standing. [ibid]

[8] Siddur Tehillas Hashem [from 1978 and onwards with the Rebbe’s approval] based on Sichas Kodesh 6th Tishrei 1975 that the Rebbe equates Kel Erech Apayim with Lamnatzeiach. See Shulchan Menachem 3:293; Glosses of Rav Raskin p. 165; Hiskashrus 438 p. 17; To note however that the Rebbe himself did recite Kel Erech Apayim even when Tachanun was not recited. [Rav Raskin ibid]

Ruling of Admur: In the Shulchan Aruch [429:12; 602:4] Admur rules that Kel Erech Apayim is recited with exception for Erev Pesach. This follows the ruling of the Hagahos Maimanis; Darkei Moshe 602 brought in Kaf Hachaim 602:12. [Some explain that it is for this reason that Admur in 602:4 placed this ruling in parentheses, as it is not brought in previous Poskim in Shulchan Aruch. [Shulchan Menachem ibid footnote 2] Vetzaruch Iyun as it is brought by Admur in 429:12 without parentheses, and is likewise clearly implied from the Rama 429:2] To note that also in the Siddur before Kel Erech Apayim Admur lists a number of days that it is to be omitted on, thus implying it is not always omitted when Tachanun is not said.

Ruling and explanation of Divrei Nechemia: The Divrei Nichemia 131:9 brings three opinions regarding the saying of Keil Erech Apayim:1) It is only omitted by a day that Halel is recited or a day that has the status of a Yom Tov like Erev Pesach. [This is the opinion of the Rama 429:2] 2) It is omitted on every Erev Yom Tov and on Isru Chag. 3) Every day that Tachanun is omitted so is Lamnatzeiach. [so rules Peri Chadash 131] The Divrei Nechemia concludes that by Lamnatzeiach we rule like the third opinion, however by Keil Erech Apayim we rule like the opinion whorules it is to be recited. The Keztos Hashulchan 25:1 rules that it is to be recited when a Chasan is present.

The reason behind the Rebbe’s ruling: The Rebbe explains that the ruling in the Shulchan Aruch of Admur follows the ruling of the Rama that differentiates between the laws of Tachanun and that of Lamnatzeiach. However according to Admur in the Siddur that rules Lamnatzeiach is always omitted when Tachanun is not said then likewise Kel Erech Apayim is to be omitted in all days that Tachanun is not said. [Sichas Kodesh ibid, printed in Shulchan Menachem ibid] As for the reason why Kel Erech Apayim is omitted this is because it mentions sin, and we do not desire to mention sin on any day that Tachanun is omitted. [See Shaar Hakolel 36:2; Shulchan Menachem ibid footnote 5]

[9] Ketzos Hashulchan 25:1

[10] Hiskashrus

[11] Likkutei Dibburim

[12] Yalkut p. 1326

[13] M”B 134

[14] Ketzos Hashulchan 25:

[15] Rama 134:2

[16] Ketzos Hashulchan 25:1; See Rama 147:2

[17] See Chikrei Haminhagim 1:160-164

[18] Rama 134:2

[19] Rama 134:2

[20] Taz 242:13; Siddur Yaavetz; P”M 141 M”Z 3; Beir Moshe 1:23; Custom of Rebbe in the early years. In the later years the Rebbe sat. [Otzer Minhagei Chabad 190]

Other opinions: See Panim Meiros 1:74 that one is to stand if he is able to see the Sefer Torah.

[21] Beir Moshe ibid as there is no requirement from the letter of the law to stand while the ark is open.

[22] Ketzos Hashulchan 25:1

[23] Shaareiy Efraim

[24] Rama 149 regaridng returning to Aron

[25] Ketzos Hashulchan 25:1

[26] Ketzos Hashulchan 25:12 footnote 47

[27] Ketzos Hashulchan 25:1

[28] Toras Meachem 5743 1:308

[29] Michaber 141:4

[30] Ateres Zekeinim 141

[31] Ketzos Hashulchan 25:1

Custom of Alter Rebbe:

[32] Ketzos Hashulchan 25:1

[33] Ketzos Hashulchan 25 footnote 11

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