Hagbah-General laws


Selling the honor:[2] It is customary to sell the honor of Hagba/Gelila for large sums of money.

Sefaradim lift the Sefer Torah prior to the reading[3], and so is the custom of many Ashkenazim in Eretz Yisrael.[4] The widespread Ashkenazi custom is to lift it after Keiras Hatorah.[5]

Touching the Sefer with Tallis/Gartel: The Chabad custom is to touch the Sefer Torah with the Tzitzis, or Gartle and kiss it prior to performing Hagbah.

Lifting: The Sefer Torah is lifted while open to show the congregation its writing.[6] [It is not required to specifically see the area of that days reading.[7]]

How many pages is one to show congregation: One is to show [up until[8]] three columns of the Sefer Torah to the congregation upon performing Hagbah.[9] Possibly, one is to show exactly three columns [and not less or more].[10] Some Poskim[11] however rule that it is all dependent on the strength one has and if he is able to hold the Sefer Torah when it is opened a lot [and hence, if one is unable to open it three columns, he can open it for less]. [Practically, one is to try to open at least three columns of the Sefer Torah, and if he is able to, he may open even more.[12]]

Turning around with the Torah: One is to turn around with the Sefer Torah to show the entire congregation the writing.[13] Some are accustomed to performing a full circle, turning to one’s right [East to south to west to north[14]].[15] Others perform a half circle from their right side [east to southwest] and then from their left side [east to northwest].[16] The Rebbe once instructed the Yeshiva students to perform Hagbah as follows: One performs only a half circle, turning from right to left [east to north to west] and then returns to east, going from left to right.

Looking at the Sefer Torah: Every individual man and woman[17] is to endeavor to come close to the Torah scroll and try to read its words during Hagbah.[18] It, however, is not the Chabad custom top point one’s finger at the Torah.[19] The congregation is to then say Zos Hatorah.[20] One may not recite Vezos Hatorah in the midst of Davening, past Baruch Sheamar. Every individual is to stand while the Torah is lifted for Hagbah.[21]

Rolling-Gelila: The person doing Hagbah sits down and then rolls the Sefer Torah.[22] The Chabad custom is for the person doing Hagbah to return the scroll to the table and roll it up and only then sit down.[23] When rolling the Sefer Torah, it is to be rolled in a way that the sewed area of the pages is to be in the center.[24] The Sefer Torah is to then be tied in a way that the knot rests on the front side of the Sefer Torah, so when it can be undone without turning over the Sefer Torah.[25] The Chabad custom is to tie the Gartel to the top part of the bottom third of the Sefer Torah.[26]

How to hold: One may give a child the Sefer Torah to hold after Hagbah.[27]


[1] Michaber 134:2

[2] Michaber 147:1

[3] Michaber 134:2

[4] Ketzos Hashulchan 25:13: 84:5; Kaf Hachaim 134:16

[5] Rama 134:2

[6] Michaber 134:2

[7] Piskeiy Teshuvos 134:4

[8] Miseches Sofrim ibid; brought in M”B ibid

[9] M”A 134:3 in name of Chidushei Aguddah; Miseches Sofrim 14:14 see also 3:5 that one is to open the Sefer Torah three columns; Elya Raba 134:4; Kitzur Shlah; Kitzur SHU”A 23:25; M”B 134:8; See Igros Kodesh 18:427

[10] M”A ibid; Implication of Kitzur SHU”A ibid

[11] M”B 134:8

[12] So I heard from Rav Groner Shlita

[13] Michaber 134:2

[14] Piskeiy Teshuvos 134:5

[15] Ketzos Hashulchan 25:13; Beir Heiytiv; Piskeiy Teshuvos 134:5

[16] Piskeiy Teshuvos 134:4

[17] Michaber 134:4

[18] Siddur Admur; Michaber 134:4; Ketzos Hashulchan 25:13

[19] Sefer Haminhagim p. 32 [English]

[20] Michaber ibid

[21] Shaar Hatziyon 146:18; Piskeiy Teshuvos 134:7

[22] Ketzos Hashulchan 25:13

[23] Sefer Haminhagim p. 33 [English]

[24] Michaber 147:3; Sefer Haminhagim p. 33 [English]

[25] Michaber and Rama 147:3; Ketzos Hashulchan 25:13

[26] Sefer Haminhagim p. 33 [English]

[27] Igros Kodesh 3:138; Shulchan Menachem 1:268

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