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As we dress the Torah in my congregation and many congregations I've been to, we sing (from the siddur's liturgy on putting away the Torah):

Mishlei 3:18,3:17

עֵץ חַיִּים הִיא לַמַּחֲזִיקִים בָּהּ, וְתוֹמְכֶיהָ מְאֻשָּׁר

דְּרָכֶיהָ דַרְכֵי נוֹעַם, וְכָל נְתִיבוֹתֶיהָ שָׁלוֹם

But then we add (Mishlei 3:16, Yishayahu 42:21)

אֹרֶךְ יָמִים בִּימִינָהּ, בִּשְׂמֹאולָהּ עֹשֶׁר וְכָבוֹד

יְהוָה חָפֵץ, לְמַעַן צִדְקוֹ; יַגְדִּיל תּוֹרָה, וְיַאְדִּיר

and return to the siddur (Aichah 5:21):

חַשִׁבֵנוּ ה' אֵלֶי וְנָשׁוּבָה חַדֵּשׁ יָמֵינוּ כְּקֶדֶם

What minhag is it to insert the verses from Mishlei and Yeshayahu and why do we do it? Or, conversely, what minhag omits those verses and why do no siddurs make mention of them?

(NOTE: I may have the order wrong. Hashiveinu may come before Orech Yamim).

This is the tune I'm familiar with, though it only goes up to נְתִיבוֹתֶיהָ שָׁלוֹם. Neither of these tunes are remotely the tune that my shuls use, but both include Etz Chayyim Hi the two additional verses which implies to me that it's more than just a solitary composer's decision.

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If you could find a version of the tune you use on youtube or something that may help, because it might have been a musicians decision. –  Double AA Jun 19 '12 at 0:49
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@DoubleAA I'm not sure this is "tefilla" per se, but I'll go with it since you're the mod. –  Charles Koppelman Jun 19 '12 at 0:49
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Whoah, first of all, I am not a mod. The mods here are IsaacMoses, msh210, WAF, and HodofHod (notice how they all have little diamonds next to their names). Second, even decisions made by mods are subject to community approval. If you disagree, say something or edit, especially on your own question. –  Double AA Jun 19 '12 at 0:51
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@Charles Koppelman, Is this the tune you're familiar with? yourlisten.com/channel/content/16902127/Eitz_Chayim –  zaq Jul 11 '12 at 16:55
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It's cut short because I couldn't find it online, so made it myself (noteflight.com). I don't know much about it, but I believe it's a Bnei Akiva tune. I first heard it in camp Stone, and they sing it at my shule in the Bnei Akiva minyan. –  zaq Jul 11 '12 at 17:20

1 Answer 1

When talking about Hagbah, Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 134:2 only mentions that one should say the verses V'Zot HaTorah (Devarim 4:44) and Torat Hashem Temimah (Tehillim 19:8) while one is looking at the writing in the Torah being lifted.

In his Siddur, Dayan Raskin (page 172, footnote 396) points out that none of the other verses are brought in Poskim, or in the writings of the Arizal. The verses Chabad use (Mishlei 3:18,17,16;Yishaya 42:51), however, are found in many Sefardic Siddurim.

On the other hand, he says that many other verses are brought in those same Siddurim that Chabad does not say. He concludes that more investigation is in order.


In other words, it appears that the authoritative source for the verses recited during Hagbah are the various Siddurim that have been published over the generations, and the custom varies wildly between them.

So as to the version recited in the questioner's synagogue, I have two possible suggestions:

  1. The song follows a certain Nussach that incorporates all those verses (as opposed to the Siddur that synagogue uses.
  2. The song is trying to cover a couple different customs.
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