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In nearly every shul I've been in the Rav of the shul sits up near the aron kodesh and faces towards the congregation instead of facing east. I assume this is in keeping with halacha (as mentioned in an answer) but I would like to understand what purpose (if any) this serves conceptually?

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re edit: see this and I note that the last paragraph here applies – Double AA Feb 27 '14 at 19:11
@DoubleAA are you saying the question is now vague? – please remove my account Feb 27 '14 at 19:41
I'm saying it was vague and your clarification invalidated an existing answer. – Double AA Feb 27 '14 at 20:12

Tosefta Megila 3:14 says that the elders would sit facing the congregation. As per DoubleAA's comment this is codified in Orach Chaim 150:5. The question is really on the Rabbis that do not do so.

Kav Chaim 1 says the reason the front row faces the congregation is since the Bima is in the center of the Synagogue and that is where the Torah is read, that way there is a remembrance of Har Sinai, where all were facing the mountain.

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@GershonGold, מפני כבוד הציבור tshuvos.com/… – Yishai Feb 27 '14 at 19:35

I heard once from Rabbi Yisroel Miller that the reason for this is to instill fear in the tzibur during davening.

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