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Some feel that if the Torah is not being read, then it should be covered, while some feel that since the blessing is on this Torah, it should be uncovered during the blessings (but not for the call to aliyah or mi sh'berach).

Leaving the Torah uncovered during the first blessing also has the potential of reducing the time between the blessing and the reader's "amen" (hefsek) since the Torah does not have to be uncovered or the place found again.

We are curious to hear the understanding and practices around this aspect of the blessings over the Torah.

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To be clear you are asking about covering the Torah while saying the blessings (and not at any other time).

SA O Ch 139 (4) says:

Everybody who reads (should) bless before it and after it. They should open the Torah scroll before they bless and see the verse they need to start with and then they bless and then read the Torah and then roll it up and bless (the second blessing). Gloss: and at the time that they bless the first blessing they should turn their heads to the side so that it does not appear that they are reading the blessing from the Torah (The Kol Bo) and it seems to me that they should turn to the left.

On the words “and then they bless” Mishna Berura says:

ר"ל שאין צריך לגלול הס"ת בשעת ברכתו וליכא למיחש שמא יאמרו ברכות כתובות בתורה

That means that there is no need to roll the sefer closed at the time of his blessing and one does not need to suspect that people will say that the blessings are written in the Torah

but for the blessing after the reading the Mishna Berura says that the sefer should be closed up.

The Biur Halocho says:

ודע שיש פוסקים שסוברים דאם רוצה לגלול ואח"כ לברך עדיף טפי אלא דהלכה כר' יהודה שאינו מחוייב לעשות כן ועפ"ז נוהגין איזה מקומות שרואין וגוללין ואח"כ מברכין ונהרא נהרא ופשטיה [אחרונים]:

and you should know that there are poskim who hold that it is better if one closes the sefer and then makes the first blessings. But the halocho is like Rebbi Yehudah that one is not obliged to do this. Thus some places have the custom to close the sefer before making the blessings and every place should follow its own custom.

It is thus clear that there is no requirement to cover the sefer during the blessings before the reading and the main law is that the sefer does not even need to be rolled closed during the first blessings.

I have no source for whether or not to cover the sefer for the concluding blessing.

  • I have heard from my rav as well as another that covering during the final blessing becomes a "battle" between tircha detzibur and kavod hatorah. Thus, during weekdays, when one aliyah immediately follows the next, the torah is not covered b/c of tircha. On Shabbat & Yom Tov, when we make mi sheberach for the olim, it is covered, as this is considered a longer span to leave the Torah uncovered. Of course, it does put to question why not wait until after the blessing is finished to put on the cover? I have no answer for that. – DanF Jun 24 at 14:44
  • excellent thank you. – Avrohom Yitzchok Jun 24 at 15:32
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The Shulchan Aruch (149:5) presents two opinions regarding general covering of the Torah when not being read. To cover with a cloth, or to roll closed.

נהגו לכסות הכתב בסודר בין גברא לגברא (ובמדינות אלו נהגו שהיא מגוללת בין גברא לגברא וכן עיקר):

Rama (149:4) writes that one should turn aside his face while making the blessing. Other commentaries discuss the old concern (Talmud, Megillah 32a) that others may perceive that the blessings are written in the scroll itself.

הגה ובשעה שמברך ברכה ראשונה יהפוך פניו אל הצד שלא יהא נראה כמברך מן התורה [כל בו] ונראה לי שיהפוך פניו לצד שמאלו:

  • The first part of your answer deals with the situation בין גברא לגברא i.e. between aliyos and is not relevant to the question. The second part of your answer does not explicitly address whether the scroll is covered although it does imply that it is not covered because it says יהפוך פניו אל הצד שלא יהא נראה כמברך מן התורה he should turn his face to the side so that it does not look like he is reading the blessings form the scroll. – Avrohom Yitzchok Jun 24 at 10:58
  • The question is rather unclear @AvrohomYitzchok – Dr. Shmuel Jun 24 at 10:59

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