During the current covid-19 outbreak all shuls in the United States have closed and minyanim are for the most part not being conducted. The OU recently released guidance to be used when minyanim in shul will be permitted. . I am looking to clarify one point made in their statement regarding reading from the torah.

the Reader may take all the Aliyot, or those called up to the Torah may stand at a significant distance during the reading

Once it is permitted (legally, halachicly etc.) to conduct a minyan, would it be halachicly preferable to have a single person, I would assume ideally the person reading, receive all the aliyot, or would it be better for multiple people to stand 6 feet away from the torah and receive an aliyah?

  • note the Agudah has more explicit guidance stating (in phase 1) that the person reading should receive all the aliyot - files.constantcontact.com/4194289d301/… Commented May 10, 2020 at 4:28
  • To be clear, the ideal is to have 7 people each prepare their own aliyah (#1 being a kohein, etc.) and sanitize in between (certainly on weekdays 3 males (maybe even minors) who live in the same house anyway could be used). The standard aliyah breaks definitely don't need to be used, so 6 people can learn just 3-5 verses and the seventh reads the rest. This all assumes there's only one person around who can read at all or no viable way to sanitize between non relatives.
    – Double AA
    Commented May 10, 2020 at 4:38
  • 1
    The answer may also depend on whether it is possible for the oleh to read along inside the sefer torah while standing a safe distance away. (This is significantly easier when using the sefardi upstanding sefer torah case design.)
    – Joel K
    Commented May 10, 2020 at 8:11

1 Answer 1


Each approach is endorsed by a posek. R' Moshe Shternbuch permits giving aliyot to those who will remain more than 6 feet away from the torah and compares it to the (Ashkenazik) permissability to give an aliyah to someone who is blind. Rav Asher Weiss disagrees and feels it is better to give all aliyot to the one reading from the torah. See the full, well sourced discussion in this video starting at approximately the 40 minute mark.

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