If musical instruments are forbidden on shabbat why do we adorn the crown of a (ashkenazik) sefer torah with bells?

1 Answer 1


don't know how much data mining counts as an independent answer but here is what I have found (the links include the textual citations)


If one has bells that chime whenever one opens a door and neglected to remove them before Shabbat, then the custom is to allow one to enter the house despite the knowledge that he will thereby produce the problematic sound. This is based on the Magen Avraham (338:1 and 301:35) who says that one can move curtains or clothes with little bells attached to them if he does not have intention to make the noise. The Mishna Berura 338:6 (see also Biur Halacha ad loc.) explains this opinion and allows following it in a case of need, for example, if it is the only way into his house. In the case of bells on the adornment of a sefer Torah, there are authorities who are lenient because of the mitzva involved (see Mishna Berura, ibid.), and each shul should follow its minhag and the ruling of its rabbi. ------------emphasis mine


this reviews a variety of opinions rangibg from "One who lifts and carries such a Sefer Torah creates a ringing sound, and it would therefore appear that just as one may not walk about with a bell on Shabbat, so is it forbidden to carry a Torah with "Rimonim." Indeed, the Taz (commentary to the Shulchan Aruch by Rabbi David Halevi, Poland, 1586-1667), in Yoreh Dei'a (282), writes that a Sefer Torah with "Rimonim" should not be used on Shabbat, due to this concern."


"The Eliyahu Rabba (work of Halacha by Rabbi Eliyahu Shapiro of Prague, 1660-1712) and others contend that this prohibition does not apply to situations involving a Mitzva. The "Rimonim" serve to adorn the Torah scroll and to announce the removal of the Torah from the Heichal, and the prohibition against making sounds on Shabbat therefore does not apply to the sounds produced by the "Rimonim." "

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    To make your answer more useful, and less susceptible uselessness via link-rot, please consider quoting and/or summarizing the relevant parts of those pages here. For guidelines on what is appropriate, read IsaacMoses' post here
    – HodofHod
    Jun 7, 2012 at 20:44
  • I've never heard of the aron called the "heichal." Wikipedia says it's a Sephardi thing. I really enjoy that imagery! Jun 8, 2012 at 14:23
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    @CharlesKoppelman, visit the Great Synagogue in Paris. I can't find many photos online, but the ארון definitely makes me think of a היכל. I have actually described it as a throne room. Picture the חזן walking up over 20 steps as the בעל פתיחה winds a crank pulling back the פרוכת, and heavy doors are opened revealing a two-and-a-half-storey room with beautiful, colored light streaming in through the stained glass windows and falling onto the ספרי תורה, as the choir reaches the crescendo of "ויהי בנסוע". I've heard other European shuls rival it. We unfortunately haven't got a true מקדש מעט here.
    – Seth J
    Jun 25, 2012 at 18:40
  • I would also note that most bells I've seen on sifrei torah don't have clappers.
    – Yitzchak
    Jan 22, 2013 at 18:03

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