Here is a picture from a shul that has a raised platform by the Ark. They also have the Bimah where the chazzan davens from, in the centre of the shul.

Is that raised platform near the ark, also called a bimah?

If so, I suppose it could be called the aron hakodesh bimah, but then what'd the "other" bimah be called.

I suppose the bimah that the chazzan is at, and where leining is done, is the proper bimah. The main bimah. Does it have a better name, or is it that that is The Bimah, and the raised platform near the ark, is just a raised platform and not really called a bimah?

bimah in front of the aron

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    Bimah shel koreh and bimah shel aron? Commented May 29, 2013 at 3:52
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    I suppose there's no really appropriate hebrew or yiddish word for that specific platform where it exists, because that particular platform itself is unnecessary. One could form a hebrew expression but doing that in the diaspora makes it sound like a standard thing, or make Bimah alone sound ambiguous. Calling it an (unnecessary) platform for the ark may be best. Though even that may not be so good 'cos it may only be there for duchaning and there was a "duckhan" in the temple.
    – smu
    Commented May 29, 2013 at 9:50
  • In my old synagogue, the center platform was called "bimah" and the platform by the ark the "dais".
    – JJLL
    Commented Jun 7, 2015 at 1:28

1 Answer 1


The raised area in front of the aron is called the duchan (Heb. דוכן, dais or platform).

By extension, since kohanim “go up to the duchan” to bless the congregation, this is colloquially also called “to duchan”. (See, e.g., the introductory paragraph of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Priestly_Blessing.)

But because the word is almost exclusively used in the context of birchas kohanim, you are likely to be misunderstood when referring to the duchan in the picture. Such is language.

See also Rabbi Akiva Males’s What Does the Duchan Have to do with Birkas Kohanim?.

  • Googling I only see the term duchan used in the context of kohanim going up to it. That sounds like the term used when it's being used for duchaning, but not generally. Also, by the way, if a shul didn't have a platform, I suppose kohanim just stand on the floor near the ark. so would "the duchan" there be an area of floor? I think the term duchan only really applies -while- it's being used for that.
    – smu
    Commented May 29, 2013 at 2:07
  • See my edits, @smu. Commented May 29, 2013 at 2:19
  • the introductory paragraph says dukhan is yiddish for platform. But Bimah is hebrew for platform. We don't call it a Bimah 'cos the bimah is in the centre. If you're being strictly linguistic, you could call the bimah a dukhan. You're not distinguishing it from the bimah. And if not being strictly linguistic, then the duckhan is the platform used for dukhaning(when there is one). I'm looking for a term that's actually used in contexts other than duchaning. Otherwise you're going strictly lingusitic and then it can be called a Bimah. You're not distinguishing it.
    – smu
    Commented May 29, 2013 at 3:04
  • @smu, duchan is Hebrew for "platform" (or "stage"). (+1 on the answer, incidentally.)
    – msh210
    Commented May 29, 2013 at 6:50
  • @msh210 some webpages say hebrew, some webpages say aramaic, some yiddish!! but either way the word isn't useful because linguistically it doesn't distinguish between the two platforms and practically it is(I suppose) only used in the context of dukhaning. Would it be wrong to refer to the aron hakodesh platform as a bimah? I suppose it would because practically the bimah is specifically the platform in the centre. Dukhan is misleading because linguistically it could be either, and practically it's used in the context of dukhaning.
    – smu
    Commented May 29, 2013 at 9:16

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