One gabba calls people up, is there a term for that?

Is there another gabba that instructs the gabba that does the calling up, as to who to call up? I've heard of a situation where one gabba may have it written down and tell the other who to call up, the name, like off cards. I've only heard of it once and not seen it. Is it common? Is there a source for it? Has anybody seen it?

I've also heard that one gabba calls up while the other does nothing. And i've heard that one calls up and the other is a "segun" he just checks that the reading is done properly, though i'd have thought they all check it. I found a source for a sgan http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gabbai but does anybody know of a proper jewish source for the concept? like, shulchan aruch for example?

  • I've heard them referred to as Eidim (witnesses), but I don't know the source for that idea.
    – Menachem
    May 29, 2013 at 5:15
  • I have always understood the practice to be as a "guard of honour" for the Torah.
    – Epicentre
    May 29, 2013 at 10:27
  • The surname Segal stands for Segun/Sgun Levi. Also, Sgan is a deputy gabba. One group of shuls i've seen switches roles one week having one gabba doing calling up and the other the sgan, another week the other way around.
    – smu
    Jun 11, 2013 at 13:42

1 Answer 1


In my experience, the function of the one to two men (besides the reader and ole) at the bima in an Ashk'naz synagogue varies from synagogue to synagogue. In some, one calls olim and both check for accuracy in reading; in others, one calls olim and the other says some of the "mi sheberach" prayers; in others, there's but one worker standing there; in others, one calls olim while the other does cheironomy; and various of the above can be combined also. The only halachic source I know of is to require three people at the bima (and I'd need to search for a citation for that): but that would not AFAICT require two workers unless the ole rishon is the reader.

  • I think the reason their function varies is that the main thing is that they be there. Once they were there they started getting jobs (or the ones who got the jobs stood there to be close to the action). I have no source for this
    – Menachem
    May 29, 2013 at 22:18

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