I am going under the assumption that an Aron (cabinet) must fulfill certain requirements for it to be Kosher to place a Torah in. Is one of those requirements that it must have a Paroches (curtain) or do doors on the Aron suffice?

Please cite your sources.


1 Answer 1


The practice of having a curtain separate between the sifrei Torah and the people is a well-accepted one. Tosafos (M'gila 26b) discusses whether the practice is to have the curtain inside the box housing the sifrei Torah or outside of it.* Although it is not discussed in these terms by that G'mara, the basis for having such a curtain (which you called a paroches) would seem to be the imitation of the mishkan, which had a curtain separating the zones of increasing sanctity - including the separation of the aron from the people.

I am not aware of grounds for an obligation to hang a curtain under normal circumstances, although T'rumas Hadeshen #68 implicates the need to maintain the Torah's personified modesty in his forbidding the temporary removal of such a curtain once it is already in place.

Rav Ovadya Yosef (in Y'chave Da'as 6:9) brings all of the above to bear in a response to the question of abandoning the curtain once a shul has come into possession of a very aesthetically pleasing aron. He strongly recommends against doing so, quoting Sha'arei T'shuva, who cites Zera Emes as a prooftext for the fact that having a curtain is a universal minhag. Incidentally, he specifies that the universal minhag is for the curtain to hang in front of the aron, not inside it.

Another reason for such a curtain could be the general principle of beautification of objects used in service of God.


*The matter under discussion is whether foreign objects are allowed to occupy the same space as sifrei Torah.

  • is that all the curtain is: A Minhag?
    – Bochur613
    Jul 9, 2013 at 13:09
  • Under normal circumstances, it seems that way. I could imagine actual halachos kicking in if the space in front of the aron were filled with anything less respectable than prayers, studies of Torah, and service of Hashem. But that is just my imagination.
    – WAF
    Jul 9, 2013 at 13:22
  • @WAF AFAIU, you likely need a double-barrier when something other than those things happen, but it doesn't need to be a curtain. Also, I've seen minyanim in temporary or shared spaces use a tallis to wrap the Torah in place of a formal aron, so I don't think that an aron per se is halakha. Jul 9, 2013 at 16:31
  • In the main sanctuary of our synagogue, we only have curtains for the aron, but in our small chapel, there are wooden doors that actually close the aron and curtains outside the wooden doors so that you only see curtains when the aron is closed.
    – Dennis
    Jan 27, 2015 at 18:55

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