• Sing "vayhi binsoa" as the Aron is opened by -- let's call him Mr. Opener
  • Brich Shmei is said
  • Chazan is now holding Torah scroll and says Shema (or Gadlu).

I've seen different things happen for Brich Shmei:

  1. Torah sits in Aron the entire time, chazan receives it afterwards from Opener.
  2. Torah is taken out and held by Opener immediately, then handed off to chazan after Brich Shmei
  3. Torah is taken out and immediately handed to chazan, who holds it for Brich Shmei.

Any practices I missed? Are any of these documented as proper?

I suspect this has something to do with the source for Brich Shmei altogether. Rabbi Artscroll says when we're taking out the Torah is an ideal time for beseeching Hashem (if I recall correctly), probably something kabbalistic.

  • 1
    4. Take out and give Torah to chazan during Brich Shemay.
    – Yahu
    Commented Sep 26, 2010 at 6:06
  • I've always heard it said before removing it, as is printed in siddurim.
    – Scimonster
    Commented Sep 23, 2014 at 18:17
  • 1
    what siddur do you use? Mine says to say it after the sifrei Torah leave the aron Commented Sep 23, 2014 at 18:24
  • 2
    For a good read on brich shmei, see Shorashei Minhag Ashkenaz on the subject. Ok. Thats a bad joke. If you like saying it, don't read what that seffer has to say.
    – user6591
    Commented Sep 23, 2014 at 22:21
  • Note that some, such as the Rav, were in the habit of not saying it at all.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Sep 9, 2016 at 19:18

6 Answers 6


In an Ashkenaz Artscroll Machzor (for Yom Kippur) it seemed to imply like #1: Everything is said, and right before Gadlu (or Shema) the Torah is taken out and given to Chazan.

And that is what the Shul I davened in did (again, Ashkenaz)

The above has a source. However, I have noticed that general practice in many Shuls (whether correct or incorrect) is to hand over the Sefer Torah right away (i.e. some time during B'rich Shmei). In these cases it was usually some variation of #2 and #3.


In Igros Moshe Orach Chaim 4 Siman 70 Section 9 HaRav Moshe Zatzal quotes from the Shaarei Efraim Hilchos Kriyas HaTorah Shaar 10 Section 1 "In the time you open up the Aron Kodesh to take out the Sefer Torah the congregation says Vayehi Binesoa - and after you take out the Sefer Torah the congregation says Brich Shmei. Since no one disagrees with this Shaarei Efraim that is what you should do. However we are not Moche if someone takes out the Sefer Torah after Brich Shmei - but if someone asks he should be told the correct way."

The Rav Pealim Chelek 3 Siman 8 also holds that you should say Brich Shmei after the Sefer Torah is taken out of the Aron Kodesh.

However the Darchei Chaim V'Sholom in Os 196 brings down that the Munkatcher Rebbe Zatzal would say Brich Shmei while the Sefer Torah was still in the Aron Kodesh, and that is also how the Sidur HaRav Paskens.

  • Can we get a location? Thanks!
    – yydl
    Commented Sep 28, 2010 at 2:24

The Zohar (which is the source for saying this in the first place) states that the prayer should be said "כד מפקין ס"ת בצבורא למקרא ביה", when the Torah scroll is removed in the minyan to be read. Of course, this is still relatively ambiguous.

The Siddur Maharsha"s (R. Shabtai Sofer), one of the first mainstream siddurim to include this prayer, says to say the prayer after the Torah is actually removed from the ark, before it is brought to the bima. This is also the opinion of Rav Yaakov Emden in his siddur, as well as that of Rav Reuven Zalman Margolios in Shaarei Efrayim (Kriyas haTorah 10:1). It also sounds to me as though that is the opinion of the Aruch Hashulchan (192:2) as well, but I'm not certain.

However, the Chida (Toras Hashelamim 22:2) implies that this is said as the aron is being opened, which probably means before the Torah is actually removed. This is also clearly the opinion of the Kaf Hahayim (end of siman 28) who writes the the Sifrei Torah should be left in the ark while the congregation recites "brikh shmeih".

Rav Moshe Feinstein (Igros Moshe vol 4 no. 70) writes that in Europe nobody was so strict about the exact timing, though he thinks that the best time in theory would be as/after the Torah is removed, quoting the psak of the Shaarei Efrayim.

(see http://seforim.blogspot.com/2008/06/note-regarding-recitation-of-brikh_21.html)


By Sephardim the Aron and the Torah(we keep ours in wooden cases) are both opened, and then Brikh Shmei is recited typically followed by Tehillim 127, and then the Torah briefly closed, lifted out of the Aron and handed to the person who will be carrying it, re-opened, Gadlu is said while it is being carried to the Teiva, Hagbah, the Torah is then set upon the Teiva and closed until the Kohen ascends for the first Aliyah.

  • 1
    There's different minhagim about whether the sefer torah itself is opened at any time before it reaches the Teiva. The minhag you mention is that of Syria and Jerusalem, but Morrocans, Persians, and Turks (to name a few) don't open the sefer torah until it reaches the Teiva.
    – Chanoch
    Commented Sep 26, 2010 at 23:23
  • I grew up Morrocan and that is how we did it. Whenever I davned by the Persians in LA it was the same deal. It was how the Ben Ish Hai said to do it, and well he was Persian. Commented Sep 27, 2010 at 6:30
  • The Rav Pealim Chelek 3 Siman 8 also holds that you should say Brich Shmei after the Sefer Torah is taken out of the Aron Kodesh. I am not sure where you are basing your Ben Ish Chai on? Commented Sep 29, 2010 at 0:20

It's not so simple that Berich shmei should be said at all.

It is not in the very old siddurim, it is rather a new thing that came about in the last several hundred years.

Not everyone says it. Some omit it entirely, others don't say it every time the sefer Torah is taken out, just sometimes.

Minhag Ashkenaz (German) is not to say it at all. Some non-German gedolim also omitted it.

See lengthט discussion on the topic in sefer שרשי מנהג אשכנז חלק א

  • Mordechai, Welcome to mi.yodeya, and thanks very much for the interesting information! We'd love to have you as a fully-registered member, which you can accomplish by clicking register, above.
    – Isaac Moses
    Commented Sep 29, 2010 at 2:34
  • 3
    Mordechai, that is an interesting point. Your answer would be more fitting for a question such as "What is the source for saying Berich Shmei" (which you may ask yourself under "ask a question"). Also, most of us don't own a copy of שרשי מנהג אשכנז, so if the point is too lengthy to quote, try to track down an online source (like on hebrewbooks.org) and link the page.
    – YDK
    Commented Sep 29, 2010 at 4:33
  • Actually the "minhag" of many Ashkenazi shuls is to say "Brich Shemei Bai Ana Rachitz etc.", skipping all those hard to pronounce words in the middle! ;-)
    – Yahu
    Commented Oct 3, 2010 at 16:11

Never. According to the older customs found in German and Spanish/Portuguese schuls, Berich Sh'meih should not be said. I have also heard that it was not said in Lithuania prior to recent centuries. In a more practical approach for most schuls where it is said, I have seen it both ways, although before removal of the sefer Torah is by far more common.


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