In nearly every shul I've been in the Rav of the shul sits up near the aron kodesh and faces towards the congregation instead of facing east. I assume this is in keeping with halacha (as mentioned in an answer) but I would like to understand what purpose (if any) this serves conceptually?


2 Answers 2


Tosefta Megila 3:14 says that the elders would sit facing the congregation. As per DoubleAA's comment this is codified in Orach Chaim 150:5. The question is really on the Rabbis that do not do so.

Kav Chaim 1 says the reason the front row faces the congregation is since the Bima is in the center of the Synagogue and that is where the Torah is read, that way there is a remembrance of Har Sinai, where all were facing the mountain.

  • @GershonGold, מפני כבוד הציבור tshuvos.com/…
    – Yishai
    Feb 27, 2014 at 19:35
  • Just asked a related question
    – Shaul Behr
    Sep 4, 2018 at 17:53
  • What's interesting is that they focus on the shulchan rather than the teiva which is usually in the front, but it can be in the middle. Point is that the majority of the time in shul is tefillah rather than Torah reading so most of the activity tends to be in the front. Perhaps, taht should be considered the main focus.
    – DanF
    Apr 12, 2019 at 21:47

I heard once from Rabbi Yisroel Miller that the reason for this is to instill fear in the tzibur during davening.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .