It's hard for me to properly phrase the question, but here's the "ma'aseh shehaya" (scenario):

It was Shabbat Rosh Hodesh, parshat Balak, I believe. They took out 2 Sifrei Torah. I waited for the Torah carriers to approach the Bimah. Before putting down a Torah on the table, I lifted the Torah cover and noticed that one Torah was rolled to Pinchas, but the other seemed to be near the beginning - what looked like Breishit. I.e. - someone took the wrong Torah out of the ark.

Wanting to minimize Tircah D'Tzibbur, I requested that the one designated for Maftir, which was at Pinchas, be placed on the table, and I rolled it to parshat Balak. Before Chatzi Kaddish, the 2nd Torah was placed next to the first. Now, it's time for hagbah.

Again, attempting to minimize tircha d'tzibbur, I wanted to reuse the 1st Torah and roll that back to Pinchas, rather than roll the one from Breishit to Pinchas.

So, I uncovered the 2nd Torah (the one at Breishit) and asked the person to do Hagbah on that one. Note, that I never used that 2nd Torah to read from it.

My question - Was this "trick" halachically permissible? The 2nd Torah was "opened" and "used" solely for Hagbah, but I never read from it. Essentially, there was a choice between tircha d'tzibbur vs. not "embarassing the Torah". I figured that tircha d'tzibbur was more important, which is why I did this. But, as I also wanted to make SOME use of the Torah, at least I used it for Hagbah. Was this OK, or did I specifically have to read from the 2nd Torah?

  • You should also ask if you fulfilled the obligation of hagbah by lifting and displaying the unread sefer that was (moreover) not rolled to the section that had been read.
    – Fred
    Commented Jan 3, 2016 at 4:36
  • @Fred: obligation of hagbah? It's a custom, not an obligation, AFAIK. Commented Jan 3, 2016 at 9:28
  • See Kitzur SA 78. Commented Jan 3, 2016 at 9:31
  • @DannySchoemann It is an obligation, AFAIK, it's just that the precise nature of the obligation to show the congregation the k'sav is an interesting question. (Do they have to see the k'sav of some sefer Torah? Do they have to see the k'sav of the scroll that was read? Of the section that was read? Both?) Since your preferred reference is the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch :), see 23:25 ("כי מצוה על כל האנשים לראות את הכתב").
    – Fred
    Commented Jan 3, 2016 at 17:55

1 Answer 1


Machzor Vitri - page 206 brings a story on Rosh Chodesh which was Chanuka where they took out 2 Sefer Torahs and the person who read the Torah, in error read 4 Aliyos in Rosh Chodesh and the Halacha was determined that had they not taken out a second Sefer Torah they could of just skipped the Chanuka reading, however since the Torah was taken out, if we did not read in it, it would seem as if something is wrong with that Torah, therefore they should read a fifth Aliya in the other Torah.

Based on this it seems to me that the wrong choice was made.

  • 1
    Interesting source & story. Not sure, yet, if this example would correlate to my question, though. Tzarich iyun.
    – DanF
    Commented Jul 28, 2014 at 14:59

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