Halachically Speaking: Moving a Sefer Torah


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[Halachically Speaking appears on YWN weekly, Tuesdays and Thursdays] 

Written by Rabbi Moishe Dovid Lebovits of KOF-K Kosher Supervision

The Issur

Md’rabanan[1] one is not allowed to bring a Sefer Torah to one who is in jail even on Rosh Hashana and on Yom Kippur.[2] The reason is because it is a disgrace for the Sefer Torah to be moved for a person’s needs; instead one should go greet the Sefer Torah.[3] Some say thisissur does not only apply to someone in jail but even to any other incident that makes a person unable to come to shul and hear laining(i.e. he is sick).[4] The Zohar was very stringent with this halacha.[5] An exception exists in a case of an important person as will be discussed in the next paragraph.


“Important Person”

Sefer Torah may be transported for an important person’s need.[6] The reason is because the Sefer Torah becomes elevated by being transported for an important person.[7] Many poskim say that the important person must also be a sick person.[8] However, others say transporting a Sefer Torah is permitted for an important person even if he is not sick.[9] Many are lenient and rely on the second opinion.


Some poskim say the person we are referring to has to be important and well versed in Torah.[10] Other poskim maintain an important person (in this context) is a person who is careful not to miss hearing krias hatorah.[11] Transporting a Sefer Torah for an important person has no restrictions, and there is no need for a designated place for the Sefer Torah (see below).[12]


Going with Ten people

Some poskim permit transporting a Sefer Torah from one place to the next if there are ten people who go along with the Sefer Torah.[13]Some say even the Zohar would agree that this is permitted.[14]



Many poskim say the whole issur of moving a Sefer Torah only applies where the Sefer Torah is being moved for an individual, and if atzibur needs to have a Sefer Torah in order to hear laining then moving a Sefer Torah from place to place is permitted.[15] Some say the reason for the leniency for a tzibur is because they are equivalent to an important person for whom a Sefer Torah may be transported.[16]


Preparing a place for the Sefer Torah

One who wishes to bring a Sefer Torah to another location may do so if he prepares a place for the Sefer Torah to be kept,[17] such as anaron kodesh.[18] Although, some poskim require the sefer Torah to be brought a day or two before it will actually be read[19] this is not meant to be taken literally, and as long as the Sefer Torah is in an aron kodesh it is permitted.[20] The reason why preparing a place permits transporting the Sefer Torah is because it does not seem that the Sefer Torah is brought because of the reading, but instead as being transported to leave it in the new place (albeit for a short time).[21] Some say when one takes a Sefer Torah from an aron kodesh to a sick person he should make sure not to place it in a room that is above a bathroom,[22] however, the minhag is to be lenient with this.[23]


“Reading from the Sefer Torah Three Times”

Many people think one may transport a Sefer Torah from one place to another if one will read from it three times. This idea is quoted by the Aruch Ha’shulchan[24] and others[25] l’halacha. However, most poskim say this should not be relied upon for halacha l’maseh since this opinion is not found in earlier sources.[26] Although, the earlier sources say one should prepare a place for the Sefer Torah a day or two early, there is no mention of the idea of reading from it three times to permit it to be transported without any restrictions.[27] Horav Moshe Feinstein zt”l said that although there is no source for this opinion, one should not disturb people who rely on it.[28]


Room to Room

According to the writings of the Zohar one is not permitted to take a Sefer Torah to another place, even from room to room.[29] This was the custom of the G’ra as well.[30] Many poskim hold that it is permitted to take a Sefer Torah from one room to another room if both rooms are under one roof.[31] Some say it is only permitted if there is a designated place for the Sefer Torah in the second room.[32]


This has ramifications for many shuls with two minyanim very close to each other in two separate rooms. A person from one minyan may go into the main shul to get a Sefer Torah for laining since the Sefer Torah is only being moved from one room to the next under the same roof. This is permitted as mentioned above since it is from one room to the next. Furthermore, it is for a tzibur, and there is usually a small aron kodesh in the second room to place the Sefer Torah in before laining begins.[33]


Parshas Zochor

Some poskim maintain that transporting a Sefer Torah from place to place (even without placing the Sefer Torah in an aron kodesh) is permitted to enable someone to hear parshas zochor.[34] Others say it is also permitted for parshas para,[35] while others  permit it for all of the four parshas.[36]



Some people have the custom to have a private minyan at the chosson’s house for an aufruf or Shabbos sheva berochos. The question arises if one is allowed to bring a Sefer Torah there? Many say that since one brings a Sefer Torah to greet a king,[37] and a chosson is comparable to a king,[38] bringing a Sefer Torah to him is permitted.[39] Others say doing so is permitted if the Sefer Torah will be placed in an aron kodesh in the chosson’s house.[40] Since the custom is to place the Sefer Torah in an aron kodesh, bringing a Sefer Torah to the chosson is allowed.


Bais Avel r”l

The Shulchan Aruch and Rama argue if an avel r”l goes to shul to hear laining.[41] The custom of the Ashkenazim is that an avel r”l does not leave his house for laining.[42] Many say that a Sefer Torah may be brought to the house of an avel r”l since it is being brought for a tziburwhich is permitted to do.[43] Some say if there will not be a designated place for the Sefer Torah (i.e. aron kodesh) then it should not be brought to the bais avel r”l  even if a tzibur is there.[44] Since the minhag today is to have a small aron kodesh in the bais avel r”l for the Sefer Torah bringing it is permitted.



One who is concerned that the shul is not a safe place for a Sefer Torah, may transport it to his house in order to keep it in a safer place.[45]




Private Sefer Torah

Many people have a private Sefer Torah in their house which they bring along when traveling on vacation etc. Many tzadikim also had their own Sifrei Torah which they took with them when they traveled.[46] The question arises if the aforementioned halachos apply to a private Sefer Torah which is kept at home.


L’maseh, the aforementioned halachos do not apply to a private Sefer Torah.[47] A Sefer Torah which was donated to a shul is not considered privately owned.[48]


Accordingly, one may take a private Sefer Torah into the office with him on a fast day especially since it is being brought for a tzibur of ten people to hear laining.[49]



When one wants to rent out a hotel for Shabbos or Yom Tov bringing a Sefer Torah is permitted for the following reasons. The Sefer Torah is usually kept in an aron kodesh, and is brought for at least a minyan of people.[50]


Fixing a Sefer Torah

Sefer Torah that needs to be fixed may be transported from place to place.[51]


Wrapping while Transporting

When a Sefer Torah is transported from place to place the custom is to wrap it in a tallis. The source for wrapping it in a tallis is unclear.[52] One should not transport it past dirty places even if it is wrapped.[53]


Kosel Hamaravi

At the Kosel Hamaravi, when a minyan davening outside needs a Sefer Torah, one person goes inside and brings it back inside immediately after laining. Some poskim say it is not in honor for the Sefer Torah for it to be brought from the inside area of the kosel to the outside, and instead the people at the minyan should go inside to the Sefer Torah.[54] Since this is usually not practical, and some poskim hold that theKosel is considered like one big shul, the custom is to be lenient.[55]


Some have the custom to daven at the “Kosel Kotton” which is located near the Kosel. Bringing a Sefer Torah to the Kosel Kotton is permitted since it is an honor for the Sefer Torah to be brought to such a holy site.[56]


Yomim Noraim

One may move a Sefer Torah on the Yomim Noraim to allow more people to receive aliyahs which will raise more money for the shul.[57]


Simchas Torah

On Simchas Torah the custom in many places is to make many laining stations so everyone can receive an aliyah in a short period of time. The question arises if moving a Sefer Torah from one place to the next is permitted. The custom is to permit this, even if the Sefer Torah is being brought to a different building since the moving is being done in the honor of the Torah.[58]


One is permitted to bring Sifrei Torah from other shuls in honor of Simchas Torah.[59] Many have the custom to bring Sifrei Torah duringhakofes to be able to go around the bimah with seven Sifrei Torah[60]


Some shuls have the custom to bring their Sifrei Torah outside and join other shuls in singing and dancing on Simchas Torah. This is permitted because it is done out of honor for the Torah.[61] The same is true for hakofes shenias which are made in Eretz Yisroel.[62] Some say this would even be permitted according to the opinion of the Zohar mentioned above.[63]


Hachnoses Sefer Torah

The custom seems to be that when a new Sefer Torah is brought into a shul other Sifrei Torah are brought outside to greet it.[64] The reason why this is permitted is because it is an honor for the new Sefer Torah that other Sifrei Torah come out to greet it.[65] Others feel  that theSifrei Torah should not be taken out of the shul to greet the new Sefer Torah.[66]



From: [email protected] [mailto:[email protected]comOn Behalf Of Chaim Chernoff
Sent: Wednesday, August 27, 2014 3:54 PM
To: Moshe Lebovits
Subject: Re: Can we start article again

[1] Minchas Avraham 15:pages 27-28.

[2] Mordechai Mesechtas Rosh Hashanah 710, Bais Yosef 135, Shulchan Aruch 135:14, 584:3. Refer to Yesodo Yeshurin 2:pages 144-146.  In regard to a posul Sefer Torah, see Da’as Kedoshim Y.D. 282:1, Tzedaka U’mishpat 16:footnote 3). In regard to posuling the Sefer Torah by undoing the sewing and then bringing it from place to place, see Lev Chaim 2:22. Bringing a Sefer Torah to a court to swear is forbidden (Yesodo Yeshurin 2:pages 144-146).

[3] Yerushalmi Yoma 7:1, Mishnah Berurah 47, Aruch Ha’shulchan 30. Refer to Levush 584:3.

[4] Mishnah Berurah 135:46, see Shar Ha’tzyion 42.

[5] Zohar Parshas Achrei Mos page 142, Kaf Ha’chaim 83, Vayivorech Dovid 1:26.

[6] Rama 135, Pischei Shearim 9:33.

[7] Levush 135:14, Mishnah Berurah 50.

[8] Darchei Moshe 135:10, Magen Avraham 23, Elya Rabbah 19, Shemen Hameor, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 23:30, Sharei Ephraim 9:44, Aruch Ha’shulchan 31, see Elya Rabbah 17.

[9] Darchei Moshe ibid, Magen Avraham ibid, Chai Adom ibid, Mishnah Berurah 50, Aruch Ha’shulchan 30,  Matei Ephraim 584:24.

[10] G’ra 21, Mishnah Berurah 50, Imrei Yosher 2:197:5:page 121. Refer to Biur Halacha ibid who says he can be great even not in Torah.

[11] Sharei Chaim 9:23, Pri Hasadeh 4:15:1.

[12] Mishnah Berurah 51, Matei Ephraim 584:24.

[13] Eishel Avraham Butchatch ibid, Bais Lechem Yehuda Y.D. 282:2, Birchei Yosef Y.D. 282:3, Kaf Ha’chaim 74, Avnei Yushfei 1:22:2, Refer to Elya Rabbah 135:17 who is stringent.

[14] Yaskil Avdi 6:page 294.

[15] Refer to Pri Chadash 14, Elya Rabbah 17, Da’as Kedoshim Y.D. 282:1, Mishnah Beruah 47, Biur Halacha  “ein.”

[16] Mishnah Berurah 47, Minchas Avraham ibid, Opinion of Horav Shlomo Zalman Aurbach zt”l quoted in Nishmas Avraham 135:page 76.

[17] Rama 135:14, Magen Avraham 22. Some say one can transport a Sefer Torah even if he will prepare a place for it, but has not yet done so (Eishel Avraham Butchatch 135:page 531 in the Friedman Shulchan Aruch ).

[18] Pri Megadim M.Z. 12.

[19] Darchei Moshe 135:10.

[20] Refer to Maharam Padiva 88, Taz 12, Elya Rabbah 18, Be’er Heitiv 22, Sharei Ephraim 9:43, Matei Ephraim 584:24, Da’as Kedoshim Y.D. 282:1. This may be done even on the day of the transport (Mishnah Berurah 49, Da’as Torah 135:14). If one has a specific place for the Sefer Torah it is permitted even if it is not in an aron kodesh (Pischei Shearim 9:32).

[21] Taz 12.

[22] Mishnas Yosef 34.

[23] Opinion of Horav Korelitz Shlita quoted in Mishkan Dovid 8:21.

[24] 135:32.

[25] Toras Chaim 135:page 113. Refer to the Avnei Yushfei 1:22:3 who says the Aruch Ha’shulchan is saying a chumra that one has to read it three times and have a place set aside for the Sefer Torah. Most poskim learn the Aruch Ha’shulchan as being lenient and only requiring reading from the Sefer Torah three times without preparing a specific place for it.

[26] Horav Yisroel Belsky Shlita, see Sharei Chaim 9:22, Kinyan Torah 4:18, Emes L’Yaakov 135:footnote 11:page 78, Yabea Omer O.C. 9:15:5, Rivevos Ephraim 5:219, 6:page 512, Avnei Yushfei 1:22:3, Teshuvos V’hanhugos 1:694, Vayivorech Dovid 1:26, Halichos Shlomo Tefilla 12:38, Minhag Yisroel Torah 135:7.

[27] Yalkut Avrohom 135:33-36:pages 17-19b in depth, Rivevos Ephraim 6:649.

[28] Ha’tefilla B’tzibbur page 133:footnote 123, Rivevos Ephraim 3:95:1, Vayivorech Dovid ibid, see Tzitz Eliezer 17:12.

[29] Zohar Achrei Mos page 142, Tov Ayin 18:45, Kaf Ha’chaim 74, Orchos Chaim Spinka 135:14, Salmas Chaim 146:page 44.

[30] Masei Rav 129:page 156.

[31] Eishel Avraham Butchatch page 531, Da’as Kedoshim Y.D. 282:1, Orchos Chaim (Spinka) 125:14,  Bais Shearim 48:pages 20b-21, Pischei Shearim 9:35, Har Tzvi O.C. 71, Kinyan Torah 4:16, Tzedaka U’mishpat 16:footnote 10.

[32] Refer to Machzik Beracha 6, Me’or Vekitzia 135:page 142, Salmas Chaim 146, Teshuvos V’hanhugos 2:90.

[33] Refer to Teshuvos V’hanhugos 2:90, Minhag Yisroel Torah 135:8. Refer to Kovetz Bais Aaron V’Yisroel 125:pages 124-125.

[34] Magen Avraham 135:23, Elya Rabbah 17, Be’er Heitiv 22, Chai Adom 31:15, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch ibid, Mishnah Berurah 46, Aruch Ha’shulchan 31. According to theZohar this would be forbidden (Kaf Ha’chaim 85).

[35] Chai Adom ibid, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch ibid, Mishnah Berurah 46.

[36] Aruch Ha’shulchan ibid.

[37] Pischei Teshuva Y.D. 282:1, Toras Chaim 135:page 13, Kaf Ha’chaim 77, Tzedaka U’mishpat 16:2:footnote 5.

[38] Pirkei D’Rabbi Eliezer 16:page 74 (new). Refer to Yismach Lev 1:page 183 who says in the name of the Brisker Rav that since a chosson is like a king he should wear a hat the entire wedding. Refer to ibid:page 91.

[39] Imreo Dovid 51, Igros Moshe O.C. 1:34, Kinyan Torah 4:18, Yabea Omer O.C. 9:15:6, Vayivorech Dovid 1:26:page 139.

[40] Imrei Yosher ibid, Soveh Smochos (Yosef) 1:page 69:7.

[41] Shulchan Aruch Y.D. 344:18, 393:3,

[42] Rama ibid 393:3.

[43] Yugel Yaakov 14, Binyan Shel Simcha 5:page 10, Kaf Ha’chaim 75, Toras Chaim 135:page 113, Am Hatorah 2:12:page 90:13,  Igros Moshe Y.D. 4:61:13, Kinyan Torah 4:18, Teshuvos V’hanhugos 1:694, Pnei Boruch 10:24, Yavivorech Dovid 1:26, Piskei Teshuvos 135:footnote 172, Chai Ha’Levi 4:14, Yabea Omer 9:15, Yalkut Yosef 135:12.

[44] Yugel Yaakov ibid, Vayivorech Dovid ibid, see Me’or Vektziah 135:page 142  who is stringent. Refer to Orchos Chaim (Spinka) 135:16:page 50, see Avnei Yushfei 1:22:3.

[45] Shraga Hameir 6:88, Tzitz Eliezer 11:16, Piskei Teshuvos 135:28.

[46] Darchei Chaim V’sholom 213:page 69, Piskei Teshuvos 135:footnote 145. Refer to Kaf Ha’chaim 82 who says a sefer torah that is not usually used may be transported from place to place.

[47] Refer to Torah L’shma 58, Har Tzvi O.C. 71, Tzitz Eliezer 18:6, Vayivorech Dovid 1:26:page 139. See Mesechtas Yoma 70a, Sotah 41a, Shearim Metzuyanim B’halacha Sotah 41a:pages 352-353.

[48] Vayivorech Dovid ibid.

[49] Vayivorech Dovid ibid. When taking a Sefer Torah with you on a plane one may keep it in the overhead compartment, but may not chas v’sholom place it with the luggage underneath the plane (Piskei Teshuvos 135:footnote 187).

[50] Rivevos Ephraim 5:219.

[51] Kaf Ha’chaim 79,80,  Mikdash M’eat Y.D. 282:1, Yalkut Yosef 135:18.

[52] Tzeadak U’mishpat 16:footnote 3.

[53] Piskei Teshuvos 135:25.

[54] Tzitz Eliezer 11:16:2:page 48.

[55] Yalkut Yosef 135:15:footnote 22. This is the opinion of Horav Yisroel Belsky Shlita.

[56] Rivevos Ephraim 5:219.

[57] Mishnah Berurah 135:48, Shar Ha’tzyion 46. Refer to Aruch Ha’shulchan 32 who speaks against this practice.

[58] Levushei Mordechai 3:97:1, Bais Shearim 49, Shulchan Hatohar 135:8, Kaf Ha’chaim 80,  Igros Moshe O.C. 1:34, Yalkut Avraham 135:33-36, Tzedaka U’mishpat 16:6, Vayivorech Dovid 1:26:page 139, Ishei Yisroel 47:33:footnote 87, Minhag Yisroel Torah 135:8:page 248. See Aruch Ha’shulchan 32 who is stringent. One would also be permitted to take a Sefer Torah from place to place for one who has chosson Torah (Bais Yisroel O.C. 1:22:pages 21-21b). This is permitted just as many other actions are permitted on Simchas Torah that normally are not allowed (Piskei Teshuvos 135:footnote 139).

[59] Sharei Ephraim 9:46, Mishnah Berurah O.C. 669:9.

[60] Birchei Yosef 135:13, Sharei Ephraim 9:46.

[61] Yechaveh Da’as 1:72, Yabea Omer O.C. 7:56, Yalkut Yosef 135:footnote 21. Refer to Me’or V’ketzia 135:page 142.

[62] Yechaveh Da’as 1:72, Yabea Omer O.C. 7:56, yalkut Yosef 135:20:footnote 28. One should not throw the Sefer Torah in the air as this is a great disgrace to the Sefer Torah(Yabea Omer ibid). Furthermore, giving a Sefer Torah to a young child should be avoided (Yalkut Yosef ibid:footnote 28).

[63] Divrei Chachumim O.C. 52.

[64] Noheg K’tzon Yosef page 135, Birchei Yosef 135:13, Orchos Chaim (Spinka) 135:14:page 50, Sharei Ephraim 9:46, Kaf Ha’chaim 77, Yaskil Avdi 5:9:3, Heichel Yitzchok 7:2,  Yabea Omer O.C. 4:15, 7:56. Some say not to go with the old Sifrei Torah pass the opening of the shul (Sharei Ephraim ibid).

[65] Toras Chaim 135:page 113, Yalkut Yosef 135:19.

[66] Bais Shearim 49.page 21, Halichos Shlomo Tefilla 12:38:footnote 112.  Refer to Kaf Ha’chaim 77 who says one should not do this unless ten people escort the Sefer Torah.