Siddur Ba-eir Hei-teiv --- The Transliterated Siddur

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K'ri-yat Ha-Torah: The Torah Reading Print E-mail
All transliterations, commentary, and audio recordings are copyright © 1997, 1998, 2002, 2009, or 2016 by Jordan Lee Wagner. All rights reserved.

Handing Out Honors

In every synagogue, the honorees have to know who they are in advance, so the service can proceed smoothly.  There is always someone who goes around quietly handing out the honors (or confirming earlier designations).  In some synagogues, this is done verbally; others hand out laminated cards.

Each card has the name of one of the various honors printed on it.  These include opening the Ark, removing the Torah, the seven aliyot (sections of the reading), lifting the Torah after the reading, dressing the Torah, and so on. 

So if a stranger appears by your seat and silently tries to hand you a card, feel honored and welcomed. Be brave and take it (if you are Jewish).  Detailed instructions for performing these rituals are included below, so give it a try.  (They might also be printed on the card.)  Remember, you are being honored, not tested.

( If, instead of handing you a card, the stranger furtively whispers the name of an aliyah as though it were a question, you are being offerred an aliya subject to confirming whether you are a Ko-hein,   Lei-vi,  or Yis-ra-eil.) 

If you are given a card, bring it with you when you go up to perform the mitzvah.  Someone should collect it from you before you return to your seat.

--- adapted from "The Synagogue Survival Kit" by Jordan Lee Wagner, publ. by Rowman & Littlefield. 1997.

(The Reading of the Torah)

Approaching the Ark

Most congregations stand in anticipation of opening the Ark.

[ A-tah  har-ei-ta  la-da-at,
ki  A-do-nai  hu  ha-e-lo-him,
ein  od  mil-va-do.

EIN  KA-MO-CHA  va-e-lo-him,  A-do-nai,
v'ein  k'ma-a-se-cha.
Mal-chu-t'cha  mal-chut  kawl  o-la-mim,
u-mem-shal-t'cha  b'chawl  dor  va-dor.

A-do-nai  me-lech,  A-do-nai  ma-lach,
A-do-nai  yim-loch,  l'o-lam  va-ed.
A-do-nai  oz  l'a-mo  yi-tein,
A-do-nai  y'va-reich  et  a-mo  va-sha-lom.

hei-ti-va  vir-tso-n'cha  et  Tsi-on,
tiv-nei  cho-mot  Y'ru-sha-la-yim.

Ki  v'cha  l'vad  ba-tach-nu,
me-lech  Eil  ram  v'ni-sa,
a-don  o-la-mim.

Opening the Ark

Someone in the congregation is discreetly notified that they are being given the honor of opening the Ark at the appropriate time.  This honor is called pesicha.   Often, the same person that opens the Ark has the honor of removing the Torah from the Ark and handing it to the Reader.  Other times, a second individual is given this honor.  This honor is called ho-tsa^ah.   As with all synagogue honors, the honor lies in being given an opportunity to participate in a mitzvah. 

On Sabbath mornings, Ein Kamocha is sung as the Ark is being approached.  If you are the ho-tsa^ah, approach the Ark as the Reader does, and then wait there.  If you are the pesicha, approach the Ark just ahead of the Reader, and simply draw aside the curtain and/or open the doors as the Reader arrives, as Ein Kamocha is finished.  Then remain there.

When the Ark is opened, we sing the biblical report of what Moses said in the desert whenever the Ark started out.  The Reader sings the beginning of Numbers 10:35, and the congregation sings the actual quotation of Moses (the rest of Numbers 10:35).  This is followed by the last two phrases of Isaiah 2:3, followed by a line of praise to God for having given Israel the Torah.

There is a meditation from The Zohar (a classic book of Kabbalah, first published in the 13th Century) that is inserted at this point.  It is called B'rich Sh'mei (Blessed is the Name).  B'rich Sh'mei is written in Aramaic.  It is a late addition to the service, added in the 16th century.  The Reader may chant it aloud, although most congregations begin it silently.  In either case, the congregation usually sings the ending.  Be careful about repeated words and phrases.  One of the most common tunes includes some very tricky repeats.  One of these repeats takes you back to a point prior to the place at which you first began singing aloud.

--- adapted from "The Synagogue Survival Kit" by Jordan Lee Wagner, publ. by Rowman & Littlefield. 1997.



This is one of only three liturgical events that, absent health-related limitations, require all present to stand even if not worshipping.

Va-y'hi  bin-so-a  ha-a-ron
va-yo-mer  Mo-she:

Ku-ma  A-do-nai  v'ya-fu-tsu  o-y've-cha
v'ya-nu-su  m'sa-ne-cha  mi-pa-ne-cha.
Ki  mi-Tsi-on  tei-tsei  To-rah
u-d'var  A-do-nai  mi-ru-sha-la-yim.
Ba-ruch  she-na-tan  To-rah
l'a-mo  Yis-ra-eil  bik-du-sha-to.

ZOHAR EXCERPT: B'rich Sh'mei

B'rich  Sh'mei  d'ma-rei  a-l'ma,
b'rich  kit-rach  v'at-rach.
Y'hei  r'u-tach  im  a-mach  Yis-ra-eil  l'o-lam,
u-fur-kan  y'mi-nach  a-cha-zei  l'a-mach  b'veit  mak-d'shach,

Bei  a-na
  <  ra-chitz   |   ra-cheitz
v'lish-mei  ka-di-sha  ya-ki-ra,
a-na  ei-mar  tush-b'chan.
Y'hei  ra-a-va  ka-da-mach
d'tif-tach  li-ba-i  b'o-ra-y'ta,
v'tash-lim  mish-a-lin  d'li-ba-i,
v'li-ba  d'chawl  a-mach  Yis-ra-eil,
l'tav  ul-cha-yin  v'lish-lam.  ( A-mein. )

The Reader Takes the Torah

There are usually several scrolls in the Ark.  If you are the ho-tsa^ah, someone should indicate which Torah scroll to pick.  Simply reach into the Ark and pick up the Torah with one hand on the bottom left handle, and the other hand supporting the Torah's "back".  Turn yourself (not the Torah) around to face the Reader, and let the Reader take the Torah from you.  Then remain there.

On days when more than one scroll is needed, you may be expected to repeat the procedure with another Torah scroll; or another person may have been given this task as a separate honor. 

On occasions when more than one scroll will be needed, a congregant may be given the honor of carrying a Torah.  To carry a Torah, rest it on your right shoulder.  Drape your right arm over it and support it from the bottom with your right hand.  This emulates the physical expression of devotion described in Song of Songs 8:3.  Your left hand usually holds a prayerbook, but could also be used for additional support from beneath. 

The same person that opened the Ark then closes it.  If the Ark has doors behind a curtain, the person may be expected to just draw the curtain (to simplify reopening the Ark later). 

On Shabbat morning only, the Reader holds the Torah and turns to face the congregation.  All the honorees at the Ark face the congregation along with the Reader.  The Reader chants two lines, each repeated by the congregation.

--- adapted from "The Synagogue Survival Kit" by Jordan Lee Wagner, publ. by Rowman & Littlefield. 1997.


Sh'ma  Yis-ra-eil,  A-do-nai  E-lo-hei-nu,   A-do-nai  E-chad.

Sh'ma  Yis-ra-eil,  A-do-nai  E-lo-hei-nu,   A-do-nai  E-chad.

E-chad  E-lo-hei-nu,  Ga-dol  A-do-nei-nu,   Ka-dosh  Sh'mo.

E-chad  E-lo-hei-nu,  Ga-dol  A-do-nei-nu,   Ka-dosh  Sh'mo.

The Reader Takes the Torah

The Reader and all honorees at the Ark turn and bow slightly toward the Ark.   Then the Procession begins.

The Reader carries the Torah up and down the aisles, ending up at the reading desk.  When the procession starts, everyone moves toward the nearest aisle.   When the Torah goes by, you touch it with the fringes of your tallis (prayer shawl).  Or you touch it with your prayerbook.  Then you kiss the fringes, or the book.  You don't touch the Torah directly.

The honorees follow the procession away from the Ark.  Once the Torah nears its destination they return to their seats.  But they are not yet done.   Generally, the same people that opened the Ark, removed the Torah, and carried the Torah, are expected to return to perform the corresponding functions when the Torah is put away.

Treating the Torah Like Royalty

The Reader does not carry the Torah alone.  The Torah is escorted like royalty, with a herald or entourage.  This is not just during services.   For example, if you happen to be at the synagogue when someone needs to remove a Torah from the Ark (to inspect it, or to position the scroll for an upcoming reading), you may be asked to walk with the person as they approach the Ark, and as they walk with the Torah.

The Torah scroll is tied shut with a strip of cloth called a "sash", and is covered with a "mantle".  A decorative "breastplate" often adorns it.  And an ornate "crown" often fits atop its handles.  Once the Torah is at the Reader's Desk on the bima, it is always attended by no fewer than three people.

By standing in its presence, dressing it like royalty, and attending upon it, we transfer the symbols of human royalty to the Torah.  This is another expression of allegience to "the kingship of heaven". 

The Torah is placed on the desk and "undressed".  At this point you can sit down, because the Torah is "sitting down".  (You have been standing since the Ark was opened).

--- adapted from "The Synagogue Survival Kit" by Jordan Lee Wagner, publ. by Rowman & Littlefield. 1997.


Gad-lu  la-A-do-nai  i-ti
u-n'ro-m'ma  sh'mo  yach-dav.

L'cha  A-do-nai,  ha-g'du-la,
l'ha-g'vu-ra,  v'ha-tif-e-ret,
v'ha-nei-tsach  v'ha-hod,
ki  chol  ba-sha-ma-yim  u-va-a-rets,
L'cha  A-do-nai,  ha-mam-la-cha,
v'ha-mit-na-sei,  l'chol  l'rosh.

Ro-m'mu,  A-do-nai  E-lo-hei-nu,
la-ha-dom  rag-lav,  ka-dosh  hu.
Ro-m'mu,  A-do-nai  E-lo-hei-nu,
v'hish-ta-cha-vu  l'har  kad-sho
ki  ka-dosh.  A-do-nai  E-lo-hei-nu.

Al  Ha-kol,  yit-ga-dal  v'yit-ka-dash,
v'yish-ta-bach  v'yit-pa-ar,
v'yit-ro-mam  v'yit-na-sei
sh'mo  shel  me-lech  mal-chei  ha-m'la-chim,
ha-ka-dosh  ba-ruch  hu,
ba-o-la-mot  she-ba-ra,
ha-o-lam  ha-zeh  v'ha-o-lam  ha-ba,
kir-tso-no,  v'chir-tson  y'rei-av,
v'chir-tson  kawl  beit  Yis-ra-eil.
V'nir-ei-hu  a-yin  b'a-yin,  b'shu-vo  el  na-vei-hu.
Ki  a-yin  b'a-yin  yir-u  b'shuv  A-do-nai   Tsi-on.
V'nig-la  k'vod  A-do-nai,
v'ra-u  chawl  ba-sar  yach-dav,
ki  pi  A-do-nai  di-beir.


Av  ha-ra-cha-mim,
hu  y'ra-cheim  am  a-mu-sim,
v'yiz-kor b'rit ei-ta-nim,
v'ya-tsil naf-sho-tei-nu min ha-sha-ot ha-ra-ot,
v'yig-ar b'yei-tser ha-ra min ha-n'su-im,
v'ya-chon o-ta-nu lif-lei-tat o-la-mim,
vi-ma-lei mish-a-lo-tei-nu b'mi-da to-va, y'shu-a v'ra-cha-mim.

The Torah is placed on the Reader's Desk and undressed. You may then sit.

The congregation will follow the reading using a Chumash.  One does not leave or enter during the direct Torah reading.  Do this between aliyot.   You may notice that some synagogues station a person by the door during the Torah-Reading section, to detain people from entering until appropriate times.  (Leaving is not controlled).

The blue text below is recited by the Gabbai, rather than by the Reader of the Shacharit service.


An Honoree is summonned for the next Aliya as follows:

v'ya-gein  v'yo-shi-a  l'chol  ha-cho-sim  bo,
v'no-mar,  a-mein.
Ha-kol  ha-vu  go-del  lei-lo-hei-nu,
ut-nu  cha-vod  la-To-rah.

Ko-hein,  k'rav.
This text is
included only in
the summons to
the first aliyah.

YA-A-MOD ________ ben _______ ha ____. xxx [Insert full name of Honoree, and the name of the honor.]

Ba-ruch  she-na-tan  To-rah  l'a-mo  Yis-ra-eil  bik-du-sha-to.

V'a-tem  ha-d'vei-kim  ba-A-do-nai  E-lo-hei-chem  cha-yim,  kul-chem  ha-yom.

V'a-tem  ha-d'vei-kim  ba-A-do-nai   E-lo-hei-chem  cha-yim,  kul-chem  ha-yom.
This text is
included only in
the summons to the
first aliyah.

MI  SHE-BEI-RACH   a-vo-tei-nu
Av-ra-ham  Yits-chak  v'Ya-a-kov...


A blessing is requested for
the Honoree who had the
previous aliyah. The middle
of the text changes depending
on the reason for the aliyah.

(So this blessing doesn't occur before the
first aliyah; and it is added
after the final aliyah.)

[ Blessings for others not present may be inserted here. ]


Ba-r'chu et A-do-nai ha-m'vo-rach!

Ba-ruch A-do-nai ha-m'vo-rach l'o-lam va-ed!

Ba-ruch A-do-nai Ha-m'vo-rach l'o-lam va-ed!

Ba-ruch a-tah A-do-nai,
E-lo-hei-nu me-lech ha-o-lam
a-sher ba-char ba-nu mi-kawl ha-a-mim
v'na-tan la-nu et To-ra-to
Ba-ruch a-tah A-do-nai,
( Ba-ruch hu u-va-ruch Sh'mo! )
no-tein ha-torah.
( A-mein. )

Blessing after reading the Torah:

Ba-ruch a-tah A-do-nai,
E-lo-hei-nu me-lech ha-o-lam
a-sher na-tan la-nu to-rat e-met
v'cha-yei o-lam na-ta be-to-che-inu
Ba-ruch a-tah A-do-nai,
( Ba-ruch hu u-va-ruch Sh'mo! )
no-tein ha-To-rah.
( A-mein. )

Bir-kat Ha-Go-meil:

[Added if the Honoree has survived an illness, journey, or other peril.]

Ba-ruch a-tah A-do-nai,
E-lo-hei-nu me-lech ha-o-lam,
ha-go-meil l'ha-ya-vim to-vot,
she-g'ma-la-ni kawl tov.

Mi she-g'mal-cha tov,
hu yig-mal-cha kawl tov,



Stand, except for some Sephardic congregations.

Yit-ga-dal v'yit-ka-dash sh'mei ra-ba, (A-mein.)
b'al-ma di-v'ra chi-ru-tei, v'yam-lich mal-chu-tei
[ v'yats-mach pur-ka-nei, vi-ka-reiv m'shi-chei. (A-mein). ]
b'chai-yei-chon uv'yo-mei-chon
uv'chai-yei d'chol beit Yis-ra-eil,
ba-a-ga-la u-viz-man ka-riv,


Y'hei sh'mei ra-ba m'va-rach
l'a-lam ul'al-mei al-ma-ya.
[ Yit-ba-rach ]

Yit-ba-rach v'yish-ta-bach,
v'yit-pa-ar v'yit-ro-mam v'yit-na-sei,
v'yit-ha-dar v'yit-a-leh v'yit-ha-lal, sh'mei d'ku-d'sha, b'rich hu,

(b'rich hu)
[Some Chassidic and Sefardic congregations say "A-mein"]
l'ei-la min^kawl^bir-cha-ta v'shi-ra-ta,
tush-b'cha-ta v'ne-che-ma-ta,
da-a-mi-ran b'al-ma,



This completes the mitzvah of Torah-Reading. Although the Torah Reading Service is now complete, we defer parting with the Torah until the last possible moment, to evidence our love for it. On Saturday morning (as long as the Musaf Service will be recited in the same trip to the synagogue) the Torah will be returned to the Ark just before the Amidah of the Musaf Service.

(The Torah will be read yet again in connection with a Prophetic reading occurring in the next section of the liturgy. This "maftir aliyah" is to avoid shaming the Torah by having an individual read only from Prophets in the presence of a Torah scroll.)

You can return to the beginning of this section, or proceed to the Congregational Events that occur between the Torah-Reading and the Musaf Service.

Last Updated on Sunday, 27 December 2009 15:33

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