Moving a Sefer Torah for a One-time Reading

(OH 135:14)

Under what circumstances is one allowed to move a Sefer Torah from the synagogue to read from it in another place? Is there a basis for the widespread belief that one must read from it three times in its temporary location?

According to the Mishnah and the Bavli, it is permissible to move a Sefer Torah for a one-time reading. According to the Yerushalmi, on the other hand, it is permissible to bring a Sefer Torah for a one-time reading only if it is for an important person such as the High Priest or the Exilarch. Normally, when there is a dispute between the Yerushalmi and the Bavli, the halakhah follows the Bavli. Thus, the basic halakhah in this case is that there is no restriction on moving a Sefer Torah temporarily to another place.

R. Meir of Rothenberg and R. Yosef Karo, however, were influenced by the Yerushalmi when they ruled that one may not bring a Sefer Torah to Jewish prisoners, even on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. But their ruling was the exception. Most authorities permitted bringing a Sefer Torah to a sick and/or important person or to the house of a mourner, or to the house of a Hatan, or for the sake of a group of people.

In conclusion, every Mara D’atra can be lenient as required, according to the various options explained in the responsum, but one has to treat the scroll with the appropriate respect and reverence, especially if young children are present.

Rabbi David Golinkin
Approved Unanimously

A Reaction to the Responsum on the Wearing of a Kippah by Men and Women

(OH 91:3-5)

I agree with Rabbi Frankel’s responsum, aside from the last section regarding women and girls. Inasmuch as wearing a kippah is a symbol of Fear of Heaven, of modesty, and of respect for tradition, which became a binding custom in times of sanctity, we have to require the wearing of the kippah not only of men and boys but also of women and girls. By so doing, we give women and girls the same opportunity to enrich their religious experience and to give the sacred moments in their lives the additional dimension that wearing a kippah adds.

Rabbi Gilah Dror
In favor: Rabbi Michael Graetz
Opposed: Rabbi David Frankel
Rabbi David Golinkin
Rabbi David Lazar
Rabbi Simchah Roth
Rabbi Yisrael Warman