Our crew have been busy filming around the country for many weeks now. At the end of June, while in the Old City of Jerusalem they stopped by the Kotel (Wailing Wall or Western Wall) and spotted a Minyan at their Shakarit (morning) prayer service next to the Wall. The readings take place on Shabbats, Mondays, and Thursdays. On Jewish holidays, Rosh Chodesh, and fast days, special sections connected to the day are read. The beautiful, eleaborately decorated covers that “house” the Torah Scrolls are very typical of Sephardi communities~if you are able to see one at close quarters it will take your breath away .
In this brief clip, the men have on their Tefillin and Tallit and raise the Torah Scroll (Hagbahah) before the Haftorah (selections from the books of Nevi’im “Prophets” of the Hebrew Bible “Tanach”). Of course, customs vary around the world, from one community to another, but from the sages we learn the following:
“When the Torah scroll (is about to be read) he rolls out the scroll to show three columns, raises it and shows the people standing to his right and to his left, and then turns it forward and backwards, for it is a mitzvah for all the men and women to see the writing and say while bowing, V’zot HaTorah:
“And this is the Torah which Moses placed before the Children of Israel’…Deuteronomy 4:44; and
“The Torah of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul”…Psalm 19:8*
*The second verse is (generally) no longer said. The information provided is for “general knowledge”. The customs vary depending on many things, such as residing inside Israel or in other countries, and the traditions of the community, and strictness of observance.
If you come to Jerusalem, we encourage you to pay a visit to the Kotel and observe the various Minyans at prayer. Meanwhile as we enter into the weekend and the Holiest day of the week~Saturday (Shabbat) for Jews, and Sunday for Christian believers~here is a short clip to set the mood…Shabbat Shalom to All!
Raising the Torah Scroll~Hagbahah (Lifting)