….That which is Holy

[1] A Sefer[2] Torah is made from parchment purposefully created for a Sefer Torah, written with ink manufactured for the sole purpose of writing a Sefer Torah, Mezuzot, and Tefillin. A Jew who trained specifically for this purpose writes the Sefer. Nothing mundane is used and this attests to the holiness of the object. In fact, the mantle used to cover the Torah scroll must not be made from material used for ordinary purposes[3]. It is a mitzvah to provide it a place of honor designated solely for the Torah and to beautify it. Ohr Chadash has done this with the Ark and the light that never goes out.

We are obligated to afford the sefer Torah great honor[4]. This is why we stand prior to the opening of the Ark, we stand while the Sefer Torah moves through the congregation, we never turn our backs while the Torah is visible, and we stand as it is read[5]. At the Shulchan[6], hands never touch the Torah[7]; we use our Tzitzit[8] to “honor” the words of Hashem and a yad[9] to point to the words during Kriat HaTorah[10]. While we sit during the translation, we stand once again during Hagbaha[11] and when the Torah returns to the Ark. Normally the Magbiah and the Golel accompany the Torah back to the Ark, however, in our congregation, the Gollel, who also assists, is the one who returns the Torah.

Ohr Chadash, like the greater Jewish community never treats the Torah Scroll as a mundane item[12]. It contains the Name and the Words of Hashem.

[1] Recently, an individual enwrapped a Christian Bishop with a Torah Scroll and declared him a king. The point is not to berate those involved; instead, it seems appropriate to discuss how to properly handle the Torah.

[2] Heb. ספר, scroll or book

[3] Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Siman 28:8

[4] Ibid., 28:3

[5] Exodus 19:17, Exodus 20:15, Deuteronomy 4:10, Deuteronomy 29:9 & 14, Nehemiah 8:1

[6] Heb. שׁוּלחָן, table

[7] Shulchan Aruch Siman 28:3 says, “He should not hold the Sefer Torah without a cloth.” 28:4 states, “A person should not place an open sefer upon his knees… nor place his elbows upon it.”

[8] Heb. ציצית, the tassel on the four corners of the tallit, a prayer shawl

[9] Heb. יד, a pointer stylized to look like a hand with a pointing index finger

[10] Heb. קריאתהתורה, the reading of the Torah

[11] The Magbiah [lifter] performs Hagbaha [lifting] while the Golel [roller] Gelila [rolls]

[12] The ritual performed in Georgia represents nothing found within Judaism. This was not Jewish in any way; by extension, it is not Messianic either, because Messianic Judaism is a subset of Judaism. After seeing a portion of the “recant,” it became clear that this organization, while promoting a form of the Torah lifestyle, is not Jewish and nor is it Messianic. It is a form of Christianity sprinkled with Hebrew terminologies and Jewish identity markers.

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