Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Standing for Birkas haTorah

So, you can always tell the absolute frummies at shul - the ones that stand for the entire Krias haTorah (clearly not me). But is there an obligation to stand during any part of Krias haTorah (namely, during the brachos themselves)? You always see different approaches to this:

  1. The sitting during the entire laining approach (which, as we will see, is not the worst thing in the world).
  2. The "waiting to hear Barchu then stand until after Nosain haTorah" approach.
  3. The "standing from before Barchu until after Nosain haTorah" approach.
  4. The half-hearted "lean forward to make it look like I'm attempting to stand for a millisecond approach".

I will outline a number of popular halachic sources, then return to reevaluate these various approaches.

The Shulchan Aruch (146) discusses whether one has to stand for the entire laining. A note in the Mishna Berura states that according to all one must stand during Barchu and "Baruch Hashem Hamvorach L'olam Vaed". The implication from this MB is that one need not stand during the brachos of Asher Bachar Banu and Asher Nassan Lanu. But, then, what is the Makor for those who take either approach #2 or #3 above?

The Magen Avraham and the Taz both put their two cents in on this issue. Both agree that one must stand for all "Dvarim Shebi'kedusha". However, they disagree as to which parts of this ritual constitute a Dvarim Shebi'kedusha. The Taz takes the approach of the MB and says that one must only stand for Barchu and Baruch Hashem Hamvorach L'olam Vaed. But, the Magen Avraham takes the approach that all Brachos on the torah constitute Dvarim Shebi'kedusha (even Asher Nassan Lanu!! - which I have never seen anyone go out of their way to stand for). Additionally, the Beir Haitaiv sides with the Magen Avraham while the Aruch haShulchan quotes only the opinion of the Taz.

So far, according to everyone, one must stand for Barchu and Baruch Hashem Hamvorach L'olam Vaed. But I'm sure we have seen frum yidden that are not strict in this. Why is this? The Piskei Teshuvos (modern) brings up exactly this point, and says that the Makor for not standing for anything comes from R' Chaim Vital, who said about his Rebbe (the Arizal) that he would sit from the beginning of Krias haTorah until the end, without standing for anything. In light of this, the Piskei Teshuvos says that there may be in an inyun of specifically sitting during laining. In light of this idea from R' Chaim Vital and the Arizal, it is interesting to note that the Chayei Adam uses the lashon of "Raui laamod"; that it is merely PROPER to stand for Barchu, etc., and NOT a chiyuv. Finally, R' Chaim Kinievsky wrote to the author of Ishei Yisrael that he views Barchu, etc., as equivalent to the Kriah itself and does not require standing (I have heard from a reliable source that R' Chaim takes approach #4 above (although, clearly with more Kavana than I am implying above).

So, let's take a look at the four approaches.

  1. The sitting during the entire laining approach - this is in accordance with R' Chaim Vital (not to be confused with Dick Vitale), the Arizal, and R' Chaim Kinievsky - although I would say this is a minority view nowadays.
  2. The "waiting to hear Barchu then stand until after Nosain haTorah" approach - this seems by far to be the worst approach to take. According to everyone that holds standing is required, including in this requirement is Barchu itself - so waiting to hear Barchu before standing does not seem in accordance with halacha.
  3. The "standing from before Barchu until after Nosain haTorah" approach - this is widely held approach - what is interesting is that according to MA's approach, standing for Asher Nassan Lanu is also required - something which nobody does.
  4. The half-hearted "lean forward to make it look like I'm attempting to stand for a millisecond approach" - I have not seen this shita brought down lahalacha, but like previously said, I have heard this is what R' Chaim Kinievsky does.

Cheers.

5 Comments:

Blogger Zazy said...

Good Article. IT's about time we debunked the myths of Davening

10:21 PM, January 17, 2006

 
Blogger ADDeRabbi said...

at breuer's (and probably most yekkishe shuls), the entire copngregation sits with the utmost of decorum throughout laining. somehow, i doubt that it's because they're following r' chaim vital.

10:24 PM, January 17, 2006

 
Blogger AlanLaz said...

I don't know why the German's sit during the whole time, but the Piskei Teshuvos, a very thorough overview of anybody having anything to say about anything, only quotes the minhag to sit in the name of R' Chaim Vital, the Arizal, and R' Chaim Kinievsky (and maybe on the lashon kal of the Chayei Adam). If you could ask around to see why it is they sit (or if there is no reason), that would be great.

10:50 PM, January 17, 2006

 
Blogger ADDeRabbi said...

you can try to ask one of the 'old-timers' at Shearith Israel in Baltimore. R' Shimon Schwab was the Rov there before becoming the Rov of Breuer's.

11:09 AM, January 18, 2006

 
Anonymous intersted flaming young yid said...

yashar koiach. very nice article. thank you

2:12 PM, October 23, 2007

 

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