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Protocol and Etiquette for a Torah Aliyah

When you are selected to receive an Aliyah to the Torah (being called up to the Torah) by your relative or friend who is celebrating a Simchah, you have been given a great honor. You will be intimately interacting with the Torah before our Congregation of family and friends. Thus, it is important that you familiarize yourself with the Torah honor protocol and etiquette so that you will more fully enjoy and appreciate the Aliyah experience and do honor to the Torah, your family or friends, and yourself.

Before the Simchah, familiarize yourself with the Brachot (blessings) which you are required to recite/chant in Hebrew:

  • The blessing before the reading by the Baal Koreh (Torah reader), with the repetition of the Congregational response
  • The blessing after the reading is completed

A copy of these blessings, in large type in both Hebrew and transliterated English/Hebrew will be given to you by the celebrating family honoring you. Please study it. There is no need to bring it with you when you are called up for your honor because there is an identical large type copy on the reading stand. A Synagogue official will tell you when it is your turn to go up to the Bimah (pulpit) for your Aliyah.

The procedure is as follows:

  • Stand to the left of the Torah Reader, and the Gabbai Rishon (Bimah caller) will ask you for your Hebrew name (unless it has previously been provided by the family). For example, Joseph son of Jacob and Sarah will be pronounced Yoseph ben Yaakov. Obtaining your correct Hebrew name and providing it to the Bar/Bat Mitzvah family in advance is extremely helpful.
  • Stand at the right side of the Torah Reader, take hold of a corner of your Tallit with a Tzitzit (long fringe) attached, setting the Tzitzit on the Torah (or, for women not wearing Tallit, the embroidered cloth provided) at the place where the Torah Reader points, and then bring the Tallit/Tzitzit to your lips momentarily. Now say the first blessing in a clear, audible voice while holding on to the handles of the Torah (“it is a tree of life to them that grasp it”). After the Congregation says its response, repeat that response.
  • When the reading of your portion of the Torah is completed, again take the Tzitzit of your Tallit (or the embroidered cloth), place it at the point where the Torah Reader indicates, and kiss the Tallit or cloth as before. Then recite the blessing that comes after the Torah reading.
  • After the blessing is recited, step next to the Gabbai Sheni and wait there while the next honoree goes through the procedure you have just completed. When the honoree succeeding you is finished and takes your place beside the Gabbai Sheni, you may leave the Bimah, first shaking hands with those at the Torah, the Rabbi, Cantor, President or others on the Bimah who will greet you with the exhortation, “Yeasher Koach” (“may you go from strength to strength” for a man or “Yeasher Kochech” for a woman.The proper response to this is “Baruch Te-hee-yeh” for a man, or “Brucha Te-He-yee” for a woman (“May you be blessed”). You then may return to your seat in the Sanctuary and receive the good wishes of family and friends for the honor you have just received.
Tue, April 16 2024 8 Nisan 5784