Rolling, Rolling, Rolling



by Rabbi Rebecca Yaël Schorr
Originally posted on
Frume Sarah’s World

I don’t know how or when it happened. But somehow, in the not too distant past, the pinnacle of the Simchat Torah celebration moved from the Hakafot and Torah readings to a new, and visually-impressive, presentation — the unrolling of the Torah in its entirety.

More and more congregations have embraced it and I find it both perplexing and troubling.

Traditionally, the Torah is treated as if it is nearly alive. It is NOT alive, but we accord her a great deal of respect. We do not touch the parchment as the oils from our hands will rub away the ink and render it unusable. When we open the scroll for a reading, we open it not more than three columns in order to maintain some semblance of modesty. If we are moving the Torah from one location to another, we would not place her in the trunk. Rather, the scroll would ride inside the car. Nor would we leave the Torah in the car overnight. If a Torah is rendered unusable, we bury her. We stand when the Torah is removed from the ark (Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 28:3). And, God-forbid, should the Torah should be dropped, the one who dropped her is required to fast. As are those who have witnessed the incident (Orech Chayim 3:3).

Unrolling a Torah in its entirety seems to defy our customary ways of handling the scroll.

What is troubling is that there are long-standing rituals associated with Simchat Torah. The Shulkhan Arukh, not to mention a number of Sages, provide clear instructions regarding the ways in which we read the scrolls on this festival. Why toss out the mandated practices only to replace them with something new?

Innovation can be a wonderful thing. It keeps stasis at bay. It seems to me, however, that unrolling the Torah is simply a gimmick to get folks interested in participating. When I read descriptions of this practice as “the highlight of the Simchat Torah experience,” I am saddened. Saddened that we have become jaded that our traditions are perceived to be uninspiring and antiquated. Saddened that we seek more thrilling, more “meaningful” rites. Perhaps that is what so compelling about Chabad. They are delivering “the real thing” rather than re-branding it or re-imagining it. How is it, then that instead of seeming outdated, the ways in which they practice their Judaism are seen as authentic?

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25 Responses to “Rolling, Rolling, Rolling”

  1. avatar

    Who’s replacing the long-standing rituals with this? Every synagogue I’ve ever seen unrolling the Torah is augmenting their service this way, not replacing anything.
    The practice also makes me a little queasy for some of the reasons you mention, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with new traditions arising to further enrich our understanding and celebration of the holidays.

  2. avatar

    Rabbi Schorr:
    I appreciate the way in which you have expressed your longing for traditions and practices that have seemingly been forgotten. I, too, find myself wondering if the mitzvah of celebrating, as laid out in the Shulchan Aruch is overshadowed by our need to find ways to gather in a critical mass. But not for the same reasons you might think.
    The lure of Chabad is not found in the way they are praying. It is rather the financial unburdening that they seemingly grant to those who would prefer not to pay for membership, building funds, payment plans and religious schools. It is the pay-as-you-go freedom that appeals to most. Not the “real thing,” as you suggest.
    I don’t feel jaded by unrolling the scroll, or even by advertising the visual spectacle that this has become. I don’t think many clergy would label this as the ‘highlight’ of the evening, either. Those words most likely came from congregants.
    My personal loss is felt when congregants might complain at a reduction of candied apples, or lack of doughnuts. I feel bad when there are those who do not pay attention when we read the very last words of V’zot Hab’racha and move neatly onto B’reishit. My feelings are hurt when they chose not to take the time necessary to celebrate Shabbat more often, or fail to grasp the magnitude of coming back to synagogue so soon after assembling for the HIgh Holy Days, and ‘making good’ on the things they professed to do only days prior.
    I don’t think unrolling the scroll is the worst transgression they will commit this year, and if done carefully- we use white gloves when handling the scroll in our congregation, and only adults are allowed to hold it- it can be a wonderful educational tool, as we ‘stroll through the books,’ as a clergy team, highlighting sections as we re-roll the scroll back from holiday readings to B’reishit. There is a functional byproduct.
    I hope you are able to find meaning in your celebration, and even if you are in a place where you witness this practice, that you are able to guide them gently through the proper observance while they perform this new tradition for many.
    Best for a sweet holiday, one that was started so long ago with some kind of inspirational moment. Who’s to know for certain if this new tradition is not the one that causes more people to study Torah?
    Respectfully,
    Cantor Brad Hyman

  3. avatar

    You raise an interesting point, and I certainly give you credit for bringing to light this important topic. I too have issues with unfurling the Torah fully on the holiday, there are often too many scenarios where things can “go wrong” and I get nervous.
    What I find as troubling is the whole Chabad thing. Are they REALLY delivering “the real thing”? Aren’t they branding the experience under the Chabad banner (so to speak?). Isn’t the experience unique to how they see Judaism?
    I think the last point about how their practice is seen as authentic stems from other people’s lack of knowledge about this particular sect of Jewish life. This is an interesting and thought provoking post!

  4. avatar

    I too find it disturbing on so many fronts, unrolling the Torah Scroll. If nothing else, the possibility of the Torah being damaged by someone touching the print, or slipping and tearing or splitting a seam. I have previously tried to convince the clergy that it was time to go back to the old tradition of either unrolling one scroll on a table or using to two scrolls on two tables. Such arguments have fallen on deaf ears, even though one of our scrolls during a Hagbar at last years High Holyday service caused a seam to split (which I believe has still not been repaired due to financial concerns).
    Such drama of unrolling a scroll at its’ dedication ceremony is one thing and is reasonable to ‘take the chance,’ but as an annual practice to me is pushing ones luck.

  5. avatar

    Rabbi Schorr raises two interesting issues in her provocative post:
    1. Putting new wine into old bottles — developing new rituals and/or new ways of dealing with old rituals
    2. Defining authenticity (and refusing to let others define it for us)
    Let me look first at her comments about Chabad. Chabad has been very successful at positioning itself as the seat of authenticity, financing its efforts in great measure by seeking financial support from non-Chabadniks (often Reform Jews) who persuade themselves that supporting Chabad’s “preservation of Judaism” will atone for their perceived lapses in their own lifestyles.
    We have to admire the way this business plan (which also includes self-supporting local rabbis who selflessly go where the Rebbe sends them (whether or not they believe the Rebbe is still alive), and who give away goods and services that our congregations have to find ways to pay for, and thus, one way or another, must charge for. As I have remarked before on this blog, Chabad shares with Reform the willingness to take Jews wherever they are on the observance spectrum — but then does a much better job than we do of trying to move them along that spectrum.
    If Rabbi Schorr were to show up some Shabbos at the local Chabad house, I’m sure they would show her how to light candles — and I am equally sure they would not allow her to read from the Torah scroll. Nor would they be very accepting of any of her congregants she brought with her who was not born of a Jewish mother. Any time we want to bestow the mantle of authenticity on Chabad, it should be with the recognition that they are good at putting a 21st century gloss on an 18th century approach to Judaism. Our authenticity lies in re-forming Judaism to meet the (changing) needs of Jews in a changing society.
    When I first read Rabbi Schorr’s post, I was carried along by her argument that the newly popular ritual of unscrolling the whole Torah was somewhat disrespectful as well as potentially damaging and thus dangerous. I rather imagine that, at one point in history, we had folks protesting the hakafot for similar reasons.
    I am reminded of a legend about Chicago’s once-famous Pump Room restaurant, known for its shashlik served on a flaming sword. The Pump Room’s impresario and host is said to have explained that the customers loved the presentation — “and it doesn’t hurt the food much.”
    As I said when we recently discussed hakafa here, it makes me a little queasy until I see how much it means to the Jews in the pews to have the scroll brought to them, to be able to touch the exterior of something important whose interior they may not know how to penetrate.
    The chiddush (innovation) of unrolling the scroll becomes more than a gimmick or a theatrical set piece when it conveys that the Torah can be an open book for all of us, and that, once a year, we not only end our reading and begin again, but also see it in its entirety — not in the heavens or across the sea, but up close and personal.
    To bring in something new, as David Levy points out, does not entail pushing out the old. If, over time, the new ritual doesn’t prove to be enriching the Simchat Torah experience, or if scrolls are actually damaged by the handling, it will fall by the wayside. I suspect, though, that this is a rite that is here to stay and that represents an enrichment of Reform worship. Ken yirbu, may such only increase.

  6. avatar

    The visual display of the Torah can be treated as a wonderful learning opportunity for demonstrating what the Torah contains. One or more people can “walk through” the Torah indicating what words, stories, lessons can be found at each location — “here is where the Israelites crossed the sea” and “here are the words of the Sh’ma” — using perhaps 50 examples, maybe one for each parsha. Logistically more challenging is to assign 30-50 people locations around the circle, and ask each one to read that section of the Torah and to prepare their own statement of the form “in this section of the Torah is where …”

  7. avatar

    I love this ritual (which, by the way, is practice along the denominational spectrum). I read Torah from the bimah once a month. I blog about it weekly (http://swartzsue.wordpress.com/). I’ve written close to 50 poems using Torah as my starting point.
    And yet… every year when our congregation unfurls the Torah, I am blown away. All those words! All that gorgeous calligraphy! I feel such longing for the text in that moment. This is not a gimmick.
    As for Chabad – neither you or I would be allowed our glorious relationship with Torah in their world, so I’m not sure we want to be holding them up as a model for Jewish living. Authenticity doesn’t have to equate with doing things the way they’ve always been done, particularly as there is no one way that they’ve always been done.

  8. avatar

    Is this conversation about unrolling the Torah or trying to unravel Chabad?
    I fear Rabbi Schorr overstates her case when she cites unrolling the scroll on Simchat Torah tradition as evidence that “we have become [so] jaded that our traditions are perceived to be uninspiring and antiquated.” One assuredly can find legitimate examples of time-tested practices being driven out by faddish novelty. But unrolling a Torah Scroll on Simchat Torah is not one of them.
    Not everything done to induce folks to attend services is a “gimmick.” To the contrary, unrolling the Torah can be best understood as part of a developmental process that goes back to pre-Israelite times. In antiquity, a society’s laws were known only to nobles and priests. Israelite religion democratized possession of this critical knowledge when Ezra began reading Torah thrice weekly in the public square. This practice is perpetuated by reading Torah as part of the synagogue service, and amplified, albeit symbolically, by carrying the scroll from the ark into the pews (or what used to be the pews!), where congregants are invited to touch it. To my mind, unrolling the scroll on Simchat Torah is another, and entirely legitimate, step in this process.
    Chabad. A sure way of eliciting angry reaction from Reform Jews is to say something nice about Chabad. Why is that? It’s true that Chabad has fought fiercely against Jewish pluralism in Israel. But so have all Hareidi and some non-Hareidi Orthodox streams, the mention of whose names do not set our blood to boiling. Why?
    I think Larry Kaufman is on target when he writes: “Chabad shares with Reform the willingness to take Jews wherever they are on the observance spectrum — but then does a much better job than we do of trying to move them along that spectrum.” In a word—my word, not Larry’s—we’re envious. But rather than learning from their success, we conjure up pejorative explanations to make Chabad appear unseemly.
    Unquestionably, some Jews are drawn to Chabad by the offer of a free ride. (But while we’re on the subject, why is the cost of belonging to a Reform synagogue so high?) There are undoubtedly some Reform Jews who give Chabad money in order to “atone for their perceived lapses in their own lifestyles,” as Larry asserts. But there are Reform Jews who find aspects of Chabad to be spiritually rewarding, and still more who draw conclusions about Jewish survival by comparing how well the two streams succeed in perpetuating Jewish commitment from one generation to the next.
    This doesn’t mean that Chabad is more “authentic” than Reform. Indeed, the word “authentic” is not easily applied to Judaism, which is a many splendored thing. But it does mean that in this time and place, they’re doing something right that we’re not. This can be a teachable moment, or an occasion for put-downs.
    Rabbi Ira Youdovin

  9. avatar

    What an interesting discussion on the subject! At my congregation, we unrolled a Torah for the first time last year, and we repeated it for the celebration this year. For our congregation, it’s a meaningful experience. Not everyone “gets it” on the same level, but they all take away something according to their own understanding and abilities.
    There was queasiness about it in our congregation as well, but that was quelled and replaced with a sense of awe when it was actually done. Maybe it should be noted that the scroll we use for this is not kosher, and it has not been repaired (perhaps out of financial concerns).
    I, for one, find great meaning in this act and think that you can take it much further than a visual spectacle, if approached carefully.

  10. avatar

    I don’t remember the source of the story about the Orthodox (Chassidic?) rabbi who, when asked for a ruling, replied, Go see what the people are doing. And it seems clear that unrolling is on a roll.
    But moving on to the homonym, the role of Chabad, Rabbi Youdovin is right that it sets my blood boiling, although I don’t think anything I said about them is pejorative per se. They have a different understanding than I do on the role of women and on who is a Jew. Ira is right that I envy the success of their funding strategy. The jury is still out on the long-range efficacy of their bringing Jews into a realm of their-style Jewish practice. Rabbi Youdovin calls attention to their anti-pluralism positions in Israel where they are one anti-pluralism voice among many; but I have been more sensitized to their efforts to delegitimatize Progressive Judaism in the FSU — and again I am envious, because they have been in a position to outspend us 70 to 1.
    But what angers me is NOT Chabad’s successes in any other realm than getting people to believe that what they offer is the only real thing. Of course, I am not alone in questioning their position. The late Rabbi David Schoch, the powerful head of Israel’s Mitnagdim (ultra-Orthodox opponents of Chassidism) was quoted as urging tolerance of Lubavitch, since it is the closest religion to Judaism.
    I am a believer that what has preserved Judaism in the United States, and what has made it possible for Orthodox Jews, Chabad and others, to thrive, is the success of Reform Jews and Reform Judaism in establishing a normative Jewish presence in the greater society. Yes, we have re-imagined — but it is Chabad that has tried to re-brand. Unfortunately from their perspective, with all their re-branding, they will still have to share shelf space with us.

  11. avatar

    There are two ways to bring in more Jews to Judaism:
    You can change the Jew, or change the Judaism.
    I have met Chassidim from many different sects, and all of them are as warm, inviting, and genuinely caring as Chabad are. The difference is, you will only meet those other Chassidim if you enter their communities. Chabad goes all over the world to being that “vaarmkeit” (yiddish for emotional, loving warmth”) to Jews all around the world.
    I’m not a Chabadnik myself. Indeed, they have some internal theological issues that separate them from the rest of the Torah Observant world; but they still remain a part of that world.
    Chabad focuses on changing the Jew; education through love, fun, good food and drink, and providing an open invitation to each and every Jew.
    The main Reform idea, obviously, is to reach more Jews by changing (reforming) Judaism.
    To use the phrase of a previous commenter – I fear that most of the attendees look at an unrolled Torah, and see nothing more than “gorgeous calligraphy”.
    I hope more young Reform rabbis like Rabbi Schorr will opt, when possible, to hold onto to more universal Jewish traditions, and not rely on gimmicks to bring people in the door.

  12. avatar

    It seems that the discussion of Chabad is in danger of eclipsing the original discussion point of this entry, which is unrolling a Torah scroll on Simchat Torah.
    Some are speaking of Chabad with a note of anger or some other sort of displeasure in their words, and questioning the authenticity or lack thereof of the movement or sect or whatever you choose to call it.
    And they are, no doubt, speaking the same way about us – some of them.
    Why do we do this? More traditional streams have the habit of pointing fingers at liberal streams and questioning their ways and motives, and we return the favor by doing the same thing to the more traditional streams.
    We’re all Jews. Rather than spend time highlighting our differences and questioning the authentic Jewishness of each other or our practices, why don’t we find our common ground and work from there – and thus strengthen our people as a whole?
    Maybe I’m too idealistic here, but this seems like a better alternative to fighting amongst ourselves.

  13. avatar

    Yes, we do unroll the entire Torah scroll, and congregants, young and old, read/chant a brief passage. I think for many of those ‘in the pews’ this is a very meaningful time. It certainly is for the 10-20 congregants who take the effort to learn [or recall] a passage to read. Our rabbi follows along and comments on the passage and its position in the story.
    And I think that Hakafah can cause as much damage to a scroll, when it is passed from person to person and jostled during the raucous procession!
    New rituals which add a dimension of learning and also sacred awe are welcome!

  14. avatar

    Using the current JPS Tanakh, Jacob was renamed Israel for having “striven with beings divine and human.” I don’t know if it’s more entertaining or just easier, but we (myself included) often take more delight in striving with each other than with God. Then again, what’s the point of being Jewish without arguing?

  15. avatar
    Rabbi Rebecca Schorr Reply September 30, 2010 at 11:05 pm

    I apologize for not responding earlier as the chag only just ended here on the Left Coast.
    My statement regarding Chabad was not made because I regard them as more authentic. My statement was made in reaction to the multitude of liberal Jews, both affiliated and unaffiliated, who perceive Chabad as the “real deal” even though they themselves are not willing to take on more mitzvot.
    As we recently learned from Kohelet, there is a time and a place for everything. Bringing the Torah scrolls into the congregation and dancing with them with abandon, whirling, singing, rejoicing,followed by the reading of not one, but TWO, powerful Scriptural passages — this is how we have been observing this Festival for innumerable generations. The introduction of unrolling the scrolls, besides problematic for reasons I already mentioned, has become in many place THE Simchas Torah experience. Yes, there may be a hakafa or two. But if the highpoint has been refocused on the act of unrolling and taking a tour through the Torah, the traditional elements are more than apt to lose their potency.
    Though unrolling the Torah is not something that is part of my shul’s minhag, I would certainly be more comfortable with the practice if, for the many meaningful and educational reasons others have stated here, synagogues would move it to another time. The first or last day of Religious School, for example.
    We Reform Jews are fond of saying that “Halakha has a voice and not a veto.” We ought not focus solely on the “veto” and really listen to its “voice.” Judaism, while being a Tradition that has always found ways to grow, adapt, and reinvigorate itself, remains a Tradition — with a long track record of giving our lives meaning and purpose.
    An early Shabbat Shalom,
    RYS

  16. avatar

    Innovation comes to the Reuben sandwich — http://bit.ly/dz3tbg
    This video reminds us (as did Rabbi Schorr’s original post) that we have to ask about the new not only if it is good but also if it is Jewish.
    Having previously endorsed the unrolling, and now having reread the original post, I’m at the moment paying particular attention to this statement — When we open the scroll for a reading, we open it not more than three columns in order to maintain some semblance of modesty. That’s a practice of which I had not previously been aware, and which gives powerful support to the original argument.
    I have also, since first reading Rabbi Schorr’s post, participated in this year’s unrolling, and found it more a distraction than a learning experience.
    And, since she has now clarified her intention in invoking Chabad, I’m prepared to switch sides, and support her original position.

  17. avatar

    I fully understand concerns regarding the unrolling of the whole Scroll insofar as it increases the chances of accidental damage or disrespect. I am, however, puzzled by the suggestion that we do (or don’t do) things simply because it says so in the Shulchan Aruch. Since when do we (the Reform Movement) view that body of text as canonical? I certainly think every Reform Rabbi should have a copy on their bookshelf, but to enthusiastically cite it as an authoritative text when discussing ritual observance makes my hair stand on end.
    As far as the question “Why toss out the mandated practices only to replace them with something new?” is concerned, I have two words: PITTSBURGH PLATFORM!
    I do not believe I am currently capable of calmly or respectfully responding to the assertion that Chabad is the “real deal”, so I will bite my tongue for now.
    !שבת שלום

  18. Larry Kaufman

    Mr. Friedman positions the Pittsburgh Platform as our guide for replacing mandated practices with something new. Clearly,it eliminated mandated practice more effectively than it replaced it with something new.
    Meanwhile, anyone who purports to discuss authoritative Reform practice without consideration of the Shulchan Aruch is only winging it. As stated by the great Decisor of Classical Reform Judaism, Dr. Solomon Freehhof, the Tradition does not govern us but it certainly guides us — or as paraphrased by the influential even if not Reform Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan, the Tradition has a vote although not a veto.
    The same, of course, is true of the Pittsburgh Platform. It will always be part of our Reform history, even though it has been sidelined as our guide to current practice.

  19. avatar

    I was interested to read this when it was first brought to my attention, all the moreso because there was just quite a lengthy discussion of unrolling the Torah on iWorship in which I participated.
    Temple Kol Ami, West Bloomfield MI does unroll a scroll on Simchat Torah, separate from the service and hakafot. It is well received by the congregation – mostly … Our current co-President is so disturbed by this practice that she typically stays away on Simchat Torah.
    On the positive side, unrolling the Torah brings the Torah to and among the people and is an opportunity to learn a different kind of respect, i.e.: holding only from top and bottom, decorum in the presence of the Torah, etc. There were a significant number of young children this year and I could see a marked difference in behavior when we unrolled the scroll. I don’t know if it was spontaneous or parentally encouraged, but regardless, it happened and everyone had a good learning experience on his/her own level.
    Of course it gets one Torah back to where it needs to be for shabbat or the b’nai mitzvah students. :)

  20. avatar

    Mr. Lev,
    Just to clarify a bit, I do not actually regard the original Pittsburgh Platform as a perfect manifesto for modern Reform Judaism, nor do I even consider myself a Classical Reform Jew in the strictest, purest sense (after all, I’m only 19).
    I also very much like the Columbus Platform, although those two documents do not, even together, amount to what I would call a complete, sound Reform philosophy. My opinion is, though, that despite their flaws and their failure to address the Shoah, Israel, and other issues of contemporary import, they are still preferable to the over-particularistic, hyper-zionistic, ritualistic, neo-traditional documents that followed them. I think that the Movement should do the same thing with the Pittsburgh Platform and the Columbus Platform that Chicago Sinai and the SCRJ did with the UPB–that is, to bring them up to date linguistically and constitutionally, adding appropriate sections that deal with contemporary issues, but without transforming them into something that is no longer in the spirit of Classical Reform. Only then, when there is a definitive Classical Reform perspective on MODERN issues written on an official document, will younger people begin to take CR seriously as a viable option for Jewish expression today. The SCRJ already has some nice principles on its official website, but it would be even nicer if some of them were affirmed officially by the URJ itself, or at least presented alongside the 1999 Platform.

  21. avatar

    Jordan, an update of the prior platforms to reflect contemporary perspectives was exactly what the CCAR produced in 1999. It was precisely not their aim to to provide a definitive Classical Reform perspective on modern issues, which is the mandate of the SCRJ.
    And please note that the URJ is not in the platform business, nor in the prayerbook business — both of which are handled for the Reform movement by its rabbinical association.
    There are any number of places where the 1999 platform can be viewed alongside the 1885 document, and the 1937 document, and the Centenary perspective, so it is easy to see the progression from a Reform Judaism that served 19th century needs and beliefs to one that tries to serve 21st century needs and beliefs.
    I don’t know if the SCRJ has a position on the specific issue of unrolling the entire scroll for Simchat Torah — which is after all the starting point for this particular discussion. It appears today, however, to be one of those rituals that, for many Reform Jews, further rather than obstruct modern spiritual elevation.

  22. avatar
    Former Reform Jew Reply October 3, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    Jordan (et al),
    The Reform movement at its core says,
    “Just because halacha says so, doesn’t mean we have to”
    What I think Rabbi Schorr and other more traditionalist leaders within the Reform movement want to bring to the table is:
    “Just because halacha says so, doesn’t mean we CAN’T”
    While I don’t agree with eschewing halacha in favor of fitting into society, I understand the desire to do so. What I don’t understand is why Reform Jews would want to strip away our time honored, handed down traditions, when they DON’T INTERFERE with your modern lifestyle.
    Dancing with the Torah on Simchat Torah, reading the appropriate holiday passages, and not unrolling it like a museum piece for all to gawk at, might be a tradition worth keeping.

  23. avatar

    Larry, I don’t think the SCRJ has a position on the unrolling of the scroll either, and I think that if they did it wouldn’t be favorable, so I’m glad they don’t because I happen to LOVE the unrolling of the scroll. Far from “unrolling it like a museum piece for all to gawk at”, I think the unrolling is actually a reverential practice, putting congregants in close contact with the Text. It serves to remind people that what we are revering is actually the Text itself, and not the object upon which the Text is written. I like the idea of purposefully going against the near-personification of the Torah scrolls and the associated “modesty” of not unrolling it by more than three columns, because by laying it all out, we de-mystify the Scroll, showing everyone that while it is a tremendously beautiful work of art, there is actually nothing physically special or supernatural about it. Rather, it is the effect of the Text upon our lives (if we let it) that is so awesome and powerful.

  24. avatar

    Here are a few observations on this interesting discussion from a Conservative rabbi (academic) who is a member of a Conservative synagogue.
    1. In our synagogue we do this on Shavuot. On Simhat Torah there are simply too many people and too much craziness to do something like this, even before the davening begins.
    2. Everyone who touches the Torah scroll wears thin, gauze-like gloves. This helps emphasize the sanctity of the scroll itself.
    3. The rabbi does a walk through of the visually different parts of the Torah scroll (song at the sea, ten commandments, etc.). He also points out important events and where they are in the Torah.
    4. Pre-Bar/Bat mitzvah children who are learning to read Torah read selected sections with the cantillation. Instead of just seeing the places in the Torah, the people now here it.

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