Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Perfect Mis-Understandings #2 - Side-Stepping

Originally published 5/11/10, 11:00 pm.
Q: Why do we recited the beginning of Musaf at the Bima facing side-ways?
A: This is perhaps the result of another perfect Mis-understanding!

Take the background into consideration.  There is a valid reason for saying the Haftara at the side and not facing frontwards. This is because the Haftarah must be demonstrably inferior to the Torah reading. A "shinuy" or deviation is needed. Plus, by putting one's back to the Torah whilst reciting the Haftarah might be construed as further dissing the Torah!

On the other hand, reciting Yekum Purkan or other prayers while facing sideways is totally unnecessary. There is no demonstrated dissing of the Torah because the Shliach Tzibbur is facing the Holy Ark. Putting his back to the Torah in that context is not viewed as disrespect. What has happened, is that a valid minhag in one context is morphed into a misunderstanding and "shitck" in another context.

For example - this is like requiring covering the bread during Havdalah when one has no intention of subsequently saying Hamotzi. It is therefore not analogous to Kiddush in which "haMotzi" will follow and the Challah is being disrespected whilst reciting a blessing on the wine!

AHA Rabbi Wolpoe - but Ruth, ShirHashirim, and Esther etc. are recited facing forward ! Isn't that dissing the Torah!

Good question: I'm glad you asked. With Ruth, and so on, the Torah has not yet been removed from the Aron.
With Esther [at least in the AM reading] it has already been put away!

It is only during the Haftara that the Torah remains present, changing the dynamics of the choreography of the direction.


Previously Posted 5/24/07

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