Individual Postings 1st appeared(& were copied in html form) on the Email List Mail Jewish

From: rhendel@mcs.drexel.edu (Russell Hendel) Date: Tue, 20 May 1997 20:38:08 -0400 Subject: Pointing To The Torah With A Finger: A Possible Reason In V26n56, Nachum Kosofsky cites the Yalkut MeAm Lo'ez concerning the custom of pointing towards the sefer Torah during Hagbah. Nachum does not know of any reason and the Meam Loez does not bring one. Although I do not remember the source I was once told the following reason: The midrash (homiletic literature) states that in the future world the righteous will form a circle around the Divine Presence (who will be in the center) and dance and point and say the verse: "..This is My G-d and I will make pleasant with Him(Ex15:2)" The pointing of the finger is derived from the use of the word This(Zeh). It would follow that the Hagbah is an acting out of this reward in the future world: The Torah symbolizes the Divine Presence and the congregants symbolize the righteous. In a different but related matter I heard from the Rav, Rabbi Soloveitchick that the reason some people stand during the reading of the Torah is because the reading is an acting out of the relevation on Mount Sinai: The Bimah on which the Torah is read symbolizes the mountain, the Torah symbolizes G-ds word and the reading symbolizes the prophetic revelation (and e.g. The two gabais correspond to Aharon and Chur). Since people stood during the revelation we must stand also. These are two examples which possibly are supported by regarding the Torah reading as an acting out. I am curious if anyone knows sources for the above thoughts. I am also curious if there are other examples of acting outs in either the Torah reading or prayer. Russell Jay Hendel; Ph.d, ASA; rhendel @ mcs drexel edu