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What is the procedure for bringing a Torah from an old synagogue into a new one?

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Question: What is the procedure for bringing a Torah from an old synagogue into a new one?

Answer: Moving a Torah into a Synagogue is called Hachnasas Sefer Torah, which literally means the bringing in of a Sefer Torah.

There are many, many customs about how to do it. They center around a wedding theme. Acceptance of the Torah is seen as being analogous to a wedding. Mount Sinai was the canopy, the Jewish people the bride, the Almighty the groom, and the ring was the Torah.

When walking the Torah Scroll into the synagogue, a "Chuppah" (wedding canopy), usually with a talit on four poles, is carried. Usually the Sefer Torah is completed in a public ceremony in which different people write the final letters. Speeches are delivered on the importance of Torah study, supporting Torah, and Torah living. Then the men, with the Torah, dance their way to the synagogue.

There are different customs regarding songs to be sung during the process. Usually there is a parade with musicians and much dancing associated with bringing the Torah in. Many places offer a festive meal, and it is a citywide event open to all. Some have the custom to carry torches in the parade.

The song Sioo Shearim Rasheychem (usually sung on Simchas torah at the end of the 7th hakafah (circling of the Bimah)) is sung as the Sefer Torah is placed in the Aron Kodesh (Holy Ark).

May the sanctity of the Mitzvah of writing the Sefer Torah imbue your synagogue with holiness,
Rabbi A. Page

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