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The Torah Learning Library of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah

Korach – The Rosh Yeshiva Responds – Cloth Covering on the Shulchan During Keriat HaTorah

by Rabbi Dov Linzer (Posted on July 4, 2024)
Topics: Korach, Rosh Yeshiva Responds, Sefer Bamidbar, Torah

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 וַיִּקַּ֞ח אֶלְעָזָ֣ר הַכֹּהֵ֗ן אֵ֚ת מַחְתּ֣וֹת הַנְּחֹ֔שֶׁת אֲשֶׁ֥ר הִקְרִ֖יבוּ הַשְּׂרֻפִ֑ים וַיְרַקְּע֖וּם צִפּ֥וּי לַמִּזְבֵּֽחַ

“And Eleazar the priest took the copper fire-pans, which they that were burnt had offered; and they beat them out for a covering of the altar” (Bamidbar 17:4).

This question is taken from a WhatsApp group in which Rabbi Linzer responds to halakhic questions from rabbis and community members.

QUESTION—Chicago, IL

Does a shulchan require a cloth covering for when the Torah is being read? Or can the Torah be read directly on wood?

ANSWER

No, a cover is not strictly needed. The Gemara talks about it being put down directly on a chair or the like. See Megillah 26bShulchan Arukh YD 282:12 (and the Tur/Beit Yosef there).

To clarify, if it is read directly on the wood, then the bimah becomes a tashmish kedushah, not just a tashmish d’tashmish. This is a larger discussion if it was only used באקראי.

FOLLOW-UP QUESTION

Thank you. It would be for a new, regularly used bimah.

ANSWER

Then that’s fine, but just know that it makes the kedushah status of the bimah weightier.

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