These and Those

Musings from Students of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem

Hachnasat Sefer Torah

Posted on April 28, 2013 by Annie Matan Gilbert

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Passing and imprinting on and from the new Pardes Sefer Torah

Passing and imprinting on and from the new Pardes Sefer Torah

Today at Pardes, we had the honour and the pleasure of dancing our new sefer Torah, (donated in honour of a recent Bat Mitzvah) around the school. We heard lovely divrei Torah from Pardes student, Dr. Aileen Heinberg and from Rav Landes. There was some mention made of the fact that a Hachnasat Sefer Torah is a brit and like at a brit milah, we stand for the ritual. Later, when we passed the Torah from one person to the next, I was reminded of a brit milah I attended years ago where the baby was passed from one family member to the next as he was brought into the room.

In that moment, it occurred to me… we usually think that holding a sefer Torah transmits blessing from the Torah to us and that holding the baby at his brit milah transmits blessings from us to the baby. And all of a sudden, I saw it in reverse – we also imprint ourselves and our blessings on the Torah and receive blessings from the baby.

I feel honoured to have imprinted a little of my Kohenet, Renewal, feminist, funky self on Pardes’ new Torah and also to have received the blessings of thousands of years of tradition and learning from her – a tree of life – held by us and holding us, Goddess willing, for many generations to come.