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Turning Right with the Sefer Torah

My question concerns the direction in which the Torah is to be carried after the reading. The Kitzur says to carry it to the right/north when taking it out, and to the South when returning it. Is there any authority for reversing direction and carrying the Torah clockwise when returning it to the Ark? Does it matter if the reading table is close to the Ark rather than at a distance from the Ark?
Ark? Thank you.


The basis for the ruling, as clear from the wording of Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (23:1), is that the person holding the sefer torah should turn to his right. On the way to the bimah, this means turning northwards, and on the way back, southwards. I don’t know of an authority that writes differently to this, and it would not make a difference is the reading table is close by, for the principle of turning to the right would still apply.

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  1. In the building of the Tabernacle as described in the the last four Parashahs of Shemos (Exodus) G-d commanded that Shittim (Acacia wood) be used for the Ark, table, carrying poles and support beams. Since the Jews were in the desert where nothing grows, as Rashi points out, the only way they could have had the wood available was if they carried it from Egypt. Thus, Rashi concluded that Jacob brought seedling Acacia trees from Canaan and transplanted them in Goshen in anticipation of the need to fulfill the Mitzvah of building the Tabernacle. So it appears that Shittim wood was part of the plan and when called for, the lumber was prepared and ready. The Acacia tree has a rough exterior with a thick homely bark and long sharp thorns growing out of its branches while sporting lush green leaves and beautiful flowers at certain times of the year. Thus in order to make this tree suitable for such Holy service the rough exterior has to be peeled off and the wood must be smoothed over with an abrasive cloth. This procedure is called refinement and it indeed is a painful process. But, when we apply this principle to ourselves we can see that every hardship we endure individually and as a nation is a gift because with every moment of suffering HaShem brings us closer to the eternal rapture of basking in His G-dly light.

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