At a Yeshiva there is a person who is in the process of becoming a ger, it was asked if they are allowed to give him any of the following kibbudim: Pesichas ha’aron, hagbah, or glilah. While it may not be a “kavod” to the tzibbur to give these kibbudim to a goy however the question is if it’s muter at all in this case with a soon-to-be ger.
Although the Rambam writes that non-Jews are able to perform mitzvos, and to receive reward for them, the Radvaz explains that this does not refer to matters pertaining to kedushah.
Although this does not imply a direct proof for the question, it would not appear be proper to give a non-Jew honors related to the kedushah of a Sefer Torah. Moreover, this will be a zilzul in the honor of the congregation.
I consulted over this question with Rav Asher Weiss, who agreed that a non-Jew should not be given honors such as hagbaha, but was unsure concerning opening the Aron.
Perhaps he could be honored with opening the Aron for Avinu Malkenu and selichos, which will certainly be fine, or even for holding the second Sefer Torah where two are read.
When the Radbaz writes for things of kedusha the non-Jew shouldn’t being involved in he writes mezuzah, tefillin and Sefer Torah. I was very much in sofek what does he mean in these cases. Writing STaM? Putting on Tefillin? (which I can certainly understand the kedusha in that case, what about putting a Mezuzah on the door? That requires as much ‘kedusha’ as wearing tefillin? Maybe yes. And in regards to Sefer Torah what is his kavanah exactly? Tzrich Iyun.
As a side not the Machaber paskens in YD Siman 282 that “Col HaTamaim … mutarim lachoz b’Sefer Torah”
So simply touching the Sefer Torah there is not a problem with al pi Shulchan Aruch.
The Machaber in OC Siman 282 says that a katan an isha are ‘oleh l’minyan zion’ for Krias HaTorah on Shabbos. However the machaber already writes that we don’t give them an aliyah because of “Kavod HaTzibbur”. One pashat I heard in this is because it’s not a “kavod” for the Tzibbur that a katan and isha (that have less of a chayiv or perhaps no chayiv) should have a chelek in this mitzvah in place of a man that has a full chayiv (I think this pashut makes sense as well since the machaber is colel isha and katan together very hard to say that “kavod hatzibbur” has to do with an inyun of tznius in regards to the isha — otherwise the machaber should have said something else and not the words “kavod hatzibbur”) In that being the case even if we could find a heter for a goy to get hagba or glilah or pesichas ha’aron however it wouldn’t be a ‘kavod for the tzibbur’ to give the kibbud to this goy and not a Yisrael gomer who deserves it more.
I was by a minyan in chutz l’aretz on Rosh Hashanah many years ago and they went to give a potential ger a kibbud of pesichas ha’aron. Someone told the gabbai (who didn’t know his status at all) he wasn’t a Yisrael yet. They didn’t want to embarrass him so they allowed him to take the Keser off of the Sefer Torah and put it back on afterwards.
One more thing in regards to the Rambam. Although he writes that a goy is allowed to perform mitzvahs, however to lichatchila go and give the goy the opportunity to do such a ‘mitzvah’ is not what the Rambam was speaking about…V’Zeh Lashono
בן נח שרצה לעשות מצוה משאר מצות התורה כדי לקבל שכר. אין מונעין אותו לעשות כהלכתה
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