Taking Part In The Service
There are many ways to take part in the services, including taking some or all of a Friday or Saturday service, or having a mitzvah in the service. The wardens arrange both of the above, but if you would like to take part, say because you have a date or anniversary which you would like to commemorate, just contact the Senior Warden to discuss by clicking here.
Mitzvot (or Call Ups)
There are many mitzvot in each Shabbat morning service.
Some involve reading blessings in Hebrew:
- The study passage
- Blessings over readings of the Torah (an Aliyah)
- Blessings over reading the Haftorah
Some involve reading solely in English:
- The English translation of the weekly portion of the Torah
- Prayers for the Royal Family and the State of Israel (the Community Prayers)
Some involve no speaking at all:
- Opening the Ark
- Closing the Ark
- Lifting and carrying the Torah scroll (Hagba’ah)
- Dressing and undressing the Torah scroll (Gelilah)
The following are some of the Mitzvot in more detail together with phonetics for the Hebrew passages.
Blessings Over Readings Of The Torah
Blessings Before Reading the Torah (found on p240 of the MRJ Sidur)
You will be called up the Torah using your Hebrew name. Please ensure you are wearing a tallit when you are called up. If you do not have one, spares are available in the synagogue. Stand to the right of the Torah reader.
The Rabbi (or whoever is reading the Torah) will point out where the reading begins. It is traditional to touch this point with the corner of your tallit and then kiss your tallit.
Start by reciting the following blessing:
Barchu et Adonay hamevorach.
The congregation will respond with the following, which you should then repeat:
Baruch Adonay hamevorach le’olam va’ed
You then recite the following blessing:
Baruch atah Adonay Eloheynu melech ha’olam, asher bachar banu mikol-ha’amim, venatan lanu et-torato. Baruch atah Adonay, noten hatorah.
The Torah portion is read.
Blessings After Reading the Torah (found on p158 of the RSGB Sidur)
Once the Torah portion has been read, recite the following blessing:
Baruch atah Adonay, Eloheynu melech ha’olam, asher natan lanu torat emet, vechayey olam nata betochenu. Baruch atah Adonay, noten hatorah.
If this was not the last Torah portion to be read that day, you will be asked to move and stand on the left side of the Torah reader, to ‘witness’ the next aliyah.
If this was the last portion to be read that day, or after you have recited the blessing after the reading, then you should leave the bimah and return to your seat. It is customary to shake hands with Reader, Warden and others on the Bimah before going down into the community.
Blessings Over The Reading Of The Haftarah
The Haftarah is read after the reading of the weekly portion of the Torah and is a portion from the prophetic books of the bible, usually with a thematic link to the Torah reading, though sometimes the reason for the choice of Haftarah is to do with the calendar instead.
Once the Torah scroll has been taken away from the reading lectern to be re-dressed, you should come up to the bimah, using the second lectern (on the left as you face the bimah).
First, announce what this week’s Haftarah reading is, and where it can be found in the chumash. This information is usually on the weekly announcement sheet, or you can ask one of the wardens. For example, you might say:
“Today’s Haftarah is from the second book of Kings, Chapter 7, verses 3 to 20. It can be found on page 477 in the Hertz Chumash, or page 754 in the Plaut”.
Then, recite the following blessings before the reading of the Haftarah (which can be found on p158 of the MRJ Sidur):
Baruch atah Adonay Eloheynu melech ha’olam asher bachar binevi’im tovim veratsah vedivreyhem hane’emarim be’emet. Baruch atah Adonay habocher batorah uveMoshe avdo uveYisra’el amo uvinvi’ey ha’emet vatsedek.
Now read the Haftarah. Remember, don’t rush and speak clearly. If you have prepared a short explanation of the Haftarah do introduce it, explaining the text and the connection with the torah reading.
After you have finished the Haftarah, recite the following blessing:
Al-hatorah, ve’al-ha’avodah, ve’al-hanevi’im, ve’al-yom haShabat hazeh, shenatata lanu, Adonay Eloheynu, likdushah velimnuchah, lechavod uletif’aret. Al-hakol Adonay Eloheynu, anachnu modim lach umevarechim otach, yitbarach shimcha befi kol-chay tamid le’olam va’ed. Baruch atah Adonay, mekadesh haShabat.
When you have finished the blessing, you can leave the bimah and return to your seat.