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    Pointing to the Torah – Ask the Rabbi

    Q. Why do some people point with their little (“pinkie”) finger when the Torah is raised?

    Hagbah - painting by Raphael Nouril

    A. It was originally a Sephardi custom. When the Torah scroll was lifted up, many people would piously raise the corner of their tzitzit as they proclaimed V’zot HaTorah, “And this is the Torah…” (Deut. 4:44). They would then kiss the tzitzit. There are several variations of the custom. Some raise both hands to the Torah. Others raise one finger. In some places it is a women’s custom. In others it is carried out by men. Raising one finger is linked with the idea of the Torah pointer, the yad, which has an extended finger indicating the place in the scroll.

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