Torah E-Thought: Sitting or Leaning

This Week at Chabad Lubavitch  Leeds
Light Candles  - Leeds :
Friday,  8th Sept  7:22pm   
Shabbat Ends:
Torah Portion: 

Chabad Lubavitch Leeds   Email: [email protected]   Phone:

Message from the Rabbi
Dear Friend,
Preparations for Rosh Hashanah start in earnest this week with our Midnight Slichot on Motzei Shabbat. We also have a pre Rosh Hashanah Torah Tots and a Ckids Rosh Hashanah club! Bookings are open here and here !

We’re going to have a full range of services throughout the month of Tishrei and we look forward to welcoming you at Chabad Lubavitch Leeds. You can see all our timings at or download our timetable here .

We are also very pleased to offer our Shofar-2-U service again this year, providing public and home Shofar blowings. If you - or someone you know - are unable to get to Shul this year on Rosh Hashanah to hear the Shofar, then please avail yourself of Shofar-2-U. To register just click
here .

Wishing you a Good Shabbos and a Kesiva V’Chasima Tova,

Rabbi Eli Pink
Director of Education
Chabad Lubavitch Leeds


This week we read the very last mitzvah in the Torah: every Jew must write a Sefer Torah. 

Although the words of the Torah are the same, Ashkenazim and Sephardim have different style scrolls. Ashkenazi Torahs are wrapped around wooden poles and covered with a soft velvet mantle while Sephardim keep their Torahs in hard ornamented cases. 

This is not the only difference in how we treat our Torahs. When we read from the Torah during the service, Ashkenazim lay the Torah down on the bimah and read from it. Sephardim, on the other hand, read from the Torah while it is standing upright on the bimah. 

Interestingly, the original argument about how to read from the Torah was not between an Ashkenazi and a Sephardi, it was between two Ashkenazim in the Middle Ages: Rashi and Rabbeinu Tam. The disagreement stemmed from differing opinions on what gives more honour to the Torah – standing or sitting. In our own experience, for example, the Prime Minister stands during an address and his audience sits. On the other hand, the Queen would sit when she spoke to us, and parliament would stand and listen. Both are out of respect. 

Rashi was of the opinion that standing is more dignified and the Torah scroll must always be kept in an upright position, both during reading and while in the Ark. Rabbeinu Tam argued that the Torah should always be lying down, both for reading and in its place in the Ark, for to make the Torah stand is not respectful at all. 

A better-known version of this argument is the mezuzah. There are differing opinions whether we should put our mezuzot horizontally or vertically. The Sephardic custom is to put their mezuzot upright. Ashkenazim take the middle road and put their mezuzot on slant. 

We actually make the same compromise for the Torah scroll. You may have noticed that the bimah that we read the Torah from is actually on a slant – it isn’t flat. This isn’t just for convenience. We actually want to follow both opinions to the best of our ability. In this way, when the Torah is on the Bimah, it’s not standing upright and it’s not lying flat either.

Differing opinions and learned disagreement are part of a long-standing Jewish tradition, but like any parent, G-d is delighted when He sees His children getting along. As we approach Rosh Hashanah, let us take heed from the opening words of this week’s Parshah, “You are all standing together before G-d,” and consider how we can be more amenable to others and their opinions, even while keeping the words of the Torah intact.

Torah Tots Rosh Hashanah!

Upcoming Events
Candle Lighting and Friday Night Service
Friday, Sep. 8, 2023 - 7:22 pm
Shabbat Morning Service
Shabbat, Sep. 9, 2023 - 10:00 am
Midnight Slichot
Sunday, Sep. 10, 2023 - 1:00 am
BLT Sunday Morning Bagel Minyan
Sunday, Sep. 10, 2023 - 8:30 am
Torah Tots
Sunday, Sep. 10, 2023 - 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Rosh Hashanah Club
Thursday, Sep. 14, 2023 - 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Get ready for the new year by hopping from stand to stand while you taste, cook, design, play, and learn! Pick up a keepsake at each spot and take home a Rosh Hashanah snackle box to usher in the sweetest new year.
More Info »
Selichot and Shacharit
Friday, Sep. 15, 2023 - 7:30 am
Erev Rosh Hashanah - Mincha and Maariv
Friday, Sep. 15, 2023 - 7:05 pm
Shabbat, Sep. 16, 2023 - 10:00 am
Kiddush after the Service - Mincha and Maariv
Shabbat, Sep. 16, 2023 - 7:00 pm
Sunday, Sep. 17, 2023 - 10:00 am
Sunday, Sep. 17, 2023 - 12:15 pm
Kiddush after the service - Tashlich @ The Rec
Sunday, Sep. 17, 2023 - 4:30 pm
Mincha and Maariv
Sunday, Sep. 17, 2023 - 7:00 pm
Service Times

Friday Night, 7.22pm

Shabbat Morning, 10.00am

Midnight Slichot Sunday Morning, 1:00am

Shacharis Sunday Morning, 8.30am

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Parshah in a Nutshell

Parshat Nitzavim-Vayelech

The name of the Parshah, "Nitzavim," means "Standing," and it is found in Deuteronomy 29:9. The name of the Parshah, "Vayelech," means "And [Moses] went," and it is found in Deuteronomy 31:1.

The Parshah of Nitzavim includes some of the most fundamental principles of the Jewish faith:

The unity of Israel: “You stand today, all of you, before the L‑rd your G‑d: your heads, your tribes, your elders, your officers, and every Israelite man; your young ones, your wives, the stranger in your gate; from your wood-hewer to your water-drawer.”

The future redemption: Moses warns of the exile and desolation of the Land that will result if Israel abandons G‑d’s laws, but then he prophesies that in the end, “You will return to the L‑rd your G‑d . . . If your outcasts shall be at the ends of the heavens, from there will the L‑rd your G‑d gather you . . . and bring you into the Land which your fathers have possessed.”

The practicality of Torah: “For the mitzvah which I command you this day, it is not beyond you, nor is it remote from you. It is not in heaven . . . It is not across the sea . . . Rather, it is very close to you, in your mouth, in your heart, that you may do it.”

Freedom of choice: “I have set before you life and goodness, and death and evil: in that I command you this day to love G‑d, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments . . . Life and death I have set before you, blessing and curse. And you shall choose life.”

The Parshah of Vayelech (“ and he went”) recounts the events of Moses’ last day of earthly life. “I am one hundred and twenty years old today,” he says to the people, “and I can no longer go forth and come in.” He transfers the leadership to Joshua, and writes (or concludes writing) the Torah in a scroll which he entrusts to the Levites for safekeeping in the Ark of the Covenant.

The mitzvah of Hakhel (“ gather”) is given: every seven years, during the festival of Sukkot of the first year of the shemittah cycle, the entire people of Israel—men, women and children—should gather at the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, where the king should read to them from the Torah.

Vayelech concludes with the prediction that the people of Israel will turn away from their covenant with G‑d, causing Him to hide His face from them, but also with the promise that the words of the Torah “ shall not be forgotten out of the mouths of their descendants.”

Learn: Nitzavim-Vayelech in Depth
Browse: Nitzavim-Vayelech Parshah Columnists
Prep: Devar Torah Q&A for Nitzavim-Vayelech
Read: Haftarah in a Nutshell
Play: Nitzavim-Vayelech Parshah Quiz