Picking Up Where We Left Off
In 'Ask the Rabbi' for Issue #122 we asked this Yiddle Riddle: "On Tisha B'Av morning, we sit on the floor as a sign of mourning. However, one person in every synagogue publicly sits down on a chair. Who is this person?"
Our answer: The person honored with 'hagbah' - lifting the Torah after it is read. This person lifts the Torah from the 'bima' and sits with it in a chair.
As pointed out by David Adatto and others, this is true only in Ashkenazic synagogues. According to the widespread Sefardic custom, nobody sits down with the Torah; rather, the Torah scroll remains on the bima.
True Story: A certain person claimed that his father's departed soul returned to this world every Shabbat, and attended synagogue services. Week after week, he would call his father to the Torah, listening attentively to what he claimed was the faint sound of his father's blessing.
When word of this reached the ears of Rabbi Yaakov Kamenetsky, z'tzal, he smiled and said, "Next week, tell him to give his father hagbah."