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If a Zoom minyan reads torah (without blessings, as study), should the reader still chant?


Due to the pandemic some communities are having weekday services on Zoom. (There seem to be leniencies that support this. That is not what this question is about.) We can't read from the torah scroll except in the presence of a minyan, and the communities I know about who are meeting on Zoom are holding by that and not having a torah service. However, some of them are studying torah at that place in the service by having somebody read the day's aliyot, without the blessings.

Assuming this torah-study approach is permitted in a service in the first place (and if it's not, please address that), my question is: is there a preference either for or against the reader chanting the portion publicly? On the one hand, chanting might be an enhancement and thus a benefit. On the other hand, chanting it when we're not actually reading torah from the scroll as part of a torah service might mislead or confuse people. (This concern doesn't arise if you are chanting in your private torah study.) On the third hand, we chant the Sh'ma, which is torah text too, outside of any torah service and in public, so maybe people are expected to pay attention to context and we needn't be concerned with the appearance of having a torah service.

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Anecdotally, so just a comment: I routinely read Pesukim with Trop. It comes naturally for me and I find it easier to remember things as well. I know at least one of my Rebbeim from High School (an excellent Baal Koreh) definitely did (and I assume still does) the same. The only place I see a real issue is Aseres Hadibros. There are two different sets of Trop, and more importantly, alignments of Pesukim for "study" vs. "layn in Shul". But other than that, I can't see how it would be a problem. manassehkatz 23 days ago

And not quite the same, but possibly related: Our Shul is planning on Eichah via Zoom. Unlike Torah reading (or even Megillas Esther) there are no Brachos or Minyan issues. But I assume it will be with the traditional Trop. manassehkatz 23 days ago

@manassehkatz I assume we can do this privately, but, as you said and I tried to get at (maybe not clearly enough), doing it in public as part of a service might be different. Monica Cellio 23 days ago

when you look in your chumash at the 10 dibrot, you will see 2 sets of trop notation -- one for when you lain and one for when you study. To my eyes, this points to an expectation that even out of shul, you will use the trop. rosends 22 days ago

@rosends my question is more about whether you can use the trop in shul in this context. I've edited to clarify, thanks. Monica Cellio 22 days ago

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This is one of the places where I see the dictate that "the Rabbi is the arbiter of Jewish law for the local community" kicking in with some vigor -- different Rabbis are taking different approaches, based on the spiritual needs of their community, the advancement of scientific knowledge, and the health status of the local region.

I've seen a variety of approaches to this, (in Conservative shuls) all with different Talmudic and Rabbinic justification. I have not seen anyone use an actual Sefer Torah for their Torah study, nor have I seen aliyot.


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