Kissing the Torah

By Rabbi Julian Sinclair, July 6, 2012

In Judaism, kisses are not just for people. They are also for mitzvah objects. Rabbi Yeshaya Horowitz, the 17th-century scholar, records the custom of kissing the matzah at the Seder and the walls of the succah on Succot for the sake of chibuv hamitzvah, affection for the mitzvah.

When the Torah is carried around the synagogue, we kiss it out of chibuv hamitzvah. Rabbi Moshe Isserles (16th-century) writes about of the custom of having children kiss the Torah to train them to love the mitzvot.

Chibuv hamitzvah is the reason why everyone around the Shabbat table sips from the kiddush wine and why it is good to have Judaica items as beautiful as we can afford.

Kissing the Torah reminds us that in addition to showing respect for our tradition, love of Judaism ensures that we will  pass it on to the next generation.

Last updated: 12:58pm, July 6 2012