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Which Way?
‘All One’s Turns Shall Be To The Right’
(Yoma 15b)



Our Gemara states that when one performs the avodah (in the Temple), one’s turns should always be to the right. This rule applies to other mitzvos as well. The Mechaber (Orach Chayim 676:5) notes that when lighting menorah on Chanukah, one should first light the lamp (or candle) furthermost to the left and then light the other candles moving toward the right.


Before Or After?

Interestingly, however, the Levush and the Taz (Orach Chayim 676:6) maintain that the candle on the far right should be kindled first. The Taz explains that the essence of the Gemara’s principle is that one must begin with the mitzvah on the right; it does not entail continuously moving toward the right.

He argues that it is more appropriate to begin kindling the menorah with the light on the far right than to do the opposite. He reasons: Why should the conclusion of the mitzvah be considered more important than the beginning?


Writing A Sefer Torah

In support of his position, the Levush points to the fact that one writes a Sefer Torah from right to left. The Eliyahu Rabbah (Orach Chayim 676:10), however, rejects the Levush’s proof, noting that a sofer forms Hebrew characters by stroking his quill from left to right.

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Rabbi Yaakov Klass is Rav of K’hal Bnei Matisyahu in Flatbush; Torah Editor of The Jewish Press; and Presidium Chairman, Rabbinical Alliance of America/Igud HaRabbonim.