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I once heard a long time ago that it is a derivation of making the word spelled Shin-Daleth-Yod with your hand.The three fingers that are bent downwards make up the Shin, as I recall the thumb, which is pointed outwards, is the Daleth, and the pinky, which is supposed to be bent partially, is the Yod.So we're saying that the Torah is our way of understanding the will of G-d -- just the Urim Ve Tumim had been.The custom you are talking about is a Sepharadic custom. Ashkenazic minhog is, as brought down in the Rama in Shulchan Aruch, to bow toward the sefer Torah during hagbah.
We say "THIS is the Torah ..."; anytime we use such a language, it implies something specific to which we can point.However, it seems logical to me that, if this is really the origin of the custom, then either my memory is faulty, or the description was backwards - the fingers bent over are the Shin, the thumb, which is sticking out, is the Yod, and the pinky, which is supposed to be bent partially, is the Daleth.In any case, ever since hearing that I've made a point of bending my pinky partially. If anyone has more information on that origin, I'd welcome it.Yitzhak Melamed (Johns Hopkins University), Michah Gottlieb (New York University), and Abraham Socher (Oberlin College) will be responding to comments throughout the week. prayer which Jews to date traditionally sing in the Friday evening synagogue services around the world, was composed in medieval Israel by Rabbi Shlomo Alkabetz under Ottoman Turkish rule.