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Shabbat Parashat Vaeira 5774

Ask the Rabbi: Running Out of Psukim after the Second Aliya

Rav Daniel Mann

Question: At Mincha of Shabbat, the ba’al korei did not stop at the end of the second aliya, until he read all of the third and final aliya. What should we have done for the third aliya: 1) done a regular third aliya (as a repeat); 2) gone on beyond the normal reading?


Answer: We begin with the possibility of repeating, which is easier for a ba’al korei who presumably did not prepare beyond the normal reading.

We repeat p’sukim in kri’at haTorah only in limited circumstances. Generally, Ashkenazim do not allow one to have an aliya that just repeats that which was already read (see Rama, Orach Chayim 282:2, Mishna Berura 282:10). The Shulchan Aruch (ad loc.) says that it is permitted to repeat (as a hosafa). The Mishna Berura (282:6) points out that even according to the Shulchan Aruch, such an aliya does not count toward the required number of aliyot. Therefore, in our case, where the third aliya has to count, option #1 seems to be a problem.

The Shulchan Aruch (OC 137:6) says that in order for an aliya that contains repeated p’sukim to be valid, one has to have three new p’sukim or, when there is a need, two new p’sukim. His source (cited in the Beit Yosef) is an Avudraham in the name of Geonim, based on the following gemara (Taanit 27b). Ma’amadot (representatives of the nation regarding daily korbanot) had a special daily kri’at haTorah from the beginning of Bereishit, which did not have enough p’sukim for three aliyot. According to Rav, they read the first five p’sukim as two aliyot with both reading the third pasuk. Shmuel said that they each read two and a half p’sukim, splitting the third pasuk. From the fact that no one suggested starting the second aliya from the beginning again, we see that repetition is not a valid alternative, and even when there is a need, if there are not two new p’sukim, the aliya is of no value.

The Pri Chadash (OC 137:6) (boldly) argues with the Shulchan Aruch and the Geonim, saying that just as the Shulchan Aruch agrees (as above) that one can make the berachot for a hosafa that is a total repeat, so too it can count as a new aliya. He brings a proof from the gemara (Megilla 30a) about the case (precluded by our calendar) where Parashat Shekalim is read on Parashat Tetzaveh, in which case there is a problem that Shekalim looks like a continuation of the parasha, not a separate reading. Abaye says that the second to last aliya reads up to and including Shekalim and then we repeat Shekalim for the last aliya (details are beyond our scope). The Pri Chadash cites Rishonim who explain why the ma’amadot did not start the second aliya from the beginning – those who come or leave in the middle might think there are only two aliyot. In any case, the Bi’ur Halacha says we follow the Shulchan Aruch, not the Pri Chadash.

Nevertheless, all agree that there are cases (i.e., on Sukkot and Chanuka in Israel) of aliyot that add nothing new. The Avudraham said that this is because Chazal were forced to set up those laining that way. The Shulchan Aruch (OC 282:6) discusses one who finished the parashat hashavua with the sixth aliya. He says that we rely on the opinion that maftir can count as the seventh aliya. The Mishna Berura (282:36) demonstrates that if one discovered the error before Kaddish, there is a seventh aliya before maftir that is just a repeat. Doesn’t that contradict the above? The answer is that in a full reading of a parasha, reading into the next parasha is generally unauthorized, in which case repeating is preferable to continuing into the next parasha. However, the set number of p’sukim read of a parasha on Monday and Thursday is a relatively late and unimportant minhag. Therefore, reading beyond the normal allotment is not a problem (see Sha’arei Ephrayim 7:3; Mishna Berura 137:4).

Therefore, you should have read at least three p’sukim beyond the normal reading. (If the ba’al korei is unable to read, even with help, what he did not prepare without significant embarrassment, one can rely on the Pri Chadash.)


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