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Question: On Shabbat morning, the ba’al koreh omitted two words near the beginning of Shishi. People initially assumed they had heard wrong, and the matter became clear near the end of Musaf. No decision was made until shul dispersed (the rav was away). At Mincha, we started reading back at Shishi, and the kohen’s aliyah ended at its regular place in the new parasha. Was that correct?
Answer: The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 137:3), discussing the case of one who misses a pasuk, makes the following distinction. If the omission occurred on a weekday kriat hatorah (=kht) then as long as the minimum number of p’sukim was read, we do not need to return to read the omitted pasuk. However, on Shabbat morning we must go back and read the omitted pasuk and another two adjacent p’sukim at whatever point of the “services” people realize the mistake, even after the Torah was returned or during Musaf. (The requirement found by Megillat Esther forthe text to be read in order does not apply to kht (Da’at Torah, ad loc.)).Most poskim rule that we do the same if a single word was omitted (Mishna Berura 137:8). We recite the regular Birkot Hatorah before and after the three p’sukim (Magen Avraham 137: 2; Taz 137:3; see Masechet Sofrim 21:7). However, if we became aware of the mistake after the aliyah where it occurred, then we do not need to make a separate aliyah to make up for the omission. Rather, the next aliyah starts from the place of the mistake and continues into the reading of the next aliyah (Mishna Berura 142:2). (In Sha’ar Hatziyun 142:3, he explains that it is halachically sufficient to begin the new aliyah with the problematic pasuk and perhaps another two, and then to skip to the next aliyah. However, it is preferable to read straight.) If the pasuk in question was within three p’sukim of a break in the Torah text (p’tucha or s’tuma) we should start reading from the beginning of the section (Aruch Hashulchan, OC 137:4).
Your case is more complicated in that during the course of the davening, the Shulchan Aruch’s ruling was not employed. The question is whether Mincha wasa possible time to make up for the omission, and, if so, how? There is little discussion among classical poskim on the matter, but the following approach emerges from our analysis.
In general, there is a machloket between Sephardic and Ashkenazic poskim as to whether a community can read the Torah at Mincha when they were unable to do so at Shacharit. Sephardic poskim do not suggest this (see Yalkut Yosef, 135:5 & 137:4), whereas Ashkenazic poskim do (Mishna Berura 135:5). Rav Ovadya Yosef (ibid.) thus says that if a congregation missed a pasuk and didn’t act on it until after the Shabbat morning services dispersed, the congregation should read the pasuk in question in the beginning of the next Shabbat’s kht along with three p’sukim from the present parasha. It follows from that approach that Ashkenzim could do the same thing at Mincha, reading the problematic pasuk and perhaps two others and skipping to the beginning of the next Shabbat’s parasha during the same aliyah. This is preferable to reading three p’sukim with berachot from the morning’s parasha independently of the new kht. Since there was a full reading of seven aliyot (as opposed to the case in Mishna Berura, ibid.) and it is possible to attach the missing pasuk tothe current reading, it is unnecessary to read it separately, which would be questionable from a perspective of beracha l’vatala.
The fact that you began from Shishi and read straight until the beginning of the next parasha was, if anything, halachically preferable (see the aforementioned Sha’ar Hatziyun, which may or may not apply here). However, it was apparently unnecessary and not preferable because of tircha d’tzibbura (inconveniencing the congregation). After the fact, what you did “got the job done” sufficiently for an Ashkenazic community and was reasonable once people had dispersed after morning davening.
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