Insights into Halacha

For the week ending 10 September 2022 / 14 Elul 5782

Parashas Ki Seitzei: The Double-Header Haftarah

by Rabbi Yehuda Spitz
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This Shabbos, Parashas Ki Seitzei, directly due to our actions a fortnight ago on Parashas Re’eh, an unusual occurrence will transpire during davening. I am not referring to a debate whether or not a specific congregation recites ‘L’Dovid’ during Elul, but rather to a double haftarah. Not a printing mistake, this double haftarah will actually be recited by the vast majority of Ashkenazic congregations worldwide.

Many did not realize this special occurrence even exists. In fact, one recent time this occurred, when I mentioned the uniqueness of this situation to the gabbai on that Shabbos itself, he responded that he had never heard of a double haftarah! He maintained that at the hashkama minyan, filled with Bnei Torah, not a single one pointed out such a thing! [No, I did not daven Haneitz that Shabbos.] I had to show this ruling to him explicitly in both the Mishnah Berurah and the Tukachinsky calendar, before he consented to allow the Baal Koreh to read both haftaros. However, his skeptical response was quite understandable, as the previous occurrence of a double haftarah to that Shabbos was fourteen years prior!

Haftarah History

To properly understand why there can be a double haftarah, some background is needed.

According to the Abudraham and Tosafos Yom Tov, the haftaros were established when the wicked Antiochus IV (infamous from the Chanukah miracle) outlawed public reading of the Torah. The Chachamim of the time therefore established the custom of reading a topic from the Nevi’im similar to what was supposed to be read from the Torah.[1] Even after the decree was nullified, and prior to the Gemara’s printing, this became minhag Yisrael.

Most haftaros share some similarity with at least one concept presented in the Torah reading. The Gemara Megillah (29b - 31a) discusses the proper haftarah readings for the various holidays throughout the year, which are rather related to the holiday and generally trump a weekly haftarah.

The Pesikta, (an early Midrash cited by many early authorities including Tosafos and the Abudraham) [2] continues the teachings of Chazal as to the proper haftarah readings starting from the Fast of Shiva Assur B’Tamuz.

During the ‘Three Weeks’ from 17 Tamuz until Tisha B’Av, we read ‘Tilasa D’Paranusa,’ ‘Three Readings of Punishment.’ After Tisha B’Av (starting with Shabbos Nachamu, dubbed so due to its haftarah, Nachamu Nachamu Ami) until Rosh Hashanah, ‘Shiva D’Nechemta,’ or ‘Seven Readings of Consolation’ are read.[3] This is followed by a reading of Teshuva,[4] during the Shabbos between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, aptly named ‘Shabbos Shuva’, for its repentance themed haftarah starting with ‘Shuva Yisrael’. The Abudraham as well as Rabbeinu Tam, conclude that these special haftarah readings are so important, that they are never pushed off!

Head-To-Head Haftaros

Our dilemma arises when that rule goes head-to-head with another rule. The Gemara (Megillah 31a) states that whenever Rosh Chodesh falls out on Shabbos, a special haftarah is read: ‘Hashamayim Kisi,’ as it mentions both the inyanim of Shabbos and Rosh Chodesh.[5] If Rosh Chodesh falls out on Sunday, then on the preceding Shabbos, the haftarah of ‘Machar Chodesh’ is read, as it mentions the following day being Rosh Chodesh.

The $64,000 question becomes, what happens when Rosh Chodesh Elul falls out on Shabbos or Sunday? Which ruling trumps which? Do we follow the Gemara or the Pesikta? Do we stick with the ‘Shiva D’Nechemta’ or the special Rosh Chodesh reading?

The answer is that there is no easy answer! In fact, the Mordechai [6] cites both as separate, equally valid minhagim, with no clear cut ruling! So what are we supposed to do? Which minhag do we follow?

Sefardic Selection

The Beis Yosef [7] writes that the ikar halachah follows the Abudraham as he was considered an expert in these topics. Consequently, in the Shulchan Aruch,[8] he rules that on Shabbos Rosh Chodesh Elul, only that week’s haftarah of consolation, ‘Aniyah So’arah’ is read. This would also hold true if Rosh Chodesh fell on Sunday, that only that week’s haftarah of consolation would be read, and not ‘Machar Chodesh’.[9] This is the general Sefardic ruling on this topic.[10]

Ashkenazic Action

Yet, the Rema, citing the Sefer Haminhagim of Rav Yitzchak Isaac Tyrnau (Tirna), a contemporary of the Terumas Hadeshen and Maharil (late 1300s-early 1400s), argues that since the special reading of Shabbos Rosh Chodesh also contains words of consolation, it is therefore the proper reading, even for Shabbos Rosh Chodesh Elul.[11] Moreover, this reading is mentioned specifically by the Gemara as the proper reading for Shabbos Rosh Chodesh, with no special dispensation given for Shabbos Rosh Chodesh Elul. Additionally, since it is recited more often (as Shabbos Rosh Chodesh falls out at least twice a year) one will fulfill the Talmudic dictum of ‘tadir v’sheino tadir, tadir kodem[12], that preference is given to the more common practice, by reading this haftarah instead.[13]

Parenthetically, and conversely, if Rosh Chodesh would fall out on Sunday, almost all would agree that only that week’s haftarah of consolation would be read, as there is no conciliatory theme in ‘Machar Chodesh’.[14]

Ground Rule Double

However, by maintaining the Rosh Chodesh priority, it would seem that we would miss out on one of the ‘Shiva D’Nechemta,’ as there are not enough weeks before Rosh Hashanah to fit in all seven of these special haftaros when one of the haftaros [occurring when Rosh Chodesh falls out on Parashas Re’eh] is taken up by ‘Hashamayim Kisi.’ Yet, the Pesikta and Rishonim stressed the importance and necessity of each and every one of them being read.

Therefore, the Sefer Haminhagim maintains that we need to make up the missing haftarah, and it is done as an addition, on Parashas Ki Seitzei, two weeks later. The reason is that the haftarah of Parashas Re’eh, ‘Aniyah So’arah’ in the original Navi (Yeshaya Ch. 54: 11) follows consecutively after the haftarah of Parashas Ki Seitzei, ‘Runi Akara’ (Yeshaya Ch. 54: 1). Therefore, this solution turns two separate haftaros into one long double-header[15] and thereby fulfills everyone’s requirement to hear all seven of the Conciliatory Haftaros.[16]

This resolution of having a double-header haftarah on Parashas Ki Seitzei when Rosh Chodesh Elul falls out two weeks earlier on Parashas Re’eh, is cited and actually codified in halachah by many authorities including the Rema, Levush, Matteh Efraim, Magen Avrohom, Chayei Adam, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch and, as mentioned previously, the Mishnah Berurah and Tukachinsky Calendar,[17] and is the definitive Ashkenazic ruling.

Sefardim, on the other hand, do not have this interesting occurrence, as they follow the Shulchan Aruch’s rule of never pushing off any of the ‘Shiva D’Nechemta,’ and thereby never having the need to double up haftaros.[18]

Turn to Noach!

Here’s a practical tip: One need not worry about flipping pages to keep up with this double haftarah; it can be easily found in its full (combined) glory as the singular haftarah of Parashas Noach, as one of the topics mentioned in it is a reference to the Great Deluge, referred to as the ‘Mei Noach.’ So, to sum it up, sometimes you have to turn back to the beginning to find the correct place.

It turns out that overall this unique phenomenon is not that uncommon. In fact, Rosh Chodesh Elul actually fell out on Shabbos five times out of the last eight years.[19] But we have a while until it occurs next: seven years hence, in 5789, followed a few years later in 5792, and then 5796. Hopefully by then, the gabbai will remember that double headers are not exclusively reserved for ballgames.[20] [21]

The author wishes to thank R’ Yoel Rosenfeld and R’ Shloime Lerner for raising awareness of this unique issue, and serving as the impetus for my interest and research in this topic.

For any questions, comments or for the full Mareh Mekomos / sources, please email the author:

Rabbi Yehuda Spitz serves as the Sho’el U’Meishiv and Rosh Chabura of the Ohr Lagolah Halacha Kollel at Yeshivas Ohr Somayach in Yerushalayim.

Rabbi Spitz’s recent English halacha sefer, “Insights Into Halacha - Food: A Halachic Analysis,” (Mosaica/Feldheim) has more than 500 pages and features over 30 comprehensive chapters, discussing a myriad of halachic issues relating to food. It is now available online and in bookstores everywhere.

‘Insights Into Halacha’ wishes a special, hearty Mazel Tov to Shira Yaffa bas Rochel Miriam for finally receiving her GET after 13 long years. Baruch Mattir Assurim!! May your family know only Simchos!!

[1] As per the Tosafos Yom Tov (Megillah, Perek Bnei Ha’Ir, Mishnah 4 s.v. l’chisidran), citing the Sefer HaTishbi (Shoresh Petter). A similar background is given by the Abudraham (Seder Parshiyos V’Haftaros) and the Bach (Orach Chaim 284; although he does not cite which actual wicked king was the one who was gozer shmad shelo likros b’Torah). Alternately, the Aruch Hashulchan (Orach Chaim 135: 2) posits that as the Mishnah in Megillah (31a) lists reading the haftarah along with special Torah readings that Moshe Rabbeinu established, it is most likely that the Anshei Knesses HaGedolah established their reading. However, there are other reasons given, dating far earlier – back to the times of the Gaonim (Teshuvos HaGaonim 55; see also Shibbolei Haleket 44). In the words of Rav Yirmiyohu Kaganoff in a recent fascinating article titled ‘An Unusual Haftara,’ ( “Some early sources report that, in ancient times, a haftarah was recited towards the end of Shacharis everyday of the year. At the point of davening when we recite Uva Letziyon, they would take out a sefer Navi and read about ten verses together with their Aramaic translation, the common Jewish parlance at the time. Then, they recited the two main pesukim of kedushah, Kadosh Kadosh Kadosh… and Boruch Kevod… together with their Aramaic translations. In those days, all men used to study Torah for several hours after davening, before occupying themselves with their daily livelihoods. The Navi was recited to guarantee that people fulfilled the daily requirement to study some Biblical part of the Torah, in addition to the daily requirement of studying both Mishnah and Gemara. This daily practice of incorporating some “haftarah” reading ended when people needed to spend more time earning a living. To ensure that this practice of studying some Tanach daily at the end of davening would not be forgotten, they still recited the verses of Kedusha, a practice mentioned in the Gemara(Sotah 49a). Around the recital of these two verses developed the prayer we say daily that begins with the pasuk “Uva Letzion.”Although the daily “haftarah”ceased at this time, on Shabbos and Yom Tov, when people do not work, the haftarah readings continued. As a result, there is no need to mention Uva Letzion immediately after Kriyas HaTorah on Shabbos and Yom Tov, since that is when we recite the haftarah. For this reason, Uva Letzion is postponed until Mincha. It is noteworthy that although the second reason is better known and is quoted frequently by halachic commentaries (from the Bach, onwards), the first reason is found in much earlier sources. While the earliest source mentioning the second approach was the Abudraham, who lived in the early fourteenth century, the first source is found in writings of the Gaonim, well over a thousand years ago.” Rav Kaganoff continues that “I suspect that both historical reasons are accurate: Initially, the haftarah was instituted when the Jews were banned from reading the Torah in public; they instituted reading the haftaros as a reminder of the mitzvah of public Torah reading. After that decree was rescinded and the mitzvah of Kriyas HaTorah was reinstituted, Jews continued the practice of reading the Neviim and even extended it as a daily practice to encourage people to study the Written Torah every day. When this daily practice infringed on people’s ability to earn a living, they limited it to non-workdays.”

[2] Including the Machzor Vitry (261 - 262), Abudraham (ibid.), the Mordechai (Megillah, end Ch. Bnei Ha’Ir 831, end s.v. haghah), Tosafos (Megillah 31b s.v. rosh), Ran (ad loc.), and Rashba (ad loc.).

[3] See Machzor Vitry and Abudraham (ibid.; as well as the Levush O.C. 428: 8) for two separate reasons why the Shiva D’Nechemta are in its specific order.

[4] Although the Pesikta, according to the Abudraham, maintains that there should be two haftaros of repentance, common minhag is that only one, Shuva Yisrael, is read on a Shabbos. The other, Dirshu Hashem Bi’Heematzo, is read on Tzom Gedalyah (by Mincha) instead. [This is especially important, as the Gemara Rosh Hashana (18a) explains that this exhortation is actually referring to the Aseres Yemei Teshuva.] See Tosafos (ibid.), Tur (Orach Chaim 428: 8) and Beis Yosef (ad loc. end s.v. umashekasav).

[5] See also Shu”t Noda B’Yehuda (Tinyana, Orach Chaim 11).

[6] Mordechai (ibid).

[7] Beis Yosef (Orach Chaim 425: 1 s.v. uma”sh), Abudraham (ibid.).

[8] Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 425: 1).

[9] See however Shu”t Divrei Malkiel (vol. 3: 27), who opines that for Sefardim it is possible that ‘Machar Chodesh’ would still be the proper reading as it mentions the ‘Kevius of Rosh Chodesh in its proper time.’

[10] See Kaf Hachaim (Orach Chaim 425: 13), Shu”t Rabbi Eliyahu Mizrachi (7), Shu”t Yechaveh Daas (vol. 3: 45), Rav Mordechai Eliyahu’s Darchei Halacha glosses to the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (128: 5), and Yalkut Yosef (Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 581, par. Od B’Hilchos Chodesh Elul 7). The Rambam (Hilchos Tefilla Ch. 13: 14) actually implies this way as well.

[11] Rema (Orach Chaim 425: 1 and in Darchei Moshe ad loc.), based on the Sefer Haminhagim (whom he refers to as ‘Minhagim Shelanu’, beg. Ch. Minhag shel Rosh Chodesh Elul v’Erev Rosh Hashana; although some say he is referring to the Maharil’s Sefer Haminhagim, Chilukei Haftaros). He mentions that several other Rishonim, including the Ohr Zarua, Maharil, Mahar”i Weil, and the Tur rule this way as well.

[12] See, for example, Brachos 59b, Megillah 29b, Pesachim 114a, Sukka 54b and 56a, and Zevachim 91a.

[13] These additional reasons were not written by the Sefer Haminhagim himself, but are found in the Haghos there (90), as well as in the works of later authorities mentioned in this article.

[14] The Rema himself, as well as most other authorities conclude this way, and this is the prevailing custom. Practically, any special haftarah that can push off “Hashamayim Kisi,” would certainly also push off “Machar Chodesh,” including “Hashamayim Kisi” itself. See Rema (O.C. 425:2; citing precedence from the Maharil’s Sefer Minhagim, Chilukei Haftaros),Levush (ad loc. 3),andAruch Hashulchan (ad loc. 4 and 5). Nonetheless, there is a minority opinion of the Mordechai (ibid.; also cited in the Beis Yosef ibid.) who when citing both sides of this debate, maintains that potentially, both Kriyos, “HaShamayim Kisi” and “Machar Chodesh” should push off “Aniyah So’arah”, as there is a hashlamah available two weeks later. As recently pointed out to this author by R’ Dovid Roth and R’ Sidney Strauss, this is the Minhag Frankfurt as well, as per Rav Yosef Yuzpa Haan in his Yosef Ometz (519). And although his descendant Rav Yosef Yuzpa Koschmann in his Noheg K’Tzon Yosef (Minhag Frankfurt; Re’eh, 1 pg. 254) argues that this is not entirely accurate, maintaining that this only holds true regarding “HaShamayim Kisi” and not “Machar Chodesh”, nonetheless, common Minhag Frankfurt, as per the Heidenheim Chumash (Haftarah Re’eh) and Rav Joseph Breuer zt”l’s Minhagei Yeshurun (pg. 44), seems to be that “Machar Chodesh” trumps “Aniyah So’arah” as well.

[15] For more on the topic of the halachic feasibility of combining two haftaros of the ‘Shiva D’Nechemta,’ see Terumas Hadeshen (vol. 2, Psakim U’Ksavim 94) and Shu”t Tzemach Tzedek (126).

[16] Although the Abudraham (ibid.;as well as the Levush O.C. 428: 8) famously writes (“b’derech tzachos”) that the order of the ‘Shiva D’Nechemta’ is such that the haftaros serve as a sort-of a back-and-forth conversation between Hashem and Klal Yisrael, as to whether they will accept consolation after the devastation of Tisha B’Av, and hence placing one of them out of order would seemingly upset this seder, as pointed out by R’ Avraham Yitzchak Tzuriel, it may not actually do so. The haftarah of Parashas Eikev is “V’tomer Tzion Azavani Hashem” (Yeshaya Ch. 49: 14), with Hashem “replying” by Parashas ShoftimAnochi, Anochi Hu Menachmechem” (Yeshaya Ch. 51: 12). Yet, Shabbos Rosh Chodesh’s “Hashamayim Kisi” (read along with Parashas Re’eh, a week prior to Shoftim) not only offers consolation, but contains the passuk (Yeshaya Ch. 66: 13) “K’ish Asher Imo Tenachmeinu, Kein Anochi Enachemchem U’vYerushalayim Tenuchamu”, that Hashem will personally console Klal Yisrael and Yerushalayim, similar to one’s mother offering consolation. Hence, even with “Hashamayim Kisi” placed in the middle of the ‘Shiva D’Nechemta,’ at its point of insertion it would still fit right in with the “conversation” between Hashem and Klal Yisrael.

[17] Including the Levush (Orach Chaim 425: 2 and 581: 1), Matteh Efraim (581: 5), Sha’arei Efraim (Sha’ar 9: 23), Magen Avrohom (425: 1), Machatzis Hashekel (ad loc.), Ba’er Heitiv (425: 2), Derech Hachaim (Sha’ar Hakollel 8), Shulchan Atzei Shittim (Krias HaTorah 6), Chayei Adam (vol. 2, 118: 16), Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (128: 4), Mishnah Berurah (425: 7), Luach Eretz Yisroel (5775 and 5776, Elul, Parashas Ki Seitzei), and Rav Yosef Eliyahu Henkin’s Ezras Torah Luach (5775 and 5776, Elul, Shabbos Parashas Re’eh s.v. Shacharis and Parashas Ki Seitzei). See also Aruch Hashulchan (Orach Chaim 425: 5 and 428: 7) and Shu”t Minchas Chein (vol. 2, Orach Chaim 23).

[18] In many Sefardic congregations, on Parashas Re’eh the first and last pasuk of “HaShamayim Kisi” is still read (as well as the first and last pasuk of “Machar Chodesh” if applicable), as otherwise, they would not have read it at all this time around. See Rav Mordechai Eliyahu’s Darchei Halacha glosses to the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (128: 4) and Yalkut Yosef (ibid.) who cite such a minhag, in order to at least catch some of “HaShamayim Kisi” (and “Machar Chodesh”). For Ashkenazim who end up reading both haftaros, there is no need to do so.

[19] According to Rabbi Dovid Heber of the Star-K and author of Shaarei Zemanim and The Intriguing World of Jewish Time, for most Ashkenazic Kehillos this double haftarah is actually read 70 times in the Tur’s (Orach Chaim end 428) 247 year cycle, making it overall not that uncommon. In fact, with the similar calendar setup of 5775/2015 and 5776/2016, as well as 5778/2018 and 5779/2019, this actually occurred recently in back-to-back years, or 4 years out of 5, making it a contemporary twice-doubled double haftara. This year, 5782/2022 also occurring puts it occurring at five times in the last eight years.

[20] There actually is another possible double-header haftara, which actually can occur pretty often, in many leap years. In non-leap years, Parashas Vayakhel and Parashas Pekudei are generally read as a double parasha, and as they fall out as one of the ‘Arba Parshiyos’ their haftarah is whichever of the special ones it may be (usually Parah or HaChodesh). Yet, in a leap year, they are read separately, and then due to inherent ‘skip weeks’ built into the system (as detailed at length in an article titled ‘Configuring the Arba Parshiyos Puzzle’), Parashas Pekudei is often a skip week. So then the question is which haftarah should be leined? Sefardic minhag, based on the Rambam (Seder HaTefillos, Haftaros) and Abudraham (Seder Parshiyos V’Haftaros) is to leinVayaas Chiram” (Melachim I, Ch. 7: 40-50), discussing the building of the Beis HaMikdash; an apt complementary haftarah for the building of the Mishkan detailed in the Parshiyos Hashavua. Yet, Ashkenazic minhag is for that haftarah to be leined for when Vayakhel is read by itself in a skip week. When Pekudei is read by itself, the following haftarah, “Vatishlam” (Melachim I, Ch. 7: 51) is deemed the proper one. [See Ohr Zarua (393), Leket Yosher (vol. 1, pg. 153), Rokeach (635), Levush (Orach Chaim 685), Noheg K’Tzon Yosef (pg. 206), Darchei Chaim V’Shalom (480), and of course, Rav Yosef Eliyahu Henkin’s essential Ezras Torah Luach (5776, Adar II Parashas Pekudei).] Yet, there is a minority opinion, that of the Maharil (Hilchos Arba Parshiyos, 5) [also cited by the Malbushei Yom Tov (Orach Chaim 685: 5) and Elyah Rabba (ad loc. 23)], that as “Vatishlam” is already leined as the haftarah of Yom Tov Sheini of Sukkos, albeit minus the first two pesukim, and if we lein it here, then “Vayaas Chiram” will not have been leined the whole year (as in this calendarical setup, Vayakhel was Shekalim, and hence its haftarah was trumped; the only other time it can get leined is when there is a second Shabbos Chanuka), accordingly, it would therefore be prudent to instead lein for PekudeiVayaas Chiram” along with the first two pesukim of “Vatishlam.” Although this shittah does not seem to be the common minhag, it nonetheless gave rise to a third minhag. As reported in the Ittim L’vina Luach (5779, Parashas Pekudei), the Rabbanim of Yerushalayim in the late 1800s, Rav Shmuel Salant and the Aderes, held that it would be proper to read both haftaros, as they actually are in direct succession. As explained in the Tukachinsky Luach Eretz Yisrael (5776, Adar II, Parashas Pekudei; and in his Sefer Eretz Yisrael Ch. 16: 1), since there is no Yom Tov Sheini of Sukkos observed in Eretz Yisrael, “Vatishlam,” would otherwise not have been read. So, in a compromise solution to fulfill both shittos, both haftaros should be read. The Ittim L’vina Luach continues that this was also the opinion of Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach and Rav Chaim Kanievsky. However, Rav Shlomo Zalman qualified his shittah (Halichos Shlomo, Moadim vol. 1, Ch. 17: 9) – that if in a leap year there are two Shabbosei Chanuka, as “Vayaas Chiram” would have already been leined on the second one, Parashas Pekudei’s haftarah would only be “Vatishlam”, as it was already leined that year. However, Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv did not approve of this change, as the ikar minhag Ashkenaz for generations was exclusively to leinVatishlam” in this scenario, yet concluded that if one wanted to lein both he may. Rav Yisrael Yaakov Fischer, on the other hand, is quoted (Halichos Even Yisrael, Moadim vol. 2, pg. 404: 6) that the ikar should be to lein only “Vayaas Chiram” (unless there was a second Shabbos Chanuka that year), but concluded similarly that if one wanted to lein both haftaros, he certainly may. Interestingly, the Belz Dvar Yom B’Yomo Luach (5779, Adar II, Pekudei) writes to lein both haftaros as well, albeit for a different reason: any time there is a haftarah dispute and both haftaros are in the same sefer, then both should be read. Thanks are due to R’ Shloime Lerner for pointing out several of these mareh mekomos.

[21] Interestingly, there is potential for another double-header haftarah. However, this one does not share the same level of support as the one caused by Shabbos Rosh Chodesh Elul, nor the one on Pekudei. This second double-header has the potential to occur when Rosh Chodesh Av falls on Shabbos. As this Shabbos is always in the Tlas D’Paranusa, as mentioned previously, the Abudraham (ibid.), and Sefardic psak, is certainly that its regular haftarah of the Three Weeks, ‘Shim’u’ is read. Indeed, even the Rema, in his Darchei Moshe (Orach Chaim 425: 3), concurs, citing precedent from the Abudraham, Mordechai, Maharil, Sefer HaMinhagim, and Beis Yosef (ibid.), and not like the Terumas Hadeshen (19) and adding that in this case, although ‘Shim’u’ is read, it is proper to add the first and last pesukim of ‘HaShamayim Kisi’. Yet, in his authoritative Hagahah on the Shulchan Aruch, he changes his psak, concluding that the ikar on Shabbos Rosh Chodesh Av follows the Terumas Hadeshen (ibid.) and Hagahos Maimoniyus (Hilchos Tefilla Ch. 13:2) [who hold that since this is essentially a Machlokes HaKadmonim, and a seeming stira in Tosafos (Pesachim 40b s.v. aval vs. Megillah 31b s.v. Rosh Chodesh; that when Rosh Chodesh Av falls out on Shabbos “Chodsheichem U’Moadeichem” (Yeshaya Ch. 1:14; referring to the haftarah of “Chazon”) is read] and therefore as Shabbos Rosh Chodesh is considered Tadir, more common, that in a place where there is no set minhag, ‘HaShamayim Kisi’ should be read. To make matters more intriguing, most later Ashkenazic authorities, including the Levush (ad loc. 2; although he also cites the opposing shittah, concluding “puk chazi mah ama davar”), Gr”a (Biur HaGr”a ad loc. s.v. v’yeish omrim HaShamayim; maintaining that there is a printing mistake in the Tosafos in Pesachim that states “Hashamayim Kisi” should be read), Elyah Rabba (Orach Chaim 549: 3), Dagul Mervava (Orach Chaim 425: 1), Shaarei Teshuva (ad loc. 1), and Mishnah Berurah (ad loc. 8), follow the Shulchan Aruch, and not the Rema’s conclusion, that on Shabbos Rosh Chodesh Av, ‘Shim’u’ should be read. This is also a divergence of minhag between the cities of Prague (‘Shim’u’) and Posen (‘HaShamayim Kisi’), and several Poskim conclude that whichever of the two haftaros is read is fine. [See Levush (O.C. 425:2; concluding “puk chazi mah ama davar” and in O.C. 549: end 1, “b’makom shenahagu nahagu”), Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (122:6), Kaf Hachaim (O.C. 425:16; “u’mikol makom b’makom shenahagu ain leshanos”), and Rav Yosef Eliyahu Henkin’s authoritative Ezras Torah Luach (5781; Parashas Mattos-Masei; after citing both shittos concludes “v’ain leshanos haminhag”). Lemaaseh, the Rema’s conclusion is that both are essentially valid shittos.]Yet, practically, already in the Levush’s time (O.C. 549:1 s.v. Rosh Chodesh Av) “nohagin b’rov hamekomos lehaftir Shimu v’lo Hashamayim Kisi,”and the majority consensus seems to be that the minhag to read “Shim’u” is the most prevalent, following the Mishnah Berurah’s citing of the Vilna Gaon’s position as the final word on the matter. For more on this subject, see previous article titled “Of Haftaros and Havdalah: Shabbos Rosh Chodesh Av 5781.”

However, there are those who opine, based on the Ashkenazic psak regarding Shabbos Rosh Chodesh Elul, that there is a solution available to satisfy all opinions. As noted by Rav Noach Isaac Oelbaum in his Shu”t Minchas Chein (vol. 2, Orach Chaim 23), citing the sefer Pischei Olam U’Mataamei Hashulchan (on the Shulchan Aruch ad loc.), Shulchan Atzei Shittim (on the Shulchan Aruch ad loc.), and Shulchan HaKriah (on Hilchos Krias HaTorah), that the haftaros of the first two of three of the Tlas D’Paranusa (‘Divrei Yirmiyahu’ and ‘Shim’u’) are actually back to back in the original Navi (Yirmiyahu Ch. 1: 1–2: 3 and 2: 428). As such, they opine that when Rosh Chodesh Av falls on Shabbos, on the preceding week, the first of the Tlas D’Paranusa, both ‘Divrei Yirmiyahu’ and ‘Shim’u’ should be read, thus freeing up the next week for the regular Shabbos Rosh Chodesh reading of HaShamayim Kisi. Although a bit of a novel approach, nonetheless, in this manner, all opinions are satisfied and all necessary Kriyos are read. Rav Oelbaum concludes that in 5765/2005, there was a ‘Kol Koreh’ M’Gedolei Rabbanim, that this is the preferred mehalech to follow when Rosh Chodesh Av falls out on Shabbos. So although as opposed to Shabbos Rosh Chodesh Elul, this may not (yet) be the mainstream Ashkenazic psak, nevertheless, this potential third double-header haftarah certainly has merit. Thanks are due to R’ Mordechai Fast for first pointing this out to this author.

Disclaimer: This is not a comprehensive guide, rather a brief summary to raise awareness of the issues. In any real case one should ask a competent Halachic authority.

L'iluy Nishmas the Rosh HaYeshiva - Rav Chonoh Menachem Mendel ben R' Yechezkel Shraga, Rav Yaakov Yeshaya ben R' Boruch Yehuda.

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