Insights into Halacha

For the week ending 25 May 2019 / 20 Iyyar 5779

The Parshah Dual Dichotomy 5779

by Rabbi Yehuda Spitz
Library Library Kaddish

This time of year is an interesting one. For the next several months or so, already starting right after Pesach, and lasting all the way almost up until Tisha B’Av, the Jewish world will not be aligned. No, I am not referring to constellations, but rather to the weekly parasha. A simple innocuous question of “What’s this week’s parasha?” will elicit a different response depending on where in the world the question is being asked. This is because the parasha will not be the same regularly scheduled one in Chutz La’aretz as it is in Eretz Yisrael.

Truthfully, this type of dichotomy actually happens not so infrequently, as it essentially occurs whenever the last day of a Yom Tov falls on Shabbos. In Chutz La’aretz where Yom Tov Sheini is halachically mandated,[1] a Yom Tov Krias HaTorah is publicly leined, yet, in Eretz Yisrael (unless by specific Chutznik minyanim)[2][3] the Krias HaTorah of the next scheduled Parasha is read. This puts Eretz Yisrael a Parasha ahead until the rest of the world soon ‘catches up’, by an upcoming potential double-Parasha, which each would be read separately in Eretz Yisrael.

The reason for this current interesting phenomenon is that this year 5779 / 2019, the eighth day of Pesach, observed only outside Eretz Yisrael, fell out on a Shabbos. On this Shabbos / Yom Tov the communities of the Diaspora leined the Yom Tov reading of ‘Asser Te’asser’ (Devarim, Parashas Re’eh, Ch. 14: 22), whereas in Eretz Yisrael, communities read Parashas Acharei Mos, the next parasha in the cycle, as Pesach has already ended for them.

Calenderical Conundrum

Although this calenderical conundrum occurs not infrequently, it generally only takes about a month for the rest of the world to “catch-up” to Eretz Yisrael. But this year, 5779 / 2019, in what is inexplicable to many, is that this odd alignment with Eretz Yisrael being a week ahead continues for quite a while, with the world only realigning by Matos / Masei - around Rosh Chodesh Av - a divergence of over three months (!) with Eretz Yisrael out of sync with the rest of the world, all the while passing over several potential double-Parasha catch-up points. In Eretz Yisrael, Matos and Masei will be read separately on consecutive weeks, while in Chutz La’aretz they will be combined and read on a single Shabbos. The last time a split of this magnitude occurred was in 5776 / 2016, and before that, twenty-one years prior in 5755 / 1995.

Many ask [in fact, this author has personally been asked this literally dozens of times over the last few weeks], why not catch up right away by Acharei Mos / Kedoshim or Behar /Bechukosai? Or even Chukas / Balak? Why should three separate double parshiyos be passed over, with the world only amalgamating on the fourth possibility months later? In layman’s terms, why should we wait so long for the whole world to be realigned?

Moreover, this causes all sorts of halachic issues for travelers to and from Israel during this time period – which Parasha should they be reading? If / how can they catch up? Although technically-speaking, since Krias HaTorah is a Chovas Hatzibbur, a communal obligation, one is not actually mandated to ‘catch-up’, but is rather yotzei with whichever Kriah is publicly correctly being read,[4] nevertheless, commonly, special minyanim are set up expressly for this purpose. Many Yeshivos double-up the Parasha when most of the bochurim return from Chutz La’aretz in order to catch them up. In fact, several shuls in Eretz Yisrael, such as the renowned Zichron Moshe ‘Minyan Factory’, offer a solution by hosting weekly “catch-up minyanim”, featuring the Torah reading of each previous week’s Israeli Parasha, which is the Chutznik’s current one, until the calendars re-merge. But those flying back to Chutz La’aretz would presumably not have such a ‘safety-net’ to fall back on.

Although some cite alternate minhagim,[5] nevertheless, it is important to note that nowadays this long Parasha split is indeed Minhag Yisrael, as codified by the Knesses Hagedolah, Magen Avraham, and Mishnah Berurah.[6] [7] We should also realize that back then travel to and from Eretz Yisrael was far less of an issue, as since undertaking the trip would take several months, missing one Parasha would be the least of one’s worries. But to properly understand the ‘whys’ of this fascinating dual dichotomy, one must first gain an understanding of the Parasha rules and setup. In fact, this is not a new question, as several early Acharonim, including the Maharit,[8] Rav Yosef Tirani, addressed this exact issue almost 500 years ago.

Managing Mnemonics

While it is true that technically Eretz Yisrael does not have to take Chutz La’aretz into account, to slow down or join parshiyos together due to their independent luachs (or to be grammatically correct, ‘luchos’) and cycles, as Eretz Yisrael’s is indeed deemed the ikar kriah,[9] nevertheless, there is more to the story.

The Tur, when codifying the halacha, sets four necessary sign-posts in relation to parshiyos, time of year, various Yomim Tovim. He also offers special codes, mnemonics, as to remember the proper order of parshiyos as they relate to. In a regular year, he writes, ‘Pikdu U’Pischu’. This refers to Parashas Tzav being Shabbos Hagadol directly before Pesach.[10] However, in a leap year, like ours - 5779 / 2019, the mnemonic is ‘Sigru U’Pischu’, Parashas Metzora is right before Pesach. The other three are: ‘Minu V’Atzru’, Parashas Bamidbar is directly prior to Shavuos, ‘Tzumu V’Tzalu’, the fast of Tisha B’Av is directly before Parashas Va’eschanan (also meaning that Parashas Devarim is always Shabbos Chazon andVa’eschanan alwaysShabbos Nachamu), and ‘Kumu V’Tik’u’, that Parashas Netzavim is before Rosh Hashanah.[11] These mnemonics, denoting the four specific rules, or more accurately, necessary points of parasha alignment (or realignment) during the year, are accepted lemaaseh as halachah pesukah by all later authorities.[12]

Bamidbar = Buffer Zone

Several of these rules directly affect our split situation. Tosafos, and later seconded by the Levush,[13] states that since Parashas Bechukosai contains tochachah (rebuke), there must be a noticeable “buffer week” [practically, Parashas Bamidbar] between its reading and Shavuos.This is because we pray that a year and its curses should end, in order to usher in a new year with its blessings.[14] This is apropos for Shavuos as it is Rosh Hashanah for Peiros Ha’Ilan, tree fruits (see Gemara Rosh Hashanah 16a). Therefore, Bamidbar must be the stand-alone “buffer week” before Shavuos, in order to emphasize that we are getting Bechukosai in just before Shavuos.

Accordingly, the Maharit, citing Rav Yissachar ben Sussan, one of the foremost experts on intercalation of the Jewish calendar and its minhagim, in his renowned sefer Tikkun Yissachar, explains that if Chutz La’aretz would catch up to Eretz Yisrael prior to Shavuos, then Parashas Nasso (the Parasha following Bamidbar) would be read on Shabbos Erev Shavuos, as it will be in Eretz Yisrael, and then all of Klal Yisrael will miss the ‘buffer week’ from the tochachah of Bechukosai. Therefore, he avers, it is more important and preferable that at least Chutz La’aretz fulfill this dictate than it is that they catch up to Eretz Yisrael.[15]

So it turns out that the issue it is not why Eretz Yisrael doesn’t simply slow down for Chutz La’aretz, but rather that Chutz La’aretz will not speed up to catch up to Eretz Yisrael. This ‘Buffer Zone’ preference answers up for Acharei Mos / Kedoshim and Behar / Bechukosai. However, there is still the subject of not catching up by Chukas / Balak.

Pondering the Pearls of Parashas Pinchas

The Maharit, and later the Knesses Hagedolah, explain that since Chukas and Balak are not commonly read together, whereas Matos and Masei are (there is an important reason for this, addressed a bit further on), we do not simply combine the former, as opposed to the latter, just in order to save what amounts to a discrepancy of one week.

The Bnei Yisaschar[16] adds an additional reason. He explains that whenever possible, we attempt to ensure the public reading of Chalukas Ha’aretz, the apportioning of Eretz Yisrael, during the period of communal mourning known as Bein Hametzarim,[17] colloquially called ‘The Three Weeks’. This period commemorates the heralding of the beginning of the tragedies that took place prior to the destruction of both Batei Hamikdash, from the breaching of the walls of ancient Yerushalayim on the 17th of Tamuz, until the actual destruction of the Beis Hamikdash on the Tisha B’Av.

The reason for these readings, which are found in the parshiyos ofPinchas, Matos, and Masei, to be leined specifically then, is to remind us of Hashem’s promise, that although we are currently in golus, exile, nevertheless, ‘le’aileh techalek ha’aretz’, we will still inherit Eretz Yisrael.

A similar assessment is given by the Minchas Yitzchak,[18] albeit regarding Korbanos, especially the Korban Tamid, which is also detailed in Parashas Pinchas. He explains that the Korban Tamid protected Klal Yisrael from sinning with Avodah Zarah.[19] When the Korban Tamid was no longer offered, it enabled the Yetzer Hara’ah of Avodah Zarah to strengthen; and it was due to this sinning that eventually led to the Beis Hamikdash’s destruction.

As such, and since we no longer have Korbanos, but at least we still have their recital, in the vein of ‘v’neshalmah parim sifoseinu’, that our tefillos are their current replacement,[20] the leining of the Korbanos is specifically read during the Three Weeks, when we are mourning the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash. This serves to embolden and enable us to fight the reasons and causes for its destruction, and allow its rebuilding.

An additional point the Bnei Yisaschar raises is that Parashas Pinchas contains the Parashas HaMoadim, the reading detailing all the Yomim Tovim and their observances. He explains that this is also an apropos reading for the Three Weeks, to comfort us in our time of mourning. This is as the Navi Zechariah (Ch. 8: 19) prophesized that when the Geulah comes, this period will be turned into one of great rejoicing (‘l’sasson u’lsimcha ul’moadim tovim’).

For all of the above-mentioned reasons, it is simply not worthwhile for Chutz La’aretz to make Chukas and Balak into a double Parasha merely to catch up to Eretz Yisrael, since if it would, then Parashas Pinchas will not fall out in the Three Weeks. Therefore, it is proper for Chutz La’aretz to wait and not catch up to Eretz Yisrael until Matos / Masei, thus ensuring that Parashas Pinchas be leined during Bein Hametzarim, and enabling us to glean and appreciate its veiled significance and promises for the future.

The Code for Consolation

The Maharit continues that the reason why Matos and Masei are generally combined is to a similar, yet reverse, reason to Bamidbar. As the Tur wrote, the code for this time of year is ‘Tzumu V’Tzalu’, the fast of Tisha B’Av is directly before Va’eschanan. This is not merely by chance.

Parashas Va’eschanan contains the pesukim of ‘Ki Soleed Banim U’vnei Vanim V’noshantem Ba’aretz’ (Devarim Ch. 4: 25), which although not a pleasant reading, as it is a tochachah (rebuke),[21] nevertheless, Chazal[22] glean that there is a hidden message of redemption buried within.V’noshantem in Gematria equals 852, letting us know that after 852 years of living in Eretz Yisrael, the Galus would start. Yet, we find that the Galus actually started two years early, after 850 years. This is because Hashem did not wantchas veshalom to have to destroy us (ad loc. verse 26), and therefore, as a kindness, brought the Exile two years early, to ensure Klal Yisrael’s survival.

Therefore, explains the Maharit, we commonly join up Matos and Masei to make certain that Parashas Va’eschanan is always immediately following Tisha B’Av as Shabbos Nachamu, thus offering us a message of consolation even amidst the destruction.

In conclusion, although it may seem complicated and confusing, on the contrary, each calenderical calculation is clearly consistent with the clarion call of our Chazal - Parasha combination and separation, synchronized to showcase hope and consolation when we need it most, as well as serve as a buffer from condemnation.

The author wishes to thank Rabbi Dovid Heber of the Star-K, author of

Shaarei Zemanim, for his assistance with this article.

This article was written L’ilui Nishmas Asher Zelig ben Zev a”h, my wife’s grandfather, Mr. Arthur Graff, who was niftar yesterday - 17 Iyar and L’zechus Shira Yaffa bas Rochel Miriam v’chol yotzei chalatzeha for a yeshua sheleimah teikif u’miyad!

For any questions, comments or for the full Mareh Mekomos / sources, please email the author: yspitz@ohr.edu.

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.



[1] As addressed at length in a previous article titled ‘Rosh Hashanah: The Universal Two Day Yom Tov, (and why Yom Kippur is Not).

[2] Although the famed Chacham Tzvi (Shu”t 167), and later the Shulchan Aruch Harav (Orach Chaim 496, 11; although he also cites that ‘yesh cholkim’, nonetheless, according to the common consensus, this first opinion is ikar - see also vol. 1, Mahadura Tinyana 68) ruled that even one merely visiting Eretz Yisrael over Yom Tov should keep only one day of Yom Tov like the natives (to paraphrase: ‘when in Israel, do as the Israelis do’), nevertheless, the vast majority of halachic authorities, including the codifier of the Shulchan Aruch himself (Shu”t Avkas Rochel 26) and even the Chacham Tzvi’s own son, Rav Yaakov Emden (Shu”t Sheilas Yaavetz vol. 1: 168), maintained that visitors’ status is dependant on whether or not their intention is to stay and live in Eretz Yisrael, or to return to Chutz La’aretz, known as ‘im da’atam lachzor’ (see next footnote at length). We do however find that the one-day shittah is defended by the Aderes (Sefer Shevach Haaretz, 35) and Shoel U’Meishiv (Shu”t Mahadura Telitai vol. 2: 28), and heavily implied by the Avnei Nezer (Shu”t Orach Chaim 242: 27 and 33; 539: Hashmatos to Hilchos Yom Tov, 48 - end; he maintains that ‘da’atam lachzor’ should not apply even for visitors from Eretz Yisrael who are staying in Chutz La’aretz over Yom Tov) This shittah has also found support in certain Rishonim, including Rabbeinu Chananel’s understanding of Rav Safra’s opinion (Pesachim 51b - 52a), and the Ra’avan (Pesachim 162: 2; see Even Shlomo’s commentary 37). Although, as shown later on, most contemporary authorities do not rule this way, nonetheless, Chabad chassidim generally follow the shittah of their Alter Rebbe, the Shulchan Aruch Harav, and only keep one day in Eretz Yisrael, no matter how long they intend on staying. Rav Yechiel Michel Tukachinsky (Ir HaKodesh V’Hamikdash vol. 3, Ch. 19: 8) reports that his grandfather-in-law, the Av Beis Din of Yerushalayim for the latter part of the nineteenth century, Rav Shmuel Salant zt”l, was notteh to this shittah as well. However, since he did not want to argue on his Rabbeim, including the Pe’as Hashulchan (see next footnote) who mandated visitors keeping Yom Tov Sheini, Rav Salant ruled that a Ben Chutz La’aretz should keep Yom Tov Sheini lechumrah, a shittah nowadays commonly referred to as ‘A Day and a Half’. This refers to being makpid on not doing any Melachah De’oraysa on the second day, but also not doing the unique Yom Tov Mitzvos, i.e. making Kiddush etc. Rav Yosef Dov (JB) Soloveitchik zt”l (as cited inNefesh HaRav pg. 84) was also known to be a proponent of this shittah, reporting that it was also the preferred shittah of his grandfather, Rav Chaim Soloveitchik zt”l of Brisk. [However, in this author’s opinion, the misnomer for this shittah, ‘A Day and a Half’ is somewhat troublesome. Anecdotally, years ago, I met an older relative here in Eretz Yisrael on Yom Tov Sheini and noticed that she was performing Melachah. When I asked her about it, she innocently replied that her Rabbi told her to keep ‘A Day and a Half’… and it was already after noon...] For more on Rav Shmuel Salant’s shittah, see the annual Tukachinsky Luach Eretz Yisrael (Chol Hamoed Sukkos, footnote), Shu”t Lehoros Nosson (vol. 11: 26), Toras Rabbeinu Shmuel Salant (pg. 120), and Aderes Shmuel (Piskei Rav Shmuel Salant zt”l; Hilchos Yom Tov 129, and in footnotes at length, ppg. 131 - 135).

[3] Although there are those who want to prove that the Shulchan Aruch meant to rule that a visitor to Eretz Yisrael should only keep one day, as in the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 496) he only mentions visitors from Eretz Yisrael in Chutz La’aretz, who need to keep a two-day Yom Tov like the locals, nevertheless, he personally put that notion to rest in his Shu”t Avkas Rochel (26), where he explicitly ruled that the Yom Tov observance of visitors to Eretz Yisrael is dependent on whether they are planning on staying or not. Other poskim who rule this way include the Rav Yaakov Emden (Shu”t Sheilas Ya’avetz vol. 1: 168), the Pe’as Hashulchan (Hilchos Eretz Yisrael 2: 15, 21), the Chida (Shu”t Chaim Sha’al vol. 1: 55, and Birkei Yosef, Orach Chaim 496: 7), Mahari Chagiz (Shu”t Halachos Ketanos vol. 1: 4), the Pri Ha’adamah (vol. 3, pg. 17b; citing ‘kol Rabbanei Yerushalayim’), Shaarei Teshuvah (496: end 5; he makes a sikum of the shittos), Chayei Adam (vol. 2, 103: 4), Aruch Hashulchan (Orach Chaim 496: end 5), Mishnah Berurah (ad loc. 13), Kaf HaChaim (ad loc. 38), and Rav Yechiel Michel Tukachinsky (Ir HaKodesh V’Hamikdash vol. 3, Ch. 19: 8). The vast majority of contemporary poskim rule this way as well. See Shu”t Igros Moshe (Orach Chaim vol. 3: 73 and 74 and vol. 4: 101), Orchos Rabbeinu (new print - 5775 edition, vol. 2, Ch. ‘Yom Tov Sheini’; citing the Chazon Ish and Steipler Gaon), Shu”t Seridei Aish (new edition; vol. 1, Orach Chaim 51: 1), Shu”t Minchas Yitzchak (vol. 4: 1 - 4), Yom Tov Sheini Kehilchaso (pg. 108, footnote 5; citing many Rabbanim including the Tchebiner Rav, Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, and Rav Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg, whose teshuvah is printed in the back of the sefer), Shu”t Shevet Halevi (vol. 5: 64), Shu”t Mishnah Halachos (vol. 4: 83), Shu”t Tzitz Eliezer (vol. 9: 30), Halichos Even Yisrael (Moadim vol. 1, pg. 287 - 288), Shu”t Yaskil Avdi (vol. 4, Orach Chaim 26), Shu”t B’tzeil Hachochmah (vol. 1: 60), Shu”t Yabea Omer (vol. 6, Orach Chaim 40: 1 - 3), Shu”t Ohr L’Tzion (vol. 3: Ch. 23: 5), Shu”t Knei Bosem (vol. 1: 28), Chazon Ovadia (Yom Tov, pg. 133: 12), and Yalkut Yosef (Moadim, pg. 460).

[4] See Halichos Shlomo (Moadim vol. 2, Pesach Ch. 10: 22) and Yom Tov Sheini Kehilchaso (Ch. 9: 13 - 17) at length, quoting Rav Moshe Feinstein, Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, Rav Elazar Menachem Mann Shach, and Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv; this is in contrast to the ruling of the Rema (Orach Chaim 135: 2; citing the Ohr Zarua, vol. 2, Hilchos Shabbos 45) regarding if an entire tzibbur did not lein one week, that they would be required to make it up the next week along with the current Parasha. See also Rav Yechiel Michel Tukachinsky’s authoritative Luach Eretz Yisrael (5775; Minhagei Hashanah, Nissan: footnote 6). Although Tosefes Maaseh Rav (34) relates that when the Vilna Gaon was released from jail, he read all four of the parshiyos he missed at one time, on the other hand, when someone pointed this Maaseh Rav out to Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, after telling a questioner that he is not obligated to find a double-parasha-ed minyan as leining is a Chovas Hatzibbur, Rav Shlomo Zalman retorted rhetorically, ‘do you truly believe that you are on the Vilna Gaon’s level to perform all of the Minhagei HaGr”a?!’(Halichos Shlomo, ad loc. footnote 90). However, regarding a mix of Bnei Eretz Yisrael and Bnei Chutz La’aretz traveling on a boat together, with no minyan of each, see Shu”t B’tzeil Hachochma (vol. 1: 7), Shu”t Ba’er Moshe (vol. 7: pg. 228), and Yom Tov Sheini Kehilchaso (Ch. 9: footnote 42 - citing Rav Yechiel Michel Tukachinsky and Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv; and Miluim 14) regarding the different variables and scenarios and what to do in each case.

[5] For example, the Abudraham (Seder HaParshiyos s.v. eilu) mentions Shlach and Korach are combined as regular double-Parshiyos; which to the extent of this authors’ knowledge is not currently practiced. In a similar vein, the Maharit (see following footnotes) mentions that in a year such as ours, the minhag in Syria was to catch up by Chukas / Balak. He bases it on the Tikkun Yissachar, who mentions a certain Chacham, Harav Saadya Dayan Tzova (presumably a Dayan in Aram Tzova – Aleppo, Syria), who combined Korach and Chukas, an interesting combination that, as the Tikkun Yissachar notes, the rest of the world never combines. However, my esteemed father-in-law, Rabbi Yaacov Tzvi Lieberman, informed me based on his years of learning in Kollel there, that the Chaleb (Syrian) community in Mexico City still follows this unusual combination of Korach and Chukas.

[6] Knesses Hagedolah (Orach Chaim 428, Haghos on Tur s.v.kishe’ira), Magen Avraham (ad loc. end 6; citing the precedent and rulings of the Maharit and Tikkun Yissachar; see following footnotes), and Mishnah Berurah (ad loc. end 10).

[7] In an interesting side point, the Gemara (Megillah 29b) mentions an alternate minhag, that of the Bnei Maarava (Eretz Yisrael), ‘D’maski L’Deoraysa B’tlas Shnin’, that they only complete the Torah every three years, as opposed to our common minhag of every year. Lest one thinks that this minhag was only extant during Talmudic times, as the Rambam (Hilchos Tefilla Ch. 13: 1) already wrote in the 1100s that it is not the minhag pashut, on the other hand we find that famed traveler Binyamin of Tudela (Masa’os Rabi Binyamin M’Tudela; Adler / London edition pg. 63) related that in the early 1170s, in Egypt there were two different co-existing Kehillos, that of the mainstream community finishing the Torah annually, and that of the Bnei Eretz Yisrael, splitting each parasha into three and only concluding the Torah every three years. Indeed, we do find differing views of the parshiyos and their keviyus in the works of several Rishonim. For example, the Chida, at the end of his Shu”t Chaim Sha’al, quotes Kitzur Teshuvos HaRosh as cited from sefer Chazei Hatenufa (54), that the main point is to ensure that the Torah is completed every year. Hence, it is within the rights of ‘Chacham B’Iro’ to decide where to stop, as in his opinion, our parasha setup is not halacha kavua, but rather minhag. The Ohr Zarua (vol. 2, Hilchos Shabbos 45 s.v. maaseh) seems to concur with this assessment as well, stating that there is no keviyus which parasha must specifically be leined on which Shabbos. Yet, it must be stressed that this is not the normative halacha. Thanks are due to Rabbi Moshe Taub for pointing out several of these important sources.

[8] Shu”t Maharit (vol. 2, Orach Chaim 4), also quoting the Tikkun Yissachar (pg. 38 a -b), based on Tosafos (Megillah 31b s.v. klalos) and the Levush (Orach Chaim 428: 4).

[9] The Tikkun Yissachar (pg. 32b) explains that as Eretz Yisrael observes Pesach for seven days, exactly as prescribed in the Torah, as opposed to Chutz La’aretz, which observes an eight-day Pesach due to Rabbinic decree (as detailed at length in previous articles titled: ‘Rosh Hashana: The Universal Two-Day Yom Tov (and Why Yom Kippur is Not)’ and ‘One Day or Two? What is a Chutznik in Eretz Yisrael to Do?’), which in turn pushes off the calendar, the Eretz Yisrael Luach is deemed the ikar one and ‘Bnei Ha’Ikari’im’ certainly do not have to be concerned with the calendar of ‘Bnei HaMinhag’.

[10] According to the Abudraham (pg. 372,Seder HaParshiyos), and Tikkun Yissachar (pg. 38a), and cited lemaaseh by the Levush (Orach Chaim 428: 4), Knesses Hagedolah (ibid. s.v. shittah 44), and Elyah Rabbah (ad loc. 5), the reason why Parashas Tzav generally falls out on Shabbos Hagadol, the Shabbos immediately preceding Pesach, is that it mentions the halachos of Kashering Keilim (Vayikra Ch. 6: 21), albeit regarding the Korban Chataas, as ‘haga’alas keilim chometz lamud m’Korbanos’. Although in a leap year Parashas Metzora is usually read directly before Pesach, it is also in sync, as it mentions ‘kli cheres yishaver’, which is quite apropos for Pesach as well.

[11] According to the main commentaries on the Tur and Shulchan Aruch, ‘Pikdu’ means ‘commanded’, hence it is referring to Parashas Tzav, which also means ‘command’. ‘Pischu’ is referring to Pesach. ‘Sigru’ means ‘closing’, referring to Parashas Metzora, as a Metzora must be closeted for at least a week. ‘Minu’, ‘count’, refers to Parashas Bamidbar, which deals mainly with the counting of Bnei Yisrael. ‘Atzru’, ‘stop’, refers to Shavuos, by referring to its name that it is called by in the Torah, ‘Atzeres’. ‘Tzumu’, ‘fast’, refers to the fast of Tisha B’Av. ‘Tzulu’, ‘daven’, refers to Parashas Va’eschanan, as it starts with Moshe Rabbeinu’s entreaties to Hashem. ‘Kumu’, ‘stand’, refers to Parashas Nitzavim, literally ‘standing’. And ‘Tik’u’, ‘blow’ refers to Rosh Hashanah, when the Mitzvas Hayom is to blow the Shofar.

[12] These mnemonics are cited and accepted lemaaseh by all later authorities as well, including the Shulchan Aruch, Levush, and Aruch Hashulchan (Orach Chaim 428: 4).

[13] Tosafos (Megillah 31b s.v. klalos), and later seconded by the Levush (Orach Chaim 428: 4).

[14]Tichleh shana u’klaloseha,tachel shana u’birchoseha’. See Gemara Megillah (31b).

[15] Interestingly, and on a side point, this setup might cause a world-record for longest Krias HaTorah, a potential whopping 335 pesukim, in the following scenario. Some ‘Chutzniks’ go to Eretz Yisrael next year for Shavuos. On Erev Shavuos, in Chutz La’aretz they lein Bamidbar and in Eretz Yisrael they lein Nasso. Anyone who does this will miss Bamidbar, so they might make a special minyan for these visitors. The Kohen would lein all of Bamidbar and the Kohen aliyah of Nasso. The other six aliyos would be the rest of Nasso as usual. The grand total of Bamidbar (159 pesukim) plus Nasso (176 pesukim) equals 335 pesukim – a potential new record! Thanks are due to Rabbi Dovid Haber of the Star-K and author of Shaarei Zmanim, for pointing this out.

[16] Bnei Yisaschar (vol. 1, Maamarei Chodshei Tamuz - Av, Maamar 2: 2).

[17] This three-week season is referred to as such by the Midrash Rabbah (cited by Rashi in his commentary to Eichah Ch. 1, verse 3).

[18] Minchas Yitzchk al HaTorah (newer edition, vol. 2 pg. 185, Parashas Pinchas s.v. uvazeh).

[19] He proves this from different maamarei Chazal from Taanis (26a), Yoma (62b), Sanhedrin (56b), as well as the Kli Yakar (Pinchas Ch. 28: 4). His actual maamar was explaining why the fact that Batlu HaTamid on Shiva Asur B’Tamuz is reason enough for fasting.

[20] Hoshe’a (Ch. 14: 3). See also Gemara Taanis (27b), Megillah (31b), and Yoma (86b).

[21] In fact, it is also theKriah for Shacharis on Tisha B’Av itself [see Rema (Orach Chaim 559: 4)], thus making it read twice in the same week, perhaps to let its hidden message sink in.

[22] Gemara Sanhedrin (38a), cited by Rashi on the pasuk. See also Sifsei Chachamim (ad loc.).


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, and l'zchus for Shira Yaffa bas Rochel Miriam and her children for a yeshua teikef u'miyad!

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