Weekly Torah portion

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This article is about the divisions of the Torah into weekly readings. For this week's Torah portion, see Torah portion.
A Torah scroll and silver pointer (yad) used in reading.

The weekly Torah portion (Hebrew: פָּרָשַׁת הַשָּׁבוּעַ Parashat ha-Shavua‎, popularly just parashah or parshah[pronunciation?] or parsha and also known as a Sidra or Sedra[pronunciation?]) is a section of the Torah (Hebrew Bible). It is read publicly and aloud by a designated reader (ba'al koreh) in Jewish prayer services, usually in full during the Shabbat (Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath) morning service and in part during the Shabbat afternoon and Monday and Thursday morning services, in all cases except when pre-empted by a religious holiday. There are 54 such parshiyot or parshas (plural) in Judaism, and the full cycle is read over the course of a Jewish year.

Each weekly Torah portion takes its name from the first most distinct word in the Hebrew text of the portion in question. Dating back to the time of the Babylonian captivity (6th century BCE),[citation needed] public Torah reading mostly followed an annual cycle beginning and ending on the Jewish holiday of Simchat Torah, with the divisions corresponding to the lunisolar Hebrew calendar, which contains up to 55 weeks, the exact number varying between leap years and regular years.[1]

In ancient times some Jewish communities practised a triennial cycle of readings. In the 19th and 20th centuries, many congregations in the Reform and Conservative Jewish movements implemented an alternative triennial cycle in which only one-third of each weekly parashah was read in a given year; and this pattern continues. The parashot read are still consistent with the annual cycle but the entire Torah is completed over three years. Orthodox Judaism does not follow this practice.

Due to different lengths of holidays in Israel and the Diaspora, the portion that is read on a particular week will sometimes not be the same inside and outside Israel.

Division into weekly parashot[edit]

The division of parashot found in the modern-day Torah scrolls of all Ashkenazic, Sephardic, and Yemenite communities is based upon the systematic list provided by Maimonides in Mishneh Torah, Laws of Tefillin, Mezuzah and Torah Scrolls, Chapter 8. Maimonides based his division of the parashot for the Torah on the Masoretic text of the Aleppo Codex.[2]

Table of weekly readings[edit]

In the table, a portion that may be combined with the following portion, to compensate for the changing number of weeks in the lunisolar year, is marked with an asterisk.

Book Parsha Name English Equivalent[3] Parsha Portion
Bereishit (Genesis) Bereshit, בְּרֵאשִׁית In the beginning Gen. 1:1-6:8
Noach, נֹחַ Noah (rest) 6:9-11:32
Lech-Lecha, לֶךְ-לְךָ Go forth, yourself! 12:1-17:27
Vayeira, וַיֵּרָא And He appeared 18:1-22:24
Chayei Sarah, חַיֵּי שָׂרָה Life of Sarah 23:1-25:18
Toledot, תּוֹלְדֹת Generations 25:19-28:9
Vayetze, וַיֵּצֵא And he went out 28:10-32:3
Vayishlach, וַיִּשְׁלַח And he sent 32:4-36:43
Vayeshev, וַיֵּשֶׁב And he settled 37:1-40:23
Miketz, מִקֵּץ At the end of 41:1-44:17
Vayigash, וַיִּגַּשׁ And he drew near 44:18-47:27
Vayechi, וַיְחִי And he lived 47:28-50:26
Shemot (Exodus) Shemot, שְׁמוֹת Names Ex. 1:1-6:1
Va'eira, וָאֵרָא And I appeared 6:2-9:35
Bo, בֹּא Enter! 10:1-13:16
Beshalach, בְּשַׁלַּח When he let go 13:17-17:16
Yitro, יִתְרוֹ Jethro 18:1-20:23
Mishpatim, מִּשְׁפָּטִים Laws 21:1-24:18
Terumah, תְּרוּמָה Offering 25:1-27:19
Tetzaveh, תְּצַוֶּה You shall command 27:20-30:10
Ki Tisa, כִּי תִשָּׂא When you elevate 30:11-34:35
*Vayakhel, וַיַּקְהֵל And he assembled 35:1-38:20
Pekudei, פְקוּדֵי Accountings of 38:21-40:38
Vayikra (Leviticus) Vayikra, וַיִּקְרָא And he called Lev. 1:1-5:26
Tzav, צַו Command! 6:1-8:36
Shemini, שְּׁמִינִי Eighth 9:1-11:47
*Tazria, תַזְרִיעַ She bears seed 12:1-13:59
Metzora, מְּצֹרָע Infected one 14:1-15:33
*Acharei Mot, אַחֲרֵי מוֹת After the death 16:1-18:30
Kedoshim, קְדֹשִׁים Holy ones 19:1-20:27
Emor, אֱמֹר Say! 21:1-24:23
*Behar, בְּהַר On the Mount 25:1-26:2
Bechukotai, בְּחֻקֹּתַי In My statutes 26:3-27:34
Bemidbar (Numbers) Bemidbar, בְּמִדְבַּר In the wilderness Num. 1:1-4:20
Naso, נָשֹׂא Elevate! 4:21-7:89
Behaalotecha, בְּהַעֲלֹתְךָ In your making go up 8:1-12:16
Shlach, שְׁלַח-לְךָ Send for yourself 13:1-15:41
Korach, קֹרַח Korach (bald) 16:1-18:32
*Chukat, חֻקַּת Ordinance of 19:1-22:1
Balak, בָּלָק Balak (destroyer) 22:2-25:9
Pinchas, פִּינְחָס Phinehas (dark-skinned) 25:10-30:1
*Matot, מַּטּוֹת Tribes 30:2-32:42
Masei, מַסְעֵי Journeys of 33:1-36:13
Devarim (Deuteronomy) Devarim, דְּבָרִים Words Deut. 1:1-3:22
Va'etchanan, וָאֶתְחַנַּן And I pleaded 3:23-7:11
Eikev, עֵקֶב As a result 7:12-11:25
Re'eh, רְאֵה See! 11:26-16:17
Shoftim, שֹׁפְטִים Judges 16:18-21:9
Ki Teitzei, כִּי-תֵצֵא When you go out 21:10-25:19
Ki Tavo, כִּי-תָבוֹא When you enter in 26:1-29:8
*Nitzavim, נִצָּבִים You are standing 29:9-30:20
Vayelech, וַיֵּלֶךְ And he went 31:1-31:30
Haazinu, הַאֲזִינוּ Give ear! 32:1-32:52
V'Zot HaBerachah, וְזֹאת הַבְּרָכָה And this the blessing 33:1-34:12

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ One week is always Passover and another is always Sukkot, and the final parashah, V'Zot HaBerachah, is always read on Simchat Torah. Therefore, there are in practice up to 53 available weeks for 53 portions. In years with fewer than 53 available weeks, some readings are combined to achieve the needed number of weekly readings.
  2. ^ Though initially doubted by Umberto Cassuto, this has become the established position in modern scholarship. (See the Aleppo Codex article for more information.)
  3. ^ http://philologos.org/bpr/files/t012.htm

External links[edit]