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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Laining on Rosh Chodesh

Today's and continuing to tomorrow's daf (Megilla 21b,22a), discusses how to split up the aliyas on Rosh Chodesh. There are 4 aliyas on Rosh Chodesh and the laining consists of 3 parshas of 8,2 and 5 pesukim. The gemara has 3 principles (the last 2 are really extensions of the first) that need to be followed when splitting up aliyas.
1. An aliya must be at least 3 pesukim
2. An aliya cannot start less then 3 pesukim from the beginning of a parsha lest someone walk in and mistakenly think that the previous aliya was only the 1 or 2 pesukim at the beginning of the parsha
3. An aliya cannot end with less then 3 pesukim left in the parsha lest someone leave and think that the next aliya will only be 1 or 2 pesukim (to finish the parsha).

There is no way to split up the Rosh Chodesh laining as is without violating one of these principles. The Gemara brings up a similar problem by maamados and answers that you repeat one of the pesukim. The maskana of the gemara is that we repeat a pasuk in the middle. It is not so clear what the maskana really means (is it referring to Rosh Chodesh or maamados? What does middle mean when you have 4 aliyos?).

The Ran quoting the Geonim explains the maskana as referring to Rosh Chodesh, and the laining is as follows.

Kohen - the first 3 pesukim
Levi - repeat pasuk 3 and read the next 2 (pesukim 3,4,5)
Shlishi - read pesukim 6,7,8 and the 2 pesukim of the parsha of shabbos
Revii - read the parsha of Rosh Chodesh (5 pesukim)

The Ramban asks a bomb question. What does it help that we repeat pasuk 3, we are still violating principle 2. By starting Levi with the third pasuk someone who walks in may think that the first aliya was only 2 pesukim, so what did we gain by repeating. Therefore, the Ramban says that the maskana of the gemara was for maamados and on Rosh Chodesh you don't repeat anything (and violate principle 2).

In Shulchan Aruch (Siman 422) we pasken like the Geonim quoted by the Ran.

The Gra there based on a Maseches Sofrim comes up with a way to split up the aliyas by repeating 1 3 pesukim without violating any of the principles. The Gra proposed the following:
Kohen - the first 3 pesukim
Levi - next 5 pesukim (4,5,6,7,8) until the end of the parsha
Shlishi - repeat pesukim 6,7,8 and the 2 pesukim of the parsha of shabbos
Revii - read the parsha of Rosh Chodesh (5 pesukim)

What the Gra proposes is an elegant solution to the problem and it is interesting that the minhag haolam is not like the Gra. In Israel many of the shuls (for example where I daven) are noheg like the Gra.

8 Comments:

At 8:31 PM, Blogger Josh M. said...

The Ramban asks a bomb question. What does it help that we repeat pasuk 3, we are still violating principle 2 (snip) Therefore, the Ramban says that the maskana of the gemara was for maamados and on Rosh Chodesh you don't repeat anything (and violate principle 2).

I don't understand shitas HaRamban. Is there a numerical typo in the parenthetical statement at the end of the paragraph?

 
At 9:37 PM, Blogger bluke said...

What the Ramban is saying is that since even with repeating a pasuk you violate principle 2, we might as well not repeat the pasuk and read straight. Here is how it would work:

Kohen - 4 pesukim
Levi - next 4 (until the end of the parsha)
Shlishi - the next parsha (2 pesukim) plus 1 or 2 pesukim from the last parsha (which will cause us to violate principle 2 of starting an aliya less then 3 pesukim from the beginning
Revii - the rest of the last parsha

 
At 10:34 PM, Blogger The Observer said...

I don't understand how the Gra's shita only repeats 1 pasuk. Aren't you repeating 3 (6,7, and 8)?

 
At 10:37 PM, Blogger Josh M. said...

OK, I see. Thanks.

 
At 8:41 AM, Blogger bluke said...

the observer,

You are right, I corrected the post.

 
At 10:07 AM, Blogger Roth said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 10:08 AM, Blogger Roth said...

My Rabbi (who owns a Gra siddur, which says the same thing) told me that the Chazon Ish commented that the Gra was wrong to institute his suggestion based on the Ramban for the following reason: Something of the Ramban's was found after the original comments of the Ramban saying, in effect, "I'm not paskining and the minhag must stand, but it seems difficult to me."
According to this, it is the Israeli shuls who are noheg like the GR"A who have an issue...

 
At 10:54 AM, Blogger bluke said...

The Gra was bothered by an obvious question asked by the Rishonim (Rashba, Ramban). What he suggests resolves the difficult gemara and is supported by his girsa in the Maseches Sofrim.

This is the Gra לשיטתו, he paskened based on the Gemara and at times argued on the Rishonim. The minhag in EY on many issues is to follow the Gra, this is just one of them.

 

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