Monday, September 30, 2013

simchas torah question: is it the first aliya of the third cycle through zos habracha or is it aliya #11?

On Simchas Torah there were a few stations set up in the beis medrash I was davening in to lein Zos haBracha over and over so everyone could get an aliya.  On what I think was the third cycle through at the station was standing near a kohen was called up for the first aliya, but there was no levi.  Myself and a number of other people told the stand-in gabai to just call anyone up.  However, a talmid chacham who was there opined that this was incorrect and the kohen should get the next aliya as well.

I was a bit surprised as I don’t recall having seen this done before, so I asked about it afterwards.  He explained that just like any other time when a kohen is called for the first aliya and there is no levi, the kohen gets the second aliya as well because there is a concern for creating a suspicion of pgam in his yichus.  If you ignore the kohen when you should be calling someone from sheivet levi, it looks like the kohen is pasul for some reason.  In our case, had there been no kohen, you can call anyone.  However, once the kohen got the first aliya and is standing there, he needs to get the second one as well to avoid the pgam problem. 

My counter-argument is that this is well and good were it the first aliya of the parsha -- but it’s not.  If, for example, you want to add extra aliyos beyond the required seven on a normal Shabbos, a kohen can be called for acharon and be followed by a yisrael, or vica versa, or any other order you like.  You don’t have to follow kohen with a levi, and you don’t need to call a kohen twice if no levi is present.  Once you are beyond the required number of aliyos, all bets are off. 

So here's the chakirah: how do you view the first aliya of the third cycle through Zos haBracha – is it the first aliya of round three (in which case the normal order of kohen followed by levi applies), or is it aliya # 11, one of many hosafos?

The person who offered the psak asked another Rav just to be sure and that person concurred with him, barring proof to the contrary.  I needed someone on my side to even the score, so I was happy (it was simchas torah after all) to find the Netziz in Meishiv Davar II:48 (link) agrees with my idea (see the Taz he quotes).


  1. The parallel to acharon seems to be non-parallel. There, it is obvious from the content of the aliyah that the cohen is simply another yid getting an aliyah, and thus there is no pgam problem. Here, the cohen had the aliyah qua cohen, and thus, the pgam issue rears its ugly head.

    Your argument that this is actually the 75th aliyah is problematic because we have to be choshesh for people coming into shul late, for whom this is the first aliyah, just as we are choshesh by birchas hatorah for an aliyah.

    I hate agreeing with rabbonim, but in this case, I have to.

    In any case, have a healthy and productive winter.

  2. I would argue that especially given the context of it being simchas torah, the likelihood is even greater that it is recognized as a hosafa. If you are choshesh m'shum hanichnasim and all the regular rules apply, how do you justify giving aliyos to ketanim?

    It seems to me l'shitaschem that as long as there is any kohen present, even if that kohen already received an aliya, he must still be called for that first aliya of zos habracha. Just because someone got an aliya earlier does not remove the idea of v'kidashto if he is present at a new round of leining, right? I don't think the minhag is like that at least as far as I have seen, but maybe you do differently.

  3. Anonymous11:07 AM

    I hear, but...Leshitascha, why are you calling up a kohen for only the "first" aliya of the second round and third round etc.? That seems to be the universal practice. Leshitascha, the kohanim can be called for any aliya in all the susequent rounds. And if you want to say that we should be makdim the kohanim (vekidashto or whatever), then the kohanim should all go first in the subsequent rounds before any leviyim/yisraelim. I have no proof that that is incorrect, but it's clearly not minhag haolam. The minhag haolam for calling up a kohen only for the first aliya in each round indicates that each round isn't just hosafos but a new leining.

  4. I hear what you are saying... You've at least convinced me that it's not slam dunk pashut either way.

    Was wondering what would be the din if at the start of a new cycle through zos habracha there is a yisrael who has not gotten an aliya and a kohen who is a katan -- assuming under ordinary circumstances there is no din of v'kidashto for a katan, would you be makdim the yisrael, or since on simchas torah a katan gets an aliya just anyone else (i.e. we treat a katan like a gadol), would you be makdim the katan here?

    I feel bad for the normal people who just get their aliya and then go out of the shul to have kiddush on some scotch without having the pleasure of ever thinking about these issues.

  5. Anonymous3:56 PM

    I agree, not pashut

    Why do you think there's no vekidashto for a katan? (I don't think I have a proof but my svara chitzona is that there is...)

    Also btw, I don't think it's so crazy to give all the kohanim their aliyas at the start of Round 2 (before any yisraelim.) Is it brought down anywhere that this should not be done/that the kohanim should get the first aliya of each round?

    Sass (aka 4669d7a...)