Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Why is Israel Still One Parsha Ahead?

Why is Israel on a different parsha track then the rest of the world? Since Pesach they have been one parsha ahead. This means that if you are traveling to Israel, you will miss a parsha.

It all started on Pesach, being that outside the Holy Land we are obligated to celebrate an eighth day, when in Israel Pesach is seven days. When the eighth day falls on Shabbos, in Israel that Shabbos is not Pesach anymore, so they read the next parsha. Out of Israel, it is still Pesach, and the Torah reading is on the holiday theme. It is only the next week that the next parsha is read. And so the parsha in Israel is one week ahead.

This goes on for about four months, until the parshas of Matot and Maasei are combined outside of Israel while in Israel they remain separated, and we are back on the same track.

Between Pesach and Matot Maasei there are, depending on the year, three or four double parshas. Which could put us on the same track as early as the Shabbos following Pesach. So, why do we wait until Matot Maasei, about four months later?

The first thing to understand is that the schedule of the parshas was established outside of the land of Israel. At a time, when in Israel, the Jewish community was small and less educated, and they would read the Torah completing it over a three year cycle.

Later, when Israel, once again became a center of Torah, it adopted the system from outside the Land. Every few years, because of the extra Shabbos, Israel is forced to go on to a different track, while outside of Israel, they remain on the regular track.

We remain with one question. Why were these parshas, outside the Land, set up this way?

The answer is, that when setting up the parsha system, they wanted that parshas Pinchas should, whenever possible, be read during the Three Weeks, between the 17th of Tamuz and the 9th of Av (Tisha B'Av). Which is the saddest time on the Jewish calendar. Pinchas has the holiday sacrifice readings, which is joyous, and sweetens the harshness of the time.

They also established, that parshas Bechukosai, which has the curses, be read before Shavuoth, with at least one parsha, usually parshas Bamidbar, buffering between the curses and Shavuoth. This can cause the tracks to align earlier.

When Moshiach comes, The Three Weeks will become a happy time, and parshas Pinchas will be unnecessary to sweeten the time. Perhaps then we will be able to align the tracks earlier, which won't matter much, because we will all be living in Israel.

(All of the information above, was gleaned from questions I posed to rabbis who visited me. As I am limited to the books that I have on my eye gaze computer. Therefore, I request, that if you have more information on the subject, or if there are inaccuracies in what I wrote, please share it in the comments section below.)
Thank you Mendy Bortunk and DH for your incites.


  1. WOW! A midweek vort - what a treat! Thanks for the excellent info! I can't add too much to this subject except that also Bamidbar should be before Shavuos. I remember that Shulchan Aruch in siman 428 discusses the parsha alignment. Maybe it's time for me to finally read up on it and figure it out!

  2. Wow!!!

    The Hashgacha Pratis here is unreal! I just had the same question and thought to myself I should really find out the reason for it. I then checked your blog as I missed last week's lesson, and not only have you decided to write on a Tuesday, but you've also answered my question!

    How amazing are the ways of Hashem!!!

    As I take the time to write this, I want to add that the strength you show during such a trying time is such an inspiration, it really helps me in developing a relationship with G-d.

    Thank you!