Weekly Torah Readings

Each week in synagogue, we read (or, more accurately, chant, because it is sung) a passage from the Torah. This passage is referred to as a parshah. The first parshah, for example, is Parashat Bereishit, which covers from the beginning of Genesis to the story of Noah. There are 54 parshahs, one for each week of a leap year, so that in the course of a year, we read the entire Torah (Genesis to Deuteronomy) in our services. During non-leap years, there are 50 weeks, so some of the shorter portions are doubled up. We reach the last portion of the Torah around a holiday called Simkhat Torah (Rejoicing in the Law), which occurs in October, a few weeks after Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year). On Simkhat Torah, we read the last portion of the Torah, and proceed immediately to the first paragraph of Genesis, showing that the Torah is a circle, and never ends.

In the synagogue service, the weekly parshah is followed by a passage from the prophets, which is referred to as a haftarah. Contrary to common misconception, “haftarah” does not mean “half-Torah.” The word comes from the Hebrew root Feh-Tet-Resh and means “Concluding Portion”. Usually, haftarah portion is no longer than one chapter, and has some relation to the Torah portion of the week.

The Torah and haftarah readings are performed with great ceremony: the Torah is paraded around the room before it is brought to rest on the bimah (podium). The reading is divided up into portions, and various members of the congregation have the honor of reciting a blessing over a portion of the reading. This honor is referred to as an aliyah (literally, ascension).

The first aliyah of any day’s reading is reserved for a kohein, the second for a Levite, and priority for subsequent aliyoth are given to people celebrating major life events, such as marriage or the birth of a child. In fact, a Bar Mitzvah was originally nothing more than the first aliyah of a boy who had reached the age to be permitted such an honor. Celebrants of life events are ordinarily given the last aliyah, which includes blessing the last part of the Torah reading as well as blessing the haftarah reading. The person given this honor is referred to as the maftir, from the same root as haftarah, meaning “the one who concludes.”

Jewish scriptures are sometimes bound in a form that corresponds to this division into weekly readings. Scriptures bound in this way are generally referred to as a chumash. The word “chumash” comes from the Hebrew word meaning five, and refers to the five books of the Torah. Sometimes, a chumash is simply refers to a collection of the five books of the Torah. But often, a chumash contains the entire first five books, divided up by the weekly parshiyot, with the haftarah portion inserted after each week’s parshah. Table of Weekly Parshiyot

Below is a table of the regular weekly scriptural readings. Haftarot in parentheses indicate Sephardic ritual where it differs from Ashkenazic. There are other variations on the readings, but these are the most commonly used ones. If you want to know the reading for this week, check the Current Calendar.

There are additional special readings for certain holidays and other special days, listed in a separate table below.

Parashat

Torah

Haftarah

Bereishit

Genesis 1:1-6:8

Isaiah 42:5-43:11
(Isaiah 42:5-42:21)

Noach

Genesis 6:9-11:32

Isaiah 54:1-55:5
(Isaiah 54:1-10)

Lekh Lekha

Genesis 12:1-17:27

Isaiah 40:27-41:16

Vayeira

Genesis 18:1-22:24

II Kings 4:1-4:37
(II Kings 4:1-4:23)

Chayei Sarah

Genesis 23:1-25:18

I Kings1:1-1:31

Toldot

Genesis 25:19-28:9

Malachi 1:1-2:7

Vayeitzei

Genesis 28:10-32:3

Hosea 12:13-14:10
(Hosea 11:7-12:12)

Vayishlach

Genesis 32:4-36:43

Hosea 11:7-12:12
(Obadiah1:1-1:21)

Vayyeshev

Genesis 37:1-40:23

Amos 2:6-3:8

Miqeitz

Genesis 41:1-44:17

I Kings 3:15-4:1

Vayigash

Genesis 44:18-47:27

Ezekiel 37:15-37:28

Vayechi

Genesis 47:28-50:26

I Kings 2:1-12

Shemot

Exodus 1:1-6:1

Isaiah 27:6-28:13; 29:22-29:23
(Jeremiah 1:1-2:3)

Va’eira

Exodus 6:2-9:35

Ezekiel 28:25-29:21

Bo

Exodus 10:1-13:16

Jeremiah 46:13-46:28

Beshalach

Exodus 13:17-17:16

Judges 4:4-5:31
(Judges 5:1-5:31)

Yitro

Exodus 18:1-20:23

Isaiah 6:1-7:6; 9:5-9:6
(Isaiah 6:1-6:13)

Mishpatim

Exodus 21:1-24:18

Jeremiah 34:8-34:22; 33:25-33:26

Terumah

Exodus 25:1-27:19

I Kings 5:26-6:13

Tetzaveh

Exodus 27:20-30:10

Ezekiel 43:10-43:27

Ki Tisa

Exodus 30:11-34:35

I Kings 18:1-18:39
(I Kings 18:20-18:39)

Vayaqhel

Exodus 35:1-38:20

I Kings 7:40-7:50
(I Kings 7:13-7:26)

Pequdei

Exodus 38:21-40:38

I Kings 7:51-8:21
(I Kings 7:40-7:50)

Vayiqra

Leviticus 1:1-5:26

Isaiah 43:21-44:23

Tzav

Leviticus 6:1-8:36

Jeremiah 7:21-8:3; 9:22-9:23

Shemini

Leviticus 9:1-11:47

II Samuel 6:1-7:17
(II Samuel 6:1-6:19)

Tazria

Leviticus 12:1-13:59

II Kings 4:42-5:19

Metzora

Leviticus 14:1-15:33

II Kings 7:3-7:20

Acharei

Leviticus 16:1-18:30

Ezekiel 22:1-22:19
(Ezekiel 22:1-22:16)

Qedoshim

Leviticus 19:1-20:27

Amos 9:7-9:15
(Ezekiel 20:2-20:20)

Emor

Leviticus 21:1-24:23

Ezekiel 44:15-44:31

Behar

Leviticus 25:1-26:2

Jeremiah 32:6-32:27

Bechuqotai

Leviticus 26:3-27:34

Jeremiah 16:19-17:14

Bamidbar

Numbers 1:1-4:20

Hosea 2:1-2:22

Nasso

Numbers 4:21-7:89

Judges 13:2-13:25

Beha’alotkha

Numbers 8:1-12:16

Zechariah 2:14-4:7

Shelach

Numbers 13:1-15:41

Joshua 2:1-2:24

Qorach

Numbers 16:1-18:32

I Samuel 11:14-12:22

Chuqat

Numbers 19:1-22:1

Judges 11:1-11:33

Balaq

Numbers 22:2-25:9

Micah 5:6-6:8

Pinchas

Numbers 25:10-30:1

I Kings 18:46-19:21

Mattot

Numbers 30:2-32:42

Jeremiah 1:1-2:3

Masei

Numbers 33:1-36:13

Jeremiah 2:4-28; 3:4
(Jeremiah 2:4-28; 4:1-4:2)

Devarim

Deuteronomy 1:1-3:22

Isaiah 1:1-1:27

Va’etchanan

Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11

Isaiah 40:1-40:26

Eiqev

Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25

Isaiah 49:14-51:3

Re’eh

Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17

Isaiah 54:11-55:5

Shoftim

Deuteronomy 16:18-21:9

Isaiah 51:12-52:12

Ki Teitzei

Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19

Isaiah 54:1-54:10

Ki Tavo

Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8

Isaiah 60:1-60:22

Nitzavim

Deuteronomy 29:9-30:20

Isaiah 61:10-63:9

Vayeilekh

Deuteronomy 31:1-31:30

Isaiah 55:6-56:8

Ha’azinu

Deuteronomy 32:1-32:52

II Samuel 22:1-22:51

Vezot Haberakhah

Deuteronomy 33:1-34:12

Joshua 1:1-1:18
(Joshua 1:1-1:9)

Table of Special Parshiyot

Below are additional readings for holidays and special shabbats. Haftarot in parentheses indicate Sephardic ritual where it differs from Ashkenazic. Note that on holidays, the Maftir portion ordinarily comes from a different Torah scroll. The Maftir portion is usually the Torah portion that institutes the holiday or specifies the holiday’s offerings.

Parashat

Torah

Maftir

Haftarah

Rosh Hashanah, Day 1

Gen 21:1-34

Num 29:1-6

I Sam 1:1-2:10

Rosh Hashanah, Day 2

Gen 22:1-24

Jer 31:1-19

Shabbat Shuvah

   

Hos 14:2-10
Mic 7:18-20

Yom Kippur, Morning

Lev 16:1-34

Num 29:7-11

Is 57:14-58:14

Yom Kippur, Afternoon

Lev 18:1-30

 

Jonah 1:1-4:11
Micah 7:18-20

Sukkot, Day 1

Lev 22:26-23:44

Num 29:12-16

Zech 14:1-21

Sukkot, Day 2

I Kings 8:2-21

Sukkot, Chol Ha-moed Day 1

Num 29:17-25

   

Sukkot, Chol Ha-moed Day 2

Num 29:20-28

   

Sukkot, Chol Ha-moed Day 3

Num 29:23-31

   

Sukkot, Chol Ha-moed Day 4

Num 29:26-34

   

Sukkot, Intermediate Shabbat

Ex 33:12-34:26

 

Ezek 38:18-39:16

Hoshanah Rabbah

Num 29:26-34

   

Shemini Atzeret

Deut 14:22-16:17

Num 29:35-30:1

I Ki 8:54-9:1

Simkhat Torah

Deut 33:1-34:12
Gen 1:1-2:3

Num 29:35-30:1

Josh 1:1-18
(Josh 1:1-9)

Chanukkah, Day 1

Num 7:1-17

   

Chanukkah, Day 2

Num 7:18-29

   

Chanukkah, Day 3

Num 7:24-35

   

Chanukkah, Day 4

Num 7:30-41

   

Chanukkah, Day 5

Num 7:36-47

   

Chanukkah, Day 6 (Rosh Chodesh)

Num 28:1-15
Num 7:42-47

   

Chanukkah, Day 7 (not Rosh Chodesh)

Num 7:48-59

   

Chanukkah, Day 7 (Rosh Chodesh)

Num 28:1-15
Num 7:42-47

   

Chanukkah, Day 8

Num 7:54-8:4

   

Chanukkah, First Shabbat

 

Day 6: Num 28:9-15

Zech 2:14-4:7

Chanukkah, Second Shabbat

 

Num 7:54-8:4

I Ki 7:40-50

Sheqalim

 

Ex 30:11-16

II Ki 11:17-12:17
(II Ki 12:1-17)

Zakhor

Deut 25:17-19

 

I Sam 15:1-34

Purim

Ex 17:8-16

   

Parah

 

Num 19:1-22

Ezek 36:16-38
(Ezek 36:16-36)

Ha-Chodesh

 

Ex 12:1-20

Ezek 45:16-46:18
(Ezek 45:18-46:18)

Shabbat Ha-Gadol

   

Mal 3:4-24

Pesach (Passover), Day 1

Ex12:21-51

Num 28:16-25

Josh3:5-7; 5:2-6:1; 6:27
(Josh 5:2-6:1)

Pesach (Passover), Day 2

Lev 22:26-23:44

II Ki 23:1-9; 21-25

Pesach (Passover), Chol Ha-moed Day 1

Ex 13:1-16;
Num 28:19-25

   

Pesach (Passover), Chol Ha-moed Day 2

Ex 22:24-23:19;
Num 28:19-25

   

Pesach (Passover), Chol Ha-moed Day 3

Ex 34:1-26;
Num 28:19-25

   

Pesach (Passover), Chol Ha-moed Day 4

Ex 9:1-14;
Num 28:19-25

   

Pesach (Passover)
Intermediate Shabbat

Ex 33:12-34:26

Num 28:19-25

Ezek 37:1-37:14
(Ezek 36:37-37:14)

Pesach (Passover), Day 7

Ex 13:17-15:26

II Sam 22:1-51

Pesach (Passover), Day 8 (weekday)

Deut 15:19-16:17

Is 10:32-12:6

Pesach (Passover), Day 8 (Shabbat)

Deut 14:22-16:17

Shavu’ot, Day 1

Ex19:1-20:23

Num 28:26-31

Ezek 1:1-28; 3:12

Shavu’ot, Day 2 (weekday)

Deut 15:19-16:17

Hab 2:20-3:19

Shavu’ot, Day 2 (Shabbat)

Deut 14:22-16:17

Tisha B’Av, Morning

Deut 4:25-40

 

Jer 8:13-9:23

Tisha B’Av, Afternoon

Ex 32:11-14, 34:1-10

 

Isaiah 55:6-56:8
(Hosea 14:2-10; Micah 7:18-20)

Minor Fasts, Morning

Ex 32:11-14; 34:1-10

 

Is 55:6-56:8
(none)

Minor Fasts, Afternoon

Ex 32:11-14; 34:1-10

   

Shabbat Mevarekhim (Shabbat before Rosh Chodesh)

   

I Sam 20:18-42

Rosh Chodesh (weekday)

Num 28:1-15

   

Rosh Chodesh (Shabbat)

 

Num 28:9-15

Is 66:1-24

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