חומש – The five books of the Torah, the first five of Tanach: Bereshit, Shemot, Vayikra, Bemidbar, and Devarim (as we call them today); in English, via Greek and Latin: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. On other terms used for Chumash and its books, see my Introduction to Sefer Bereshit. As the Written Torah […]
Among the special Shabbatot in the calendar year, there are four preceding Pesach known as the Four Parshiyot (Arba Parshiyot – ארבע פרשיות), during which special maftir and haftarah portions are read. In distinction to special Shabbatot that coincide with holidays, the Four Parshiyot do not have a coinciding occasion. Rather, they are tied to […]
The third of three special Shabbatot before Tish’ah be-Av, known as the Three of Rebuke (Telata de-Puranuta – תלתא דפורענותא), when the haftarah read is Chazon Yeshayahu, Yeshayahu 1:1–27.
A special Shabbat and the last of the Four Parshiyot, Shabbat ha-Chodesh (שבת החודש) is the Shabbat before on on the first of Nisan. The maftir comes from Parashat Bo, describing the first month of the year (Chodesh Nisan); the hatarah is Yechezkel 45:16-46:18. It is distinct from Shabbat Rosh Chodesh. Rarely, when one of […]
Shabbat ha-Gadol (שבת הגדול) is the Shabbat before Pesach, during which it is traditional for the rabbi to deliver a special derash (sermon). The haftarah is Malakhi 3:4-24.
Shabbat Machar Chodesh
The Shabbat immediately preceding Rosh Chodesh is called Shabbat Machar Chodesh (שבת מחר חודש) and the haftarah is 1 Shemuel 20:18-42. It is distinct from Shabbat Rosh Chodesh, Shabbat Mevarkhim, and Shabbat ha-Chodesh.
The Shabbat before a week in which Rosh Chodesh falls is called Shabbat Mevarchim (שבת מברכים) and the blessing on the new month, Birkat ha-Chodesh (ברכת החודש), is said. It is distinct from Shabbat Rosh Chodesh, Shabbat Machar Chodesh, and Shabbat ha-Chodesh.
A special Shabbat and the third of the Four Parshiyot, Shabbat Parah is the Shabbat before Shabbat ha-Chodesh. The maftir comes from Chukkat, in which the ritual of the parah adumah (red heifer) is described; the haftarah is Yechezkel 36:16-38.
Shabbat Rosh Chodesh
שבת ראש חודש – At least twice each year, Shabbat coincides with Rosh Chodesh. When this occurs, a special maftir and haftarah are read in honor of Rosh Chodesh. The maftir, Bemidbar 28:9-5, concerns the special korbanot brought for Rosh Chodesh. The haftarah is Yeshayahu 66:1-24 (today in all nuschaot, with verse 66:23 customarily repeated […]
A special Shabbat and the first of the Four Parshiyot, Shabbat Shekalim occurs before or on Rosh Chodesh Adar (Adar Bet in leap years). The special maftir comes from parashat Ki Tissa that describes the half-shekel tax, hence its name; the haftarah is Melachim Bet 12:1-17.