Elie's Expositions

A bereaved father blogging for catharsis... and for distraction. Accordingly, you'll see a diverse set of topics and posts here, from the affecting to the analytical to the absurd. Something for everyone, but all, at the core, meeting a personal need.

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Friday, July 06, 2007

Five and One Laining Quiz

"Five To One Baby, One In Five..."
- The Doors

It's been a while since I've posted a Laining [Torah reading] quiz. These questions come courtesy of Soccer Dad, who credits them to a Dr. Saul Shapiro. Actually I remember a variation of the 1st one from my high school days, but the 2nd is new to me, and very clever!

1) When do we read the Torah exactly five days in a row - no more, no less? When is the next time this will happen?

2) Which one single pasuk [verse] in the Torah is lained more frequently than any others? In what year is it lained the most, and how many times is the maximum?

Answers will be posted on Sunday if not already discovered. Good luck and good Shabbos!


At 7/7/07, 3:23 PM, Blogger mother in israel said...

1) When RH falls on a Thursday, as it will in 11 short weeks.

2)THis is from DH: The third pasuk of the korban tamid. He says about 36 times, but it depends on how often RH is one or two days.

At 7/9/07, 9:59 AM, Anonymous Elie said...

MiI: Correct on both counts! Here are a few additional details and explanations:

1) Specifically: Thurs-Fri are Rosh Hashanah, then Shabbos, then Sunday is Tzom Gedaliah nidcheh (pushed off), and finally Monday has laining as usual.

I have also heard this question asked as "When is the Torah read five days in a row without saying Hallel on any of them?"

2) The specific verse is Num 28:3, which is generally repeated twice during each morning's Rosh Chodesh (RC) laining, in order to have enough verses for four aliyahs. There are two exceptions:
a) When RC falls on Shabbos, this verse is not read at all; instead only verses 9-15 are read for maftir.
b) On RC Teves, which coincides with Chanukah, this verse is only read once and not repeated as usual, since one of the four aliyahs is the Chanukah reading from a 2nd sefer torah.

Now, the maximum number of days of RC in a Jewish year is 20. This occurs in a leap year which is also maleh; i.e., the months of Cheshvan and Kislev both have 30 days. To minimize the number of RC days that fall on Shabbos, on which, as stated above, the verse is not read, assume Rosh Hashanah begins on Shabbos that year. Since every seventh day of Rosh Chodesh thereafter falls on Shabbos, there will only be two out of the twenty days of Rosh Chodesh the rest of that year falling on Shabbos.

Thus, in such a year, there will be 16 days of RC on which the verse is read twice as usual, plus the two days of RC Teves/Chanukah on which it is read once, and two others that coincide with Shabbos when it is not read. Adding the annual reading in Parshas Pinchas, that makes a maximum total of 35 times (16 * 2 + 2 + 1) that verse could be read in a year.

So your estimate of 36 was a good one!


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