Mismatched Torah Portions

I flew to Israel last week and on Shabbat they read a different Torah portion than the one they were reading at my synagogue back home. What gives?

The Aish Rabbi Replies:

This is a good question, and it stems from the fact that Jews in Israel keep one day of Yom Tov, while Yom Tov lasts two days in the Diaspora.

As you know, one Torah portion is read every week in the synagogue on Shabbat. However, when a Yom Tov falls out on Shabbat, the weekly Torah portion is delayed and the special holiday portion is read instead.

Now imagine a case where Yom Tov falls out on Friday. In Israel, the following day - Shabbat - will have the regular Torah reading for that Shabbat. But in the Diaspora, when Shabbat is the second day of Yom Tov, the Shabbat reading is replaced by the reading for Yom Tov.

In that way, those living in the Diaspora actually fall one Torah portion behind Israel.

Don't worry, though. Everyone catches up within a few weeks. This is achieved by having only those outside of Israel double-up and read two Torah portions together on the same Shabbat. After that, things are re-aligned.

More Questions


Due to limited resources, the Ask the Rabbi service is intended for Jews of little background with nowhere else to turn. People with questions in Jewish law should consult their local rabbi. Note that this is not a homework service!

Ask the Aish Rabbi a Question

See More

Receive the Aish.com Daily Features Email

Sign up to our Daily Email Jewsletter.

Our privacy policy