Question:

I enjoy your website and regularly visit the section on the weekly Torah portion. Recently I discovered, to my great surprise, that on the top right-hand side of the Parshah homepage, you write: "In Israel, this week we read: .... [here appears the name, and a link to, the following week's Torah reading]."

What is going on?

Answer:

Once in several years, for a few weeks, different Torah portions are read in Israel and in the Diaspora. This year (2022-5782) happens to be one of those years.

Why does this happen? Here is the basic idea:

  • The Torah is apportioned into 54 readings, and each Shabbat we read a portion according to a predetermined order. When a holiday falls on Shabbat, we substitute the reading of the weekly portion with a section from the Torah that relates to that holiday.
  • In the diaspora, the holidays of Sukkot (and Shemini Atzeret), Passover, and Shavuot are celebrated for an extra day (known as "the second holiday of the Diaspora").

This year, the holiday of Passover started on Shabbat. In Israel it was celebrated for seven days, ending on Friday. The next day was Shabbat and everyone there read the Torah portion of Acharei Mot.

Outside of Israel, however, the holiday was celebrated for an eighth day, when everyone read the Torah reading for the final day of Passover. The Torah portion of Acharei Mot wasn't read until the following week—by which time synagogues in Israel were already up to the next portion, Kedoshim. That's how Diaspora Jews ended up behind by one portion.

But no worries: We in the Diaspora will soon catch up with our Israeli brethren. How? Because on the Shabbat of 2 Av (July 30), those in Israel will read the Torah portion of Masei, while we will read two portions—Matot and Masei—joined together. Once again, all the Jewish People will be in synch.

Rabbi Mendy Kaminker,
Editor, He.Chabad.org