It has been suggested that this article be merged into Parashah. (Discuss) Proposed since January 2024.
A Torah scroll and silver pointer (yad) used in reading.

It is a custom among religious Jewish communities for a weekly Torah portion to be read during Jewish prayer services on Monday, Thursday, and Saturday. The full name, Parashat HaShavua (Hebrew: פָּרָשַׁת הַשָּׁבוּעַ), is popularly abbreviated to parashah (also parshah /pɑːrʃə/ or parsha), and is also known as a Sidra or Sedra /sɛdrə/.

The parashah is a section of the Torah (Five Books of Moses) used in Jewish liturgy during a particular week. There are 54 parshas, or parashiyot in Hebrew, and the full cycle is read over the course of one Biblical year.

Content and number

Each Torah portion consists of two to six chapters to be read during the week. There are 54 weekly portions or parashot. Torah reading mostly follows an annual cycle beginning and ending on the Jewish holiday of Simchat Torah, with the divisions corresponding to the lunisolar Hebrew calendar, which contains up to 55 weeks, the exact number varying between leap years and regular years.

There are some deviations to the cyclic regularity noted above, all related to the week of Passover and the week of Sukkot. For both holidays, the first day of the holiday may fall on a Sabbath, in which case the Torah reading consists of a special portion relevant to the holiday rather than a portion in the normal cyclical sequence. When either holiday does not begin on a Sabbath, yet a different 'out of cycle' portion is read on the Sabbath within the holiday week.

Immediately following Sukkot is the holiday of Shemini Atzeret. In Israel, this holiday coincides with Simchat Torah; in the Jewish Diaspora, Simchat Torah is celebrated on the day following Shemini Atzeret. If Shemini Atzeret falls on a Sabbath, in the Diaspora a special 'out of cycle' Torah reading is inserted for that day. The final parashah, V'Zot HaBerachah, is always read on Simchat Torah.

Apart from this "immovable" final portion, there can be up to 53 weeks available for the other 53 portions. In years with fewer than 53 available weeks, some readings are combined so as to fit into the needed number of weekly readings.

The annual completion of the Torah readings on Simchat Torah, translating to "Rejoicing of the Torah", is marked by Jewish communities around the world.


Each weekly Torah portion takes its name from the first distinctive word or two in the Hebrew text of the portion in question, often from the first verse.

Practice: who, when, what

The appropriate parashah is chanted publicly. In most communities, it is read by a designated reader (ba'al koreh) in Jewish prayer services, starting with a partial reading on the afternoon of Shabbat, the Jewish Sabbath, i.e. Saturday afternoon, again during the Monday and Thursday morning services, and ending with a full reading during the following Shabbat morning services (Saturday morning). The weekly reading is pre-empted by a special reading on major religious holidays. Each Saturday morning and holiday reading is followed by an often similarly themed reading (Haftarah) from the Book of Prophets (Nevi'im).


The custom dates to the time of the supposed Babylonian captivity (6th century BCE). The origin of the first public Torah readings is found in the Book of Nehemiah, where Ezra the scribe writes about wanting to find a way to ensure the Israelites would not go astray again. This led to the creation of a weekly system to read the portions of the Torah at synagogues.[1]

Alternative triennial cycle

In ancient times some Jewish communities practiced a triennial cycle of readings.[citation needed] In the 19th and 20th centuries, many congregations in the Reform and Conservative Jewish movements implemented an alternative triennial cycle in which only one-third of each weekly parashah was read in a given year; and this pattern continues. The parashot read are still consistent with the annual cycle, but the entire Torah is completed over three years. Orthodox Judaism does not follow this practice.

Differences between Israel and the diaspora

Due to different lengths of holidays in Israel and the Diaspora, the portion that is read on a particular week will sometimes not be the same inside and outside Israel.

Differences between communities

While the Parshyot divisions are fairly standardized, there are various communities with differing parsha divisions. For example, many Yemenites combine Korach with the first half of Chukat and the second half of Chukat ("Vayis'u mi-kadesh") with Balak instead of combining Matot and Masei,[2] and some Syrian communities combine Korach and Chukat instead of Matot and Masei.[3] In Provence and Tunisia, Mishpatim and Im Kesef Talveh were occasionally divided so that Matot and Masei would always be read together.[4]

Base for division into portions

The division of parashiot found in the modern-day Torah scrolls of all Ashkenazic, Sephardic, and Yemenite communities is based upon the systematic list provided by Maimonides in Mishneh Torah, Laws of Tefillin, Mezuzah and Torah Scrolls, Chapter 8. Maimonides based his division of the parashot for the Torah on the Masoretic text of the Aleppo Codex.[5]

Table of weekly readings

In the table, a portion that may be combined with the following portion to compensate for the changing number of weeks in the lunisolar year, is marked with an asterisk. The following chart will show the weekly readings.

Book Parsha name English equivalent[6] Parsha Portion
Bereshit (Genesis): 12 Bereshit, בְּרֵאשִׁית In the Beginning Gen. 1:1-6:8
Noach, נֹחַ Noah 6:9-11:32
Lech-Lecha, לֶךְ-לְךָ Go Forth! 12:1-17:27
Vayeira, וַיֵּרָא And He Appeared 18:1-22:24
Chayei Sarah, חַיֵּי שָׂרָה The Life of Sarah 23:1-25:18
Toledot, תּוֹלְדֹת Generations 25:19-28:9
Vayetze, וַיֵּצֵא And He Went Out 28:10-32:3
Vayishlach, וַיִּשְׁלַח And He Sent Out 32:4-36:43
Vayeshev, וַיֵּשֶׁב And He Settled 37:1-40:23
Miketz, מִקֵּץ At the End 41:1-44:17
Vayigash, וַיִּגַּשׁ And He Approached 44:18-47:27
Vayechi, וַיְחִי And He Lived 47:28-50:26
Shemot (Exodus): 11 Shemot, שְׁמוֹת Names Ex. 1:1-6:1
Va'eira, וָאֵרָא And I Appeared 6:2-9:35
Bo, בֹּא Come! 10:1-13:16
Beshalach, בְּשַׁלַּח When He Sent Out 13:17-17:16
Yitro, יִתְרוֹ Jethro 18:1-20:22
Mishpatim, מִּשְׁפָּטִים Laws 21:1-24:18
Terumah, תְּרוּמָה Donation 25:1-27:19
Tetzaveh, תְּצַוֶּה You Shall Command 27:20-30:10
Ki Tisa, כִּי תִשָּׂא When You Count 30:11-34:35
*Vayakhel, וַיַּקְהֵל And He Assembled 35:1-38:20
Pekudei, פְקוּדֵי Accountings 38:21-40:38
Vayikra (Leviticus): 10 Vayikra, וַיִּקְרָא And He Called Lev. 1:1-6:7
Tzav, צַו Command! 6:8-8:36
Shemini, שְּׁמִינִי Eighth 9:1-11:47
*Tazria, תַזְרִיעַ She Bears Seed 12:1-13:59
Metzora, מְּצֹרָע Leprous 14:1-15:33
*Acharei Mot, אַחֲרֵי מוֹת After the Death 16:1-18:30
Kedoshim, קְדֹשִׁים Holy Ones 19:1-20:27
Emor, אֱמֹר Speak! 21:1-24:23
*Behar, בְּהַר On the Mount 25:1-26:2
Bechukotai, בְּחֻקֹּתַי In My Statutes 26:3-27:34
Bemidbar (Numbers): 10 Bamidbar, בְּמִדְבַּר In the Wilderness Num. 1:1-4:20
Naso, נָשֹׂא Count! 4:21-7:89
Behaalotecha, בְּהַעֲלֹתְךָ When You Raise 8:1-12:16
Shlach, שְׁלַח-לְךָ Send Out! 13:1-15:41
Korach, קֹרַח Korach 16:1-18:32
*Chukat, חֻקַּת Statute 19:1-22:1
Balak, בָּלָק Balak 22:2-25:9
Pinchas, פִּינְחָס Phineas 25:10-30:1
*Matot, מַּטּוֹת Tribes 30:2-32:42
Masei, מַסְעֵי Journeys 33:1-36:13
Devarim (Deuteronomy): 11 Devarim, דְּבָרִים Words Deut. 1:1-3:22
Va'etchanan, וָאֶתְחַנַּן And I Pleaded 3:23-7:11
Eikev, עֵקֶב As a Consequence 7:12-11:25
Re'eh, רְאֵה See! 11:26-16:17
Shoftim, שֹׁפְטִים Judges 16:18-21:9
Ki Teitzei, כִּי-תֵצֵא When You Go Out 21:10-25:19
Ki Tavo, כִּי-תָבוֹא When You Come In 26:1-29:8
*Nitzavim, נִצָּבִים Standing 29:9-30:20
Vayelech, וַיֵּלֶךְ And He Went 31:1-31:30
Haazinu, הַאֲזִינוּ Listen! 32:1-32:52
V'Zot HaBerachah, וְזֹאת הַבְּרָכָה And This Is the Blessing 33:1-34:12

See also


  1. ^ "This Week's Torah Portion | Parsha Brought To Life". Retrieved 2018-06-01.
  2. ^ Siddur Mahartiz page 191a.
  3. ^ Bet Dino shel Shelomo, page 51.
  4. ^ Customs of Tunisian Jews.
  5. ^ Though initially doubted by Umberto Cassuto, this has become the established position in modern scholarship. (See the Aleppo Codex article for more information.)
  6. ^ "". Archived from the original on 2015-04-02. Retrieved 2012-05-24.