Abstract

A Commentary on a Beraita concerning Reading the Torah

Meir Bar-Ilan

The aim of this paper is to refute a recent article by E. Fleischer, 'Annual and Trinnial Reading of the Bible in the Old Synagogue', Tarbiz, 61 (1992), pp. 25-43 (Hebrew). In this paper, based on Fleicsher's interpretation of a beraita in b. Megila 31b, Fleischer claims that the Annual reading was known in the Land of Israel in the days of the Tannaim (and not only in Babylon).

According to the writer of this paper, Fleischer's innovation is based on suggestions and assumptions with no grounds that contradict either the normative or the modern explanation of this beraita. R. Shimon b. Elazar knew a tradition that in the Land of Israel - established by Ezra - it was customary to read blessings and curses in the Torah before Rosh HaShana and Shevuoth besides (or without) the regular reading cycle every Shabath.

The beraita doesn't reflect an annual reading, but rather a custom, no longer in existence, that has its parallels in the special readings near Purim and Pesach, and is supported by m. Sota 7:2.

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last updated: January 6, 1997