Weekly Torah Readings


Each week in synagogue, we read (or, more accurately, chant, because it is sung) a passage from the Torah. This passage is referred to as a parshah. The first parshah, for example, is Parashat Bereishit, which covers from the beginning of Genesis to the story of Noah. There are 54 parshahs, one for each week of a leap year, so that in the course of a year, we read the entire Torah (Genesis to Deuteronomy) in our services. During non-leap years, there are 50 weeks, so some of the shorter portions are doubled up. We reach the last portion of the Torah around a holiday called Simkhat Torah (Rejoicing in the Law), which occurs in October, a few weeks after Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year). On Simkhat Torah, we read the last portion of the Torah, and proceed immediately to the first paragraph of Genesis, showing that the Torah is a circle, and never ends.

In the synagogue service, the weekly parshah is followed by a passage from the prophets, which is referred to as a haftarah. Contrary to common misconception, “haftarah” does not mean “half-Torah.” The word comes from a Hebrew word meaning end or conclusion. Usually, haftarah portion is no longer than one chapter, and has some relation to the Torah portion of the week.

The Torah and haftarah readings are performed with great ceremony: the Torah is paraded around the room before it is brought to rest on the bimah (podium). The reading is divided up into portions, and various members of the congregation have the honor of reciting a blessing over a portion of the reading. This honor is referred to as an aliyah (literally, ascension). The first aliyah of any day's reading is reserved for a kohein, the second for a Levite, and priority for subsequent aliyoth are given to people celebrating major life events, such as marriage or the birth of a child. In fact, a Bar Mitzvah was originally nothing more than the first aliyah of a boy who had reached the age to be permitted such an honor.

For more information about services, see Jewish Liturgy.

Jewish scriptures are sometimes bound in a form that corresponds to this division into weekly readings. Scriptures bound in this way are generally referred to as a chumash. The word “chumash” comes from the Hebrew word meaning five, and refers to the five books of the Torah. Sometimes, a chumash is simply refers to a collection of the five books of the Torah. But often, a chumash contains the entire first five books, divided up by the weekly parshiyot, with the haftarah portion inserted after each week's parshah.

Table of Weekly Parshiyot

Below is a table of the regular weekly scriptural readings. Haftarot in parentheses indicate Sephardic ritual where it differs from Ashkenazic. There are additional special readings for certain holidays and other special days, listed in a separate table below.

Parashat Torah Haftarah
Bereishit Genesis 1:1-6:8 Isaiah 42:5-43:11
(Isaiah 42:5-42:21)
Noach Genesis 6:9-11:32 Isaiah 54:1-55:5
(Isaiah 54:1-10)
Lekh Lekha Genesis 12:1-17:27 Isaiah 40:27-41:16
Vayeira Genesis 18:1-22:24 II Kings 4:1-4:37
(II Kings 4:1-4:23)
Chayei Sarah Genesis 23:1-25:18 I Kings1:1-1:31
Toldot Genesis 25:19-28:9 Malachi 1:1-2:7
Vayeitzei Genesis 28:10-32:3 Hosea 12:13-14:10
(Hosea 11:7-12:12)
Vayishlach Genesis 32:4-36:43 Hosea 11:7-12:12
(Obadiah1:1-1:21)
Vayyeshev Genesis 37:1-40:23 Amos 2:6-3:8
Miqeitz Genesis 41:1-44:17 I Kings 3:15-4:1
Vayigash Genesis 44:18-47:27 Ezekiel 37:15-37:28
Vayechi Exodus 47:28-50:26 I Kings 2:1-12
Shemot Exodus 1:1-6:1 Isaiah 27:6-28:13; 29:22-29:23
(Jeremiah 1:1-2:3)
Va'eira Exodus 6:2-9:35 Ezekiel 28:25-29:21
Bo Exodus 10:1-13:16 Jeremiah 46:13-46:28
Beshalach Exodus 13:17-17:16 Judges 4:4-5:31
(Judges 5:1-5:31)
Yitro Exodus 18:1-20:23 Isaiah 6:1-7:6; 9:5-9:6
(Isaiah 6:1-6:13)
Mishpatim Exodus 21:1-24:18 Jeremiah 34:8-34:22; 33:25-33:26
Terumah Exodus 25:1-27:19 I Kings 5:26-6:13
Tetzaveh Exodus 27:20-30:10 Ezekiel 43:10-43:27
Ki Tisa Exodus 30:11-34:35 I Kings 18:1-18:39
(I Kings 18:20-18:39)
Vayaqhel Exodus 35:1-38:20 I Kings 7:40-7:50
(I Kings 7:13-7:26)
Pequdei Exodus 38:21-40:38 I Kings 7:51-8:21
(I Kings 7:40-7:50)
Vayiqra Leviticus 1:1-5:26 Isaiah 43:21-44:23
Tzav Leviticus 6:1-8:36 Jeremiah 7:21-8:3; 9:22-9:23
Shemini Leviticus 9:1-11:47 II Samuel 6:1-7:17
(II Samuel 6:1-6:19)
Tazria Leviticus 12:1-13:59 II Kings 4:42-5:19
Metzora Leviticus 14:1-15:33 II Kings 7:3-7:20
Acharei Leviticus 16:1-18:30 Ezekiel 22:1-22:19
(Ezekiel 22:1-22:16)
Qedoshim Leviticus 19:1-20:27 Amos 9:7-9:15
(Ezekiel 20:2-20:20)
Emor Leviticus 21:1-24:23 Ezekiel 44:15-44:31
Behar Leviticus 25:1-26:2 Jeremiah 32:6-32:27
Bechuqotai Leviticus 26:3-27:34 Jeremiah 16:19-17:14
Bamidbar Numbers 1:1-4:20 Hosea 2:1-2:22
Nasso Numbers 4:21-7:89 Judges 13:2-13:25
Beha'alotkha Numbers 8:1-12:16 Zechariah 2:14-4:7
Shelach Numbers 13:1-15:41 Joshua 2:1-2:24
Qorach Numbers 16:1-18:32 I Samuel 11:14-12:22
Chuqat Numbers 19:1-22:1 Judges 11:1-11:33
Balaq Numbers 22:2-25:9 Micah 5:6-6:8
Pinchas Numbers 25:10-30:1 I Kings 18:46-19:21
Mattot Numbers 30:2-32:42 Jeremiah 1:1-2:3
Masei Numbers 33:1-36:13 Jeremiah 2:4-28; 3:4
(Jeremiah 2:4-28; 4:1-4:2)
Devarim Deuteronomy 1:1-3:22 Isaiah 1:1-1:27
Va'etchanan Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11 Isaiah 40:1-40:26
Eiqev Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25 Isaiah 49:14-51:3
Re'eh Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17 Isaiah 54:11-55:5
Shoftim Deuteronomy 16:18-21:9 Isaiah 51:12-52:12
Ki Teitzei Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19 Isaiah 54:1-54:10
Ki Tavo Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8 Isaiah 60:1-60:22
Nitzavim Deuteronomy 29:9-30:20 Isaiah 61:10-63:9
Vayeilekh Deuteronomy 31:1-31:30 Isaiah 55:6-56:8
Ha'azinu Deuteronomy 32:1-32:52 II Samuel 22:1-22:51
Vezot Haberakhah Deuteronomy 33:1-34:12 Joshua 1:1-1:18
(Joshua 1:1-1:9)

Table of Special Parshiyot

Below are additional readings for holidays and special sabbaths. Haftarot in parentheses indicate Sephardic ritual where it differs from Ashkenazic.

Parashat Torah Haftarah
Rosh Hashanah, Day 1 Genesis 21:1-34
Numbers 29:1-6
I Samuel 1:1-2:10
Rosh Hashanah, Day 2 Genesis 22:1-24
Numbers 29:1-6
Jeremiah 31:2-20
Shabbat Shuvah Hosea 14:2-10
Micah 7:18-20
Yom Kippur, Morning Leviticus 16:1-34
Numbers 29:7-11
Isaiah 57:14-58:14
Yom Kippur, Afternoon Leviticus 18:1-30 Jonah 1:1-4:11
Micah 7:18-20
Sukkot, Day 1 Leviticus 22:26-23:44
Numbers 29:12-16
Zechariah 14:1-21
Sukkot, Day 2 Leviticus 22:26-23:44
Numbers 29:12-16
I Kings 8:2-21
Sukkot, Intermediate Sabbath Exodus 33:12-34:26 Ezekiel 38:18-39:16
Shemini Atzeret Deuteronomy 14:22-16:17
Numbers 29:35-30:1
I Kinks 8:54-66
Simkhat Torah Deuteronomy 33:1-34:12
Genesis 1:1-2:3
Numbers 29:35-30:1
Joshua 1:1-18
(Joshua 1:1-9)
Channukah, First Sabbath Zechariah 2:14-4:7
Channukah, Second Sabbath I Kings 7:40-50
Sheqalim Exodus 30:11-16 II Kings 12:1-17
(II Kings 11:17-12:17)
Zakhor Deuteronomy 25:17-19 I Samuel 15:2-34
Purim Exodus 17:8-16
Parah Numbes 19:1-22 Ezekiel 36:16-38
(Ezekiel 36:16-36)
Ha-Chodesh Exodus 12:1-20 Ezekiel 45:16-46:18
(Ezekiel 45:18-46:18)
Shabbat Ha-Gadol Malachi 3:4-24
Passover, Day 1 Exodus 12:21-51
Numbers 28:16-25
Joshua 3:5-7; 5:2-6:1; 6:27
(Joshua 5:2-6:1)
Passover, Day 2 Leviticus 22:26-23:44
Numbers 28:16-25
II Kings 23:1-9; 21-25
Passover, Intermediate Sabbath Exodus 33:12-34:26
Numbers 28:19-25
Ezekial 36:37-37:14
(Ezekial 37:1-37:14)
Passover, Day 7 Exodus 13:17-15:26
Numbers 28:19-25
II Samuel 22:1-51
Passover, Day 8 Deuteronomy 15:19-16:17
Numbers 28:19-25
Isaiah 10:32-12:6
Shavu'ot, Day 1 Exodus 19:1-20:23
Numbers 28:26-31
Ezekiel 1:1-28; 3:12
Shavu'ot, Day 2 Deuteronomy 15:19-16:17
Numbers 28:26-31
Habakkuk 3:1-19
Tisha B'Av, Morning Deuteronomy 4:25-40 Jeremiah 8:13-9:23
Tisha B'Av, Afternoon Exodus 32:11-14, 34:1-10 Isaiah 55:6-56:8
(Hosea 14:2-10; Micah 7:18-20)
Fasts Exodus 32:11-14, 34:1-10 Isaiah 55:6-56:8
(none)
Shabbat Rosh Chodesh Numbers 28:9-15 Isaiah 66:1-24
Shabbat before Rosh Chodesh I Samuel 20:18

Source: Judaism 101.