[Avodah] Two Yisroelim in Shul on a Monday or Thursday who have chiyuvim for an aliyah.

Professor L. Levine llevine at stevens.edu
Mon Jun 11 08:07:53 PDT 2018

>From today's OU Kosher Halacha Yomis

Q. There are two Yisroelim in Shul on a Monday or Thursday who have chiyuvim for an aliyah. Should the Kohanim be asked to leave the shul during Kriyas HaTorah, so that both Yisroelim will receive aliyos?

A. The Mishnah Berurah (135:9) writes that a Kohen may not give up his aliyah because we are obligated to honor a Kohen. This is the case not only on Shabbos or Yom Tov when the Shuls are crowded and it will be noticeable, but even on a Monday or Thursday when it is less obvious. However, many poskim, including Igros Moshe (OC 3:20), write that if there is a pressing need on a Monday or Thursday, a Kohen may be mochel (forgo) his kovod and give up his right to the first aliyah. In such a situation, the Kohen exits the Shul before the Torah reading so as not to cast any doubts on his lineage.

In contrast, Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik, zt”l held that it is not proper for a Kohen to relinquish his aliyah. Aside from the issue of the Kohen being mochel (forgoing) the honor of receiving the first aliyah, there will also be a deficiency in the Kriyas HaTorah itself. The Gemara (Megilla 21b) states that the three aliyos on Monday and Thursday and on Shabbos Mincha were instituted to correspond to the three categories of Jews: Kohanim, Levi’im and Yisroelim. If a Kohen is not called up for an aliyah, the Kriyas HaTorah is lacking this kiyum (fulfillment) of reflecting the three categories of Jews. Therefore, one should not ask a Kohen to forgo his aliyah, since this would diminish the fulfillment of the mitzvah.

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