Take the 2-minute tour ×
Mi Yodeya is a question and answer site for those who base their lives on Jewish law and tradition and anyone interested in learning more. It's 100% free, no registration required.

The second aliya of Vayeira begins at 18:15, with the end of the Sarah-denying-having-laughed episode. It then goes on to focus on S'dom and the other cities. This happens in the middle of a column, not near a "paragraph" break of either sort, so the division isn't dictated by those boundaries so far as I can tell. Nor is 18:15 a "down" note that we wouldn't want to end an aliya on.

So why is 18:15 the first verse of the second aliya and not the last verse of the first one?

share|improve this question
2  
Prompted by the weekly topic challenge, and having leined this and wondered at the time... –  Monica Cellio Mar 29 '12 at 21:02
2  
I'm guessing it's to end on a high note ("son") rather than a somewhat low note ("you laughed", which was viewed as a bad thing). As it's purely a guess, though, I'm not posting it as an answer. –  msh210 Mar 29 '12 at 21:08
1  
As @msh210 posted 31 seconds before me, I dont know the source of offhand, but we try to end Aliyot on a positive note. Instead of ending with a criticism of Sara, we end with a promise for children. Thats my guess at least, but perhaps someone discusses it. –  Baal Shemot Tovot Mar 29 '12 at 21:08
add comment

1 Answer 1

up vote 4 down vote accepted
+25

Ephraim Stulberg, in an interesting article on the subject of the division of Aliyot (available here), suggests that as an extension of the theme of ending on a good note, the 'divisors' tried to end aliyot with dramatic and uplifticing messages as a climax to the aliya. His examples are: Gen 9:17, 13:4, 13:18, 19:20, 28:22, 33:5, 33:20, 42:18, 49:18, Ex 9:16, 14:8, Lev 9:23, and Num 14:7. He lists Gen 18:14 as a possible member of this category, because it is quite exciting and climactic when Sara first hears she will have a child.

share|improve this answer
    
You should probably provide excerpts from the examples he provides, for passers-by without a text handy. :) –  Aarthi Apr 24 '12 at 18:01
1  
@Aarthi I can try to do so later on. In my defense, the original author himself only brought an except from one of them (Gen 42:18) and left the others as references. –  Double AA Apr 24 '12 at 18:06
    
Ah! Totally understandable; I mostly meant that from my perspective. As someone with neither reference materials handy, nor a better knowledge of scriptures, I find it hard to judge answers that are more citation than material, you know? Not a slight against you -- a request from an acknowledged gentile. :D –  Aarthi Apr 24 '12 at 18:12
    
@Aarthi Done. And remember that you always have reference materials handy: mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt0.htm :) –  Double AA Apr 24 '12 at 18:20
    
Wow, how many comments are there from @Aarthi on the content of M.Y. questions and answers? –  Seth J Oct 16 '13 at 14:01
show 1 more comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.