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This year (5772) the seventh day of Pesach is on a Friday, so the diaspora has an 8th day of chag on Shabbat but Israel does not. The diaspora will thus read Sh'mini on April 21, Tazria-Metzora on Apr 28, and so on through Bamidbar right before Shavuot. Israel, on the other hand, will read Sh'mini on April 14, Tazria-Metzora on April 21, and so on, waiting until Behar-Bechukotai to split a double (to end up at Bamidbar before Shavuot, as we expect).

There are three double parshiyot between April 14 and Shavuot. I would have expected the first one to be split in order to get the readings back in sync as soon as possible. (This would have meant being out of sync for only two weeks.) Instead, the calendars are not re-aligned until the last of the doubles. Why is that?

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FWIW if it was a leap year, then all the double parshiyot would already be split and Israel and Chul would be off sync until Mattot-Masei. –  Double AA Apr 6 '12 at 6:35

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The reason we have double parshiyos in the first place is in order to satisfy the four basic rules (given in Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 428:4) about the distribution of parshiyos throughout the year. In particular, the first two are: that the Shabbos before Pesach has to be Parshas Tzav in a regular year, or Metzora in a leap year; and that the Shabbos before Shavuos has to be Parshas Bamidbar. Since Tzav is the 25th parshah in the Torah, and Bamidbar is the 34th, and since in most regular years there are only six Shabbasos available between Pesach and Shavuos, then the standard layout is that there are three pairs of double parshiyos during Iyar in a regular year.

R. Yissachar ibn Susan (Tikkun Yissachar) writes, then, that if the people of Eretz Yisrael were to split apart an earlier pair of parshiyos (Tazria-Metzora or Acharei-Kedoshim), then that would imply that they are less important than the Jews living outside the Land (in that they have to change their usual practice for the sake of the chutzniks). Instead, then, they wait until the last available pair (in this case, Behar-Bechukosai) and then split that pair up, because at that point there's no choice - they have to do so in order that Bamidbar be read on the Shabbos before Shavuos.

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So why Chukat-Balak and not Mattot-Masei for years where 6 Sivan is Friday? –  Double AA Apr 6 '12 at 21:08
@DoubleAA: because in that kind of year (as in most others) it's normal for Matos-Mas'ei to be combined. So again, the bnei Eretz Yisrael keep their normal practice. –  Alex Apr 6 '12 at 23:44
@Alex, in the page after the one you linked to, it sounds like he thinks that people in E"Y and CHU"L only synchronize after a Friday-Shavuos after six weeks (i.e. Mattos-Masei). –  jake Apr 7 '12 at 0:00
@Alex, Ah, good point. I must have counted wrong. –  jake Apr 7 '12 at 0:09
@DoubleAA: Maharit (2:4) says that we try to place the double parshah as close to the next of the four checkpoints as possible, in order to demonstrate that we are doing so in order to keep to the rules. –  Alex Apr 9 '12 at 17:25

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