Many people use the phrasing "may the Neshama have an Aliyah" at a shiva, shloshim, or yahrtzeit celebration. Which aliyah is better to give to the deceased? Shlishi, Shishi, or Maftir?

Also, when calling up the deceased for the Aliyah, does one change the formula to include an indication that they have passed?

This question is Purim Torah and is not intended to be taken completely seriously. See the Purim Torah policy.

  • 1
    They get Hagbah – Double AA Mar 7 '19 at 16:42
  • Why specifically those three aliyot? – Lo ani Mar 7 '19 at 17:04
  • When you asked the previous question, I sensed that you would ask about this one. – DanF Mar 7 '19 at 18:01
  • @DanF which previous question? – רבות מחשבות Mar 7 '19 at 21:37
  • @רבותמחשבות My mistake. There was another PTIJ question today about aliyot, but it was asked by rosends. – DanF Mar 7 '19 at 21:47

You get maftir, thereby making them the niftar.

  • Excellent use of language! – DanF Mar 7 '19 at 18:02

The Mishnah (Gittin 59a) says:

כהן קורא ראשון ואחריו לוי ואחריו ישראל מפני דרכי שלום

A Kohen reads first, then a Levi, then a Yisrael, because of the ways of peace.

The Gemara (ibid. 59b) explains:

לא שנו אלא בסעודה אבל בבהכ"נ לא דאתו לאינצויי

They only taught [that one waits to accord respect] by a meal, but in a shul, we do not, for people will come to quarrel.

When coming to honor the deceased, everyone is obligated to pay their respects, and so there's no concern for quarrel; therefore, the deceased gets the first Aliyah. This is indicated by the Gemara's following question and answer:

והא רב הונא קרי בכהני בשבתות ויו"ט שאני רב הונא דאפילו רבי אמי ורבי אסי כהני חשיבי דא"י מיכף הוו כייפי ליה

Rav Huna read the Kohen aliyah on Shabbos and Yom Tov! Rav Huna is different, for even R' Ami and R' Asi, the most distinguished Kohanim in Eretz Yisrael, would bow to him.

Since everyone would pay respect to Rav Huna, he could take the Kohen aliyah, even without being a Kohen himself. So, too, since everyone pays respect to the deceased, he gets the Kohen aliyah.


There is an ancient custom of burying deceased Jews in Israel, dating all the way back to Yaakov Avinu. When people say this phrase, they are expressing their wish that the person will make aliya, so to speak, and be buried in Israel. If the person has already been buried, the bracha is still applicable as even the original occurrence of this practice involved exhuming the body and transporting it to Israel.

  • This doesn't answer the question. He asks which aliyah people should get. – DanF Mar 7 '19 at 18:11
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    @DanF It does answer the question. He’s saying that the OP misunderstood the phrase “to get an Aliyah”. – DonielF Mar 7 '19 at 18:12
  • @DonielF Ah, yes. that's implied by the 2nd paragraph. – DanF Mar 7 '19 at 18:17

He gets the Levi aliyah. And this is regardless of whether he's a Levi or not.

The reason is that in a sense, during yahrtzeit, the spirit or "memory" of the dead person comes back down to Earth to be with the person who has Yahrtzeit. Yes, the dead person's neshama "gets an aliyah", but to get there, he needs a לוייה .

As a matter of fact, even a Cohen should get the Levi Aliyah and not the Cohen aliyah. Because even Cohanim need a לוייה .

  • Don’t we make a חילוק between before death and after death? What Aliyah do Leviim get? Also, מעלים בקודש ולא מורידין - why do Kohanim get downgraded to Levi? – DonielF Mar 7 '19 at 18:11
  • @DonielF See the 2nd sentence. I said whether you're a Levi or not. See new edits above. – DanF Mar 7 '19 at 18:16
  • The question was about what aliya the deceased should get. – Daniel Mar 7 '19 at 18:35
  • I would have thought that לויית המת refers to the "levi aliya that you give a dead person". – Nic Mar 7 '19 at 18:41
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    @Nic That seems reasonable. But if the deceased is a kohein, it seems to me that he should also get the kohein aliya, lest someone think the kohein who did get that aliya was pasul – Daniel Mar 7 '19 at 18:49

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