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I occasionally schmooze with a Bucharian guy at work. He tells me that in his shul, certain aliyot are considered "more important" or "prized aliyot" than others. All the aliyot are sold each week (he says that they hold an auction each Shabbat) and certain aliyot are more "coveted" or "important" than others. For example:

  • Maftir of Parah and Zachor (presumably, b/c these are De'Oraita)
  • 10 Commandments
  • Az Yashir

With my coming from an Ashkenazi background, I'm a bit puzzled by the concept of "importance" regarding Torah reading. In yeshiva, I was told that every part of the Torah is "equally important". Can someone explain to me this entire concept of "prioritizing" certain aliyot? When and why did this originate? And isn't there some prohibition against stating that some part of the Torah is "more important" than something else?

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