The currently practiced Torah reading in Israel for the first day of Chol Hamoed Pesach is identical to that read in the Diaspora on the same day (where it is the second day of Yom Tov) namely Vayikra 23:26 - 24:44.

This reading is significantly longer than the remaining Chol Hamoed readings (3 aliyot spanning 52 verses, compared with 26 verses for the next longest Chol Hamoed reading).

The earliest basis for this choice seems to be the statement of Abaye in Megillah 31a, which is presumably describing a Babylonian practice.

This got me wondering if there is any evidence as to what the original Israeli practice was to read on this day.

On the one hand, this section is very fitting for the 16th of Nissan as it contains a passage describing the Omer offering brought on that day. On the other hand, as a Chol Hamoed day (rather than a day of Yom Tov) maybe they read a shorter selection rather than all 52 verses? Or maybe they read something else entirely? Or maybe we have evidence that the Israeli custom was indeed to read all 52 verses?

  • On the second day of pesach there's a whole piyut in shacharit about שור או כשב. I don't know how to prove what day it was originally for.
    – Double AA
    Apr 12 '20 at 14:33
  • @DoubleAA they could have stopped after the part about the Omer.
    – Heshy
    Apr 12 '20 at 15:23
  • @DoubleAA Is the piyut of Israeli composition?
    – Joel K
    Apr 12 '20 at 15:45
  • @joelk most are
    – Double AA
    Apr 12 '20 at 21:50
  • 1
    @DoubleAA, were there communities which recited yotzerot and kerovot on chol hamo'ed (aside from Shabbat חוה"מ) ? I would say that if that is not the case, then the association between day 2 and שור או כשב in Israel is unrelated Apr 12 '20 at 23:03

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