Sometimes, our traditional approach to the reading includes having the congregation recite a short section of the reading aloud before the Torah reader does it, and then he follows. The most frequently occurring version of this is on minor fast days, when the Torah reading includes three such repetitions. We also do this several times on Simchat Torah during the reading of the beginning of Bereishit and also multiple times during the reading of Esther on Purim (which is not a Torah reading per se, but expects largely similar behaviors).

When I am present in the synagogue during the Torah reading, I typically read along quietly with the public reading, as I believe is the optimal practice. [See Update below.] I've always wondered what I'm supposed to do when the Torah reader repeats these sections after the congregation. Should I just listen while he reads because I've already said it, or should I read along with him, because that's what I always do? I'm leaning toward the former because some of these passages break in the middle of a verse, and it seems wrong to stop in the middle of a verse, go back, and start reading from the beginning of another verse.

Similarly, what should I do if I am called up for the Aliya that includes one of these repetitions? Do I recite with the congregation, read with the reader, or both?


Following Alex's answer, I did a little research. It seems from Footnote 154 here that there's actually a disagreement regarding whether a congregant should read along with the reader. I need to take this up with my Rabbi regarding my own practice, but it seems that I have whom to rely on.

See Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 146:2 (all translations mine):

And to read "Shnayim Mikra Ve-echad Targum" during the Torah reading is allowed. But all of this doesn't apply to Parashat Zachor and Parashat Para, which are mandated by the Torah, so one needs to focus and hear them from the reader. And the truth is that for all Parshiot, it's proper for one who is careful with one's actions to focus and hear them from the reader.

The Magen Avraham there (#5) quotes the Shelah as saying that reading along is forbidden, and the Mishna Berura (285:14, when the Shulchan Aruch reiterates the same permission) quotes a number of other authorities, including the Gra, who similarly forbid.

On the other hand, he Misha Berura's own opinion is:

However, it seems that to read in a whisper, word by word with the reader, we don't need to be stringent [against], since he will then be focused on hearing every word from the reader. And the Magen Avraham there [on 146] cited the Mateh Moshe saying that lechatchila (in the first instance), it's right to do so.

So it seems that reading along during normal parshiot is either forbidden, permitted, or encouraged, but is forbidden during Zachor and Para. So, I think my question stands with respect to fast day and Simchat Torah reading. It's possible that the answer is "Even if you usually read along, don't read along with those readings, which aren't part of the weekly cycle anyway."

My question also stands regarding Esther, for people who are using their own scrolls.

Also, I believe that my question certainly stands for a person who has an Aliya. See Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 141:2:

Two people should not read at once. Rather, either the person who was called up reads, and the reader is quiet; or the reader reads, and the person who was called up does not read aloud, but he does have to read along with the reader so that his blessing is not for naught, so he should read along quietly enough to not be heard by his [own] ears.

The only disagreement apparent on the Mishna Berura page is that the Rama is not even so concerned that the person who was called up needs to be sub-audible. So, it seems that the person who goes up for an Aliya should indeed read along, and my question is unescapable.

  • 5
    When I read the title I thought you were referring to how the baal keriyah should handle himself when reading Ka'eileh on chol hamoed pesach!
    – Double AA
    Commented Feb 20, 2012 at 4:23
  • FWIW the answer to my above comment is: pause, let them get it out of their systems, and then read "Ka'eilah".
    – Double AA
    Commented Mar 30, 2016 at 21:16
  • hebrewbooks.org/…
    – Double AA
    Commented Jun 22, 2017 at 1:42

3 Answers 3


In terms of the Oleh, the Magen Avraham (OC 566 sk 2) writes that reader needs to repeat these lines aloud after the congregation says them because the congregation only said them "Derekh Bakkasha" by way of supplication, not as part of the reading of the Torah. The Elyah Rabbah (ibid.) and the Mishna Berura (ibid. sk 3) in their presentations makes clear that the Oleh should practice as the reader does.

  • (Indeed I can't imagine how anyone could argue otherwise. It doesn't make much sense for the reader to be doing something different than the Oleh whom he represents, certainly not for a relatively late custom such as this. If the Oleh were to read aloud with the congregation, we'd have to contend with an accidental (he didn't know better) Hefsek on the part of the Oleh (his reading can't count as public Torah reading if no one heard him), and, if the Oleh didn't intend...
    – Double AA
    Commented Mar 30, 2016 at 20:56
  • ...to fulfill his obligation from the reader by way of Shomea' KeOneh (as is likely if he thinks he read it already), then even the opinions allowing one who doesn't read along to get an Aliyah couldn't be applied here. For the Kohein Aliyah in particular we'd be left without 3 complete adjacent verses, bringing the blessings on that Aliyah (and perhaps the whole reading) into question.)
    – Double AA
    Commented Mar 30, 2016 at 20:56
  • Thanks for finding this and writing it up! Why not include your parenthetical analysis, parenthetically, in the answer?
    – Isaac Moses
    Commented Mar 30, 2016 at 20:58

I had such an aliya today and asked the rabbi who was leining what one should do. He said that I (the person having the aliya) could read along with him (the reader) or along with the congregation, as long as I read from the Torah, but not both. No sources were mentioned, but the answer sounds sensible.


I'm not so sure that this is indeed the optimal practice. With certain Torah readings (that are Biblically mandated), such as Parashas Zachor, it's best not to do this, because you fulfill your obligation only when hearing them from a Sefer Torah, not from a printed text. I'm not sure about other readings.

Similarly, with the Megillah reading, you shouldn't read along with the reader unless you have a kosher scroll of your own. Otherwise, you wouldn't fulfill your obligation to hear the reading.

  • Thanks for bringing this up. I was not entirely right, as the research documented in the update to my question indicates. My question remains, especially for the person who's called up for the Aliya.
    – Isaac Moses
    Commented Dec 30, 2009 at 20:44

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .