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The Gabai was not aware that there was a Levi in the congregation and gave the second Aliyah to the original Kohen (as per Halacha). The Gabai was then made aware there was a Levi present.

Question: Who gets the third Aliyah: a Levi or a Yisroel?

Please note sources for the correct answer. (Shulchan Aruch OC 135:7 discusses this case but not this question.)

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Shulchan Arukh, Orach Chayim 135 (3) sets up the rule:

A Kohen reads first from the Torah, followed by a Levite, followed by Yisroel.

The Mishnah Berura comments (in part)

לענין לקרות בתורה בביהכ"נ תקנו חז"ל מפני דרכי שלום שאין הכהן והלוי יכולין למחול אלא דוקא כהן קורא ראשון ואחריו לוי ואחריו ישראל כדי שלא יבוא הדבר לידי מחלוקת

As far as reading for the Torah is concerned, Chazal fixed for the sake of peace that the Kohen and Levi cannot give up their precedence but it must be Kohen first, after him Levi and after him the Yisroel so there should be no quarrel.

In Simon 10, the Shulchan Arukh says that

The custom is to call a Kohen after a Kohen if a Yisrael was called up between them. And the Chazan should say, when he calls the second Kohen: "Even though he is a Kohen", and we do similarly for a Levi after a Levi.

The Rema says:

And there are those who say that we don't call up a Kohen or Levi within the regular seven aliyot, but after the seven have concluded, we may call up a Kohen or a Levi, and this is the custom in these countries. However, in a case of dire need, one may rely on the first opinion.

I deduce from the above that generally for Ashkenazim the Levi is called up only as the second aliyah.

The Levi's aliyah has been used by the Kohen (who is also of the tribe of Levi) and a Levi cannot be called up for the third aliyah.

So the third aliyah goes to a Yisroel.

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  • I was looking for a Tchuva that answers the question specifically…all of the many people I asked "deduced" the same answer. My gut(Boach) reaction was"Why should the Levi miss out on his Aliyah because of a mistake of the Gabai.If there are only 3 aliyot that day, let the Levi have the third Aliyah "before" the Yisroel.
    – Abie Ross
    Jul 17 at 12:12
  • From your reaction, “Why should the Levi miss out on his Aliyah because of a mistake of the Gabai” I deduce that you feel that the Levi is somehow entitled to “his” aliyah. But Chazal instituted the order of aliyos specifically “for the sake of peace” and not to create any entitlement. Thus when the order for peace is broken, the Levi's aliyoh is lost too. Jul 18 at 12:50

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