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I have been doing some research on the question of vayechal at mincha and have hit a roadblock. So far, here are the questions I have considered and feel ok with as "answered":

  1. why lain at mincha on a fast day? Got it -- mincha is an important time for tshuva when fasting

  2. why lain vayechal on a fast day -- got it (the above article and my own research) -- even though the gemara posits other readings, the sense is that reading which reflects the midos etc. is appropriate

But here's the remaining question -- why lain the same thing in shacharis and mincha? There are other options for readings according to the gemara, and the notion of reading the same thing is unprecedented in practice. In fact, on tisha b'av we DO read 2 different things. Unless one says that the primary reading on every other fast day is the one at mincha (as is hinted to at the end of the linked page) and it was moved to shacharis for some sociological reason with no halachic basis and therefore no change is made in the reading, I can't understand why we don't read 2 different lainings. Any insight would be appreciated.

  • Yom Kippur we also have two readings – Double AA Sep 19 '12 at 19:58
  • yes, could be because of the day like a shabbat and on shabbat we have a different reading at mincha. or because the nature of the day is markedly different as we don't read vayechal at all. – rosends Sep 19 '12 at 20:02
  • " the notion of reading the same thing is unprecedented in practice." Incorrect. See the leining for Chol HaMoed Sukkoth (especially in Israel) – Danny Schoemann May 11 '17 at 12:05
  • On chol hamo'ed Sukkot there is laining at mincha? – rosends May 11 '17 at 12:50
  • @rosends what would you suggest we lein instead? On Tisha B'av there are 2 separate leinings that are appropriate - What will happen when we don't follow G-d's commandments & Vayichal. – Earl May 28 '17 at 3:46
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You seem to be assuming that it would make more sense for there to be different readings than for there to be the same readings. I don't see a good reason for this assumption. The only other days that have readings by Shacharis and Minchah are Shabbos and Yom Kippur. On Shabbos there is a different reading by Minchah because the point of that reading is to continue the regular reading cycle. By Yom Kippur we read the section of arayos by Minchah because there was a specific need for that section to be read on Yom Kippur. As neither of these two reasons apply to fast days, why should there be a different reading by Minchah?

Now one might then ask that if on fast days there is no purpose of having a different reading, why have a second reading at all? We don't ever find that there is a point of just rereading the same section again later in the day (and perhaps this is actually what your question was).

This question is asked by Rabbeinu Manoach. He answers it based on a Mishnah and Talmudic passage.

Megillah 29a

מתני' ר"ח אדר שחל להיות בשבת קורין בפרשת שקלים חל להיות בתוך השבת מקדימין לשעבר ומפסיקין לשבת אחרת בשניה זכור בשלישית פרה אדומה ברביעית החודש הזה לכם בחמישית חוזרין לכסדרן לכל מפסיקין בראשי חדשים בחנוכה ובפורים בתעניות ובמעמדות וביוה"כ

MISHNAH. IF THE NEW MOON OF ADAR FALLS ON SABBATH, THE PORTION OF SHEKALIM IS READ [ON THAT DAY]. IF IT FALLS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE WEEK, IT IS READ ON THE SABBATH BEFORE, AND ON THE NEXT SABBATH THERE IS A BREAK. ON THE SECOND [OF THE SPECIAL SABBATHS] ZAKOR IS READ, ON THE THIRD THE PORTION OF THE RED HEIFER, ON THE FOURTH THIS MONTH SHALL BE TO YOU.’ ON THE FIFTH THE REGULAR ORDER IS RESUMED. [THE REGULAR READING] IS INTERRUPTED FOR ANY SPECIAL OCCASION: FOR NEW MOONS, FOR HANUKKAH, FOR PURIM, FOR FASTS, FOR MA'AMADOTH, AND FOR THE DAY OF ATONEMENT. (Soncino translation; capitals in original, emphasis added)

Megillah 30b

בחמישית חוזרין לכסדרן וכו': לסדר מאי ר' אמי אמר לסדר פרשיות הוא חוזר ר' ירמיה אמר לסדר הפטרות הוא חוזר אמר אביי כוותי' דר' אמי מסתברא דתנן לכל מפסיקין לראשי חדשים לחנוכה ולפורים לתעניות ולמעמדות וליוה"כ בשלמא למ"ד לסדר פרשיות הוא חוזר היינו דאיכא פרשה בחול אלא למ"ד לסדר הפטרות הוא חוזר הפטרה בחול מי איכא ואידך הא כדאיתא והא כדאיתא ובתעניות למה לי הפסקה ליקרי מצפרא בענינא דיומא ובמנחה בתעניתא מסייע ליה לר"ה דאמר ר"ה מצפרא כינופיא היכי עבדינן אמר אביי מצפרא לפלגיה דיומא מעיינינן במילי דמתא מפלגיה דיומא לפניא ריבעא דיומא קרא ומפטרי וריבעא דיומא בעו רחמי שנאמר ויקראו בספר תורת ה' אלהיהם רביעית היום ורביעית (היום) מתוודים ומשתחוים ואיפוך אנא לא ס"ד דכתיב ואלי יאספו כל חרד בדברי אלהי ישראל על מעל הגולה ואני יושב משומם עד למנחת הערב וכתיב ובמנחת הערב קמתי מתעניתי

ON THE FIFTH THE REGULAR ORDER IS RESUMED. What order? — R. Ammi said: The order of weekly portions: R. Jeremiah said, The order of haftarahs is resumed. Said Abaye: The opinion of R. Ammi is the more probable, Since we learnt: THE REGULAR READING IS INTERRUPTED FOR ANY SPECIAL OCCASION FOR NEW MOONS, FOR HANUKKAH, FOR PURIM, FOR FASTS, FOR MA'AMADOTH AND FOR THE DAY OF ATONEMENT. This accords well with the opinion of the one who says that the order of weekly portions is resumed, seeing that a portion [of the Law] is read on weekdays. But on the view of him who says that the order of haftarahs is resumed — is there any haftarah on [ordinary] weekdays? [What says] the other to this? — The one rule holds where it applies, and the other where it applies. But on fast days [according to R. Jeremiah], why should there be an interruption [of the regular portion]? Let us read in the morning from the portion of the week and at Minhah on the subject of the fast? — [R. Jeremiah's ruling] supports R. Huna; for R. Huna said: ‘In the morning of fast days there is a public assembly’. How do we act? Abaye said: From the morning to midday we examine the affairs of the town; from midday to evening, for a quarter of the day we read the portion of the Law and the haftarah, and for a quarter we offer up supplications as it says, And they read in the book of the law of their Lord a fourth part of the day, and another part they confessed and prostrated themselves before the Lord their God. But cannot I interpret this in the reverse way? — Do not imagine such a thing, since it is written, Then were assembled unto me every one that trembled at the words of the God of Israel because of the faithlessness of them of the captivity and I sat appalled unto the evening offering; and it goes on, And at the evening offering I arose up from my fasting. (Soncino translation; capitals in original, emphasis added)

Rabbeinu Manoach explains that we see from here that there should be two readings on fast days, but in Talmudic times they couldn't do so because there was a public assembly in the morning on a fast day. Nowadays when we don't have the public assembly we should then have two readings. Once we are having two readings we read the "topic of the day" both times because the Mishnah ruled that we override the regular reading schedule on fast days.

Since "Vayechal" is the "topic of the day" we read it both by Shacharis and by Minchah.

Rabbeinu Manoach Hilchos Tefilla 13:18 s.v. Korin

וא"ת למה קורין בתעניות בתורה ב' פעמים והלא אין שורש לו בגמ' התשובה אעפ"י שאין שורש מן ההלכה יש ענף וסמך קרוב לראיה מההיא דאמרי' בשלהי פרק בני העיר דמתמהינן ובתעניות למה לי הפסקה כלומר למה מפסיקי' פרשת היום ליקרו מצפרא בעניינא דיומא ובמנחתא בתעניתא ומשני מצפרא כנופיא משמע דצריך לקרות בתורה ביום התענית שני פעמים אי לאו משום טעמא דמצפרא כנופיא והשתא דליתא לההיא טעמא דהא אין כנופיא לא בצפרא ולא בפניא ממילא שמעת דצריך לקראת בתורה שני פעמים ביום ומאחר דקרינן ב' פעמים ביום עניין המאורע קרינן דהיינו ויחל כיון דקיי"ל דמפסיקין לתעניות

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