According to D'varim 17:18-20, a king was required to write for himself a sefer torah and read from it each day ( וְקָרָא בוֹ כָּל-יְמֵי חַיָּיו). This doesn't say he had to read the whole sefer each day (it doesn't say kol), which also seems like it would be impractical.

What did he read? Did he read it sequentially over time, for example following a daily parsha division? Were there certain parts he was to read every day? Did he just choose something each day? And how much was he to read -- a single verse, a minimum number of verses, a large amount?

(Inspired by this question.)

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    Note Mechon Mamre renders כל ימיו as "all of his days" not "each of his days". The former lends itself more to a less formal interpretation IMO.
    – Double AA
    Commented May 6, 2013 at 18:00
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    @DoubleAA, oh, good point. I think I've seen kol rendered both ways; I wonder which is more supportable (or maybe it depends on context?). Commented May 6, 2013 at 18:07
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    See the fourth section of this article, which brings 5 different interpretations about the type of Torah scroll from which the king would read (the possibilities listed are the full Torah, sefer D'varim, the particular section in Shoftim, the Aseres HaDibros, or a summary of all the commandments).
    – Fred
    Commented May 6, 2013 at 18:31
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    @IsaacMoses, I meant it doesn't really address reading and implies there's no rule of how much to.
    – msh210
    Commented May 6, 2013 at 18:40
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    @Fred, if any of the sources it cites discuss reading, then you have the makings of an answer.
    – msh210
    Commented May 6, 2013 at 18:41

1 Answer 1


Sefer Hachiunuch doesn't list the reading/learning as its own commandment. Instead, part of his definition of the commandment for the king to write a Torah scroll, Commandment #494, includes "so that it will always be with him, and he'll read from it." He does not, however, specify how frequently or extensively the king is to read from it.

He further specifies that an intent behind this commandment is that the king is given power to wage war, execute people, etc., which is unchecked by any other person, so it's necessary for him to constantly inspire himself to check his own behavior by looking at his Torah scroll. He derives from guidelines given in the Talmud in Tractate Sanhedrin that this Torah scroll should "not be away from his eyes at any time except when he's using the bathroom."

So, it seems that the Torah scroll is meant to be there for constant inspiration (just by its presence) and for ready, frequent reference, but there's no particular rule regarding how frequently or extensively the king is supposed to read from it.


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