At the Torah Service on Yom Kippur Mincha, can a Kohen or a Levi be called up to read Maftir Yonah (Book of Jonah)? The "maftir" aliyah is also the third aliyah which in general goes to a Yisrael, not a Kohen or Levi; we do call it "maftir", though, and he does read the haftara, both of which on other occasions can be given to a Kohen or Levi.


Mishna Berura 135:34 says that on a fast day a Kohain or Levi should not get the Aliyah of Maftir.

I do not see any reason why Yom Kippur should be different than other fast days.


He certainly can. All that needs to happen is to have everyone else in the room be of the same lineage as himself, or at most only one member of a different lineage (Shulchan Aruch OC 135:12). Alternatively, if all he is interested in doing is reading it and not neccesarily getting the Aliyah, he can serve as the Baal Keriya for the Haftarah if the minyan is using a handwritten scroll for the Haftarah (Mishna Berura 284:8).

In the regular case of a synagogue populated by a variety of lineages, there is an argument if a Kohein may receive a later Aliya (such as Revi'i) of the required number of Aliyot provided a Yisrael has read between him and an earlier Kohein (Shulchan Aruch OC 135:10). Rama (as understood by Aruch haShulchan :21) there writes that the reason a Kohein can get Maftir generally is due to the previous reader's being a Yisrael. In the case of Maftir Yonah, the previous reader can't be a Yisrael (again, assuming the minyan is populated with a variety of lineages) so the Maftir cannot be a Kohein, even according to those who permit later Aliyot to be received by Kohanim when preceded by Yisraelim. This fact is already noted by Magen Avraham (OC 135 דsk 16).

  • 1
    Your answer is for a highly improbable case. Have you ever been to a Shul or know anyone that has been to a Shul where all the members were of the same lineage? I am quiet certain the question was meant for a normal situation where there are Kohanim, Leviyim, and Yisraelim. If it was meant the way you answered, then it should be closed as a riddle. Aug 22 '13 at 0:28
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    @GershonGold Levite cities :) But seriously, it can be arranged (if there are enough Kohanim) 1. to kick out the kohanim to make a second minyan and give one of them Maftir Yonah or to 2. kick out the Israeilim like we sometimes do with the Kohanim. Aug 22 '13 at 0:46
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    @ShmuelBrin: I challenge anyone to tell me that they were in a Shul where they kicked out all the Kohanim or all the Yisraelim for Maftir Yonah. Yes it is possible and yes it is improbable. Aug 22 '13 at 0:48
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    @Gershon Actually, my answer covers all cases. Yours, while incomplete, also doesn't offer the most practical suggestion for alleviating the issue if need be (Baal keriyah).
    – Double AA
    Aug 22 '13 at 0:58
  • @GershonGold, there was a town of kohanim (all of one extended family) in upstate New York years ago. Fwiw. (If you wish, ping me in chat requesting, and I'll bl"n try to get more details.)
    – msh210
    Aug 22 '13 at 3:36

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef (Yalkut Yosef Mo'adim pg. 101) rules that a Cohen may be called up for Maftir Yonah:

Kitzur Yalkut Yosef 622:9:

כהן שזכה בקניית עליית מפטיר של מנחת יום הכפורים, כי נכספה וגם כלתה נפשו לקרוא בהפטרת יונה, יש לו על מה שיסמוך שיעלה לעליית מפטיר, אחר שקראו כהן ולוי. ובלבד שיאמר השליח צבור, ואף על פי שהוא כהן יעמוד למפטיר

A Cohen who purchased the Aliyah of Maftir on Mincha of Yom Kippur, because he greatly desired to read 'Maftir Yonah' - there is what to rely on to permit him to recieve the Aliyah after a Cohen and Levi have been called up. This is provided that the Gabbai calls him up by saying, "Although he is a Cohen, he should come up for Maftir.."

  • Fascinating! Does he discuss his reasoning more fully in a responsum somewhere?
    – Double AA
    Aug 25 '13 at 6:14
  • @DoubleAA I am not aware of anywhere else. I davened at a shul once where the Rov was a Cohen and would always get Maftir Yonah, so I was pretty sure there was a kulah somewhere, but this is the only thing I have managed to find so far.
    – Michoel
    Aug 25 '13 at 8:02
  • @DoubleAA of course he has some a lot of reid but you'll have to see the full version. Aug 25 '13 at 21:34


האם למפטיר במנחה של יום כיפור [מפטיר יונה] יכול לעלות אדם שהוא לוי. או רק ישראל?


לוי אינו עולה שלישי במנחה ביום הכיפורים, ואינו קורא את ההפטרה. במקרה שבטעות מכרו את העליה ללוי, והוא קנה את זה בהרבה כסף, ויהיה לו צער גדול אם לא יעלה, וגם יהיה הפסד ממון לבית הכנסת, אפשר שהלוי שקנה את המפטיר יעלה לעליה של הלוי, וישראל יעלה לעליה השלישית, ואת ההפטרה יקרא הלוי שקנה את המפטיר, אבל כל זה רק בדיעבד כשטעו ויש הפסד לבית הכנסת וצער ללוי שקנה. אבל לכתחילה ודאי שרק ישראל עולה לעליה השלישית והוא יקרא גם את ההפטרה.


השו"ע [סימן קל"ה סעיף ט] כ' שאין מעלין לוי אחר לוי. ולגבי שעת הדחק עיין בשו"ת הר צבי ח"א סימן ס"ח שכתב כן.

Another and simpler method. The levi (or kohen) has his aliya and still says the maftir.

  • It seems that this simpler method is only bedieved Aug 25 '13 at 21:32
  • אבל כל זה רק בדיעבד כשטעו
    – 5730
    Aug 27 '13 at 10:05

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