Is it only on Shabbat that a Cohen can be called up for an Aliyah for maftir or even on other days (such as festivals)?


Maftir is not considered one of the 7 "main" aliyot of the parsha. Technically, the entire parsha has been read and maftir is, usually, a repetition of the last few verses of the the weekly reading. When another Torah is used for maftir, it is a similar idea. The main parsha has been read, and maftor is an extra aliyah. Therefore, a Cohen may be called. This is not just Shabbat - it applies to Yom Tov as well.

The only time a Cohen cannot be called for Maftir is on a fast day afternoon, and Tish'a B'av Shacharit. That's because the 3rd aliyah must be Yisra'el, and that aliyah happens to be maftir as well.

Source - Talmud Megilah 23a near the bottom.

Summarizing: - There is a dispute between Rav Huna & Rav Yirmiya bar Aba as to whether maftir is included in the 1st 7 or not. Tosfot explains that we follow both customs (@DoubleAA's comment is partially correct). On fast days (including Mincha Yom Kippur), maftir is the 3rd aliyah. On Shabbat & Yom Tov, since we are allowed to add extras, we make this a separate aliyah. See the Gemara text as to why there must be a Torah reading before reading from nevi'im (haftarah).

  • Actually we hold maftir can count as part of the 7
    – Double AA
    Sep 30 '14 at 2:34
  • @DanF In what way is it only partially correct?
    – Double AA
    Sep 30 '14 at 22:01
  • 2
    If there are only Kohanim in the minyan then a Kohen can have maftir even on the fast days :-)
    – user4523
    Sep 30 '14 at 22:03
  • 1
    @GeminiMan judaism.stackexchange.com/a/30682/759
    – Double AA
    Sep 30 '14 at 22:11

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