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While being the Ba'al Kri'ah (Torah reader) in my shul, I need to relay information to the Gabbai regarding Torah usage. We have a limited number of usable Sifrei Torah and as we sometimes have a concurrent minyan, we occasionally lend one to the other minyan. I also need to get a better sense of when I need to roll Sifrei Torah when we need an extra 1 (or 2).

The configuration of the 4 parshiot seem a bit confusing. Some years we have 1 break, some years 2 breaks. Sometimes the break week(s) occur at different points. I'm looking for some source that explains when the break weeks occur. Is there anything around?

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It looks like this article explains the possible configurations. The article uses a mnemonic that starts with the day of week for Rosh Hodesh Adar. I shall explain it differently, as it achieves the same configuration. There are 3 possibilities:

  1. The most common is when the 1st day of Pesach is on either Tues. or Thurs. In this case, there is just 1 break, namely between Parshiot Sheqalim and Zachor.
  2. If the 1st day of Pesach is on Shabbat (as is this year and next), there are 2 breaks. The 1st between Parshiot Sheqalim and Zachor, and the 2nd between parshiot Zachor & Parah. Note, also, that this is the only situation where Shabbat Hagadol immediately follows parshat Hachodesh.
  3. If the 1st day of Pesach is on Sunday, there is just 1 break between parshiot Zachor and Parah.
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    The mnemonic based on rosh chodesh Adar is both traditional (or old) and more convenient (easier to when Adar starts than to look ahead to when Pesach does). – msh210 Feb 15 '15 at 8:14
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Shulchan Aruch OC 685 explains these rules.

DanF has already covered what they are in this answer, so i'm just bringing the original source.

  • I see that you like recursion :-) – DanF Feb 12 '15 at 22:08
  • I think a more original source would be the Mishna Megillah 3:5 (or 3:4 in some counts), with the Gemara discussion on Megillah 29a - 30b (with a long Rashi on 30b giving all the cases). – magicker72 Feb 12 '15 at 23:19
  • @magicker72 - technically, you are correct. The article that I linked to mentions those sources, anyway, and I think is concise and relatively easy to follow. – DanF Feb 13 '15 at 3:40
  • @DanF Indeed. I was commenting on Cnsermoit's "original source". – magicker72 Feb 13 '15 at 11:22
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As Shekalim is on Rosh Chodesh Adar (II) or the Shabbat immediately before, and Hachodesh is Rosh Chodesh Nisan or the Shabbat immediately before, these are 4 weeks apart (thus one break) unless Rosh Chodesh Nisan is Shabbat in which case Rosh Chodesh Adar (II) will be Thursday-Friday.

According to Shmuel we would recite Shekalim on 2nd Adar in this case, but we follow Rav who says we read it the Shabbat before. There are several disputes here between Rav and Shmuel, and we follow Rav in all of them except one - the parsha we actually read on Shekalim. Shmuel says it is from Ki Tissa, Rav says it is from Pinchas regarding the daily sacrifices (The first few verses of what we read on Rosh Chodesh). And we do of course follow Shmuel on this.

There is never a gap between Parah and Hachodesh.

The source for all this is in Mishnah and Gemorah of Megilla.

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