When Pesach is on Shabbat, as it is this year and next, the Torah reading in Diaspora is a week behind the reading in Israel for a few weeks. This is because on the 8th day of Pesach which is on Shabbat in Diaspora, they read a holiday reading, while in Israel, since it is no longer Pesach, they are reading the regular Shabbat parsha.

During a non-leap year, the "catch up" parsha for Diaspora is Behar-B'chukotai. In Diaspora it is read doubled, whereas in Israel, they are read separately.

However, in a leap year, the catch up parsha is Matot-Mas'ei - almost 2 months later. In Diaspora, they are read together, but in Israel, they are read separately.

Why is there a difference?

To help you understand when this occurs and gain some insight, perhaps, see pp. 67 and 70 (Tables 1 and 2) in this article. I couldn't find anything that addresses this difference, though, it may, in fact be there, but I missed it.

  • In a leap year Behar Bechukotai is already set to be split. See judaism.stackexchange.com/q/15600/759 (possible dupe?) – Double AA Mar 9 '15 at 21:37
  • @DoubleAA - Well, even though I answered my own question, it does look like a dupe. We just explained the reason differently, and I included some extra info from Ramba"m. Is there a way to combine the answers, or should I copy mine to there? – DanF Mar 10 '15 at 2:45

It seems that, in fact, I did miss a nuance mentioned on p. 71 of the article that I linked to in the question.

The only requirement in the Gemara concerning Shabbos Torah readings is limited to the need to read certain portions of the Torah prior to Shevuos and Rosh Hashanah, :מגילה לא׃ תניא ר׳ שמעון בן אלעזר אומר עזרא תיקן להן לישראל שיהו קורין קללות שבתורת כהנים קודם עצרת ושבמשנה תורה קודם ראש השנה

The rule states that the "curses" located in Bechukotai should be read before Shavuot. It is unclear if this means immediately before Shavu'ot, or by the time Shavu'ot comes, it should have already been read, meaning that it can be read 1 0r 2 weeks earlier.

Rambam תפילה יג׃ב after quoting the above Gemara almost verbatim,7 adds:

...והמנהג הפשוט שיהו קוראין במדבר סיני קודם עצרת. ואתחנן אחר תשעה באב. אתם נצבים קודם ראש השנה. וצו את אהרן קודם הפסח בשנה פשוטה. לפיכך יש שבתות שקורין בשחרית שני סדרין כגון אשה כי תזריע וזאת תהיה.ובהר סיני ואם בחוקותי וכיוצא בהן כדי שישלימו בשנה ויקראו אותן הסדרים בעונתן

So it seems, that Ramba"m insists that we leave 1 week between Bechukotai and Shavu'ot. It seems that this is the opinion that we follow.

I checked the calendar arrangement in MS Outlook comparing this year with next year, as Pesach is on Shabbat in both years - this year regular year and next year a leap year.

This year, a non-leap year, if we (Diaspora) didn't double them up, Bechukotai would be read on Erev Shavu'ot, which is the Shabbat immediately prior to Shavu'ot (Shavu'ot is on Sunday.) Therefore, this parsha is doubled.

Next year, which is a leap year, in Diaspora, Bechukotai which is read on its own is already 2 weeks before Shavu'ot, and the Shabbat immediately before Shavu'ot is Bamidbar.

Ramba"m mentions an additional concern, namely that Va'etchanan be read after Tish'a B'Av. To do this, Devarim must be the parsha immediately before (or on) Tish'a B'av (as is this year. I think that's why Ramba"m was careful to phrase things in terms of Va'etchanan.) To do this, in Israel, Matot-Mas'ei are read separately. (In most years, they are doubled.)

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  • Note sometimes Naso is read prior to Shavuot. – Double AA Mar 9 '15 at 21:39
  • @DoubleAA - Correct- in Diaspora it always occurs in a leap year when Rosh Hashanna is on Thurs. In Israel, I think there are 2 other times when this happens. I think next year, would be such an occurrence. This explains why Matot and Mas'ei would be read separately, to "slow down" the pace. – DanF Mar 9 '15 at 21:50
  • B'Chukotai must be at least 2 Shabbatot before Shavuot, not immediately the one before. Israel though could achieve it this year by splitting Tazria-Metzora or Acharei-Kedoshim, either of which would let the Haftara from Amos to be read which it won't be this year – CashCow Mar 10 '15 at 10:02

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