The Torah is divided into parshas and read each Shabbat. So during leap year, how is it handled?

For haftorahs, same question. Also there are some parashas that are 2ndary to the main ones (alternative ones) for some weeks. How was it decided what would be secondary?


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2 Answers 2


Your question seems to be premised on the idea that the same Torah section ("parasha") is read on or about the same calendar date each year. This is not completely correct: rather, the sections are read in order, to a large extent irrespective of calendar date. (Not completely irrespective, but that's beyond our scope.)

Now, there are more Saturdays in a leap year than in a non-leap year. Those are accounted for by having two consecutive Torah sections read on the same week in a non-leap year which are split between two weeks in a leap year.

For any particular calendar configuration (leap year versus non-, what day of the week the year starts on, etc.), the particular Torah section for any given date (according to current practice) is determined, and is easy to find in orinted calendars or on sites like chabad.org.


During 12 month years the following parshas are normally "doubled up".

  • Vayahkel and Pekudei (exception when Rosh Hashanah was a Thursday and the year is full so Pesach will fall on a Sunday).
  • Tazria and Metzora
  • Acharei Mot and Kedoshim
  • Behar and Bechukotai (except in Israel when first day of Pesach was Shabbat like it was this year. As in Israel the 8th day is a regular Shabbat they end up a sedra ahead until we double those two up)

That compensates for the extra month. And if you're wondering about the fact that an extra month is 30 days so may add 5 extra Shabbats, it explains why we sometimes double up Matot-Masei in 13-month years and sometimes do not.

With regards the Haftarot:

  • Vayakhel - Pekudei always falls on one of the 4 special parshiyot, usually Hachodesh but sometimes Para.
  • Tazria - Metzora: we say the haftara for Metzora unless it's Rosh Chodesh
  • Acharei Mot - Kedoshim: we say the haftara for Acharei Mot
  • Behar - Bechukotai: we say the haftara for Bechukotai

The haftarot for some Sedras are rarely said.

With Matot and Masei, they always fall within the 3 weeks which comes with a fixed series of 3 haftarot. the first one is often listed as the one for "Matot" and the second as the one for "Masei" but really they are the haftarot for the 3 weeks (and the first is usually read with Pinchas).

  • Supplementing the above answer, to see details as well as the history of how and why parshiot were doubled and even split in half, see hakirah.org/vol%202%20epstein.pdf.
    – DanF
    Sep 16, 2015 at 18:01
  • There are variant customs about handling Acharei Mot-Kedoshim's Haftara
    – Double AA
    Sep 16, 2015 at 18:13
  • Note that the Haftara labeled "Pinchas" is sometimes read during the three weeks as well.
    – Double AA
    Sep 16, 2015 at 18:14

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