A look at Wikipedia confirms my suspicion that when Ashkenazim and Sephardim read the same haftarah, the Ashkenazim generally start earlier and/or finish later than that of Sephardim. Is there a specific reason why this is so?

  • 1
    it would help to answer if you asked about a specific haftorah there are specific reasons that haftorahs are read the way they are in specific communities and are not generalizations of longer vs shorter
    – Dude
    Apr 10, 2016 at 3:14
  • 2
    @Dude Nearly every single case of variation has the Asheknazi one being longer. Specific cases won't cut it here.
    – Double AA
    Apr 10, 2016 at 3:24
  • @DoubleAA Perhaps give answers for some haftorah and see if there is a common point behind the individual reasons. Apr 10, 2016 at 17:32

1 Answer 1


The Shulchan Aruch in סימן רפד - דיני הפטרה וברכותיה says that the Haftarah should be at least 21 verses long, unless the theme ends beforehand.

א מַפְטִירִין בַּנָּבִיא מֵעִנְיָנָהּ שֶׁל פָּרָשָׁה. וְאֵין פּוֹחֲתִין מִכ'' א פְּסוּקִים, אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן סָלִיק עִנְיָנָא בְּבָצִיר מֵהָכֵי‏

(3 verses for each of the 7 people (as a minimum) who read in the Torah. Be'er Heitev ibid and Aruch Hashulchan)

It would seem that different congregations had different ideas as to what belongs to the main theme of the Haftara.

A quick perusal of your link shows that Sephardim have many Haftarot with fewer than 21 verses, and Ashkenazim have almost none of those.

It appears that Sefardim had a narrower definition of what can be included in a theme.

It's now left to somebody with spare time to analyze each case and explain how each congregation themed each Haftarah.

  • I'm not sure that's all. The Gemara approves of the topic break for Tzav but Ashkenazim still don't follow it
    – Double AA
    Apr 26, 2017 at 17:13

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