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I'm asking this question for my friend, "Rabbi Ed" who emailed me this morning...

He wants to know when the use of Torah readers (i.e., a designated person who reads the parsha from the Torah) began. I understand that Yemenites have the oleh (person called to the Torah) read himself.

My friend surmises that this custom became common around the 12th century, though, he bases this on the notion that this is about the time that formal "chazzanim" or "shaliach tzibbur" became common. He's assuming that the chazzan was also the Ba'al Kri'ah. Was that the case at any time?

  • See Mishna Bikurim. Chab 3... נמנעו מלהביא... – kouty Oct 30 '16 at 7:20
  • See Tosafos in Megila 21b - תנא מה שאין כן בתורה - that discusses this; seems that it was obvious to Tosafos that it didn't exist in the Talmud's days, but seemed established by Tosafos' time - early 12th century. – Danny Schoemann Oct 16 '17 at 10:07
  • "the chazzan was also the Ba'al Kri'ah" - actually there's a Mishna that the Maftir was given Mussaf... (as compensation) – Danny Schoemann Oct 16 '17 at 10:08
  • @DannySchoemann Thanks for the "alert" to this question. I haven't had the chance to view the Tosafot, yet. I figured that this subject would have been addressed in Mas. Megillah. I think Megillah also mentions the idea of the Ba'al Kri'ah doing Hallel, but I may be off on that. – DanF Oct 16 '17 at 17:41

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