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Every public Torah reading, except for two, begins at a parsha (the start of a new "paragraph" as written in a Torah scroll.)

The two exceptions are:

  • Vayechi which has a space of just one letter between the end of Vayigash and the start of Vayechi. Rash"i among others, explains why there is just one space rather than being a normal "parsha" space (possibly a setumah / closed parsha.)
  • The public Torah reading for public fast days (except Yom Kippur and 9 Av morning) begins at Shemot 32:11 with the word "Vayechal".

Is there any commentary or rabbi, etc. that explains why Vayechal begins in the middle of a parsha, and why it is the only reading that does so?

  • Why would we read the parts before then? – Double AA Dec 8 '16 at 19:06
  • @DoubleAA Nothing in my question implies that we should. I'm just noticing that Vayechal is the only one that does begin in the middle of a parsha. However, we certainly see cases such as on Yom Tov where we start with "Shor O Kesev" which is a topic that precedes the discussion of the holidays, themselves. Based on that precedent, we could as well begin at Shemot 32:7 at the beginning of the parsha. – DanF Dec 8 '16 at 19:14
  • If you notice we include material before the Yom Tov readings, the better take away is to ask why, not to assume that adding irrelevant material is appropriate. – Double AA Dec 8 '16 at 19:26
  • That's a matter of perspective. Not that I'm disagreeing with your premise. It's just that, it implies that the reverse perspective makes for a "better" question. I'm uncertain why. – DanF Dec 8 '16 at 19:33
  • Uncertain why?? Is it not abundantly obvious that these readings were selected because of their content? They aren't just "what comes next" like in the weekly readings. They have a specific purpose. – Double AA Dec 8 '16 at 19:38

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