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The Tur (OC 428), as explained by the Tiferes Yisrael (Shevili d'Rakia 15), lists four dates that must fall out at certain points in the leining cycle:

  • Pesach must fall out after Tzav in a non-leap year or after Metzora or Acharei in a leap year
  • Shavuos must fall out after Bamidbar
  • Tishah B'av must fall out after Devarim
  • Rosh Hashanah must fall out after Netzavim

In order to account for these, Shvili d'Rakia continues, depending on the year and place, the following parshios might be combined or split:

  • Vayakhel-Pekudei
  • Tazria-Metzora
  • Acharei-Kedoshim
  • Behar-Bechukosai
  • Chukas-Balak
  • Mattos-Maasei
  • Netzavim-Vayeilech

None of these make sense. Why can't we pick other parshios to combine? For instance, this week is Tazria-Metzora. Why don't we combine Shemini and Tazria instead, in a non-leap year? Why not combine Emor and Behar instead of Behar and Bechukosai? Why not Vayeilech and Haazinu instead of Netzavim and Vayeilech? There are any number of combinations that could be made for each of these gaps; why do we pick these in particular?

(If you want to point to length, we combine Mattos-Maasei and Vayakhel-Pekudei. If you want to point to similar content, we combine Chukas-Balak while we don't combine Vayeilech-Haazinu, or Lech Lecha-Vayeira, or Vayeishev-Miketz, or Va'eira-Bo, or Bo-Beshalach, or Yisro-Mishpatim, or Terumah-Tetzaveh.)

marked as duplicate by Danny Schoemann, Isaac Moses Apr 25 '17 at 15:09

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    Vayelekh is just the end of Netzavim. We split Netzavim in some years. It wouldn't make any sense to split Netzavim just to combine the second half with Haazinu – Double AA Apr 25 '17 at 1:39
  • There are also other customs like splitting Chukkat in half and reading half with Korach and half with Balak. There were other customs to ensure Tzav was Shabbat haGadol even in a leap year so theyd split mishpatim Terumah Tetzaveh and Tisa into two each – Double AA Apr 25 '17 at 1:43
  • See also the Tanya Rabbati which records a variant Mesora of the Parasha names and count. See also the footnote here which brings a third version from Machzor Romi: dropbox.com/s/bhg6joc6cll175j/… – Chaim Apr 25 '17 at 2:00
  • @DoubleAA Where do you get that first comment from? As for the second, if you source that it could be the makings of an answer. – DonielF Apr 25 '17 at 2:28