Shulachan Aruch (OC 135:10) holds, and Rama (there) seems to also hold, that if a kohen (or levi, m.m.) is called as acharon then the gabai should say "af al pi shehu kohen". The purpose of this is to announce that he's a kohen, so people don't think he's an invalid kohen. Do any Ashk'nazim use this wording, as opposed to saying just "p'loni ben p'loni hakohen"?

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    I've never heard that... I've always heard him called "ya'amod, ploni ben ploni, kohen acharon"
    – Joel Spolsky
    Jun 17 '11 at 3:30
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    @JoelSpolsky, me, too. (Well, "yaamod p'loni ben p'loni hakohen acharon", I think, but whatever.)
    – msh210
    Jun 17 '11 at 3:51
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    Do we know if in the shulchan aruch's time and place a Kohen was called up so 'n' so hakohen? Perhaps hakohen was not part of the formal title, which would lead people to believe he was not a kohen since he was called after a yisrael. Therefore, the chazan would announce before his aliyah "even though he is a kohen. We add hakohen to the title, which would take care of the issue. (No proofs, so no answer.)
    – YDK
    Jun 17 '11 at 4:43
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    @YDK, you're right that that's the reason to say "af al pi...": more specifically, the concern is that people who know he's a kohen will think he's pagum (SA :8–9, MB :32). I think MB :33 seems to imply that the exact wording doesn't matter, so long as we mention he's a kohen. My question is really about the wording employed by the SA: I'll edit my question to clarify that.
    – msh210
    Jun 17 '11 at 5:02
  • Aruch Hashulchan does mention that the whole "af-al-pi shehu kohen" thing is unnecessary, but that people seem to do it anyway. In my experience, adding aliyos to a parsha in the first place is very rare, let alone calling up a kohen for one. But I guess the same applies to calling a kohen for maftir, which is more common.
    – jake
    Jun 19 '11 at 8:49

In regard to the "af-al-pi shehu kohen", we are Ashkenazim and my husband is a Cohen. Some years ago we spent Shabbat in Venice, Italy. By the time they got around to asking my husband who he was, they had already passed Cohen. So they said, "No problem." They called him up as Chamishi, with the addendum of "af-al-pi..." So here's a case of not even being Acharon. Don't know if Italian minhagim are that different from Sephardic, in general, in this practice.

  • +1, many thanks. As you note, though, this seems to be according to the Sephardic custom, in that it follows the Shulchan Aruch which allows a kohen as the fifth man.
    – msh210
    Jan 12 '12 at 1:04

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