"I was in one place recently where they are very strict about calling people's names before they approach the Torah and another place where the people just came up one-by-one, having arranged beforehand who would read which aliya", said a friend to me recently.

Is there a mandate for calling people up by name, and if so, where is this requirement discussed?

3 Answers 3


Shaalos U'Teshuvos Avnei Neizer Choshen Mishpat Siman 103 mentions that the Minhag by the Ashkenazim is to call up by the persons name and fathers name, since every Jews name and soul is alluded to in the Torah and has a part of the Torah.

However the Sephardim follow the Chida (Shaalos U'Teshuvos Chaim Shaal Chelek 1 Siman 13) that the Gabai goes over and tells the person to go up, the reason is based on Orach Chaim 139 that if a person is called up and refuses to go there is a curse of a shortened life.

  • in practice many places just call the third, fourth and son on instead of using peoples name. like you mentioned each one knows already when he is going. also it is common to sell the aliot
    – Avraham
    Jul 6, 2011 at 13:35
  • @Avraham, "many places": you mean Ashk'nazi places?
    – msh210
    Jul 6, 2011 at 16:37
  • The Sefardi synagogues in our area do not call up anyone. They work it out ahead of time (or on the spot) who will get which aliyah. The Ashkenazi synagogues do call up people.
    – user1095
    Jan 29, 2012 at 19:53
  • @msh210 The Ashkenazi Great Synagogue in Copenhagen calls by number only. The gabbai hands out small cards to people beforehand, so they know when to go up. However, the smaller Machazike HaDas calls by name, though historically they share minhagim.
    – Adám
    Jan 6, 2014 at 21:02
  • Our current custom (ashkenazi shul) is to call up by name. However, I can remember a time in the past (the 1960's - same shul) when the gabbai would hand out small cards to people beforehand and we would only call out then number of the aliyah.
    – Dennis
    Apr 2, 2014 at 18:09

SA OC 135:11 reads:

There's someone who says that if the gabay called a kohen or levi and he's not there, he should not call another by name, because of the p'gam of the first one. Rather, he should go up [to the Tora] by himself.

The p'gam of the first one means, according to MB :40, "that they'll think that it became known meanwhile [i.e., after he was called] that he's pagum".

It sounds to me from this like the custom was to call people by name. That doesn't answer the question about a mandate, though.

However, I do know as a practical matter that S'faradi synagogues — or at least Syrian (and IIRC Moroccan) ones I've been in — do not call people by name, despite the apparent implication of the SA. (Ashk'nazi synagogues I've been in do, for the most part.)


In the shul I grew up in - Adas Yeshurun of Johannesburg - before Krias HaTorah the Gabbai would give somebody a card with ששי written on it.

For the 6th Aliya the Gabbai (or Ba'al Segen, actually) would simply announce ויעמוד ששי.

Since most (all, they would claim) of the Minhagim of the Shul came from Germany, this must have been the custom in some (all?) shuls there before the war.

Same procedure was used for מפטיר.

  • In your schul, was the 'oleh for the tochecho called up with יעמוד משעמד or with some similar formula? Oct 19, 2016 at 12:19
  • @NoachMiFrankfurt - He (the president) was called up for the tochocho like every other person all year round. Jan 24, 2017 at 9:41
  • That's apparently an old Frankfurter minhag, see the KAYJ forum (I forgot which post) Jan 24, 2017 at 15:29
  • 1
    Makes sense, since we had a mix of Fürth (IIRC) and Frankfurt a.m. founders and minhogim. Jan 24, 2017 at 15:33
  • Funny, my family's the same way on my paternal grandfather's side: Fürther u. Frankfurter. Jan 24, 2017 at 15:34

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