I understand that originally there was a triennial Torah reading common in Israel and an annual one common in Babylon. Most people now use the annual custom. (Note that the triennial reading that is common in Reform and many Conservative shuls is actually the same as the annual reading but divided into "thirds". It does not resemble the original sequential triennial reading of old.)

When where these organized and who did them? Are the sidrot (weekly readings) that we have currently the same as the original ones (i.e. their starting & ending locations? I'm not concerned about which sidrot were decided for doubling - there's a different reasoning for that. I am also aware that the names of the sidrot changed.) If not, what was changed and why?

  • Vaychi and Bo (and Vayelekh I suppose if you count it) are the ones that may be different from the past.
    – Double AA
    Nov 24, 2017 at 18:35
  • @DoubleAA Do you recall a source for that?
    – magicker72
    Nov 24, 2017 at 23:13
  • @Alex - Aren't the psuchos and stumos halachos le'moshe misinai - and if so they were divided up long earlier? Feb 25, 2018 at 6:09
  • @Uber_Chacham (I was not notified of your comment to me because you put it in the question instead of on my answer.) The question was only with regard to the divisions of the weekly reading, and that's all my answer addresses.
    – Alex
    Feb 26, 2018 at 17:26

1 Answer 1


The Chatam Sofer writes (Shu"t O.C. 169) that the weekly sidrot were already divided in the times of Chazal, but the divisions are not absolute law:

שאין חלוק סדרות מעיקור הדין אעפ"י שמבואר מלשון הש"ס לקמן דכבר הי' חלוק הסדרות נוהג גם בימיהם מ"מ מבואר שם כ"ט ע"ב דאינו לעכב שאמר שם דבני מערבא מסקו לאורייתא בתלת שני

Chazeh Hatenufah (siman 54), however, states that the division of sidrot was only in order to have the Torah finished annually, and each rabbi divided it up in his own city or land however he saw fit, and the whole thing is just a minhag.

חילוק הסדרים וחיבוריהם הוא כדי שתעלה קריא' כל התור' בשנה אחת ולכן כל חכם בעירו או בארצו חיבר והפריד הסדרים כפי הסדר שראה שהוא הנאות ואין הסדור ההוא הלכה קבועה רק מנהג ואינו חובה לשנות מנהג הנהוג בברכה לקיים סי' סגרו ופסחו וכן כל כיוצא בזה בשאר הסימין

  • Sorry that I missed seeing this answer a while ago. Very good. A follow up to this idea, esp. the 2nd citing. The Gemarah (I guess in Megillah) states that the 1st tochacha in Behukotai be said before Shvuot and the one in Ki Tavo should be said before Rosh Hashanna. I assume that in dividing the sidrot, that each place needed to abide by this rule? Additionally, the Gemara and Rishonim have names for the parshiot (they usually start w/ the 1st word, not necessarily the names we have now.) Did they abide by those names or not?
    – DanF
    May 10, 2018 at 20:17

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