I observe people in the synagogue who join in with the few last words read by the Baal Koreh for each section of the reading.

Do they achieve anything positive by this?

Is this a relic of some earlier and better practice maybe?

related: Saying stuff out loud with baal koreh

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    Because people tend toward this state en.wiktionary.org/wiki/nudnik
    – wfb
    Feb 11, 2018 at 17:01
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    I've heard many a Rav speak out against it. Because one needs to hear from the one reading from the Torah and not someone else. Feb 11, 2018 at 17:29
  • Correct comment ^^^ and for just that reason. As a long-time Ba'al Kri'ah myself, I've had to request the shul rav in more tha one shul to warn the congregation to stop doing this, as it ruins my concentration. The only ones who should be saying the last few words aloud are the gabba'im standing next to me as a hint to tell me when to stop. Although, good gaba'im know to just give me a hand signal as I approach the end.
    – DanF
    Feb 12, 2018 at 1:30
  • @wfb No, I don't think that's why. It's a combo of two things, I believe. Many are just ignorant - I can excuse this up to a point. Many others, for some reason, think that they know the kri'ah better than the seasoned Ba'al kri'a. For some reason, they feel that they need to be in control. I have "politely" told such people that if they think they can lain better than me, they are welcome to come up and finish the parsha for me. Trust me - My throat could use the rest.
    – DanF
    Feb 12, 2018 at 1:35
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1 Answer 1


O.C. 141:2 seems to clarify that two people should not read from the Torah simultaneously. This refers to the combination of the oleh and the shat'z. (Original custom was for the oleh to read the portion himself.)

I'm learning "kal vachomer" that if they prohibited the two people directly "involved" not to read aloud together, then the congregants shouldn't be doing this, either.

A separate paragraph in O.C. 139:3 mentions that the oleh must be able to read from the written Torah as one cannot say written words of the Torah by heart. This leads to a debate as to whether a blind person may be called as an oleh. Maharil does allow a blind person to be an oleh. See there for details. But, my inference is that the discussion of getting around the issue to reciting written words by heart seems to be limited to the oleh and not congregants. I'm inferring that when they say the last few words aloud, they may be violating this rule, unless they are reading the words from the Chumash as they are saying it.


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