My nephew is having his Bar Mitzvah and we are a family of Kohens. My older Brother was hoping to be called for the first Aliyah and wanted to honor me with either the 4th or 7th one. The Rabbi at the shul however says that only one Kohen is to be allowed. I understand that this can be an Ashkinazi tradition but am curious how common this is. Is it true that other Ashkenazi Rabbis would allow a second Kohen just as long as two Kohens aren't called back to back, or is that a Sephardic tradition. The Shul is in Boston and is considered Traditional/unaffiliated. The Rabbi is a graduate of Hebrew College Rabbinical School.

  • Welcome to MiYodeya Josh. Hope to see you around!
    – mbloch
    Apr 21, 2018 at 18:19
  • It depends (and obviously you have to respect the rabbi's decision). Some shuls that I know divide (or repeat a part of) the last aliyah and after the seventh allow kohanim or leviim to be called. Apr 21, 2018 at 20:11
  • If the minyan is made up of all kohanim they would half to or if half are kohanim and half are leviim then they would alternate
    – Dude
    Apr 22, 2018 at 15:44
  • Thanks for the replies. @Kazibácsi have you ever heard of Shuls who enforce the one Kohen ruling? Or is it a fairly rare thing? Though I understand the reasoning behind it, it seems like the tradition is doing the opposite of its goal, honoring Kohanim.
    – Josh8153
    Apr 23, 2018 at 0:02
  • @Josh8153 I only heard about such ones. Read a bit here: he.m.wikisource.org/wiki/שולחן_ערוך_אורח_חיים_קלה Apr 23, 2018 at 4:54

1 Answer 1


As Kazi bácsi points out this is dealt with in (S.A. Orach Chaim 135:10)

: נהגו לקרות כהן אחר כהן בהפסק ישראל ביניהם ואומר החזן כשקורא לשני אע"פ שהוא כהן וכיוצא בזה נוהגים בלוי אחר לוי

הגה: ולכן מותר לעלות ג"כ למפטיר בכי האי גוונא ואם קורא מפטיר סתם אין לחוש לפגמו דהרי לא מזכיר שמו. וי"א דאין לקרות כהן או לוי למנין ז' אבל לאחר שנשלם המנין יכולים לקרות כהן או לוי. [אגור בשם מהרי"ו ומרדכי פרק הניזקין וב"י בשם ר' ירוחם] וכן נוהגין במדינות אלו ומיהו במקום צורך ודחק יש לסמוך אסברא ראשונה

The custom is to call up two Kohanim with a Yisroel between them. The Chazan should say when he calls up the second Kohen “even though he is a Kohen” and this is the custom with calling up a Levi after a Levi. The Rema says that “therefore it is allowed to call up a Kohen for maftir. If he reads maftir without being called then there is nothing to worry about. (And there is an opinion that we do not call up a Kohen or Levi to the 7 people called on Shabbos. But after the 7 have been called, it is possible to call a Kohen or Levi) and this is the custom in these places. But when it is necessary and difficult to do otherwise, one can rely on the first view.”

You are curious how common this is. In many years, I have never seen a Kohen called up in an Ashkenazi shul other than first, for Maftir or after the 7 people.

The only time that as a Kohen, I was not called for one of these aliyos, was when I was called up in a Sefardi shul with the words of the Shulchan Oruch "אע"פ שהוא כהן".

  • I haven't seen this occur to often. However, recently, in my neighborhood, a minyan opened in a nursing home. Most of those comprising the minyan cannot speak or are mentally disabled. Thus, in most cases, they do not have 5 different Yisra'elim to call, so they may have to give someone more than 1 aliya, and occasionally it's a Cohen or Levi.
    – DanF
    Apr 23, 2018 at 14:45
  • How common is it to add an extra Aliya before Maftir? I am surprised that the Rabbi didnt mention this as an option to my sister in law.
    – Josh8153
    Apr 24, 2018 at 3:05
  • @Josh8153 For festive occasions (e.g. bar mitzvah) I saw it quite often, and now we have a source to back this practice. Apr 24, 2018 at 8:37
  • @DanF I'm sorry, except for the Kohen in absence of Levi, how can you give someone more aliyah? Apr 24, 2018 at 8:39
  • @DanF Can mentally disabled people be included in a minyan??? Apr 24, 2018 at 9:24

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