In viewing Gemarah Megillah 22א, there is a rule that each person receiving a Torah aliyah must have at least 3 verses remaining in the parsha (paragraph) as well as starting with a minimum of 3 verses from the top of the parsha.

Tosfot (1st one on page) asks that given this rule, how can we start the laining that we do for fast days which doesn't have at least 3 before it and 4th aliyah Hol Hamo'ed Pesach which is only 2 psukim from the start of the parsha.

I checked a chumash in both places. I don't see any such problem in either place. What is Tosfot talking about? Did he have a different version of the Torah?

  • "Did he have a different version of the Torah?" Almost certainly that's the answer here. The Parsha breaks you are familiar with were [almost] all only standardized with the publication of the Rambam's Mishneh Torah. (There still are a couple with doubts.)
    – Double AA
    May 9, 2018 at 17:22
  • For context for future readers: according to our versions of the Chumash, there's a pesuchah at Shemos 32:7, while Vayichal is at Shemos 32:11, four pesukim away. (con't)
    – DonielF
    May 9, 2018 at 17:31
  • (con't) V'hikravtem - I'm not sure what exactly Tosfos are referring to, since they say b'Yom Tov but then say b'Chol HaMoed, so I'm going to assume they are referring to Vayikra 23:8, which appears in the context of Pesach, and they probably had the Minhag to begin from there and continue into Karban Omer; the confusion stems from some places reading that on second day Yom Tov and others on first day Chol HaMoed. In any event, the Pesuchah is back on 23:4 - the issue Tosfos should have mentioned is that it's the last passuk of its parshah, rather than being within two of the previous break.
    – DonielF
    May 9, 2018 at 17:32
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    @DonielF Aren't they referring to the Maftir in Pinchas where we start from והקרבתם instead of at the beginning of the Parsha ובחודש הראשון like we do on the first day[s]?
    – Double AA
    May 9, 2018 at 17:33
  • @DoubleAA Are they? In that case it’s Bamidbar 28:19, which is a full four pesukim from the Setumah.
    – DonielF
    May 9, 2018 at 18:12

2 Answers 2


Maharsha on that Tosfos asks this same problem.

בספרים שלנו אינו כן דויחל הוא אחר ד׳ פסוקים והקרבתם אחר ג׳. ועיין בתשובת מהרי״ל סימן קמט וקשה לי.

In our scrolls this is not so, for Vayichal is after four pesukim, and Vehikravtem is after three. See in the Teshuvah Maharil §149, but it’s a problem to me.

Well, let’s take a look in the Maharil, then. You can find this text online here at the top of page 8. The translation that follows is mine. I’ve translated some parts loosely where a literal translation doesn’t flow well, though I made sure to keep the inherent meaning of the words the same, and in places where I’ve added my own expansion on his words I’ve used brackets. I’ve also expanded his abbreviations.

וההיא דוהקרבתם לא ראיתי עליו תירוץ מקובל דדוחק הוא לומר דבימי הר״י היו הפסוקים בענין אחר מלדידן. וכל רבותינו המתחברים דבתראי אינון מייתי ליה. והתוספות בפרק יש נוחלין דזימנין לא היו בקיאין האמוראים בפסוקים וכן משמע פרק הפרה. ואם נאמר על רבותינו המתחברים צריך עיון.

And on that of Vehikravtem, I have not found an accepted answer, because it’s far-fetched to say that in the days of the Ri the pesukim were split up differently than ours. All of the Rabbis who compiled [the Sifrei Torah] later do not bring his [divisions]. Tosfos in Yeish Nochalin [write] that sometimes the Amoraim were not experts in the [divisions of] pesukim, and it’s similarly implied in Perek HaParah, but if you say this on the Rabbis who compiled, that requires further study.

שוב נתתי אל לבי דלמא מנהג צרפתי להתחיל פסוק והקרבתם בפרשת מוספין. ושוב מצאתי כן בתשובת רבינו תם אההיא דמפטיר עולה וזה לשונו וביום טוב קרו כולהו בעניינא דיומא והמפטיר הששי קורא והקרבתם עד כאן לשונו.

I later thought that perhaps the French custom was to begin [with] the passuk of Vehikravtem in the Mussafin. [Apparently he originally thought that we had the same minhag, leading to the earlier confusion of the division of the pesukim.] I later found in the responsa of Rabbeinu Tam similarly, on the topic of that Maftir Aliya, and these are his words: “On Yom Tov we read the entire topic of the day, and on the sixth day we read from Vehikravtem,” end quote.

אבל ויחל אינו קשה דכמה פיסקי פרשיות יש בספרי תורה של צרפתים דלא כרמב״ם [...]

But Vayichal is not an issue, for there are many divisions in the Parshios of the French Sifrei Torah which are not like the Rambam. [The rest does not relate to our topic, and so I conclude the quote here.]

In short, according to the Maharil, the French minhag was indeed to divide the parshios differently than ours, which are based off of the Rambam (as @DoubleAA correctly intuited in the comments to the OP). The Maharsha, for whatever reason, did not want to say this, so he left it as a question.


According to Minchat Shai (Exodus 32:11), the books of Torah used by Tosafot, had a new paragraph break between Exodus 32:8 and 32:9 (supported by the tikkun of Rabbeinu Tam and a manuscript), and between Numbers 28:16 and 28:17.

  • Very nice research! Would you know if there is a resource (online or print) that discusses parsha variations?
    – DanF
    May 9, 2018 at 18:59
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    @DanF Minchat Shai (which is usually included in Mikra'ot Gedolot) and other books about the Masora (e.g. one other such book quoted by Minchat Shai is the Rama's book on Masora); I'm not sure if there are more focused treatments of parashiyot
    – b a
    May 9, 2018 at 19:13
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    This is not quite accurate. He says maybe they had a Parsha there, not that he saw a list of Parsha breaks and this was on it. He quotes someone who claims to have seen a Setumah before 32:9 in some old Torah but no evidence that that was following Rabbenu Tam specifically or any evidence about Numbers 28:17.
    – Double AA
    May 9, 2018 at 19:26
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    @DoubleAA About the Numbers verse you are right he quotes no evidence. About Rabbeinu Tam, he says כתיקון ר"ת, so I don`t understand you
    – b a
    May 9, 2018 at 19:44

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