R Avraham Yosef (the son of R Ovadia Yosef) recently said on his weekly radio program that, in his synagogue, he always call up 10 people on Shabbat to ensure that at least seven of them are Shabbat-observant.

I had never seen or heard this before. I know there are opinions (e.g., here) that one should not offer an alyah to a non-observant person. But in synagogues I went to, even when calling non-observant people (e.g., the family of a bar mitsva boy), they always stop at seven.

What is the Halachic basis for the idea that a synagogue needs to ensure it has seven Shabbat observers getting called up? Is this more common amongst Sefaradim? Have others seen this?

  • I don't really get the question. You're allowed to call more than seven people up on Shabbos. You admit there are those that prohibit giving a non Shabbos observer an aliyah. I believe these opinions hold if they received an aliyah, it doesn't count towards the seven aliyos. Presumably Rav Yosef's shul is one where it's unclear who is observant and who isn't. Therefore he set up a practice to avoid embarrassment and avoid not having seven kosher aliyos. Why ten? I'm sure we can make up a reason.
    – robev
    Sep 6, 2018 at 3:51
  • @robev thanks for the push to clarify. If it is prohibited to give a non-Shabbat observer an alyah, then those following this opinion wouldn't call these people up. So why the need to make up? And if you don't follow that opinion there would be no need to "push it to 10". I am asking where the idea one needs 7 shabbat observers comes from? You answer that an aliyah of a non-Shabbat observer doesn't count. That would be the answer I am looking for if it can be sourced.
    – mbloch
    Sep 6, 2018 at 3:55
  • I addressed your questions in my comment. I think it's pretty obvious the prohibition of embarassing someone is worse than giving someone who isn't shomer shabbos an aliyah. Sefardim in particular are hard to determine how religious they are. So he obviously found a method of avoiding all issues. Otherwise he would have to interrogate everyone who entered his synagogue.
    – robev
    Sep 6, 2018 at 3:57
  • 3
    Again, would make a good answer if you could source the idea that the aliyah of a non-Shabbat observer doesn't count. I didn't know this
    – mbloch
    Sep 6, 2018 at 4:01
  • @robev What you said about sefardim is disrespectful and should be edited out! How dare you say such a thing??? The answer is because there are opinions that hold that all seven readers must be shomer-shabbat. It is common knowledge that it is permitted to add more aliyot to the fixed seven on shabbat, so he does so in order to ensure that at least seven shomrey shabbat get aliyot while respecting those who may not be. Sep 6, 2018 at 10:58

1 Answer 1


See Yalkut Yosef Shabbat 135:37 where he explains that m'ikar hadin, a mechalel shabbat b'farhesia doesn't count towards the seven olim(l'chatchila) because it is as if they don't acknowledge ma'aseh bereshit. However, if a machloket will occur, it is not necessary to be makpid on this rule. Also based on shu"t Yabia Omer 9:108 sec. 103.

See quote below:

לז מחלל שבת בפרהסיא לכתחלה אין להעלותו לתורה, כי מעיקר הדין אינו עולה למנין שבעה, מאחר שהרי הוא ככופר במעשה בראשית. והוא הדין למי שכופר בדברי חז''ל, ואינו מאמין בדבריהם, רק במה דמסתבר ליה, שהוא כעכו''ם לכל דבר. ובכלל זה הרפורמים. ומכל מקום כשיש לחוש משום איבה וקטטה, יש לחזן להוסיף על העולים, ולהעלותו עם הנוספים. כדי שלא יעלה למנין שבעה. והכל לפי המקום והזמן. ויש להשתדל לחזור ולקרוא שנית את הקריאה לעולה אחריו. ואם יש חשש שאם יחזרו על הקריאה תתעורר מחלוקת, אין צריך לחזור על הקריאה, אלא יעלו עולה נוסף לספר תורה. ונכון לעשות הכל בחכמה באופן שלא ירגישו הללו, ששנאה תעורר מדנים ח''ו. [ילקוט יוסף, הלכות קריאת התורה עמוד סא, ובהוספות ומילואים שבמהדורת תשס''ד, עמוד שעח, על פי המבואר בשו''ת יביע אומר חלק ט' או''ח סי' קח אות קג].


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