web analytics
June 30, 2015 / 13 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Q & A: Sidra Or Parasha?


QuestionsandAnswers-logo

QUESTION: I have noticed that some refer to the weekly Torah portion as Parashat Hashavua while others refer to it as the week’s Sidra. Which is correct?
Eliyahu Tewel
Via E-Mail
ANSWER: Indeed, my uncle HaRav Sholom Klass, zt”l, discussed this matter in detail (Responsa of Modern Judaism Vol. 3, p. 154). The following is his explanation:A sidra refers to the weekly portion of the Torah we read every Shabbat. A parasha represents a passage or topic in the Torah. Nowadays the Ashkenazim call the part we read on Shabbat a ‘sidra’ while the Sepharadim call it a ‘parasha.’

The term sidra originally meant ‘order’ or ‘arrangement’ (seder) and is frequently used in the Talmud to denote a section of the Bible either read in the synagogue or studied in the study hall. In the Gemara (Yoma 87a) Rashi explains the statement that Rav read a sidra before Rabbi (Judah the Prince) to mean a section of the Prophets or the Hagiographa.

The Talmud Yerushalmi (Ta’anit 4:3) applies the term sidra to a section of the Torah to be read in the synagogue. In the Gemara (Shabbat 116b) it is said that in Nehardea the people used to read a sidra of the Hagiographa at the Mincha service of Shabbat. Tosafot (ibid. 24a), however, explain this to refer to the Haftara, which they used to read at the Mincha service. The word sidra also appears in Megilla (21). Later this term began to be used by the Ashkenazim to denote the weekly portion of the Pentateuch, just as parasha is used by the Sepharadim.

Masechet Sofrim, one of the minor tractates (end of chapter 16), explains that there were 175 sedarim or parashiyot, one for each of the years our Patriarch Abraham lived. Nachalat Yaakov (ibid.) explains that the reason for so many sedarim is that in those years they would complete reading the Torah in Israel in 175 weeks, or three-and-a-half years, 50 sedarim (or sedarot, the Hebrew plural – and its possessive form, sidrot) in one year. In Babylonia and at the present time, the Pentateuch is completed every year (baraita, Megilla 31a).

The Masorah figures the sedarim (sedres in Yiddish) at 158, which is the number you will find itemized at the end of the Five Books of Moses. This assumes that the Pentateuch was completed in approximately three years, not three-and-a-half years.

Today, when we complete reading the Torah in one year, we figure the number of sedarot/sedarim at 54. The Masoretic Bible published by Ginsburg (London 1894) lists the division of the sedarim/sedarot according to the triennial cycle. The Jewish Encyclopedia (1905) also lists that number.

The Gemara (Megilla 31) itemizes the order of the weekly and festival readings according to the many divisions which Ezra the Scribe and his Anshei Knesset HaGedola (the Men of the Great Assembly) established as well as the reasons for it. According to Rav Achai Gaon, the sections were combined to be read in one year during the era of the Amoraim in Babylon. The annual cycle, in which we repeat the Torah every year, was established because of the persecution of Jews that started at that time in the Diaspora, and it was difficult for Jews to study the Torah. In order not to forget the Torah, they condensed the cycle from three years to one year.

About the Author: Rabbi Yaakov Klass, rav of Congregation K’hal Bnei Matisyahu in Flatbush, Brooklyn, is Torah Editor of The Jewish Press. He can be contacted at yklass@jewishpress.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Q & A: Sidra Or Parasha?”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
The new security fence is under construction along the Israel-Egypt border.
Israel to Extend Security Fence Along Eastern Border
Latest Judaism Stories
Staum-062615

Amalek, our ultimate foe, understood that when unified, we are invincible and indestructible.

Torat-Hakehillah-logo-NEW

Perhaps on a deeper level, the mitzvah of parah adumah at this junction was not just to purify the body, but the spirit as well.

Rabbi Avi Weiss

Halacha isn’t random; it’s a mechanism guiding individuals and society to a higher ethical plateau.

Q-A-Klass-logo

Question: Should we wash our hands in the bathroom with soap and water, or by pouring water from a vessel with handles three times, alternating hands? I have heard it said that a vessel is used only in the morning upon awakening. What are the rules pertaining to young children? What is the protocol if no vessel is available? Additionally, may we dry our hands via an electric dryer?

Harry Koenigsberg
(Via E-Mail)

Less clear, however, is whether the concept applies to the area of civil law such as the law of transfer of property.

The greatest of men, Moshe, had to wait for Hashem to sprinkle purifying waters on Bnei Yisrael to mark the conclusion of the period of death.

My Plate, My Food
‘My Loaf Is Forbidden To You’
(Nedarim 34b)

Of Chukkim “Satan and the nations of the world made fun.” They may appear irrational & superstitious

I realized from this story that I was sent as a messenger from above. Hashem has many helpers in this world to help do his work.

Tosafos answers that nevertheless the sprinkling is a part of his taharah process.

“What difference does that make?” replied Shraga. “What counts is the agreement that we made. I said two hundred fifty and you accepted.”

Zaidie’s legacy of smiles and loving words was all but buried with him, now the family fights over $

Israel’s complaining frustrated Moshe, making it increasingly hard for him to lead effectively

Dovid’s musical Torah teachings were designed to penetrate the soul and the emotions.

It occurred to me, as my brain rattled in my skull on a two-hundred mile ride through rural Virginia, that our souls work in much the same way.

More Articles from Rabbi Yaakov Klass
Q-A-Klass-logo

Question: Should we wash our hands in the bathroom with soap and water, or by pouring water from a vessel with handles three times, alternating hands? I have heard it said that a vessel is used only in the morning upon awakening. What are the rules pertaining to young children? What is the protocol if no vessel is available? Additionally, may we dry our hands via an electric dryer?

Harry Koenigsberg
(Via E-Mail)

Question: Should we wash our hands in the bathroom with soap and water, or by pouring water from a vessel with handles three times, alternating hands? I have heard it said that a vessel is used only in the morning upon awakening. What are the rules pertaining to young children? What is the protocol if no vessel is available? Additionally, may we dry our hands via an electric dryer?

Harry Koenigsberg
(Via E-Mail)

Question: Should we wash our hands in the bathroom with soap and water, or by pouring water from a vessel with handles three times, alternating hands? I have heard it said that a vessel is used only in the morning upon awakening. What are the rules pertaining to young children? What is the protocol if no vessel is available? Additionally, may we dry our hands via an electric dryer?

Harry Koenigsberg
(Via E-Mail)

Question: Should we wash our hands in the bathroom with soap and water, or by pouring water from a vessel with handles three times, alternating hands? I have heard it said that a vessel is used only in the morning upon awakening. What are the rules pertaining to young children? What is the protocol if no vessel is available? Additionally, may we dry our hands via an electric dryer?

Harry Koenigsberg
(Via E-Mail)

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/ask-the-rabbi/q-a-sidra-or-parasha/2003/08/27/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: