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Yom Tov Torah readings

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On Yom Tov (except on Simchat Torah), entire parshas of the Torah are not read in the synagogue. Rather, select portions of parshas, generally pertaining to the holiday are read. These readings are usually shorter than a full parsha.

When a Yom Tov other than Yom Kippur falls on a day other than Shabbat, the reading is divided into five sections (not including the Maftir). On Yom Kippur, six readings take place.

On all these days, the Maftir is read from a different portion of the Torah. Two Torah scrolls are taken out of the ark[1]. This is because it is difficult and time consuming to roll the scroll to the point where the Maftir is located. The Maftir readings come from the parsha of Pinchas.

The Torah is read on Yom Tov during Shacharit services. There is no reading at Mincha on Yom Tov other than Yom Kippur, unless the day falls on Shabbat, when the regular Shabbat reading for the week is read. The Torah is also read at Mincha on all public fast days.

Shalosh Regalim


First two days

On the first day of Passover, Exodus 12:21-51 is read[2]. This reading describes the Exodus from Egypt and the Passover offering[3].

On the second day of Passover in the Diaspora, the reading for the first day of Sukkot is read.

Chol Hamoed

On the first day of Chol Hamoed, Exodus 13:1-16 is read. This section describes the commandment not to eat or possess chametz on Passover and to tell the Passover story[4].

On the second day of Chol Hamoed, Exodus 22:24-23:19 is read. The laws of the Jewish holidays are found in this reading[4].

On the third day of Chol Hamoed, Exodus 34:1-26 is read. This section describes Moses receiving of the second tablets of the Ten Commandments and G-d revealing the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy[4].

On the fourth day of Chol Hamoed, Numbers 9:1-14 is read. This describes the laws of Pesach Sheni[4].

When any of these days fall on Shabbat, Exodus 33:12-34:26 is read. (See Shabbat Chol Hamoed)

Last two days

On the seventh day of Passover, Exodus 13:17-15:26 is read[5]. This contains the Song of the sea[4].

On the eight day of Passover (which occurs in the Diaspora only), Deuteronomy 15:19-16:17 is read. When this day falls on Shabbat, the full reading for Shemini Atzeret is read.


On the first day of Shavuot, Exodus 19:1-20:23 is read[6].

On the second day of Shavuot, which occurs in the Diaspora only, the reading for the eighth day of Passover is read. When this day falls on Shabbat, the full reading for Shemini Atzeret is read.

Yetziv Pisgam

During the Haftarah of the second day of Shavuot, a liturgical poem called Yetziv Pisgam is inserted following when the first verse is read[7]. The song praises G-d as the Giver of the Torah and Creator of the universe[8]. The beginning of each of the letters of its 15 verses spells out the name of its author, Yaakov the son of Meir Levi[7].


On Sukkot, Leviticus 22:26-23:44 is read[9]. This reading, is also read on the second day of Sukkot and Passover that are observed in the diaspora. The reading describes journeying to the Beit Hamikdash on the Shalosh Regalim and the counting of the Omer[4]. This makes the reading relevant to all these holidays.

Shemini Atzeret/Simchat Torah

On Shemini Atzeret, Deuteronomy 14:22-16:17 is read[10]. This is also the reading for the eighth day of Passover and the second day of Shavuot that occur only in the diaspora, but when either of these days fall on a day other than Shabbat, the reading is abridged.

On Simchat Torah, the Parsha of V'Zot HaBerachah is read in its entirety.

The Torah is also read during Maariv services on Simchat Torah. This is the only time of year in which a Maariv Torah reading occurs. In the diaspora, where Simchat Torah is a separate day from Shemini Atzeret, Simchat Torah can never fall on Shabbat, and there is no mincha reading for Simchat Torah.

Shabbat Chol Hamoed

When Shabbat occurs on Chol Hamoed of either Sukkot or Passover, Exodus 33:12-34:26 is read[11]. Since this is on Shabbat, it is always divided into seven readings. This reading contains the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy.

High Holidays

During the High Holidays, the Torah is read in a different tune than usual at Shacharit.

At Mincha, it is read in the normal tune. This is because by this time, the congregation is already anticipating a return to normal life[12].

Rosh Hashanah

On Day One of Rosh Hashana, Genesis 21:1-34 is read. On Day Two, the reading is Genesis 22:1-24.

Yom Kippur

The Shacharit reading comes from the parsha of Acharei Mot. It begins by describing the deaths of Nadav and Avihu. The purpose of reading this passage is to invoke the sense that Aaron's two son's died for a relatively minor sin, yet the listener, upon hearing this, is supposed to think "I am full of serious sins."

The Mincha reading is also read from Acharei Mot. The portion describes all the forbidden marriages and relationships[12]. The purpose of selecting this reading is to remind the Jewish people, who have just been forgiven for their sins, not to lose control and enter forbidden relationships.

Other Days

Rosh Chodesh

When Rosh Chodesh falls on a weekday, Numbers 28:1-15 is read. When Rosh Chodesh falls on Shabbat, Numbers 28:9-15 is read as the Maftir.


The readings for all eight days of Chanukah come from Numbers Chapter 7. Each passage describes one of the eight days of the dedication ceremony of the Mishkan.


On Purim, Exodus 17:8-16 is read.

Public fast days

On public fast days other than Yom Kippur, Exodus 32:11-14 and 34:1-10 are read during both Shacharit and Mincha services, except during Shacharit of Tisha B'Av, when Deuteronomy 4:25-40 is read.

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