This page brings all Chiyuvim (obligations) and minhagim (customs) around the reading of the torah.
Below list is how it should be. There are circumstances where below cannot be done. Still, we must be strict with the Chiyuvim but can be lenient with the minhagim. The wording shows what is obligatory and what is customary.

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Obligatory Subintes (called to the Torah)


1.       We never add extra stops to the reading. Mincha Shabbat, Monday & Thursday morning, Chanuka & Purim: 3 men are called. On Rosh chodesh & chol hamo’ed: 4 men are called. On Yom tov: 5 men are called (if Shabbat, 7). On Simchat Tora 6 are men are called plus two chatanim. On Kipur 6 are men called (if Shabbat, 7). On Shabbat: 7 men are called.

2.       General order on Shabbat is: coheen, Levi, plus five in this order (from most important to least):
7-3-6-4-5 or 3-7-6-4-5. 

o   The Chacham will be called 3rd or 7th (SHB page 215).

o   The 6th is called as “samuch”, 7th is called as “mashlim”.

o   The youngest (unmarried) person will be called as 5th.

On Yom Tov the order will be 5-3-4 or 3-5-4, on Kipur: 6-3-4-5 or 3-6-4-5 [1]

3.       If there is a Coheen but no levi, the Coheen is called twice, as 1st and as 2nd. The first time he is called by name. The second time he is called without name “קרא כהן במקום לוי”. He doesn’t say ה' עמכם but, like anybody who already is on the Teba when called, starts immediately ברכו את ה' המבורך.

4.       If there is no Coheen, no Levi is called. In that case, the most important person is called as first, adding "במקום כהן שאין לנו כהן" (SHB page 223L). The Levi may be called as mashlim (see below).

5.       A Coheen or Levi can be called as mashlim. In that case “אף על פי שהוא כהן/לוי” is added after his name.

6.       Obligated to be called as 3rd are:

o   A chatan (groom) the first Shabbat after his marriage (החתן הגביר),

o   A father of a son (בעל הברית) till the berit,

o   A father of a daughter (אבי הבת).

If there are more then one obligations, they are called by age in the order as in point 2 The oldest as 7th, the second as 3rd, the third as 6th etc [2]

7.       A boy must be called the first reading after he gets 13 years (bar Mitzvah), see also “Other mitzvoth” point 2 below.

8.       The Shabbat after “Jaartijd” (memorial day) of a relative one is called to say a Hashcava. Some families have the custom to be called the week preceding the “Jaartijd”. See note on “Jaartijd” below.

Specific dates

1.       During the three weeks from 17 Tammuz till 9 Ab the chazzan is called as maftir and reads the haftarah.

2.       On Shabbat Chazon (before 9 Ab): a coheen gets Levara and a levi gets acompanhar and they subir as coheen and levi respectively. These assignments are also for 9 Ab morning and afternoon and Shabbat nachamu (SHB page 215L).

3.       On the first day Rosh Hashana the Tokeng is called for the 2nd sefer (SHB page 216).

4.       On Shabbat Teshuba the Chacham is called for Maftir and reads the haftara.

5.       On Kippur Shacharit the oldest ribi is called for maftir & haftarah (SHB page 189R). During mincha the youngest ribi is called as 3rd and reads the haftarah (SHB page 190L).

6.       On Shabbat Bereshit the Chatan Bereshit is called as first and the Chatan Torah as second. If there are Cohanim in Snoge, they leave after the levantara (lifting the Torah) and return after the beracha of the Chatan Bereshit.

7.       For the Shira and the Aseret haDibrot (Shabbat Beshalach, Jitro, Vaetchanan and on Shavuot) the Chacham is called and he himself reads these parts. see web page.

8.       On the first day of Shavu’ot the bard of Ets Haim replaces the parnassim and mitzvoth are assigned to members of Ets Haim.

9.       On Mincha of public fast (except Kippur) the Chacham is called as third and reads the
יג מדות. On 9 Ab he also reads the haftarah.


Customary Subintes (called to the Torah)


1.       Preferably, boy under bar mitzvah will be called as Maftir and read the haftarah [3].
A boy may not be called on:

o   The days the Chacham or Chazzan read the haftarah, see Specific dates above,

o   The Festivals [4]. On these days he may read the haftarah after someone else was called as maftir.

o   On Rosh Hashana [5] and Kippur.

2.       Shabbat after a birthday or silver (25) and golden (50) wedding day, adding “muitos annos” to the mi sheberach.

3.       A friend on the Shabbat after “Jaartijd” if there are no relatives to say Hashcava.

Other mitzvoth

1.       In general, mitzvoth assigned on Shabbat are valid for the whole week, except for the subintes.

2.       Pregnancy: abrira (opening the helical) when one’s wife enters the 9th month of her pregnancy [6]. There is a special tefilla for this abrira, which can be found in the tefillot Mulder on page 163 and on the website.
Opening at 3rd month must be a new minhag, as it not found anywhere. There is also no special tefilla for the 3rd month abrira.
There are special tefillot when the wife enters the 3rd and 9th month of her pregnancy, see tefillot Mulder on page 162 and on the website.

The special Mi Sheberach (blessing) boa hora” is said as off the third month of pregnancy.

3.       Bar mitzvah: the father gets acompahare, the son is called as maftir and reads the haftarah. The boy is called again for mincha, unless he was already called during the week, e.g. on Thursday.

4.       Coheen Bar mitzvah: “big” cohanim washing plate is used and duchan with “high melody”.

5.       Chatanim: samuchim during nengila. The coheen or oldest standsto the right of the chazzan, the other to the left.

6.       On the High Holidays the mitzvoth, which usually go to young boys under bar mitzvah (Ets Haim and desanfaixerá) are given to married (old) men.

7.       On the first day of Shavuot the honours are assigned by the board of Ets Haim, replacing the Paranassim, as it is the anniversary of this institute, established in 1616.

Abelim (mourners)

1.       Abelim (mourners) may not be called to the Torah during aninut, shiv’ah and sheloshim.

2.       A coheen or levi may not be called to the Torah during aninut and shiv’ah, even if he is the only Coheen or levi.

3.       A coheen or levi may be called to the Torah during the sheloshim if he is the only coheen or levi (Serfaty; MD).

Shabbat after “Jaartijd”

The minhag (custom) to be called to the Torah on the Shabbat near to the “Jaartijd” (Nahala, Yahrtzeit or memorial day) in order to say Hashcava (memorial prayer) for deceased relatives is not mentioned in any Seder Chazzanut manuscript. The only reference to this minhag is a remark by NN in his personal copy of Seder Chazzanut Brandon (SHB) on page 210, which refers to the week before the date of the “Jaartijd”.

We do find in SHB that Hashcavot for deceased relatives are said on Shabbat. On page 173L we read that on Shabbat, for each subinte (person called to the Torah) Hashcavot are said, if requested. There is no reference to the “Jaartijd”, or any other specific date. In a footnote, Meijers (printed edition of SHB, 1955) adds that this minhag was stopped after the war (ww2).

I think that this is what happened. Before the war the kehila was big. With only one minjan (more were not allowed as of the união in 1639) members were called maybe once or twice a year at most. It would simply not have been possible to call all members each time they had “Jaartijd”. Therefore subintes would say Hashcava for all deceased relatives each time they were called.

The war unfortunately diminished the kehila so much that members were - and are- called very often. The minhag to say Hashcava for all deceased relatives each time became a burden
טירחה דציבורה) and was replaced by a Hashcava around the “Jaartijd”. This explains the post-war note by NN on page 210.

Saying the Hashcava on the Shabbat before the “Jaartijd”, as noted by NN is in contrast to our general minhag to read Haschcavot after the “Jaartijd” (see SHB page 226R) and in contrast to the belief that the Mashiach will come any moment and there will be no “Jaartijd”, so no Hashcava needed. Saying the Hashcava on the Shabbat before the “Jaartijd” is similar to the Ashkenazi minhag to make a Yizkor (or Keel malei rachamim) on the Shabbat before a “Jaartijd”. The influence of our Ashkenazi rabbi in the 1980th and 1990th may be seen here. Mind that the SHB copy which belonged to his predecessor, Chacham Pereira, doesn’t have any remark on this post-war Hashcava change.


[1]  Not documented, addition JBS

[2] See BC page 49

[3]  See “Over de Ceremoniën” (EH617NV1206) page 8R

[4]  See “Over de Ceremoniën” (EH617NV1206) page 3R

[5]  The haftarah will be read by a married man; there is no written evidence for this

[6] See “Over de Ceremoniën” (EH617NV1206) page 3L


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