Wednesday, Jan 19, 2022

Megillah 23: A Shared Distinction

On this daf, we find halachos regarding reading maftir and the haftorah.

One shul had two bar mitzvah boys slated to come of age on the same Shabbos. One boy was a kohein, while the other a yisroel. In most cases, the two would cast lots to determine who had the right to maftir and who would have to settle for an earlier aliyah, but the family of the boy who was a kohein figured that their bochur likely had first rights to maftir. Since the halacha is that we must give a kohein the choicer portion of food served and he is usually called for the first aliyah, presumably he had the right to take maftir and read the haftorah, since that was his clear preference.

When this question was presented to Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, he ruled: “The kohein has the same rights as the yisroel in this instance. This is based on Rashi in Gittin 59. He explains that a kohein is only allowed to take the first portion, but he cannot choose to take the entire thing. In this instance, since whoever will be called up for maftir will be allowed to read the haftorah, it is not an equal division. Therefore, the boys must cast lots to determine who gets this distinction” (Chashukei Chemed)

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