This week’s daf begins with a discussion of the number of aliyot on festivals, Yom Kippur and Shabbat.
The Mishnah and R. Ishmael agree on the number of aliyot read on each of these days. But they disagree over whether one can add to the number of aliyot. R. Ishmael says they may not, while the Mishnah says they may. R. Akiva disagrees with the Mishnah over the number of aliyot on Shabbat and Yom Kippur. R. Akiva says six for Shabbat, seven for Yom Kippur, whereas the Mishnah reverses these numbers. So the Mishnah does not seem to agree with either of these tannaim.
Rava solves the problem by finding another tanna that does follow the Mishnah—the tanna of the school of R. Ishmael. This tanna teaches R. Ishmael’s opinion in a way that is identical to that in the Mishnah.
As far as the contradiction between R. Ishmael of this baraita and R. Ishmael of the previous baraita, the Talmud just says that these are two different traditions, transmitted by two different tannaim, as to what R. Ishmael said.
The baraita cited here seems to explain the number of aliyot for each day. On festivals people come late and leave early. They want to celebrate the festival with food at home and since they can cook at home, they need to be there more. Therefore there are only five aliyot. No food on Yom Kippur so they are okay with being in shul all day. Hence seven aliyot, according to R. Akiva. On Shabbat they come early because all of their food was prepared the night before, but they still want to get home early to eat it, and therefore there are six aliyot. Thus the baraita seems best to accord with R. Akiva.
The Talmud says that it accords even with R. Ishmael (and the Mishnah). On Yom Kippur the service is quite long, therefore there are only six aliyot. On Shabbat, the service is shorter and therefore they can have one more aliyah without the overall length becoming too problematic.
There is a dispute over what the three readers on Mondays, Thursdays and Shabbat Minhah, the five readers on Yom Tov and the seven readers on Shabbat represent.
One opinion holds that they represent the three priestly blessings (Numbers 6:24-26). The first blessing has three words, the second five words and the seventh seven words. The other opinion holds that they represent various verses in Tanakh.
In this somewhat strange exchange R. Joseph teaches one of the same traditions that we learned above. Abaye asks him why R. Joseph never taught that before, and R. Joseph responds that he never asked.
The six on Yom Kippur represent the six who stood on Ezra the Scribe’s right and left hand sides when he read the Torah upon renewing the covenant. While it seems that on his left hand there were actually seven, Zechariah and Meshullam are identified as being the same, the latter being a pun on his perfect conduct.
The Jacob identified here is called a “Min.” Usually the word means “heretic” but here it is difficult to interpret it as such, for the question does not seem heretical at all. It is possible that the correct reading should be some other word and not “Min.”
This baraita teaches that anyone can have an Aliyah, even a woman or child. However, the rabbis consider it to be disrespectful to the community for a woman or child to have an Aliyah because it suggests that the men could not read the Torah themselves. We hear of this in other areas as well—birkat hamazon and Hallel. It is not respectful for it to seem that men cannot recite these texts.
This baraita was foundational among minyanim (Conservative and later on Orthodox) who wanted to allow women to read from the Torah and receive aliyot. To this day it is the source for the emergence of such minyanim in the Orthodox movement. The claim was that a community could waive its own honor. But since this is a Talmud shiur and not a halakhah one, I will refrain from expanding on the subject.
There is a dispute here about whether the person who reads the “Maftir” Aliyah counts as one of the seven readers. The Maftir reader reads from the Torah and then reads the Haftorah. According to one opinion, since he too reads from the Torah, he too counts as one of the readers. According to the second opinion he only reads from the Torah to show respect for it, so that he not read from the Prophets and not the Torah. Because it is not inherently crucial that he read from the Torah, he does not count as one of the seven.
The Talmud raises a difficulty. According to this baraita, the person who reads the haftorah should read at least 21 verses, to correspond to the 21 verses of Torah read by the seven readers. But if eight read, including the maftir, then he would have had to read 24.
The answer is that the three extra verses that the maftir reads are only because of the respect for the Torah. Since they are not quite essential, they do not need to read corresponding verses in the haftorah.