The problem with reading the seventh Aliyah from the Shekalim reading is that it looks just like the continuation of Tetzaveh. In other words people will not know that he is reading a special portion for Shekalim. They will think he is just continuing on with Tetzaveh.
Therefore to let people know what is going on, what he should do is read six aliyot from the beginning of Tetzaveh through the end of the special section for Shekalim (30:16). Then he should go back and read the Shekalim Aliyah over again. This will make it noticeable that he is reading a special Aliyah.
This baraita accords with Abaye who said that if Shabbat Shekalim falls on an adjacent parshat hashavua they read the regular portion and then repeat it. This is exactly what Abaye said we do. But the baraita does not accord with R. Yitzchak Nafha who said we just read Tetzaveh and then as the seventh Aliyah we read Shekalim. There is no repeating here.
Yitzchak Nafha could respond that the baraita does not work so well for Abaye either. Doubling the reading for Shabbat Shekalim makes sense if it occurs with the portion that comes before it, Tetzaveh, as Abaye said. But the portion for Shekalim occurs at the beginning of parshat Ki Tisa. If Shabbat Shekalim falls on the portion of Vayakhel, the week after Ki Tisa, there is no repeating of the portion, so what could the baraita mean.
Therefore, the baraita does not mean that the portion for Shekalim is read twice on the same Shabbat. It means that it is read two weeks in a row. This could happen if Shekalim falls on Tetzaveh or on Vayakhel. In either case that portion would be read twice in a row.
I should add that according to the custom we now observe, there is no problem distinguishing the maftir Aliyah from the other seven aliyot for we say the kaddish after the first seven aliyot. Therefore, whatever the special portion for that day is can be read as maftir and everyone would understand what is going on.
The issue here is if Shabbat Shekalim falls on parshat Ki Tisa, which begins with the very portion read for Shekalim. According to R. Yitzchak Nafha he would skip the beginning of Ki Tisa and only begin with 30:17, right after the reading for Shekalim is over. The rest of Ki Tisa would be divided into six aliyot and then he would go back and read the seven verses of Shekalim as the seventh Aliyah.
The problem with that is that he is reading backwards. People might think that one can read the Torah in any order. In other words, someone hearing wouldn’t notice that this was Shabbat Shekalim. Rather he would just think that the reader for some reason read the aliyot out of order.
Therefore, what he should do is read from the beginning of Ki Tisa. And then when he has completed the parsha, he should go back and read the special section for Shekalim.
A baraita is taught that accords with Abaye.
According to the mishnah, if Rosh Hodesh Adar falls during the middle of the week, Parshat Shekalim is read on the previous Shabbat. In today’s sugya the amoraim dispute when Parshat Shekalim is read if Rosh Hodesh Adar falls on Friday.
The purpose of reading Shabbat Shekalim is to give time to discuss the laws of the half-shekel before the fifteenth of Adar, when tables will be set up to exchange coins so that people can pay their Temple tax. If we wait till Shabbat, the day after Rosh Hodesh, to read Shabbat Shekalim, there will be less than the necessary two weeks between the reading of the portion and the setting up of the tables. Therefore Rav says they read the week before.
Shmuel points out that if Rosh Hodesh Adar falls on the day before Shabbat then the fifteenth will also fall on Friday and the tables will not be taken out until Sunday. In the end, even if they read Parshat Shekalim on Shabbat, the day after Rosh Hodesh, there will be two weeks between the reading and the taking out of the tables. So it is possible to delay the reading till Shabbat.
The Talmud tries to use the mishnah to prove that no matter when Rosh Hodesh falls during the week, Shabbat Shekalim is read the previous Shabbat. This would present a difficulty to Shmuel. But this difficulty is rejected because the mishnah can be read as referring to a case where Rosh Hodesh falls during the middle of the week, not Friday.
This baraita explains when the series of special Shabbat readings begins. It states that the series begins on the Shabbat following the week in which Rosh Hodesh falls. This seems to make no distinction between a case where Rosh Hodesh falls during the week and one where it falls on Friday. In either case, it would seem that we read Parshat Shekalim on the previous Shabbat. Again, this is a difficulty on Shmuel.
Shmuel emends the baraita to read “on it.” Thus the baraita teaches that if Rosh Hodesh Adar falls on Shabbat, the special series of Sabbaths begins on that Shabbat. The baraita adds that if it falls on Friday, the same holds true. The special series of Sabbaths begins on the following Shabbat, not the Shabbat before.
According to R. Judah the Prince, unless Rosh Hodesh Adar falls on Shabbat, the first two special Shabbat readings will be interrupted by a Shabbat without a special reading. Thus the Shabbat before Rosh Hodesh will be Shekalim, the Shabbat after Rosh Hodesh will have no special reading, and the Shabbat after that will be Zakhor. R. Shimon b. Elazar disagrees if Rosh Hodesh falls on Friday. Like Shmuel he would hold that Parshat Shekalim would be read on the day after, and then Zakhor the following week. In such a case there would be no interrupting Shabbat.
Thus in this baraita the opinion of R. Shimon b. Elazar matches that of Shmuel, whereas the opinion of R. Judah Hanasi matches that of Rav. Custom follows the opinion of Rav.
Today’s section deals with the reading for the second special Shabbat, Shabbat Zakhor.
Parshat Zakhor where we read of the mitzvah to remember what Amalek did to us when leaving Egypt is usually read the Shabbat before Purim. If Purim falls on Friday, Rav says we still read Parshat Zakhor the Shabbat before. This way remembering Amalek comes before celebrating Purim, which is the correct order—remembering the enemy, then celebrating his defeat. Shmuel says that it can be pushed off till the Shabbat after, since this is the same day as Purim for walled cities which read on the fifteenth of Adar.
If Rosh Hodesh Adar falls on Shabbat, Purim will fall on Friday. The mishnah seems to say that in this case Zakhor will fall on the second Shabbat of the month, the week before Purim, as Rav said. But this is a difficulty on Shmuel.
Papa resolves this by saying that the mishnah doesn’t refer to a case where Rosh Hodesh was on Shabbat. Rather, Rosh Hodesh fell during the week. There will then be a week off with no special reading on Shabbat, and then the “second to the interruption” will be Zakhor. But this did not refer to a case where Purim fell on Shabbat.
The baraita seems to teach that if Purim falls anytime in the week, even on Friday, Parshat Zakhor is read during the preceding Shabbat. This is again a difficulty on Shmuel.
Shmuel emends the baraita to read “on it.” If Purim falls on Shabbat itself, or even if Purim falls on Friday, we read Zakhor on that Shabbat. In both of these cases the remembrance and the observance of Purim will come on the same day.
According to R. Huna, if Purim falls on Shabbat, both Shmuel and Rav would agree that Zakhor is read on Shabbat itself, the fourteenth of Adar. We should note that in this case, we would really observe Purim the next day, on the fifteenth, because we do not observe Purim on Shabbat.
But R. Nahman says that the same dispute continues—Rav would still hold that we read Zakhor the week before. This is borne out by the statement of R. Hiyya b. Abba.
This section is about the third of the special Shabbatot, Shabbat Parah, when the reading is about the sacrifice and preparation of the red heifer.
It looks as if the baraita and the statement of R. Hama b. Hanina contradict each other, one saying that Parshat Parah falls on the Shabbat after Purim, and one saying that it falls the Shabbat after that, the Shabbat before Rosh Hodesh Nisan. But the Talmud resolves these two statements. Parshat Parah usually falls on the Shabbat after Purim. And then there will be another Shabbat before Rosh Hodesh (Parshat Hahodesh). But if Rosh Hodesh Nisan falls on Shabbat, then Parshat Parah falls on the Shabbat right before Rosh Hodesh Nisan. Indeed, this is the case this year. Purim was on Friday. The following Shabbat was not a special reading. The week after was Parshat Parah, and the week after that is Shabbat Rosh Hodesh Nisan. In other words, Parshat Parah fell a week before Rosh Hodesh Nisan, not the week after Purim.
Today’s section lists the four special Shabbatot, when they fall, and what haftorah is read on each.
This baraita outlines the entire system of special Shabbatot, which parsha is read and what the haftorah is. Some of the baraita was explained above in earlier sections.
The first Shabbat is Shabbat Shekalim. It always falls either the Shabbat before Rosh Hodesh Adar, or on Rosh Hodesh Adar.
The second Shabbat is Zakhor. It falls on the Shabbat before Purim.
The third Shabbat is Parah. It is always read the Shabbat before Parshat Hahodesh. Usually this is also the Shabbat after Purim, but not always.
The fourth Shabbat is Parshat Hahodesh. It is either the week before Rosh Hodesh Nisan or on Rosh Hodesh Nisan itself.