Yohr Tzeit on Shabbos: which Aliya should a Cohen seek

This isn’t a new question by any stretch. That being said, there are two sides of the coin. I am a Cohen muchzak, and will have Yohr Tzeit on a Shabbos. I asked Mori V’Rabi Rav Schachter, and this was his response.

Is it better to get Maftir on that day, or should I get the Aliya of Cohen, there also being a Minhag to “accumulate Maftirs during the year, something I have never sought to impose or ask for wherever I daven)”

Joe Alpert (niftar 2 years ago) told my father that the first year he had yartzeit he went to Rav Moshe on Friday morning on his way to work and asked which aliyah he should take in honor of his father’s yartzeit. rav Moshe said it is better to take one of the ז’ קרואים and not maftir. Later that afternoon when he came home from work he had a message that rav Moshe had called back and said that he made a mistake and more proper is to take maftir as there are more brachos, and it will be a bigger zchus when more brachos are recited.

Author: pitputim

I've enjoyed being a computer science professor in Melbourne, Australia, as well as band leader/singer for the Schnapps Band. My high schooling was in Chabad and I continued at Yeshivat Kerem B'Yavneh in Israel and later in life at Machon L'Hora'ah, Yeshivas Halichos Olam.

27 thoughts on “Yohr Tzeit on Shabbos: which Aliya should a Cohen seek”

  1. Just to quote from the MINHOGIM of Khila Kdosha Mattersdorf.
    MAFTIR was a lesser Aliya than the seven Kruim and Achron. Single men were called up only on Shabatot and Yomim Tovim and only as Maftir. To Maftir they even called up boys that were not yet Bar-Mitzva.


    1. The Halacha is that you can call up a minor to the Haftora according to most/all as I recall.

      By the way I believe ‘Joe Alpert’ was Rav Nissan Alpert, a famous Talmid Muvhak of R Moshe


          1. I don’t get to the bottom of what you want to point out. If the REMOH says that the AVEL should try to get a MAFTIR, does it change the MAFTIR in the PARASHA? Maybe that his suggestion points out that an AVEL should get MAFTIR, because MAFTIR is a lesser ALIYA, or a TOSEFET as we suggested, and not be one of the seven KRUIM (or ACHARON).
            You see, we have no argument with the REMOH.


            1. In those days the person who had gelila also had maftir and that’s why gelila was once the Kibud in general to get. I saw somewhere, could have been Aruch Hashulchan that this is how younger kids got gelila, because they could do maftir.

              Either way, I think your reading is strained because the Ramo and Nosei kelim would have suggested your pshat


            2. אתה חונן לאדם דעת

              Dear Pitputim,
              Thank you for your comment. You write: ” I think your reading is strained because the Ramo and Nosei kelim would have suggested your pshat”. Do you think that if someone did not write about it, one is not allowed to suggest his own thoughts (even with a “maybe”)?
              I am sorry if I offended someone.
              I would like to refer you to an article published about two years ago in MAKOR RISHON written by דורכים במקום / ישראל לבקוביץ. I am not going to quote from it, but would suggest that you read the article (you can find it at the WEB of BCHADRE CHAREDIM).
              Let us look at Rabbi Moshe Isserlis (רמ”א) himself. He writes:
              “ולא זה השולחן אשר ערך לפני ה’ ולא נתנו עדיין לבני אדם אשר במדינות אלו, אשר רובו מנהגיו במדינות אלו לא נהיגינן כוותיה – – – כי כבר אמרו ז”ל אין למדין מן הכללות, כ”ש מן הכלל שכלל הגאון הזה לעצמו לפסוק אחרי הרי”ף והרמב”ם במקום שרוב האחרונים חולקים עליהם ועי”ז נתפשטו בספריו הרבה דברים שאינן אליבא דהלכתא לפי דברי החכמים שמימיהם אנו שותים שהם הפוסקים המפורסמים בבני אשכנז וצרפת… אשר אנו מבני בניהם, ואני ראיתי כי דבריו בשו”ע כנתנו מפי משה מפי הגבורה ויבאו התלמידים הבאים אחריו וישתו דבריו בלא מחלוקת… ע”כ ראיתי לכתוב דעת האחרונים עם המקומות שלא היו נראין לי דבריו כדי לעורר התלמידים”.
              אלה הם דברי הרמ”א בהקדמתו להגהות השולחן-ערוך ובמלים אלו הגדיר את מטרת חיבורו ומפעלו הגדול שבו פרש את “המפה” האשכנזית על “השולחן ערוך” הספרדי.
              No comments are necessary, it is self explanatory.

              I do think that everyone can have his opinion, especially if it does not conflict with others. Rabbi Mosche ben Rabbi Israel Isserlis spread his Ashkenazy tablecloth over the Sfardy Table of Rabbi Joseph Karo. The two were in conflict and we survived.

              The way of the BETH HAMIDRASH is outlined in חגיגה ג, א:
              תנו רבנן: מעשה ברבי יוחנן בן ברוקה ורבי אלעזר חסמא שהלכו להקביל פני רבי יהושע בפקיעין, אמר להם: מה חידוש היה בבית המדרש היום? […] אמר להם: אף על פי כן, אי אפשר לבית המדרש בלא חידוש
              This is the way of study in the BETH HAMIDRASH. There must be a CHIDUSH. Today we hardly find a BETH HAMIDRASH, instead we have YESHIVOT and COLLELIM.

              In my humble opinion, if you take a case and do not know the reason of the decision in that case, you can assume a reason, but stipulating that it is your assumption. People can accept your reasoning, or not. Just reading and repeating only what others said, without discussions, new ideas and reasoning is just like threading water, with a SCHAR like SCHAR PSIOT.

              The above is only my assumption and reasoning.

              לא הביישן למד ולא הקפדן מלמד.

              About GLILA. We spent once a SHABAT in Holland. Our younger son (at that time a minor) was called up in the Synagogue for ETZ CHAYIM. He asked me: “Dad, what is ETZ CHAYIM? What do I have to do?” Unfortunately I had no answer for him.


            3. I agree with you except my comment is that I would have expected at least one Achron to have thought of what you wrote unless you claim it is a big new chiddush.

              On the Etz Chaim what style Torah was it, two Atzei Chaim or the Sefardi no style?


            4. About the GLILA.
              It was an Ashkenazi Sefer Tora. The MINHAG there was/is that the MAGBIA picks up the SEFER, the called up for ETZ CHAYIM holds the ETZIM at the other side – the top of the SEFER. The SEFER is now horizontal held by its ETZIM by both of them, and the BA’AL GLILA wraps the CHITUL around the SEFER.

              About assumptions.
              Great Expectations is a novel written by Charles Dickens. I do not claim anything, surely not a new CHIDUSH. Unfortunately I did not know the REMO personally, and do not know on what he based his ruling. From MINHAGE ASKENAZ you can see that MAFTIR is a lesser ALIYA. Taking that into account and his ruling regarding AVEL’s ALIYA, I assumed that. I want to point out that it is just an assumption or a “may be”. You do not have to accept it, and I do not claim that it was the REMO’s reasoning.

              If you give me your e-mail address (you have got mine) I shall mail you a DRASHA I gave last year for PARASHAT BESHALACH. It touches a bit on the question of what you call “expectation”. If you find it appropriate, you can post it here in time for SHABAT SHIRA.


          2. I want to share with you some thoughts about MAFTIR.
            Purim is Purim so I had another look at Mesechet Megila for Inyane Dyoma. I think that I found some support to my assumption here, although it does not discuss the Aliya of an Avel.
            On page 23a there is a discussion about Maftir.
            תנו רבנן: הכל עולין למנין שבעה, ואפילו קטן ואפילו אשה. אבל אמרו חכמים: אשה לא תקרא בתורה, מפני כבוד צבור. איבעיא להו: מפטיר מהו שיעלה למנין שבעה? רב הונא ורבי ירמיה בר אבא, חד אמר: עולה, וחד אמר: אינו עולה. מאן דאמר עולה – דהא קרי, ומאן דאמר אינו עולה – כדעולא, דאמר עולא: מפני מה המפטיר בנביא צריך שיקרא בתורה תחלה – מפני כבוד תורה, וכיון דמשום כבוד תורה הוא – למנינא לא סליק. (תלמוד בבלי מסכת מגילה דף כג עמוד א)
            Now let us have a look at the MEIRI on that:
            המפטיר צריך שיקרא בתורה קודם שיפטיר אפילו לא עלה במנין ונשלמה הפרשה חוזר וקורא שלשה פסוקים ממה שקרא המסיים שאין מדקדקין בקריאתו כל כך אחר שאינו מן המנין ולא הוצרכה קריאתו אלא לכבוד התורה שלא נייחד עולה אחד בשביל נביאים לבד ובקצת מקומות נהגו ביום שיש בו שני ספרי תורה שהמפטיר קורא קריאה מיוחדת לעצמו בספר שני ובספרד אין נוהגין כן אלא שקורא בה מסיים של מנין הקוראים ומפטיר חוזר וקורא בה ג’ פסוקים וכן ראוי לעשות שלא יוציאו ספר אחד בשביל קריאת מפטיר לבד וכל שכן כשהמפטיר אינו הגון כל כך. (בית הבחירה למאירי מסכת מגילה דף כג עמוד א)
            Hameiri says it Bferush – Hamaftir eino hagun kol cach = it is a lesser aliya (it does not matter if HAMAFTIR here is the reader or the reading).
            The Rashba goes even further and says that Maftir is not part of the Seder [the Parasha that is read] and is separated by a Kadish from the Parasha itself.
            שדרכן היה שהמפטיר קורא לעצמו פסוקים אחרים שלא קראו הראשונים, ומה שאין אנו נוהגין כן היינו משום שאנו מפסיקין בקדיש בין קריאת השבעה לקריאת המפטיר ואינו בדין שיפסיקו בקדיש באמצע הסדר, (חידושי הרשב”א מסכת מגילה דף כג עמוד א)
            Here the called up for Maftir is not called up to the Parashat Hashavua. He was called up to the Tora, but not as an Ole l’Tora. The repetition of the reading is done only as a Kavod l’Tora and he is not one of the counted OLIM.


  2. there also being a Minhag to “accumulate Maftirs during the year, something I have never sought to impose or ask for wherever I daven

    I don’t understand what you mean by “accumulate”. It sounds like one is working towards some goal, or to maximise the number of maftirs said, as if one number is better than another. As far as I know there is no such minhag, any more than there is with kaddish or davening at the amud. These three things (kaddish, maftir, and davening) are exactly the same, i.e. the established minhag (recorded by the Rama YD 476:4) is for an avel to do them, but each time one does them is a discrete event, not an addition to some tally. One should say kaddish as often as one can (and back when only one person at a time said it one might not often get the chance), and the same applies to davening and to maftir, if one is able to do those things. (Of course that doesn’t mean the minyan has to give it to one.)


    1. Baruch HaShem you have never been an Avel. Those of us who have, have seen the accumulators. For example, they will forgo Brov Am Hadras melech, a D’orayso I believe, to tick off = accumulate! another ‘I davened for an amud’
      There certainly are those who, for example, accumulate laying at Mincha on Shabbos, when they are a far cry from a Baal Koreh. This is a clash between kabollo, darchei shalom, and Halacha in many cases. Each group has their hanhogos, but some feel that if they don’t provide a gush of spiritual air, by hook or by crook, that the neshama will not benefit. As we are all taught, a neshama benefits from many things. I was told by a fellow ovel who stood at the Amud in 770 and was physically buffeted away. It was Kol ha hakodem, Zocho but turned out Kol dealing gvar!


      1. We should not forget that the one leading the prayers (before an AMUD) is a SCHLIACH TZIBUR, not a BA’AL MARPEKIM. You should be asked to lead the prayers, and surely not grab the AMUD. On the matter of a SCHLIACH TZIBUR I do not think that KOL HAKODEM ZACHA should be applied. In Mattersdorf the MINHAG was that the AVEL went before the TEVAH only from ASHRE at the end of the prayers.
        I remember once in England, the GABAY asked if there was an Avel, and he decided which one should go before the TEVAH. I know that it was in England where people are polite and do not grab.

        An AVEL is entitled to an ALIYA for a YAHRZEIT, but if there are many brothers praying in the same synagogue, you cannot always call up all of them. In Mattersdorf only the elder brother got an ALIYA.


        1. When the avel creates his own amud, he is not grabbing anything. He then waits for a tzibur to accumulate, who by their very presence have consented to have him as their shliach.


          1. You are being quite disingenuous here I would suggest and suggesting than an existential outcome from a forced creation is de facto

            That may be true at the Kosel but it is not true in a Shule that has a set time for Tefilla and where Brov Am trumps all


          2. We are talking about a TFILA B’ZIBUR. A SHALIACH is appointed (here by his Tzibur) and not self appointed as you suggest “creating his own Amud”, which is unheard, as Pitputim writes, in a synagogue. Even at the KOTEL, you ask the people if they want to join the MINYAN which you want to lead (there are usually no AMUDIM at the KOTEL).


            1. Indeed. Milhouse is influenced by kabbalistic notions which are in fact all about accumulation of ‘zechusim’
              The problem is that Mishlei and the Mishna and Gemoras which specify explicitly that the HIDDUR is Brov Am to the extent that this is what they did in the Beis Hamikdosh. I’ve seen houses of Avelim with n sons and they spread around the house and try and make n concurrent minyanim. This is simply not the preferred way unless you start to pasken in a way that kabola supplants Din!


      2. I don’t see any of what you write as evidence of “accumulation”. Each time one says kaddish, etc., is a discrete event, and obviously if one has a chance to do it one should! Berov Am is not a de’oraisa, and it is well-established that aveilim do try to make their own minyonim, so they can each have the omud. Do you not do the same? And of course each time you do the neshomo benefits; what’s the sevoro that it doesn’t?

        But of course nobody is obligated to join a person’s minyan, so if someone can’t and thinks he can then he may find himself without a minyan.

        Back in the days when only one person at a time could say kaddish, there were all sorts of fights and hurt feelings about that too. It got so bad that we ended up with our current system, where everyone can say it together and nobody has to feel left out. Maybe one day some rov will permit multiple baalei tefillah or multiple maftirim in the same minyan!


        1. You need to bring some source that it’s not cumulative for the Neshoma.

          Brov Am is from Mishlei and is used Bfeirush as the PREFERRED way to do a Mitzvah throughout shas. Start from the Avodas Holochas Hadam in the Mishna.

          Telling me people have changed a hanhogo has no klepp. It’s not in Mishlei let alone the Gemora that the preferred way to do a Mitzvah is through Brov Am! How can you argue.


        2. What’s your sevora that the niftar’s neshomo benefits from each one? The source for a yosom saying kaddish involved a single kaddish, once. If we truly thought that the niftar needed as many as possible then we would be perpetually making siyumim on things.


          1. This is brought in all the Halocho seforim. One should be Marbe in everything for the Niftar.
            On Kaddish Yasom when the system was a rotating one you fell in line. Now they SHOULD be saying it together. I got annoyed when an Avel decided he would ignore the rest of us.


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