Aliyos for Kohen and Levi

Aliyos for Kohen and Levi:

A. General laws:

Kohen/Levi: The order of Aliyos is first Kohen, then Levi and then Yisrael.[1] The Chabad custom is to be very particular in this matter.[2] Nonetheless, in mitigating circumstances, the custom is to ask the Kohen to leave the Shul in order to call up a Yisrael in his place. One may not call up Kohen or Levi for any of the Aliyos from Shelishi and onwards, with exceSee Piskeiy Teshuvosion to Maftir.[3] If, however, there are not enough Yisraelim available, then a Kohen or Levi may be called up for the other Aliyos.[4]

No Levi:[5] If there is no Levi in Shul, the same Kohen who received the first Aliya is called up in his place for the second Aliya. The Gabai is to recite “Bemakom Levi.”[6]  

B. If a Kohen is not found in Shul, may a Levi be called up in place of the Kohen?[7]

If there is no Kohen present in Shul, it is permitted for a Levi to go up in his place [if there is no Yisrael of greater stature than the Levi[8]]. [However, other Poskim[9] rule a Levi may never go up in place of a Kohen, and thus when there is no Levi in Shul, a Yisrael is to receive all first three Aliyos of Kohen, Levi, Yisrael, calling up a different Yisrael for each Aliya.[10] Practically, each community is to follow their custom in this matter.[11] Most communities, Ashkenaz and Sefarad are accustomed like the former opinion, that a Levi may go up instead of a Yisrael.[12] There is however no obligation to call a Levi in place of the Kohen, and it is left to the discretion of the Gabai whether to call a Levi or Yisrael[13], unless the Levi is of greater stature than the Yisrael[14], or the Levi has a Chiyuv.[15] In all cases, whether or not a Levi was called up in place of a Kohen, a Levi is not to be called up for the 2nd Aliyah of Levi, and it is rather given to a Yisrael.[16]]

How to call up the Levi:[17]  Upon calling the Levi [or Yisrael[18]] instead of Kohen, the Gabai is to recite “Bemakom Kohen”, in order so they do not mistake him as a Kohen.[19]  [However, when the Yisrael is called up in place of Levi, there is no need to say “Bimakom Levi.”[20] However, when a Kohen is called up instead of a Levi, the Gabai is to say “Bemikom Levi”.[21]]

 

Summary:

Whenever there is no Kohen present in Shul, it is permitted for a Levi to go up in his place. There is however no obligation to call a Levi in place of the Kohen, unless the Levi has a Chiyuv.  In all cases, whether or not a Levi was called up in place of a Kohen, a Levi is not to be called up for the 2nd Aliyah of Levi, and it is rather given to a Yisrael. Upon calling the Levi [or Yisrael] instead of Kohen, the Gabai is to recite “Bemakom Kohen”, in order so they do not mistake him as a Kohen.  

 

C. Called up Levi/Yisrael in place of Kohen and a Kohen then entered:[22]

If there was no Kohen in Shul and a Levi or Yisrael was called up in his place, and then a Kohen entered, whether or not the Levi/Yisrael is to step down is dependent on whether the blessing was already begun:

Levi/Yisrael already began Bracha: If the Kohen entered the Shul only after the [Levi or] Yisrael already said [Hashem’s name, Baruch Ata Hashem[23], in] the blessing [of Asher Bachar Banu], then the Levi/Yisrael is to continue and finish the Aliyah.[24] [This Aliyah counts as one of the 3/7 required Aliyos and the Kohen is not called up at all, not for that Aliyah or the subsequent Aliyas.[25] One is to continue the remaining Aliyas in the same order followed as when there is no Kohen in the room.]

Levi/Yisrael did not yet begin Bracha: If the Levi or Yisrael did not yet say Hashem’s name in the blessing of Asher Bachar Banu, then the Levi/Yisrael is to stop and the Kohen is to be called up [by name] in his stead. This applies even if the Levi/Yisrael already said Barchu, so long as he did not yet say the words Baruch Ata Hashem of the blessing of Asher Bachar Banu.[26] In such a case that the Kohen replaced the Levi/Yisrael, the Yisrael is to remain by the Bimah until after the Aliyos of Kohen/Levi and receive one of the subsequent Aliyahs [and if he is a Levi then he is to receive the Aliyah of Levi].[27] [The Yisrael/Levi is to be called up a second time by name for a subsequent Aliyah.[28] Even in the event that the Levi/Yisrael already said Barchu, nevertheless, the Kohen is to repeat Barchu.[29] Likewise, when the Levi/Yisrael receives one of the subsequent Aliyois, he is to recite Barchu again.[30]]

 

Summary:

If there was no Kohen in Shul and one called up a Levi or Yisrael in his place of a Kohen and then a Kohen entered then if the Levi/Yisrael already said Hashem’s name in the blessing of Asher Bachar Banu, then the Kohen is not called up and one is to continue the remaining Aliyas as if there is no Kohen around. If however the Leivi/Yisrael did not yet say Hashem’s name in the blessing of Asher Bachar Banu, then even though he has said Barchu, the Kohen is to be called up by name and the Levi/Yisrael is to remain by the Bimah and receive one of the coming Aliyahs [having his named called up again].

 

Q&A

What is the law if in truth there was a Kohen in Shul and one only realized after the Levi/Yisrael was called up?[31]

This follows the same ruling as above, in the case that the Kohen walked into Shul after the Levi/Yisrael was called up. Hence, if the blessing was not yet begun the Kohen is to take his place, and if the blessing of Asher Bachar Banu was already begun, the person is to continue and the Kohen does not receive an Aliyah.[32]

In a case that the Levi/Yisrael had to step down, must the Levi/Yisrael receive one of the coming Aliya’s or is it oSee Piskeiy Teshuvosional?

Some Poskim[33] rule it is not obligatory for the Levi/Yisrael to receive one of the coming Aliya’s, and if they do not want to receive it [such as if there is another Levi in Shul, and the Yisrael Aliyos were already pre-sold], they are not required to do so.[34] If however they desire to receive an Aliyah, the Gabaim must give them from the upcoming Aliyos. The Gabaim may not choose to not give them an Aliyah without their consent. Other Poskim[35] however rule they are required to receive an Aliyah and are not allowed to refuse it.[36]

What is to be done if there was no Levi in Shul and the Kohen was called up for Kohen and Levi, and a Levi then walked in?[37]

This follows the same ruling as above, and hence, if the blessing was not yet begun, the Levi is to take his place, and if the blessing of Asher Bachar Banu was already begun, the Kohen is to continue and the Levi does not receive an Aliyah.

 

 

D. Called person up and he is not in Shul:[38]

If the Gabaiy called up a Kohen, or Levi, and the person is not in Shul or is in the midst of Shemoneh Esrei, then another person is to go up in his place. That person is to go up without his name being called, and whoever comes first merits. Some are accustomed apply the same rule if a Yisrael was called up and is not there.[39] Others[40] however rule that a new Yisrael may be called up by name.

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[1] Michaber 135:3

[2] Sefer Haminhagim p. 30 [English]

[3] Rama 135:10; Ketzos Hashulchan 85:2

Other opinions: [Michaber ibid]

[4] Michaber 135:12

[5] Michaber 135:8

[6] Ketzos Hashulchan 25:2

[7] Rama 135:6; M”A 135:10; Taz 135:6; Peri Chadash 135:6; Elya Raba 135:9; Mamar Mordechai 135:8; Machazik Bracha 135:4; Biur Hagr”a; Rashi Gittin 59b in accordance to his second and main explanation; Rosh in name of Ritzba; Tur 135; Maharil, and Beis Yosef 135 in name of Minchas Kohen, that this applies even according to the first Pirush in Rashi Gittin ibid; One way of learning Rabbeinu Yerucham, Rambam Tefila 12:19 and even 1st Pirush in Rashi ibid; Or Letziyon 2:9; Yabia Omer 6:24; Piskeiy Teshuvos 135:10

Background of opinions: The Gemara Gittin 59b states that when there is no Kohen in Shul “the package falls apart.” It is unclear as to the intent of this statement, and Rashi ibid offers two explanations, the first that “The Levi is not called at all” and the second explanation that “He can call up whomever he wants.” Now, there is a total of two interpretations amongst the Poskim as to the understanding of the first explanation in Rashi, which consequently created three opinions in Halacha as to whether a Levi may or should be called up first when a Kohen is not present: a) That one may not call up a Levi at all, neither for the first Aliya in place of the Kohen, nor for the second Aliyah which is generally designated for Levi. [1st explanation of Rashi as learns Kesef Mishneh on Rambam ibid and Taz ibid; One way of learning Rambam and Michaber 135:6, and so learns to be their opinion: Peri Chadash 135:6; Bach 135; Kneses Hagedola 135:5; Beis Yehuda 2; Kaf Hachaim 135:40] Or b) That we no longer need to honor the Levi with an Aliya prior to a Yisrael, even if the Levi and Yisrael are of equal stature, and thus its left to the discretion of the Gabaiy as to whether to call up a Levi or Yisrael for the first Aliyah of Kohen. If, however, a Yisrael if of greater stature, the one must honor the Yisrael. [1st Pirush in Rashi ibid, as understood by Maharil ibid, Darkei Moshe 135:6, Maharil, and Beis Yosef 135 in name of Minchas Kohen; explained in Machatzis Hashekel on M”A 135:10] Or c) That we no longer need to honor the Levi with an Aliya prior to a Yisrael, if the Yisrael is of greater stature, and thus its left to the discretion of the Gabaiy as to whether to call up a Levi or Yisrael for the first Aliyah of Kohen. If, however, the Levi and Yisrael are of equal stature, and certainly if he is of greater stature, then one must precede the Levi. [2nd Pirush in Rashi ibid; See Rosh; Taz ibid; Machatzis Hashekel ibid]

[8] M”A 135:10 [in suspicion of 1st Pirush in Rashi as explains Machatzis Hashekel]; Taz 135:6 in compromise of first and 2nd Pirush in Rashi; 1st Pirush in Rashi ibid, as learn some Poskim ibid; Peri Chadash 135:6; Elya Raba 135:9; Mamar Mordechai 135:8; Machazik Bracha 135:4; Ledavid Emes 5:16; Zera Emes 15;  Kaf Hachaim 135:45

[9] 1st explanation of Rashi as learns Kesef Mishneh on Rambam ibid and Taz ibid; One way of learning Rambam ibid and Michaber 135:6, and so learns to be their opinion: Peri Chadash 135:6 and so practically rule: Iggur, brought in Darkei Moshe ibid, that so is custom in Ashkenaz; Bach 135; Kneses Hagedola 135:5; Beis Yehuda 1-2; Mor Uketzia 135 based on Kabala that one should not begin with Midas Hadin; Kaf Hachaim 135:40;

[10] The reason: As if the Levi is called up for Kohen people may think that he is a Kohen. [Bach ibid]

[11] Kaf Hachaim ibid

[12] Or Letziyon 2:9; Yabia Omer 6:24; Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid;

[13] Implication of Rama ibid who says “Yachol Lalos” seemingly in suspicion of the 1st Pirush in Rashi; Piskeiy Teshuvos 135:10 [Vetzaruch Iyun that he omits all the opinions brought below!]; Hiskashrus 761 p. 15 that so is custom; See Admur 201:3; Ketzos Hashulchan 25 footnote 15

Other opinions: Some Poskim learn that whenever the Levi is of equal stature to the Yisrael, then he must be called up first. [2nd Pirush in Rashi; Taz ibid; Machatzis Hashekel ibid; Levushei Serud on Taz ibid; See Ketzos Hashulchan 25 footnote 15]

[14] Machatzis Hashekel ibid that according to M”A ibid and other Poskim, this applies according to both Pirushim in Rashi; Taz ibid according to 2nd Pirush in Rashi

[15] Kaf Hachaim ibid; Yabia Omer ibid; Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid

[16] Taz ibid; M”A 135:11; Beis Yosef 135; See Shaareiy Efraim 1:13; Kaf Hachaim 135:40

[17] Rama ibid Tur ibid

[18] Shaareiy Efraim 1:13; Derech Hachaim 1; Kaf Hachaim 135:46

[19] The reason: As otherwise people may think that he is a Kohen, and come to give him Teruma or Challah. [Poskim ibid]

[20] Tur; Kaf Hachaim ibid

[21] Mamar Mordechai 135:10; Shaareiy Efraim 1:15; Kaf Hachaim ibid

[22] Michaber 135:6; Mahariy, in name of Orchos Chaim, in name of Rif

[23] M”A 1235:8; M”B 135:19; Kaf Hachaim 135:36

[24] The reason: As otherwise the blessing would be in vain, and thus it is better that he complete the blessing and receive the Aliyah then have the Kohen take him over and cause the blessing to be said in vain. [M”B 135:19; Machatzis Hashekel 135:8]

Saying Lamdeini Chukecha: Even if he stopped and realized by the Words Baruch Ata Hashem that the Kohen entered, he is not to conclude with the words Lamdeini Chukecha, hence saving the blessing from being in vain and allowing the Kohen to step up in his place. Rather he is to finish the blessing as usual. [M”A 135:8 in implication of Michaber ibid; Elya Raba 135:7; Chaye Adam 31:20; Kaf Hachaim 135:35; See Beir Moshe 3:18] The reason for this is because, the ability to fix a blessing by saying Lamdeini Chukecha [as brought in Michaber 206:6] is not according to all opinions, and hence initially it is best to say the blessing properly. [Machatzis Hashekel ibid]

[25] P”M 135 A”A 8; M”B 135:20; See Q&A!

The reason: As since the Levi:Yisroel received the Aliyah according to law [as the Kohen was not in the room] therefore it counts as part of the 3:7 required Aliyos. Furthermore, one cannot call up the Kohen for a subsequent Aliyah, as this will make people think that the Kohen is in truth not a Kohen, as he was called up for the Aliyah of Levi:Yisrael, and he is hence not to be called up at all. [See P”M 135 A”A 8]

[26] The reason: As the mere saying of Barchu is not considered in vain if he does not continue with the blessing, as the congregation already replied Barchu Es Hashem Hamevorach to his Barchu. [Levush 135; Machatzis Hashekel 135:8; M”B 135:21 in name of Gr”a; ; Kaf Hachaim 135:36-37 in name of Shut Hageonim]

If the Kohen entered in middle of the Yisarel saying Barchu: In such a case, if the Yisrael already said Hashem’s name, he is to conclude “Hamevorach” and have the congregation answer after him, and then step down for the Kohen to take his place. [Kaf Hachaim 135:37]

[27] The reason: This is done in order not to embarrass the Levi:Yisrael and make them step down without an Aliyah. [M”A 135:9; Chaye Adam 31:20; M”B 135:22; Kaf Hachaim 135:38] Alternatively, it is done because the Gemara Brachos 55a states that one who was called to read the Torah and does not do so his life is shortened, and hence he is to remianj until he receives an Aliyah. [Biur Hagra 135; see Tzitz Eliezer 14:34]

[28] There are various reasons mentioned behind why we call up the person by name [See Poskim in Piskeiy teshuvos 139:2], and hence although he was mistakenly called up once, nevertheless, seemingly when he is called up anew he is once again to be called up by name. Vetzaruch Iyun

[29] Elya Raba 140; P”M 140; Derech Hachaim 2; Kitzur SHU”A 23:12; M”B 135:21; Kaf Hachaim 135:39

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule the Kohen is not to repeat the saying of Barchu. [Pesach Hadvir, brought in Kaf Hachaim 135:39; See Poskim in Piskeiy Teshuvos 135:15 footnote 92-93]

[30] Kaf Hachaim 135:39

[31] P”M 135 A”A 8; Noda Beyehuda Tinyana 14; Yosef Ometz 9; Ikarei Hadat 6:1; Mamar Mordechai 135:7; Shaareiy Efraim 1:25; M”B 135:20; Kaf Hachaim 135:34

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that only in a case that the Kohen was not in Shul when the Yisrael began the blessing do we say that the Yisrael was Yotzei the Aliyah as part of the 3:7 required Aliyos and it is not necessary for the Kohen to be called up. However, if the Kohen was in Shul and accidently was not called up, then the Yisrael does not fulfill that Aliyah as part of the 3:7 required Aliyos, and the Kohen must be called up for Levi and another seven called up after him. [Peri Chadash 135:6, brought in Poskim ibid; See also Beir Moshe 3:18] The above Poskim ibid negate this opinion and rule the Aliyah counts as part of the 3:7 required Aliyos and the Kohen is not to be called up at all.

[32] The reason: The reason the Kohen is not to receive an Aliyah is because this will make people think that the Kohen is in truth not a Kohen, as he was called up for the Aliyah of Levi:Yisrael, and he is hence not to be called up at all. [Poskim ibid]

[33] Makor Chaim 135; Aruch Hashulchan 135:15

[34] The reason: As the entire reason he is to remain is in order not to embarrass the Levi:Yisrael and make them step down without an Aliyah. [M”A 135:9; Chaye Adam 31:20; M”B 135:22; Kaf Hachaim 135:38] hence, if the Levi:Yisrael is Mochel, he may step down. [ibid]

[35] Biur Hagra 135; see Tzitz Eliezer 14:34

[36] The reason: As the Gemara Brachos 55a states that one who was called to read the Torah and does not do so his life is shortened, and hence he is to remian until he receives an Aliyah. [Biur Hagra 135; see Tzitz Eliezer 14:34]

[37] Pisckeiy Teshuvos 135:15

[38] Michaber 135:11; Ketzos Hashulchan 25:3

[39] Ketzos Hashulchan 25:3

[40] M”B 135:38

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