Monday, July 1, 2013

Why haftorahs vary

HAFTORAH TIDBITS: The selection from Nevi'im read as the haftarah is not always the same in all Jewish communities. From time to time these communities vary selections: Ashkenazic, Frankfurt am Main, Chabad, Poland, Italian, Sephardic and Mizrahi custom,Yemenite custom,Romaniote (Byzantine, eastern Roman empire),Karaite. Why different haftorah selections? Rabbi Yosef Karo reports that for many years there were no set haftarot: the maftir chose an appropriate passage from the Nevi'im. Over time, certain choices became established in certain communities; in contemporary Jewish observance one may not choose his or her own haftarah, explains Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, as that would run against accepted custom. Rabbi Karo's explanation, however, helps to explain why communities have varying customs regarding what to read as haftara

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