THE TRIENNIAL TORAH READING CYCLE

Introduction

In modern rabbinical Judaism, the five books of the Torah are read in one year. This is because rabbinical Judaism reads the Torah according to ancient Babylonian Jewish custom. However, the custom in Galilee and Judea was to read the Torah in a cycle of three years. In the early centuries after the destruction of the Temple, the rabbis in Babylon were politically stronger than the disenfranchised Jewish community in the Land of Israel. As a result, their custom prevailed over that of Jews who remained in the Holy Land.

Reading the Torah in one year results in very long readings that few people can hold attention to, and as a result, any sermon afterwards can only give a cursory exposition of the text – if one is given at all. The Reform movement has attempted to get round this problem by reading only a third of each reading; in the first year they read the first third of each portion, in the second year they read the second third, and the third year they read the third. Its drawback is that it results in a disjointed flow of narrative.

However, reading the Torah in a three-year cycle gives a shorter reading that people can absorb much more easily. It also provides the sermon-giver with the opportunity to go into an exposition of the text in greater detail. It is also interesting to note that the current divisions into chapters that we have now in the bible very closely correspond to the weekly portions of the triennial cycle.

The three-year cycle also enables certain readings to be read at appropriate times of the year – for example, the story of the Exodus and of the Israelites leaving Egypt is read around Passover in the second year.

Within the Talmidi community, the custom of Torah reading differs. Liberal Talmidis and Yeshuinists read the Torah in the ancient three-year cycle of Eretz Yisrael; Ebionites and Beth Emet read Torah according to the Babylonian one-year cycle.

Below is a table of the readings for each year. Sidra'ot in bold are slightly different modern portions to the ancient ones (usually to tidy the beginning and end verses of the readings thematically). Where the original haftarah is unknown to historians, I have chosen one. Also, often only the opening verse of a haftarah was recorded; the final verse was not. Therefore, for such haftarot I lengthened the reading, being mindful of the theme of the Torah portion.

The verse numbers quoted below follow the Jewish canon; the Christian verse numbers are sometimes different.


Year 1, Year 2, Year 3,

























































Year 1
month week Sidra (Torah portion) Haftarah (corresponding reading from the books of the Prophets)
Nisan 1

Genesis 1:1 - 2:4a

(original: 1:1-2:3)

Isaiah 42:5, Isaiah 45:17
2

Genesis 2:4b - 3:23

(original 2:4-3:23)

Ezekiel 28:11-26

(modern haftarah; original unknown)

3 Genesis 3:24 - 4:26

Isaiah 3:6-11, 42:8

(original was Jer 12:30 & Isa 42:8, but Jer 12:30 doesn't exist - possibly Jer 12:3?)

4 Genesis 5:1 - 6:8 Isaiah 30:8-15
Iyar 1 Genesis 6:9 - 7:24 Isaiah 54:9-10
2 Genesis 8:1-14

Habakkuk 3:1-19

(original 3:1-5 - lengthened for theme)

3 Genesis 8:15 - 9:17

Isaiah 42:6-21

(original 42:7-21 - lengthened for theme)

4 Genesis 9:18 - 10:32

Isaiah 49:8-13

(original 49:9-13 - lengthened for theme)

Sivan 1 Genesis 11:1-32 Isaiah 28:1-16
2 Genesis 12:1 - 13:18 Joshua 24:3-18
3 Genesis 14:1-24 Isaiah 41:2-14, I Kings 10:9
4 Genesis 15:1-21 Zephaniah 3:9-19, Isaiah 1:1-17
5 Genesis 16:1-16 Isaiah 63:19 - 64:1
Tammuz 1 Genesis 17:1-27 Isaiah 63:10-19
2 Genesis 18:1-33

Isaiah 33:17 - 34:12, 2Kings 4:8-17

(original verse nos from 2Kgs not specified in record)

3 Genesis 19:1-38 Isaiah 17:14 - 18:7
4 Genesis 20:1-18 Isaiah 61:9-10
5 Genesis 21:1-34 I Samuel 2:21-28
Av 1 Genesis 22:1-24 Isaiah 33:7-22
2 Genesis 23:1-20 I Kings 1:1-31
3

Genesis 24:1-32

(original: 24:1-41 - amended to tidy up portion thematically, otherwise the portion ends in the middle of Eliezer's speech)

Judges 19:20-21
4

Genesis 24:33-67

(original: 24:42-67 - see note above)

Isaiah 12:3 - 14:2
5 Genesis 25:1 - 26:11 (original: 25:1-26:10 - the paragraph ends at verse 11 in the SP) II Samual 5:17 - 6:1
Elul 1

Genesis 26:12-35

(original: 26:11-35 - see note above)

Isaiah 65:23 - 66:8
2 Genesis 27:1-29 Isaiah 46:3-6
3 Genesis 27:30 - 28:9

Micah 1:1, 5:1-5

(original was 5:1-15, but modern reading shortened to avoid repetition, as the 2nd half of this passage is also read in Yr 3, Tevet wk 2)

4 Genesis 28:10 - 29:30 Hosea 12:12-14
5

Genesis 29:31 - 30:24

(original recorded as 29:31-30:20; extended for thematic reasons, so that passage now includes birth of all Jacob's children)

Isaiah 60:15-18
Teshri 1

Genesis 30:25 - 31:1

(original: 30:21-31:2 - see note above)

I Samuel 1:1-10

(original 1Sam 1:11 - portion lengthened)

2

Genesis 31:2 - 32:3

(original: 31:3-32:3 / Xtian bibles: 31:3-32:2; 31:2 contains a detail that is continued in 31:5; last verse ends with 'Mahanaim')

Jeremiah 30:10-16, Micah 6:1-4

(original was Mic 6:3-7:20 - portion shortened to avoid repetition in Yr 2 Elul 1st wk, and Yr 3 Shvat 1st wk)

3

Genesis 32:4 - 33:17

(Xtian bibles: 32:3-33:17)

Obadiah 1:1-21

(original Obad 1:1 - end of portion not extant)

4 Genesis 33:18 - 35:8 Nahum 1:12 - 2:5
Heshvan 1

Genesis 35:9 - 37:1

(original: 35:9-36:43;

the verse: 'but Jacob remained living in the land of his father's sojourning, in the land of Canaan' belongs to the end of ch 36)

Isaiah 43:1-7; 38:12
2

Genesis 37:2-36

(original: 37:1-36 - see note above)

Jeremiah 38:1-13
3 Genesis 38:1-30 Isaiah 37:31-37
4 Genesis 39:1-23 Isaiah 52:3-9
Kislev 1 Genesis 40:1-23 Amos 1:3-15, 2:6
2

Genesis 41:1-36

(original 41:1-37; amended as v.37 belongs to the next passage thematically)

Isaiah 29:1-24

(original recorded as 29:1-29, but this chapter only has 24 verses)

3

Genesis 41:37 - 42:17

(see note above)

Isaiah 11:2-9
4

Genesis 42:18 - 43:25

(original 42:18-43:23; this is the natural break where the paragraph ends in the SP)

Isaiah 50:10 - 52:11
Tevet 1

Genesis 43:26 - 44:17

(original 43:24-44:17 - see note above)

Jeremiah 42:12-17, Jeremiah 43:12-13

(original recorded as Jer 43:12-14, but Jer 43 only has 13 verses)

2 Genesis 44:18 - 46:27

Joshua 14:6-14, Ezekiel 37:10-12

(only opening verses of portions extant)

3 Genesis 46:28 - 47:31

I Kings 2:1-3, 13:14-19

(only opening verses of portions extant)

4 Genesis 48:1 - 49:26

Isaiah 43:1-3

(original Isa 43:2 - portion lengthened)

Sh'vat 1 Genesis 49:27 - 50:26 Zechariah 14:1, Micah 2:12
2 Exodus 1:1 - 2:25 Isaiah 27:6; 52:1-6; 65:19-23
3 Exodus 3:1 - 4:13 Isaiah 40:11, II Kings 20:8
4 Exodus 4:14 - 6:1 Isaiah 55:12
5

Exodus 6:2 - 7:18

(original recorded as

Ex 6:2-7:17, but the paragraph in the Torah scroll ends at 7:18)

Ezekiel 28:25 - 29:21; Isaiah 42:8
Adar 1

Exodus 7:19 - 8:15

(original Ex 7:18-8:15 - see above note)

I Kings 22:1-38
2 Exodus 8:16 - 9:35 Isaiah 34:1-11
3 Exodus 10:1 - 12:12 Isaiah 19, Jeremiah 4:6, I Samuel 6:6
4 Exodus 12:13 - 12:28

2 Chronicles 21:18-26

(original portion not extant)

























































Year 2
month week Sidra (Torah portion) Haftarah (corresponding reading from the books of the Prophets)
Nisan 1 Exodus 12:29-51 Isaiah 21:11
2 Exodus 13:1-20 Isaiah 46:3
3 Exodus 13:21 - 15:20 Judges 4:4 - 5:31
4 Exodus 15:21 - 16:24 Isaiah 49:10
Iyar 1 Exodus 16:25 - 17:15 Isaiah 58:23
2 Exodus 18:1 - 20:23 Isaiah 6, Isaiah 61:6-10
3 Exodus 21:1 - 22:25 Jeremiah 34:1-22
4 Exodus 22:26 - 23:33 Isaiah 49:1-26
Sivan 1 Exodus 24:1-18 Isaiah 60:17 - 61:9
2 Exodus 25:1 - 26:30 Isaiah 66:1-24
3 Exodus 26:31 - 27:19 Ezekiel 16:10-19
4 Exodus 27:20 - 28:43 Ezekiel 43:10-12
5 Exodus 29:1-46 Isaiah 61:6
Tammuz 1 Exodus 30:1-11 Malachi 1:11 - 2:7
2 Exodus 30:12-38 1 Kings 18:1-39; 2 Kings 12:5
3 Exodus 31:1 - 32:13 Isaiah 43:7-21 (isa.43:24)
4 Exodus 32:14 - 34:26 2 Samuel 22:10-51
Av 1 Exodus 34:27 - 36:38 Jeremiah 31:33-40, 1 Kings 18:27-39
2 Exodus 37:1 - 38:20 1 Kings 8:8-22
3 Exodus 38:21- 31 Jeremiah 30:18
4 Exodus 39:1 - 40:38 Isaiah 33:20 - 34:8, 1 Kings 7:13
Elul 1 Leviticus 1:1 - 2:16 Isaiah 43:21, Jer. 21:19, Micah 6:9 - 7:8
2 Leviticus 3:1-17 Ezekiel 44:11, Ezekiel 20:41
3 Leviticus 4:1-35 Ezekiel 18:4-17
4 Leviticus 5:1-26 Zechariah 5:1 - 7:14
5 Leviticus 6:1-11 Jeremiah 7:12-34
Teshri 1 Leviticus 6:12 - 7:38 Malachi 3:9
2 Leviticus 8:1-36 Ezekiel 43:27
3 Leviticus 9:1 - 11:47 1 Kings 8:54-61
4 Leviticus 12:1 - 13:28 Isaiah 66:7; II Kings 4:42 -5:19
Heshvan 1 Leviticus 13:29-59 2 Kings 5
2 Leviticus 14:1-57 2 Kings 7:8
3 Leviticus 15:1-32 Ezekiel 43:18-27
4 Leviticus 16:1-34 Ezekiel 44:1
Kislev 1 Leviticus 17:1-16 Ezekiel 22:1-31
2 Leviticus 18:1-30 Ezekiel 22:1-16
3 Leviticus 19:1 - 20:27 Amos 9:7
4 Leviticus 21:1-24 Ezekiel 44:25
Tevet 1 Leviticus 22:1 - 23:44 Isaiah 56:7
2 Leviticus 24:1-23 Hosea 14:7
3 Leviticus 25:1-38 Ezekiel 34:1-31, Jeremiah 36:6
4 Leviticus 25:39 - 26:2 Isaiah 24:2
Sh'vat 1 Leviticus 26:3 - 27:34 Jeremiah 16:19, Ezekiel 12:20
2 Numbers 1:1 - 2:13 Hosea 1:2-11
3 Numbers 2:14 - 3:13 Isaiah 8:18
4 Numbers 3:14 - 4:16 Isaiah 43:9
Adar 1 Numbers 4:17-20 1 Samuel 6:21
2 Numbers 4:21 - 5:10 Judges 13:2-25
3 Numbers 5:11-31 Hosea 4:1-19
4 Numbers 6:1-21 Judges 13:2-7, 1 Samuel 1:7-11

























































Year 3
month week Sidra (Torah portion) Haftarah (corresponding reading from the books of the Prophets)
Nisan 1 Numbers 6:22 - 7:89 not extant
2 Numbers 8:1 - 9:21 Zechariah 4:14
3 Numbers 9:22 - 10:36 not extant (Joshua 3; 10)
4 Numbers 11:1-35 not extant
Iyar 1 Numbers 12:1-16 not extant
2 Numbers 13:1-33 Joshua 2:1, Judges 18:1
3 Numbers 14:1-45 2 Chronicles 36:5-23
4 Numbers 15:1-41 Jeremiah 17:19-27 -
5 Numbers 16:1 - 17:15 1 Samuel 11
Sivan 1 Numbers 17:16 - 18:24 Ezekiel 44:15
2 Numbers 18:25 - 20:13 Ezekiel 44:29
3 Numbers 20:14 - 22:1 Judges 11:1-40
4 Numbers 22:2 - 23:1 Micah 5:6
Tammuz 1 Numbers 23:2 - 25:09 not extant (Joshua 17:1-18)
2 Numbers 25:10 - 26:51 Malachi 2:5
3 Numbers 26:52 - 27:23 Joshua 17:4
4 Numbers 28:1 - 29:39 Ezekiel 45:12
Av 1 Numbers 30:1 - 31:54 Jeremiah 4:2
2 Numbers 32:1-42 Jeremiah 2
3 Numbers 33:1-56 Jeremiah 2:4-21, Jeremiah 4:1-2
4 Numbers 34:1 - 35:8 Ezekiel 45:1, Joshua 21:41
5 Numbers 35:9 - 36:13 Joshua 20:1
Elul 1 Deuteronomy 1:1-45 Jeremiah 30:4, Amos 2:9
2 Deuteronomy 2:1 - 3:22 Isaiah 1:1-27
3 Deuteronomy 3:23-29 Jeremiah 32:16
4 Deuteronomy 4:1-49 not extant (Isaiah 40:1-31)
Teshri 1 Deuteronomy 5:1 - 6:3 not extant
2 Deuteronomy 6:4 - 7:26 1 Kings 10:39
3 Deuteronomy 8:1-20 Jeremiah 9:22-24
4 Deuteronomy 9:1-29 Jeremiah 2:1, 2 Kings 8:30
Heshvan 1 Deuteronomy 10:1 - 11:25 2 Kings 13:23
2 Deuteronomy 11:26 - 12:19 Isaiah 54:11 - 55:6
3 Deuteronomy 12:20 - 15:6 Jeremiah 23:9
4 Deuteronomy 15:7 - 16:17 Isaiah 61:1-2
Kislev 1 Deuteronomy 16:18 - 17:13 1 Samuel 8:1
2 Deuteronomy 17:14-20 1 Samuel 10:24
3 Deuteronomy 18:1 - 20:9 Jeremiah 29:8
4 Deuteronomy 20:10 - 21:9 Joshua 24:1
Tevet 1 Deuteronomy 21:10 - 22:2 Isaiah 54:1-10
2 Deuteronomy 22:3 - 24:3 Micah 5:6
3 Deuteronomy 24:4 - 25:18 not extant
4 Deuteronomy 26:1 - 29:8 Isaiah 60:1-22
Sh'vat 1 Deuteronomy 29:9 - 30:20 Isaiah 55:6-58, Micah 7:18-20
2 Deuteronomy 31:1-13 Jeremiah 12:15; Isaiah 61:10 - 63:9
3 Deuteronomy 31:14-30 Judges 2:7
4 Deuteronomy 32:1-52 Ezekiel 17:22
Adar 1 Deuteronomy 33:1-29 Joshua 1:1-18
2 Deuteronomy 34:1-12 not extant
Shekalim Exodus 30:11-16 2 Kings 12:1-17
Zakhor Deuteronomy 25:17-19 1 Samuel 15:2-34
Parah Numbers 19:1-22 Ezekiel 36:16-38
HaHodesh Exodus 12:1-20 Ezekiel 45:16 - 46:18

 

 

   
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