The Order of Aliyos to the Torah
A translation of Biur Halacha #136 by Rabbi Yair Hoffman
l’ilui Nishmas his father Dr. Nathan Hoffman z”l whose sixth yartzeit is 5 Iyar, Sunday evening.
Please feel free to reproduce
The Aliyah priorities that the Segan (the Gabbai) calls to the Torah – according to the enactments and customs in which our Rabbis conducted themselves:
- A groom on his wedding day.
- A groom on the Shabbos prior to the wedding when they sing to him (Aufruf).
- A child who is becoming Bar Mitzvah on that Shabbos.
- A husband of a woman who gave birth and is coming to shul on Shabbos.
- A groom on the Shabbos after his wedding.
- A Yahrtzeit on Shabbos – the day that his father or mother died.
- The father of a male child on the Shabbos before the Bris.
MOHEL AND SANDEK
- There are places where it is the custom for the Mohel and the Sandek are also obligated in an Aliyah, and there are places where the custom is merely to honor them with Hagbaah.
GROOM ON HIS WEDDING DAY
- A groom on his wedding day, that is on a weekday when he will get married on that day, he comes before all those obligated even a child who is becoming Bar Mitzvahed on that day, and certainly he comes before a Yahrtzeit.
BAR MITZVAH BOY
- A boy who becomes Bar-Mitzvahed that week, who is a resident of the city, he comes before all other Chiyuvim [people who are obligated in an Aliyah] because it is the time of his Chinuch [Jewish training], with the exception of a groom when they sing to him. The Bar Mitzvah boy is equal to him and they should draw lots.
- If the Bar Mitzvah boy is not a resident of the city, they are still obligated to call him. However, he does not push aside any resident of the city who is obligated in receiving an Aliyah.
THE GROOM BEFORE THE WEDDING
- A groom on the Shabbos before the wedding also comes before all other Chiyuvim. Even if the wedding will not take place that week, for example if he travels to a distant city for his wedding, he also pushes off all other Chiyuvim, but only when they sing to him.
- A widower who is not sung to is not a Chiyuv on the Shabbos before the wedding, even if his bride is a virgin. The Shaarei Ephraim writes that if there are no other Chiyuvim he should have precedence to others.
A GROOM WHOSE WEDDING WAS DELAYED
- If the groom thought that the wedding would take place that week, and afterward the wedding was delayed to another week, if he desires that they sing to him a second time, there is then an obligation to call him. If not (i.e. he does not desire that they sing to him again), he is not obligated to be called.
A GROOM AFTER THE WEDDING
- Someone whose wedding was from Wednesday and on is a Chiyuv on the Shabbos that follows, and he pushes off a Chyuv Yahrtzeit, and a father of a son before a Bris Milah. This is only if he was single or if he married a virgin. If this is not the case, then he is not a Chiyuv.
- The Shaarei Ephraim writes that even if the wedding took place before Wednesday, even though the groom does not push off another Chiyuv, nevertheless, he should have precedence to others.
A HUSBAND OF WOMAN THAT JUST GAVE BIRTH
- One whose wife gave birth and is now first attending Shu! precedes a groom after the wedding, even if it is a single man who married a virgin.
- A single groom that married a virgin precedes someone who married a widow.
- One who marries a widow has precedence to one who marries a Chalutza or a divorcee.
- A yahrtzeit is a Chiyuv. He is preceded however by other Chiyuvim, except for a father of a son before the Bris Milah, even if the Milah is on that Shabbos. The reason is that the father will receive an aliyah on the Shabbos that his wife comes to shul.
- If the Yahrtzeit is not on that Shabbos, but rather it is that week, he is not considered enough of a Chiyuv to push aside the father of a son. However, our Minhag is to call him when there is no other Chiyuv.
THE FATHER OF A NEWBORN SON
- The father of a newborn son on the Shabbos that his healthy wife attends shul is required to receive an Aliyah. However, if she is ill and cannot walk, he is not required to be called until she is capable of walking.
- If forty days have passed since the birth of a son or eighty days have passed since the birth of a daughter, he is obligated even if his wife cannot walk, because this is the time of the bringing of a Korban [sacrifice].
- A woman who miscarried, her husband is considered a Chiyuv, unless she miscarried in an early stage where the form of the fetus is not recognizable.
WHO PUSHES OFF THE FATHER OF THE SON
- On the Shabbos in which a person’s wife who recently gave birth attends shul [whether she gave birth to a boy or a girl], the husband has precedence over all other Chiyyuvim, except for a groom on the Shabbos before his wedding when they sing to him and a boy becoming Bar Mitzvah who precede him, as was previously explained.
SHOFAR BLOWER AND BAAL MUSSAF
- It is the custom to call the Shofar blower to an Aliyah to the Torah on Rosh HaShana.
- There are places where the Shliach Tzibbur that davens Mussaf on Rosh HaShanah also is a Chiyuv to be called to the Torah on the day that he is davening. This is only if they are blowing and praying at no cost to the congregation. However, if they are being paid they are not considered a Chiyuv at all.
A CHIYUV ON ROSH HASHANA AND YOM KIPPUR
- There are places that on Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur we disregard a Chiyuv, instead giving it to those that have donated generously to Tzedakah.
IF THEY SOLD AN ALIYAH AND SUBSEQUENTLY REMEMBERED THAT THERE WAS A CHIYUV
- Ifsomeone purchased an Aliyah, and the Segan remembered that there was a Chiyuv that had to be called, the transaction can be voided, as it was an erroneous sale.
- If there are two equal Chiyuvim they must draw lots,unless one is a Torah scholar, who receives precedence.
ONE WHO IS RECITING BIRKAS GOMEL
- If someone took ill and recovered, or any other similar situation, that has to recite Birchas Gome , he should receive precedence to others, since it has become the custom to bless during the reading of the Torah. Nevertheless, he does not set aside any Chiyuv, since technically he can recite the blessing in front of ten people even without an Aliyah, so he should do this and not set aside the Chiyuv.
TRAVELLERS ABOUT TO EMBARK
- It is the custom to call someone who is travelling and will return after the next Shabbos.
- It is the custom to call someone who has just returned from a trip.
- Similarly, it is the custom to extend honor to an important guest. This is a nice and beautiful thing, however, it is obvious that they do not set aside any of the abovementioned Chiyuvim.
IN A PLACE THAT SELLS ALIYOS
- It is obvious that in a place where it is the custom to sell the Mitzvah and the money goes to Tzedaka, we do not cause a loss of money to the tzedkah an account of those that are not absolutely obligated in receiving the Aliyah, rather it is merely a custom to give it to them. However, it is dependent upon the judgement of the Segan.
- It seems from the words of the Achronim that even in a place that the custom is to sell all the Aliyos and to even disregard Chiyuvim, nevertheless, a groom on the Shabbos before his wedding, and a boy becoming Bar Mitzvahed cannot be set aside.
- It appears that according to the Mishna Brurah even the other Chiyuvim as well should not be set aside at all. This is an ancient custom, and they should at least be given additional Aliyos.
READING FROM A PRIVATELY OWNED SEFER TORAH
- There are places where when one individual owns a sefer Torah in shul, when he has a Simchah, we read from his personal sefer Torah.
TWO BAALEI SIMCHAH
- When two people have a Simchah, a Talmid Chochom who rules in practical laws precedes a Talmid Chochom who deals in Pilpul who does not yet know how to rule in practical issues.
TWO INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE CELEBRATING A BRIS MILAH
- Regarding two children that are born at the same time lots should be drawn as to who receives the Milah first.
TWO THAT HAVE A SEFER TORAH
- If someone wrote a sefer Torah by his own hand, or if he purchased it with his own money, he takes precedence to one who inherited it from his fathers.
ONE WHO STOLE AN ALIYAH FROM HIS FRIEND
- If they called one for an Aliyah to read from the Sefer Torah, and another person ran and took his place, see Tosfos and the Rosh in Kisui HaDam whether he must pay him for the financial value of the loss of the blessing.
 In the original Biur Halacha, the Chofetz Chaim has this quote of the Shaarei Ephraim appear in parentheses after our paragraph 17.