Taanit, Chapter Four, Mishnah Three



This mishnah mostly discusses what portions of the Torah were read during the maamad. 


Mishnah Three

1)      The men of the maamad fasted on four days of that week, from Monday to Thursday; they did not fast on Friday out of respect for Shabbat or on Sunday in order not to switch from the rest and delight [of Shabbat] to weariness and fasting and [thereby] die.

2)      On Sunday [they read], “In the beginning,” and, “Let there be a firmament;”

3)      On Monday, “Let there be a firmament,” and, “Let the waters be gathered together;”

4)      On Tuesday, “Let the waters be gathered together,” and, “Let there be lights;”

5)      On Wednesday, “Let there be lights,” and, “Let the waters swarm;”

6)      On Thursday, “Let the waters swarm,” and, “Let the earth bring forth;”

7)      On Friday, “Let the earth bring forth,” and, “And the heavens [and the earth] were completed.”

8)      For a long section two people read and for a short section one person.  [This is how they would read] at Shacharit and Mussaf.

9)      And at minhah they assemble and read the section by heart, as they recite the Shema.

10)  On Friday at minhah they did not assemble out of respect for Shabbat.



Section one:  The men of the maamad fasted most of the week—every day from Monday through Thursday.  They only fasted from the morning until the night.  Fasting on Friday was not considered to be respectful to Shabbat because they that would cause them enter Shabbat with a ravenous appetite. They didn’t fast on Sunday because it was considered dangerous to eat a lot on Shabbat and then fast on Sunday. 

Sections two-seven: Every day of the week they would read two portions concerning the creation.  This allowed them to read about all seven days within six days.

Section eight:  A long section, one with more than three verses is read by two people, but a portion of only three verses is read by one person.  Every day there were three aliyot to the Torah. If the first section was more than three verses, let’s say it was five verses, the first person would read the entire section and then the second person would read the third through the sixth verse.  This way there would always be three aliyot and never an aliyah of less three verses.

Section nine:  At minhah (the afternoon service) they would assemble but they would read by heart without using a Torah scroll. 

Section ten:  On Friday at minhah they wouldn’t gather together because people were getting ready for Shabbat.