Why Is the Torah Read at Shabbat Minchah? – Chabad.org

Posted By on October 16, 2020

Before addressing Shabbat Minchah, letsunderstand which days of the week the Torah is read and why.

The Talmud tells us that Moses instituted that the Torahbe read three days a week, Shabbat, Monday and Thursday, so that three dayswould not pass without a public Torah reading.This is alluded to in the verses describing how the Jews traveled for threedays and then thirsted for water. Torah isoften allegorically referred to as water, thus indicating that after threedays of travel, the Jews yearned for Torah.

However, the Talmud also cites a tradition that Ezra theScribe and the Men of the Great Assembly introduced the practice of reading theTorah on Mondays and Thursdays. So how are these two traditions reconciled?

The Talmud explains that in Moses' times, only threeverses were read on the weekdays. Ezra, together with the Men of the GreatAssembly, lengthened this quota to a minimum of 10 verses.

We can now return to our question regarding the Torahreading at Minchah on Shabbat.

In addition toinstituting the additional verses that are read on Mondays and Thursdays, Ezra also instituted that there bean additional communal reading every Shabbat during the afternoon Minchahservice.This was to accommodate those who would occupy themselves in commercethroughoutthe week and couldnt come to hear the Torah reading on Mondays and Thursdays.

The Deeper Reason

Beyond accommodating those who are busy with business,there are additional, deeper reasons for the Shabbat Minchah Torah readinghaving been established.

The Zoharand the mysticsexplain that on a regular day, the afternoon time, especially as eveningapproaches and darkness intensifies, is a time of spiritual severity and harshDivine judgment. Although on Shabbat there is no judgment, this time is stillordinarily connected to negativity. Thus, by reading the Torah, whichsynthesizes both chesed (kindness)and gevurah (severity and judgment),at this special opportune time, we are able to sweeten the judgments andseverity.

This time is thus referred to by the mystics as rava dravin,desire of all desires, when we experience a revelation ofGdliness from a level that is higher than all of the ten sefirot (attributes), a time when a glimmer of the revelation ofthe World to Come shines forth. As the kabalistic hymn found in many prayerbooks and sung by many after Mincha of Shabbat titled Bnei heichalah puts it:

... Exult,rejoice in this gathering together with the angels and all supernal beingsRejoice now, at this most propitious time, when there is no sadnessDraw near to Me,behold My strength, for there are no harsh judgments. For this timeof Minchah is a time of joy for Z'eirAnpin.

May we merit the time when this glimmer will become ablazing light with the ultimate revelation in the World to Come.

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Why Is the Torah Read at Shabbat Minchah? - Chabad.org

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