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Apr 18, 2013

Who will get the 5th Aliyah this Shabbos?

In most shuls, the aliyot to the Torah that are treated as the most valuable and lucrative are the 3rd aliya, the 6th aliyah, and the maftir. Different shuls, different communities, treat each of those as important aliyot, in various orders of importance. Others are also the 7th aliyah and of course kohen and levi. The 4th and the 5th aliyot (the ones I usually get when I get an aliyah) are pretty much "throwaway" aliyot. Personally, I treat every aliyah as being important, but in social settings that is how they are related to - most people don't desire 4 or 5, and I imagine if you compare average prices of aliyot in shuls that sell them, you would find the 4th and 5 aliyot probably draw the lower prices of the 7 (8).

That being said, there is an initiative this week to treat the 5th aliyah with extra respect. That is, by giving the 5th aliyah to someone specific. An old person.

The 5th aliyah of this weeks parsha, Achrei Mos - Kedoshim, contains the commandment of honoring the elderly - M'Pnei Seiva Takum V'Hadarta Pnei Zakein. The Ministry of Ezrachim Vatikim is running this project, they say it is the 6th year running but I d not remember ever hearing of it before, and calling on the rabbonim and heads of communities to give an elderly person the 5th aliyah this week as a sign of respect.

I think it is a nice initiative. Most people would probably agree, even gabboim, especially since it is not calling on them to give the 6th aliyah but only the 5th.... :-)

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