Are piyutim said during Musaf on the weeks of the Arba Parshiyos?

There is a takanas Chazal to read the following four parshios: 1) Parshas Shekalim--the parsha which discusses the yearly collection of the half-shekel coin, 2) Parshas Zachor--the parsha which commands Klal Yisroel not to forget the attack of Amalek, 3) Parshas Parah- the parsha which discusses the mitzvah to purify through the parah adumah, and 4) Parshas Hachodesh--the pesukim which discuss the mitzvos of Korbon Pesach and eating matzah. These kriyos--known as the Arba Parshiyos--take place over four weeks, from the end of Shevat until the beginning of Nissan. During these weeks, the Haftorahs of the weekly portion are replaced with a Haftorah connected to one of these parshiyos. Many congregations add piyutim to Shacharis during these weeks. On Parshos Shekalim and Chodesh, piyutim are added to Musaf as well.

[שו"ע תרפה, א-ד, ומשנ"ב א-ג]

What is the purpose of reading Parshas Parah?

Parshas Shekalim is read the week before Rosh Chodesh Adar. If Rosh Chodesh falls on Shabbos, it is read on Rosh Chodesh itself. In the times of the Beis Hamikdosh, the call for the collection of shekalim began on Rosh Chodesh Adar. Parshas Parah, which commemorates Klal Yisroel purifying themselves for the Korbon Pesach, is read the week before Parshas Hachodesh. Presently, when purification is not a possibility, the reading serves as a tefillah for the opportunity to purify through the Parah Adumah. Parshas Hachodesh is read the week before Rosh Chodesh Nissan. If Rosh Chodesh falls on Shabbos, it is read on Rosh Chodesh itself. The reading serves as a form of sanctifying the new month of Nissan.

[שו"ע תרפה, א, ג, ד ו־ה, ומשנ"ב א; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 3 ו־5]

Why is Parshas Zachor read before Purim?

Parshas Zachor is read to fulfill the mitzvah of remembering the attack of Amalek and the mitzvah to obliterate that nation. It was instituted to be read the week before Purim, a time when the mitzvah to obliterate the people of Amalek and their progeny (Haman) was fulfilled. The mitzvah of remembering the story of Amalek takes place once a year, since people tend to forget things after a year has passed. Based on this idea, it is recorded that on a leap year the Chasam Sofer had in mind to fulfill the mitzvah of zechiras Amalek on the week of Parshas Ki Seitzei. Since a person forgets things after twelve months, and on a leap year there is a difference of thirteen months between Parshas Zachor and the Parshas Zachor of the previous year, he wanted Parshas Ki Seitzei to serve as a reminder before the year passed.

[שו"ע תרפה, ב, ומשנ"ב א; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 17 ;וראה ב"מ כח, ב]
  • On Shabbos Chanukah, two Sifrei Torah are removed from the Aron at the time of Kriyas HaTorah. The first is for the parshas hashavua (the weekly portion) and the second is for the Chanukah reading.

  • When the sixth day of Chanukah falls on a weekday, the first three aliyos are from the Rosh Chodesh reading. The final aliyah is the Chanukah reading. Since Rosh Chodesh is more frequent, its kriyah takes precedence.

  • When Rosh Chodesh falls on Shabbos, three Sifrei Torah are removed from the Aron. The first Torah is used for the parshas hashavua, the second is for Rosh Chodesh, and the third is used for the Chanukah reading.

  • Which of the Arba Parshiyos are mid’oraisa?

  • Must women listen to Parshas Zachor?

  • Can an Ashkenazi listen to a Sephardic rendition of Parshas Zachor?
PLEASE NOTE: The information in this email is for learning purposes only. Please review the Mishna Berura and Biurim U'Musafim before making a halachic decision. Hebrew words are occasionally transliterated to enable a smoother reading of the text. Common Ashkenazi pronunciation is generally used in these cases.
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