The Shulhan Aruch (O.H. 308: 39), based on the Gemara (Shabbat 128b) rules that animals are not considered vessels and are thus considered Muktze Mahmat Gufo (intrinsically Muktze, and thus not designated for use on Shabbat). It should be noted that like in the case of all Muktze, animals cannot be carried or moved, but they can be touched.
Rabbi Eliezer ben Itzhak (Or Zarua Hakatan, 91) writes that small animals such as Teacup Yorkie dogs whose purpose is to be handled and played with have a purpose and would not be considered Muktze. The Rosh (Teshuvot 82) writes that although he concedes that such animals appear to have a use to people, no distinction is made Halachically and that all animals are considered Muktze. The majority of the great Poskim concur with the Rosh’s position. Rabbi Shmuel Wosner (Shevet Halevi I:62) discusses removing a dead fish from an aquarium on Shabbat and says that since the dead fish is suitable as dog food it would not be considered Muktze and could be removed.
The Shulhan Aruch (ibid:45) goes on to also write that balls are considered Muktze since, according to the Tur (O.H. 308), they serve no purpose, and thus may not be played with on Shabbat. Indeed several Poskim rule like the Shulhan Aruch. Nevertheless, it appears that the Mishna (Kelim 23:1) refers to an improvised type of ball made from rags and does not have the status of a vessel. Nowadays, however, there is a whole industry dedicated to the manufacturing of balls for sports, exercise and the like and these balls serve a very substantial purpose. Because of their importance, balls nowadays would ostensibly have the status of a vessel which is subject to the laws of Tuma and Tahara, and thus would not be considered Muktze Mahmat Gufo. Indeed, Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv (Ashre Haish, 213) who is also quoted by the Sefer Shalmei Yehuda (pg 91) rules that a ball is not considered Muktze, even for Sepharadim. Rav Ovadia Yosef (Hazon Ovadia, Shabbat 3 pg. 99) concurs with this and writes that one is allowed to give the balls to children to play with as long as they are not used on soil where they might create holes.
Summary: Pets are considered Muktze and may not be carried on Shabbat. Balls are not considered Muktze.
Briefly, crypto mining refers to the use of complicated mathematical algorithms by computers to eventually create, or mine, a fraction of a particular crypto-currency. Typically, when crypto is being mined, the computers stay on for an extended period of time, which likely includes Shabbat.
Halachically, earning money on Shabbat, also known as S’char Shabbat, is problematic (O.H 306) even for acts which are permitted on Shabbat. If, however, money is earned over a period which includes Shabbat, but other days as well, there is room to be lenient. Indeed, the Magen Avraham (ibid 7) writes that if one earns interest in a bank only on Shabbat, then it is prohibited. However, if one earns interest on Saturday (or Friday for that matter) which includes some Shabbat and some Yom Hol, then it would be permitted.
Rabbi Haim Benattar (Hefetz Hashem, pg.18a) writes that the prohibition of S’char Shabbat only applies when work, even permitted work, is actively performed on Shabbat itself, and Rabbi Haim Soleveitchik (Hidushei Hagrach Shabbat 19a) concurs. It would appear, therefore, that currency that was mined on Shabbat is permitted since it is a passive type of process and not something that one is actively engaged in. Furthermore, Rabbi David Ortenberg (Tehila LeDavid, Hilchot Shabbat, 314) writes that S’char Shabbat only applies to earned money and not money that was traded. In crypto mining, the miner receives the fractional currency in exchange for the algorithm calculated by the computer and thus it does not have the status of being “earned”.
Summary: One may allow one’s computer(s) to mine cryptocurrency on Shabbat.
Flying and Swimming During Ben HaMetzarimBen HaMetzarim refers to the period between the Seventeenth of Tammuz andTisha Be’Av and is commonly known in English as the “Three Weeks”. Halachically speaking, there are several levels of increasing stringency: 1. The Three Weeks, 2. The “Nine Days” from Rosh Hodesh Av to Tisha Be’av, 3. The week in which Tisha Be’av falls, 4. The eve of Tisha Be’Av and 5. Tisha Be’Av itself.The Shulhan Aruch (Orah Haim 551:18) says that during the Three Weeks one should be careful not to go out alone between the fourth and ninth hours of the day because of certain demonic forces that are present at that time. It is rare for people to follow this practice nowadays and the Kovetz Halachot suggests that this is because demons are not as common as they used to be. Furthermore, the Vilna Gaon explained that after a certain Jew was killed sanctifying Hashem’sName, these evil forces were nullified. Even though we are lenient regarding this practice, we should be cognizant of the idea that these few weeks are considered to be more dangerous than usual.One area of practical application is swimming during the Three Weeks. Rabbi Ben Zion Abba Shaul (Or Letzion, vol. 3, 25:5) permits swimming during Ben HaMetzarim in a pool or at the beach because these are not considered to be especially dangerous places. Going to the ocean or a turbulent sea may is not advisable, however. It should be noted that during the week of Tisha Be’Av, and some say the entire Nine Days, swimming is similar to bathing, which has certain restrictions.Since the Three Weeks is an inherently dangerous period for the Jewish people and there is a question regarding the propriety of flying during this time. The Kovetz Halachot rules that since flying is no more dangerous than other activities, it is permitted in the Three Weeks, the Nine Days included. Parenthetically, using the same reasoning, he holds that flying does not warrant reciting Birkat HaGomel. Halichot Shlomo suggests that it is preferable not to fly during the period of Nine Days itself. Based on these opinions it would appear that traveling during the Nine Days, and certainly the Three Weeks, is permissible for the sake of a Mitzvah or another important purpose. Even visiting family or friends could be considered a Mitzvah as it is Mekabel P’nei Havero (greeting one’s fellow). For leisure, although not outright prohibited, it is advisable to limit travelling during the Nine Days. Interestingly, the community of Rabbi Haim Palagi enacted a prohibition on all travel during the entire period of Ben HaMetzarim.Summary: Swimming and taking an airplane during the Three Weeks is permitted. It is preferable not to travel during the Nine Days unless it is for an important purpose or Mitzvah.What Purchases are Permitted During the Nine Days ?The Shulhan Aruch (O.H. 551:2) says that as of Rosh Hodesh Av, any joyful business deailngs are forbidden. Examples of joyous dealings include those whose purpose is to expand a business or increase profit. The Mishna Berura (O.H. 551:11) includes the purchase of items needed for a wedding as joyful transactions and says that those are also forbidden.The custom is to be lenient and permit, however, business that is meant to sustain the status quo.Regarding purchasing a car, Rabbi Moshe Feinstein (Igrot Moshe, vol. III , 80) writes that if the car is for pleasure and one would recite “Sheheheyanu” on it, then it would be forbidden during the entire Three Weeks and all the more so during the Nine Days. However, if the car will serve a vital function, like providing transportation to work, then it would be permitted to buy it. In a similar vein, the Kovetz Halachot (ch. 12, § 14 ) writes that one may purchase furniture or appliances which are necessary for the proper functioning of a home, as long as they are not bought for expanding or renewing one’s home. Thus if one’s washing machine breaks down, for example, one would be able to replace it during the Nine Days. Furthermore, Rabbi Shaul Israeli (Nehamat Israel, ch. 10, comment 13), citing Rabbi Nissim Karelitz, says that silverware and other small home purchases are permitted. Rabbi Ovadia Yosef (Hazon Ovadia, pg. 168) concurs with these views.According to the Kovetz Halachot (ibid:comment 18) one is permitted to order items online during the Nine Days if they are scheduled to arrive after Tisha Be’Av, since one will not have the opportunity to deal with, much less enjoy them. Even if the arrive during the Nine Days, if one were to set them aside, it appears that this would be permitted. Similarly, if one purchases items but never actually deals with them, such as if one sells at a later time, this would be permitted.Summary: Purchases or business deals that involved in expanding a business or a home are not permitted during the Nine Days. Purchases that are vital to the functioning of one’s home are permitted. Online ordering is permitted if the item will arrive after the Nine Days or if they will be set aside till that time.The Nine Days and the Week of Tisha Be’AvAlthough there is no explicit Halacha regarding bathing during the Nine Days, the Shulhan Aruch (Orah Haim 551:16) says that some had the custom to refrain as of Rosh Hodesh, while others only refrained during the week of Tisha Be’Av. The widely held custom in Morocco was to refrain from bathing during the entire Nine Days (c.f Meshulchan Avotenou Tishat Hayamim). It would appear that this is a challenging restriction as people nowadays are accustomed to showering daily, especially in the hot summer weather. distinction is made between bathing for pleasure, such as in hot water, and bathing to remove dirt and other uncleanliness. It should be noted that even on Yom Kippur, washing off dirt is permitted. As such, many rabbis are lenient regarding bathing in lukewarm water as it does not involve the same level of pleasure as hot water. Furthermore, although soap used to be considered a pleasurable accessory to bathing (Levush, ibid.), Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetzky (Kovetz Halachot), Rabbi Moshe Feinstein (Shmatata d’Moshe) and others permit soap since it is used to clean off dirt.* * *Within the Nine Days is the week in which Tisha Be’Av falls (“Shavua Shehal Bo [Tisha Be’Av]”) which has a greater level of stringency, such as restrictions on laundry or shaving. As an example, if Tisha Be’Av were to fall on a Tuesday, then Shavua Shehal Bo would begin two days earlier, on Sunday the 7th of Av. This year (5779/2019) presents an interesting case as the 9th of Av is on Shabbat and therefore the fast is pushed off till the following day. In such a case, the Shulhan Aruch (Orah Haim 551:4) rules in accordance with the Yerushalmi (Ta’anit) that there is no Shavua Shehal Bo. Rav Ovadia Yosef (Yehve Da’at, vol. 3, § 39; Hazon Ovadia pg. 223), Rabbi Ben Zion Abba Shaul (Or LeTzion, vol. 3, 27:6) and the Ben Ish Hai (Parashat Devarim) all agree that in such a year there would be no week of Tisha Be’Av, but mention that although laundry would be permitted, one should refrain from shaving or getting a haircut. It should be pointed out that the Moroccan custom is to refrain from shaving for the whole Nine Days, and some even stop shaving as of the Seventeenth of Tammuz.Summary: Although the original Moroccan custom is to refrain from bathing during the Nine Days. There is room to be lenient if one bathes with lukewarm water to remove uncleanliness from one’s body, even in the week of Tisha Be’Av. During Shavua Shehal Bo, it is forbidden to do laundry, wear laundered clothing and shave. In certain years such as this one (5778) there is no Shavua Shehal Bo and those activities would be permitted, but the custom is to still refrain from shaving or getting a haircut. The Moroccan custom is to refrain from shaving as of Rosh Hodesh Av. Bathing during the Nines Days and the Week of Tisha Be’AvAlthough there is no explicit Halacha regarding bathing during the Nine Days, the Shulhan Aruch (Orah Haim 551:16) says that some had the custom to refrain as of Rosh Hodesh, while others only refrained during the week of Tisha Be’Av. The widely held custom in Morocco was to refrain from bathing during the entire Nine Days. It would appear that this is a challenging restriction as people nowadays are accustomed to showering daily, especially in the hot summer weather. Therefore, a distinction is made between bathing for pleasure, such as in hot water, and bathing to remove dirt and other uncleanliness. It should be noted that even on Yom Kippur, washing off dirt is permitted. As such, many rabbis are lenient regarding bathing in lukewarm water as it does not involve the same level of pleasure as hot water. Furthermore, although soap used to be considered a pleasurable accessory to bathing (Levush, ibid.), Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetzky (Kovetz Halachot), Rabbi Moshe Feinstein (Shmatata d’Moshe) and others permit soap since it is used to clean off dirt. * * *Within the Nine Days is the week in which Tisha Be’Av falls (“Shavua Shehal Bo [Tisha Be’Av]”) which has a greater level of stringency, such as restrictions on laundry or shaving. As an example, if Tisha Be’Av were to fall on a Tuesday, then Shavua Shehal Bo would begin two days earlier, on Sunday the 7th of Av. This year (5776/2016) presents an interesting case as the 9th of Av is onShabbat and therefore the fast is pushed off till the following day. In such a case, the Shulhan Aruch (Orah Haim 551:4) rules in accordance with the Yerushalmi (Ta’anit) that there is no Shavua Shehal Bo. Rav Ovadia Yosef (Yehve Da’at, vol. 3, § 39; Hazon Ovadia pg. 223), Rabbi Ben Zion Abba Shaul (Or LeTzion, vol. 3, 27:6) and the Ben Ish Hai (Parashat Devarim) all agree that in such a year there would be no week of Tisha Be’Av, but mention that although laundry would be permitted, one should refrain from shaving or getting a haircut. It should be pointed out that the Moroccan custom is to refrain from shaving for the whole Nine Days, and some even stop shaving as of the Seventeenth of Tammuz. Summary: The Moroccan custom is to refrain from bathing during the Nine Days. There is room to be lenient if one bathes with lukewarm water to remove uncleanliness from one’s body, even in the week of Tisha Be’Av. During Shavua Shehal Bo, it is forbidden to do laundry, wear laundered clothing and shave. In certain years such as this one (5776) there is no Shavua Shehal Bo and those activities would be permitted, but the custom is to still refrain from shaving or getting a haircut. The Moroccan custom is to refrain from shaving as of Rosh Hodesh Av.
Festive Meals during the 9 DaysThe Shulhan Aruch (Orah Haim 551:2) rules that one may not wed during the Nine Days, however one may get engaged without a festive meal. Although a Seuda is not permitted for an engagement, one may have simple refreshments as are common in what is called a “LeHaim” or “Vort”.Festive meals are not permitted during the Nine Days in and of themselves, however if they are associated with a Mitzvah, they are permitted. As such, if a boy turns thirteen during the Nine Days, a Seuda may be held in honor of his accepting the yoke of Torah and commandments on his Bar Mitzvah. Conversely, holding a festive meal to dedicate a new home (“Hanukat Bait”) is not permitted during the Nine Days since the dedication itself is not appropriate during this time.Another common type of festive meal associated with a Mitzvah which is permitted is a Siyum, the completion of a section of the Talmud. One who invested significant time and effort to complete a tractate of the Talmud may hold a festive meal with meat and wine during the Nine Days and the invitees who came to rejoice with him may partake of this meal as well. This leniency has created a situation in which restaurants and the like offer daily or hourlySiyumim so that meat could be served in their establishments. This is clearly not in the spirit of the law nor is it appropriate given the mournful nature of this period. Indeed, Rabbi Ben Zion Abba Shaul (Or LeTzion vol. 3, 26:5) questions the propriety of partaking of such a meal by people who are not connected to the person that is holding the Siyum. Furthermore, he mentions that once one has ten participants for the Siyum, one should not invite more people. Therefore it is questionable if such a meal is considered a Seudat Mitzvah for someone who is not connected to the Siyum (such as family or a study partner) and as such eating meat might not be permitted.Summary: Festive meals not associated with a Mitzvah are not permitted during the Nine Days.
Pregnant or Nursing Women and Tisha Be’Av NidheOne practical implication of Tisha Be’Av being pushed off to Sunday (“Nidhe“) is a leniency with regards to pregnant and nursing women. The Sha’arei Teshuva (O.H. 555:2) notes that a father whose son’s Brit Mila is on a pushed-off fast day is exempt from fasting. He notes that since pregnant or nursing women have the same status as the father, they are also exempt from fasting, as long as they have a little more discomfort than usual. Rav Ovadia Yosef (Hazon Ovadia, Arba Ta’aniot, pg. 58) proposes a novel rationale: On the remaining three public fast days (ie. Asara BeTevet, Shiva Asar BeTammuz and Tzom Gedalia), a pregnant or nursing woman is permitted to eat according to the Shulhan Aruch. Nevertheless, if a Brit Mila takes place on one of these fast days, the Ba’alei Habrit (the father of the child, the Sandak and the Mohel) are forbidden to eat. Since on a Tisha Be’Av Nidhe the Halacha is that Ba’alei HaBrit are allowed to eat, then surely pregnant or nursing women are exempt from fasting. Rabbi Ben Zion Abba Shaul (Or Letzion, vol. 3. 29:3) rejects this rationale, because it implies that a Tisha Be’Av Nidhe is more lenient than a regular fast day This is certainly not the case, as the fast of Tisha Be’Av begins the night before and has restrictions that are not imposed on the other fast days. Therefore, he states that a pregnant or nursing woman must fast on Tisha Be’Av, whether or not it is pushed off. Most contemporary rabbis agree with this approach. Nonetheless, if a woman has weakness or discomfort that is beyond what is to be normally expected during pregnancy, she would be exempt. As well, since Havdala will not be recited until Sunday night this year (5776), in theory one is not allowed to eat until that time. However, a pregnant or nursing woman may drink juice or the like even if Havdalawas not recited if she has any sort of discomfort. Even a pregnant or nursing woman who feels fine but is concerned that fasting may cause issues can drink, but it should it be consumed only in minimal amounts (less than a Revi’it and spaced in nine-minute intervals). Summary: When Tisha Be’Av is pushed off to Sunday, pregnant or nursing women who experience discomfort or have a medical condition are exempt from fasting.
Upon observation of a Torah scroll, one will notice that the text is divided into paragraphs. How the Torah’s text was divided into specific paragraphs is a Halacha LeMoshe MiSinai. In other words, the organization and division of the text was communicated directly by Hashem to Moshe Rabbenu and that tradition was passed from one generation to the next. On the other hand, there is no Halacha which dictates where an Aliya begins and ends and thus different communities had different traditions as to where to mark each Aliya.
As a general guideline, however, the Rama (O.H. 138:1) writes that each Aliyah should begin on a positive note and end on a positive note. Furthermore, the Shulhan Aruch (ibid.) explains that one should not end an Aliya within fewer than three verses from the end of a paragraph, lest any congregant leave the synagogue at that point and have him believe that the following Aliya be only two verses long, and not the requisite minimum of three. Similarly, one should not begin an Aliya within fewer than three verses from the beginning of the paragraph out of concern for those who will arrive at that point and think that the previous reader read only two verses.
One practical ramification is the weekday reading of Parashat Va’era. According to the Moroccan custom, the Aliya of Levi ends with the verse that ends off (Shemot 6:8) “…Morasha Ani Hashem” which is the second last verse of that paragraph. This would appear to be against the aforementioned ruling of the Shulhan Aruch. Nevertheless, the following verse (ibid:9), which is the last one of that paragraph ends with words describing the shortness of breath and hard labor which Bnei Israel endured in Egypt, and as such, it is preferable to finish within fewer than three verses from the end of a paragraph on a positive note than to finish at the end of a paragraph but on a negative note. Furthermore, Tosafot (Megila 22a) writes that one may finish an Aliya within fewer than three verses if that particular paragraph is well-known to all and it will be understood that there is a specific reason for finishing the Aliya at that point. Rabbi Meir Elazar Attia (Shulhan Avotenu) writes that this is not only the Moroccan custom, but quotes Rabbi Sitbon (Ale Hadas, pg. 205), who writes that it is the custom of Tunisia as well. Additionally, Rabbi Mehanem Mordechai (Dvar Emet, pg. 56) writes that this is also the Turkish custom.
Summary: Generally, an Aliya must begin and end at specific points, but there are instances when this rule may be waived.
The Torah mandates that one rise when one’s father passes by as a sign of respect. The HIDA (LeDavid Emet) writes that so long as one’s father is standing, one is obligated to remain standing in his honor. Based on this, there developed a custom, especially in the Moroccan community, for a child to stand when his father receives an Aliya. A child should stand up from the time that the father goes up for the Aliya until he finishes the final blessing after reading. Furthermore, there are those who go up to the Teva after the father finishes the Aliya to kiss him, as a sign of respect.
Rabbi Avraham Amar (comments -Magen Avot OH) writes that in his city of Meknes, the custom was that one is only obligated to stand for one’s father as he passes by, but is not obligated to stand for one’s father’s the entire Aliya. He explains that as long as one’s father is not in one’s four Amot there is no obligation to stand. Furthermore, just as one stands for the Torah but then sits down when it is placed on the Teva, so too for one’s father, one can sit when he arrives at his place to read from the Torah. Nevertheless, this seems to contradict the conventional understanding of the Halacha which states that one must stand for one’s father so long as he is in one’s sight, even beyond four Amot.
Summary: One must stand for one’s father who is receiving an Aliya to the Torah. The common custom is to stand for the entire duration of the Aliya.
The Shulhan Aruch (O.H. 282:3) says that all are eligible to receive an Aliya, including women and minors. Although our Sages said that the custom is for women not to receive Aliyot out of respect for the congregation, the common custom among Sepharadim was to allow children to get any of the seven Aliyot.
The Magen Avraham (M.A., O.H. 282:6) discusses a case in which only a Kohen who is a minor is present in the congregation. In such a case, he explains, there is only an obligation to honor a Kohen who is thirteen years or older and therefore, it is preferable to give the first Aliya to an non-Kohen adult (that is, a Halachic adult who is thirteen or older) rather than to the Kohen minor. On the other hand, many Aharonim disagree with this position. Rabbi Shalom Messas (Shemesh Umagen, vol. I, O.H., § 40) and other Sephardic Poskim write that it is permissible to give the Aliyat Kohen to the Kohen Minor. When it comes to the weekday reading in which there are three Aliyot, the HIDA (Birke Yosef, 282:5) says that according to Kabbalah it is preferable that a minor not receive an Aliya but that there is not issue with Shabbat in which there are seven Olim. Although Halachcally permissible for a child to receive any of the seven Aliyot, it has become customary among Moroccans to honor children with only the Maftir reading.
Regarding actually reading the Torah, generally speaking, in order to fulfill a Mitzvah obligation on behalf of others, one must be an adult. Nevertheless, according to many Aharonim, strictly speaking, a minor may read the Torah on behalf of the congregation. This was the custom in Morocco and was pertinent when a child’s Bar Mitzvah was held before his thirteenth birthday, which was common. Nevertheless, Rabbi Avraham Amar (comments to Magen Avot O.H ibid) explains that his Bar Mitzvah was held early and his father (one of the prominent poskim of Meknes) re-read the Torah portion after his son so as to ensure that the congregation’s obligation was met. Summary: A minor may receive any Aliya to the Torah. Strictly speaking, a minor may read the Torah on behalf of the congregation
According to the Arizal (Sha’ar Hakavanot, 49a) quoting the Zohar (Parashat Shelah), the most valued Aliyot are the third and sixth because, on a Kabbalistic level, contained within them are spiritual lights. On the other hand, The HIDA (Mahzik Beracha, § 282:3), quoting the Arizal, writes that the original custom among Sepharadim was that the seventh Aliya was the most valuable.
Indeed, Rabbi Meir Attia (MiShulhan Avotenu) writes that the custom in Morocco was that when one was to be accorded honor, such as a groom, one would receive the seventh Aliya. In the city of Rabat, the groom would typically receive the last Mosif (additional) Aliya before proceeding to the seventh Aliya. The widespread custom nowadays is in accordance to the Arizal.
Rabbi Haim Benveniste (Sheyere Keneset HaGedola, Orah Haim, § 135) writes that the rank of importance upon whom to accord a valued Aliya is as follows: a groom on the day of his wedding, a groom within seven days after having gotten married, a Bar Mitzvah, a Sandak, a Mohel, the father of a baby being circumcised and finally one observing a Nahala. Therefore, contrary to popular belief, the seventh Aliya was not customarily reserved for those observing Nahalot.
Rabbi Haim Palagi (Yafe Lelev, vol. V, § 2) writes that the sixth Aliya when Matot-Mas’ei are read together, which discusses the banishment of an inadvertent killer to a city of refuge, is very beneficial for one to seek atonement for the sin of wasting seed. The sixth Aliya of Parashat Vaethanan, which discusses a similar subject is also auspicious in atoning for the aforementioned sin.
Summary: The widespread custom nowadays is to seek the third or sixth aliyah. The seventh aliyah was accorded very high honor as well.
The Parashiot of Behukotai and Ki Tavo both contain sections that deal with Hashem rebuking the Jewish people, known as the Tochahot. Due to the harsh nature of these rebukes, Rabbi Yehuda HaHasid (Sefer Hasidim, 766) discussed the reluctance people would have to be called up to the Torah for these particular Aliyot. The solution was to call up unlearned people who did not understand the nature of the rebukes, and not a Torah scholar or the like, lest the curses outlined in the Parasha befall him. Having said that, he writes that one should not refuse to go up if called up for the Aliya of the rebukes because one should always be open to receiving rebuke, as it is said (Mishle 3:11), “and do not hate His [ie Hashem’s] rebuke”.
Rabbi Ya’akov Antebi (Knesset Hagedola, 426) writes that one only needs to be concerned if one was cursed by someone who had that intention. When going up for the Aliyot of the rebukes, however, it is certainly not the intention of the Torah to curse the Oleh, and therefore one need not fear. Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto of Damascus (Nivhar MiKesef, Orah Haim, 4) writes that the custom in both Damascus and Baghdad was that the rabbi of the community would specifically be called up for the Aliya of the rebukes.
In Morocco, many had an erroneous practice to seek out an ignoramus and pay him money to be called up for these Aliyot. In fact, in the city of Marrakesh, there was a tradition to call up only a certain family for these Aliyot and they were referred to as the Ben Tavo (sons of [Parashat Ki] Tavo) and all the local synagogues would wait for them to come to receive the Aliya. Baba Sale recounted (Yisrael Saba Kadisha pg 275) that he was once in a small village next to the city of Azrou during the Shabbat of the Parasha of the Tochahot. In their unfounded fear the members of the community refused to take out the Sefer Torah and instead read the Parasha from the Humash. Baba Sale rebuked them and went up to the Torah himself to show them not to be concerned.
Indeed, Rabbi Yosef Benaim (Noheg Behochma, pg. 40-41) writes that although the custom is to seek out an unlearned person, whoever does end up getting called up is praiseworthy and will be blessed by Hashem. The Torah, he continues, is the elixir of life and that nothing bad can come from the Torah.
Furthermore, it is written of the Arizal (Sha’ar Hakavanot, pg. 73c) that he would read the passages of the rebukes in a loud voice as he was not concerned about any bad befalling himself or the congregation. The HIDA (LeDavid Emet, ch. 10), on the other hand, discusses the custom of the Ba’al Kore reading the Aliyot of the rebukes as well as that of the Het HaEgel. Rabbi Shem Tov Gaguine (Keter Shem Tov) explains that the Arizal’s spiritual level was such that he did not need to be concerned about the rebukes and could read the loudly, whereas for the average person there is some fear and thus it is read low voice and this appears to be the custom of many to this day.
Summary: Although some try to avoid the Aliyot of the Tochahot, one need not be concerned if one is called up. The passages of the rebukes are traditionally read in a lower volume than the remainder of the Parasha.
The Midrash (Bamidbar Rabba, Parashat Korah) relates that David Hamelech instituted the requirement to recite one hundred blessings a day as a remedy to a plague that took place. No fewer than fifty seven of those blessings can be fulfilled if one recites the weekday Amida for Shaharit, Minha and Arvit. On Shabbat, however, there are fewer blessings in each Amida and therefore one must find other ways to complete the requisite amount. As such, the Shulhan Aruch (O.H 290:1) rules that on Shabbat, one should eat many fruits and foods, and smell different aromas so as to be able to recite at least one hundred blessings.
The HIDA (Mahzik Beracha, ibid), citing the Gemara (Menahot 43b), proves that the Shulhan Aruch’s ruling is simply a recommendation but not an obligation. Rabbi Haim Binyamin Pontrimoli (Petah Hadevir O.H 290), uses the same Gemara to show that there is an obligation to have an assortment of foods and smells in order to reach one hundred blessings.
Rabbi Moshe Galanti (Elef Hamagen, 38) suggests that one can make a blessing of HaEtz on an apple, for example, and then have one bring out an orange and recite HaEtz again, and then a date, etc. Thus, rather than one blessing exempting several foods of the same category, one can gain a blessing for each individual food and reach one hundred more quickly. Other authorities including the HIDA (Birke Yosef ibid), however, contend that this would be considered an unnecessary blessing and should not be done.
One custom that developed in the Moroccan community is to recite blessings on olives, salads, nuts and the like between Kiddush and Hamotzi, sometimes referred to as “aperitif”. This custom does not violate the prohibition of an unnecessary blessing and, if done correctly, is Halachically viable way to reach one hundred blessings.
Tangentially, the Rama (O.H. 622:1) writes that on Yom Kippur, the Piyut “En K-Elohenu” is omitted. This Piyut contains twenty verses, each of which is considered a blessing, and was therefore incorporated into the prayers to ensure one could reach one hundred blessings. Since there are five prayers on Yom Kippur, each with multiple blessings, there is no need to recite En K-Elohenu. The Kaf HaHaim (ibid:6) writes that this Piyut is recited everyday, including Yom Kippur, and this is the Sephardic custom.
Summary: One should have an assortment of foods and smells on Shabbat to ensure one reaches one hundred blessings a day. Having an aperitif between Kiddush and Hamotzi is another way to accomplish this.
The Shulhan Aruch (O.H. 282:7) writes that if, during the reading of the Torah of Shaharit of Shabbat, one skipped a verse, one must go back and read that verse as well as two more verses, even if the congregation has already prayed Musaf. The Mishna Berura (ibid:35) adds that even if one skipped one word, one would need to go back and reread that part of the Parasha. Rabbi Yishmael HaKohen of Egypt (Zera Emet, vol. II, Yore De’ah, 128) writes that if one erred on one solitary letter, such as saying “Et” instead of “El”, one would have to go back and reread that portion of the Parasha.
There is discussion regarding a situation in which at least three verses are read in the seventh Aliya and then something is found which invalidates that Sefer Torah. On one hand, when the invalidation is found, the Torah has to be put away and therefore the Parasha cannot be read in its entirety so perhaps a new scroll should be taken out. On the other hand, at least three verses were read in the last Aliya and perhaps that is sufficient to satisfy the obligation to read the Torah. The HIDA (Birke Yosef 282:10), quoting Rabbi Haim Benveniste (Knesset Hagedola), rules like the latter opinion and says that another Sefer Torah does not have to be taken out to complete the seventh Aliya. Rather, the Oleh for the seventh Aliya does not recite the after-blessing of the Torah and the Maftir does not recite either the beginning or after-blessing for his Aliya. The blessings before and after the Haftara, according to this opinion are recited however.
The HIDA goes on to write that the Halacha does not follow the opinion of the Kneset Hagedola. Rather, he writes, the custom in Jerusalem was to take out another Sefer Torah even if there was only one verse left to be read in the invalid one and there would not be an issue with a blessing in vain for the new Torah. Rabbi Ovadia Yosef (Hazon Ovadia, vol. II, pg. 320) concurs with this opinion. Rabbi Ben Zion Abba Shaul (Or LeZion, vol. II, pg. 45, 52) , on the other hand, says that the custom is not like the HIDA’s opinion and that one need not take out a new Sefer Torah. Nevertheless, the widespread custom is to follow the HIDA’s approach and not that of the Knesset Hagedola.
Summary: If an invalidating issue is found when the seventh Aliya is being read, a new Sefer Torah should be taken out, regardless of how much is left to read.