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In Jewish services, a parashah or parshah, meaning 'Portion' in Hebrew, is the weekly Torah reading text selection. It is also known as the Parshat HaShavuah ('Weekly Portion'). The plural is parashot. Each parashah usually takes its name from one of the first unique word or words in the Hebrew text.

Every Saturday morning, in synagogues all over the world, Torah scrolls are ceremoniously removed from arks, carried through the aisles to be touched reverently by the congregants (the custom symbolizes devotion to the Word of God), and then placed on the pulpit. Seven persons are called up to recite blessings before and after they or more experienced readers read the sacred Hebrew text of the Torah from the scroll. The practice of public reading from the Torah dates back at least to the time of Ezra (Nehemiah 8:1), if not to King Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles 17:9) or King Josiah (2 Kings 22:8 - 23:3); and the New Testament attests it as well (Acts 13:14-15).

The parashah read each week, anywhere between one and six chapters long, is not picked on the spur of the moment but follows a prescribed sequence tied to the Jewish year. Fifty-four parashot are read in order, commencing with Genesis 1 on the autumn holiday Simchat-Torah (Rejoicing of the Torah) and ending with Deuteronomy 34 on Simchat-Torah the following year, when with great joy the scroll is immediately re-rolled, and Genesis 1 is read again.

Moreover, the reading from the Bible does not end with the Torah portion. After the Torah, a related section from the Prophets is read; this is called the haftarah (completion), since it completes the prescribed synagogue Scripture reading. The New Testament reports that in Nazareth Jesus was invited to read the haftorah, which that week was from the book of Isaiah, and he daringly applied the passage to himself (Luke 4:16-30). In times past there was also a reading from the Writings section of the Bible, but this custom has fallen away.

Being called up to the pulpit for the Torah reading is an honour. The Hebrew word for such an invitation is aliyah; it means 'going up'. (The same word, aliyah, means 'immigrating to Israel', since it is a spiritual 'going up' for a Jew to return to the land God gave to His people). The first aliyah is given to a priest (cohen) if one is present, the second to a Levite (Levi) if present, and the rest to any Jew. The person called up for an aliyah (oleh) recites the blessing, stands at the pulpit while he or the the master reader (ba'al-kore) reads from the scroll; he then recites the closing blessing, remains standing there during the following aliyah, shakes hands all around, and then returns to his seat. In Orthodox Judaism only men are given aliyot; in Conservative and Reform Judaism both men and women may be called up.