Yet, Duchman is no ordinary Rabbi and nor is the way he sells the distinct honor of reading the Maftir Yonah, as it is known.
While one child will read the story, people from all around the globe can chip in to the efforts and indeed reap the benefits and blessings of this unique Maftir Yonah.
The young boy's first school report in 1870 showed that he achieved 'excellent' in only one subject, that of 'Religious Studies (Mosaic).' His grades in other subjects were said to be 'adequate.' He clearly had links with Jewish religious life as a young boy because he celebrated his bar-mitzvah by reciting the maftir
and haftorah of Balak and there are records also that he played the piano at synagogue functions.
It was natural for Jews to single out the Book of Jonah, called by Yehezkel Kaufmann "the classic statement of the Israelite ideal of repentance." (10) It is as the prophetic reading (Maftir
Yonah) for the Mincha service on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, the most solemn day in the Jewish calendar.
In the days preceding purim and on purim itself, we read three times of the struggle of the Jewish people against the forces of evil, personified as Amalek: first, in the special maftir
from Deuteronomy 25 read on Shabbat Zachor (the Sabbath when we are admonished to remember Amalek); next, in the halfarah for Shabbat Zachor, from chapter 15 of I Samuel, which tells of the Jewish people's war with Amalek under the leadership of King Saul; and third, in Megillat Esther, where the Jews' enemies are identified as descendants of the Amalekite King Agag, who appears in chapter 15 of I Samuel.
," the San Francisco correspondent of the American Israelite, expressed this anxiety in an 18 80 letter which described the marriage of a local young woman to a non-Jew.
"At my son's Bar Mitzvah," he used to brag, "people will bathe in Champagne." Except that before that, he needed to engage a rabbi to teach the boy the maftir portion as well as a fine tri-lingual speech in Yiddish, English, and Hebrew.
Lech, Nech, Shmech, it's all the same!" And so it was inscribed that the maftir for the reading of "Lekh lekha" was assigned to the president's son.
The person who will read the haftarah is called, and the maftir repeated from the Torah reading so as not to "shame" the person who is called to read from the prophets, as opposed to the Torah.
There is no logic (other than mimicry) to repeating a Torah section for the maftir, as indicated above.