Parashioth (or Parshiyoth, פִּרשַׁיּוֹת). It was the custom of the Jews to have the whole Law, or Five Books of Moses, read over in the synagogues in the course of every year. Hence, for the sake of convenience, the Law was divided into fifty-four sections, or Parashioth, as nearly equal in length as possible. These were appointed to be read in succession, one every week, until the whole was gone over. They were made fifty-four in number because the longest years contained fifty-four weeks, and it was thought desirable that no Sabbath in all such a case should be left without its particular portion; but as common years were shorter, certain shorter sections were joined together so as to make one out of two, in order to bring the reading regularly to a close at the end of the year. The course of reading the Parashioth in the synagogues commenced on the first Sabbath after the feast of Tabernacles; or, rather, on the Sabbath before that, for on the same day that they finished the last course of reading they began the new course, in order, as the rabbins allege, that the devil might have no ground for accusing them to God of being weary of reading the Law. SEE HAPHTARAH.

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