On Mount Sinai, God said to Moses “I will give you the stone tablets with the Torah and the commandments which I have written for their (Israel’s) instruction” (Exodus 24:12).
From the very beginning, the Torah was intended to be read publicly and to be explained to the people. The tradition of reading the Torah out loud dates back to the time of Moses, who would read the Torah to the people publicly on Shabbat, festivals, and Rosh Chodesh.
While the Torah is considered an essential part of Judaism, how it is read and how sections are separate for reading is not followed based on Talmudic recommendations. Each week, and for the holidays, the congregation can read from the weekly (or special festival) parshah, as little or as much as they want.
The goal of reading Torah is to bring out ideas and commentary. Each week, Jews around the world read from the same parshah of Torah, making the Torah reading one of the key unifiers of time and message in the entire Jewish world relevant to us and help provide us with guidance in living a Jewish life.
As reform Jews, we constantly search for the right combination of maintaining certain tradition while modifying others to make Judaism more relevant.
CBHT Ritual Committee