Prayer and Religious Articles: Prayer and Blessings: The Haftarah:
When and in what country did the practice of reading the Haftarah begin?
The halachic work Abudarham (on the liturgy) seems to have been the first to suggest that the practice of reading the Haftarah originated at the time of the persecution of the Jews by Antiochus (i.e., just before the Hasmonean revolt). Reading the Torah was forbidden, so a reading from the Prophets on a similar topic was substituted. Another suggestion is that the practice was instituted (in early Second Temple times?) to demonstrate our disagreement with the Samaritans, who don't accept the Prophets (except for Joshua).
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