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Parashat Va'Etchanan 5761

Shema, Yisrael; Hashem, Elokenu; Hashem, Echad Hear Yisrael; God our God; God is One

There were six things that the men of Yericho did, and there were three to which the sages did not object, they would join [the words of] the Shema (Mishna, Pesachim 55b). What is it that they did? Rav Yehuda said they would recite Shema Yisrael Hashem Elokenu Hashem Echad without stopping. However, Rava said they did stop, but they would say hayom al levaveikha which sounds as though it means 'today on your heart' thereby excluding 'on your heart in the future.' The Rabbis learnt: how would they join [the words of] the Shema - they would say Shema Yisrael Hashem Elokenu Hashem Echad and they did not stop*: these are the words of R' Meir. Rabbi Yehudah said they did stop but they didn't say "Barukh Sheim Kevod Malkhuto Le'Olam Va'ed" ('Blessed be He, the Name of His Glorious Kingdom is for ever') (Pesachim 56a;Tosefta 3:16). *Rashi: between Echad ('one') and ve'ahavta ('and you shall love'); Tosefot: between Shema Yisrael and the Shem ('God')

The same dispute is to be found in the Yerushalmi in more detail: R' Acha said [that] R' Ze'ira said [that] Rabbi (Iyla, according to the Penei Moshe) said - It wasn't that they said Shema Yisrael Hashem Elokenu Hashem Echad; the problem was that they didn't stop between word and word - is what R' Meir said. R' Yuda said they did stop but they didn't say "Barukh Sheim Kevod Malkhuto Le'Olam Va'ed. R' Yose said [that] R' Ze'ira said [that] Rabbi [said] It wasn't Shema Yisrael Hashem etc., but that they didn't stop between Echad and Barukh is what R' Meir said. R' Yuda said they did stop but they didn't say "Barukh Sheim Kevod Malkhuto Le'Olam Va'ed (Yerushalmi, 4:8 quoted in Tosefot Menachot 71a). From the discussion of this passage of Yerushalmi in the Beit Yosef it appears that all the opinions about places where the men of Yericho did not stop are accepted as places where, ideally, one ought to stop. The dispute is about which of the stops did the men of Yericho not make. R' Acha's interpretation of R' Meir 'that they didn't stop between word and word' is quoted in the Tur (O. Ch. 61) in the name of R' Amram Gaon as mainstream Halacha.

What does 'they didn't stop between word and word' mean? The commentary 'Korban Ha'Eida' explains that the pasuk breaks into three phrases with stops after Yisrael, Elokenu, and at the end. The Rama in 'Darkei Moshe' (Tur, O. Ch. 61) is quite clear that the pasuk breaks up into these three phrases. In their opinion, 'between word and word' means between Yisrael and Hashem, and between Elokenu and Hashem. Accordingly, the (major) tune tipecha on the word Shema which comes in place of a (minor) service tune, does not count as a stop.

The 'Penei Moshe' interprets the phrase 'that they didn't stop between word and word' 'they would say the pasuk Shema Yisrael in one flow and not stop between word and word to meditate and concentrate on the verse of Unity.' It follows that in his opinion 'between word and word' means 'between each word.' Accordingly one is required to stop between each word of the six words in the verse Shema Yisrael. Support for this view can be found in the vowels and tunes of the verse Shema Yisrael itself.

The tune of the word Shema is a Tipcha, Yisrael has an Etnachta, Elokenu a Tipecha, and Echad a Sof Pasuk, all of which are pausal tunes. It is to be presumed that in the opinion of the 'Penei Moshe' the (major) tune Tipecha on the word Shema counts as a stop. The tetragrammaton (Shem Havay"a) occurs twice in the pasuk. It is read as Shem Adnut and as such, needs to be examined. In general the Nun of adonai ('my master') takes a Patach, and a Kamatz at a stop. In the two occurrences in the pasuk, Shem Adnut has a service tune and so there appears to be no reason to stop.

Rabbenu Bahye writes that in the word adonai ('my master') the Nun has a Patach, and a Kamatz only at a stop, for then the word stands independently. He continues that 'for this reason the holy Name never has a Patach, but always a Kamatz, for it indicates the great supreme level which indicates His supremacy and that he is not dependant on another, as is a creature; and for this reason Alef Dalet when used as the sacred name has a Kamatz, and when it is non-sacred it has a Patach' (Rabbenu Bahye, Gen. 18:3). It is clear that in the opinion of Rabbenu Bahye the Kamatz of the Holy Name is the Kamatz of the pausal form. The late chief rabbi, Rabbi I.A. Herzog, makes the same point based on R' A. ibn Ezra (Heikhal Yitzchak, Resp. 1).

The fact that people's names frequently have a Kamatz in the stressed syllable, where the word on which they are based has a Patach in that position e.g. Natan, Yitzchak, Nadav, does not invalidate the point. The tetragrammaton itself is a proper noun (Kuzari 4:3) and giving human beings individual names making them unique may be part of our being created in His likeness. It follows, when reading the words Shema Echad one should stop after four of them because of the tune and after two of them because of the vowels. There is a dispute whether the minor stops due to the vowels of the Name are regarded as stops or not. It should be noted that the traditional tune sung by Ashkenazi Chazanim for Shema Yisrael after the opening of the Holy Ark has a stop after every word, Shema, Yisrael; Hashem, Elokenu; Hashem, Echad.

I will be pleased to have comments on these notes on the Parasha.
Good Shabbos, Meshullam Klarberg, 35/4 Meshech Chochma, Kiryat Sefer, Israel 71919
E-mail address: fredit@zahav.net.il

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