It is fairly common to find the abbreviation ודו"ק at the end of a complex explanation of a Torah thought (Maharsha, for example, famously does this very often). Roughly, it means: "I didn't explain every detail, but think about it for awhile and you'll see that everything falls into place."

What is the full expression that is being abbreviated here? The only thing I could find was ודרוש וחקור קרוב, which I can pretty confidently say is not what everybody has in mind when they use this expression. Another option I thought of is that it is not an abbreviation, but rather, the two lines are meant for emphasis, and the word is simply telling the reader to be מדקדק carefully.

Anyone have more information about this?


5 Answers 5


Chapter 7 of the Petach Davar to the Chumash Shai LaMorah (printed at the end of Sefer Bereshit) says the following (my translation, my emphasis):

It is known the custom of writers to put a quotation mark in words that are the names of letters, vowels, numbers, foreign words, etc. And at times to emphasize the word. And at times instead of parentheses.

So, there are times when the various commentaries put quotation marks in words to emphasize the word, not to make an abbreviation.

My understanding is that in early days of the printing presses, they had no way (or if they did, it was more difficult) to underline/bold/italicize text. So when they wanted to emphasize a word, they put a quotation mark in it.

And in this case, the words ודוק and ודו"ק mean the same thing. ודו"ק is just saying emphatically look into it.

According to this answer, all the explanations about what ודו"ק stands for are just backronyms.

You can see an example in the ancient manuscript of Rashi linked in this answer. The Divrei Hamatchil are indicated by a quote sign on top of the words.

Here is a screenshot from the manuscript at the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library. It starts in the middle of Bereshit 50:10: screenshot of Rashi Manuscript from the THOMAS FISHER RARE BOOK LIBRARY

  • 1
    That was the second theory I suggested in my question...
    – Dave
    Commented Sep 21, 2011 at 1:29
  • 2In my humble opinion this is the correct answer - logically, it always fits this explanation, you will also notice that the other term the Maharsha will finsh with is וד"ל implying that it is easily understood (unlike ודו"ק) which needs more investigation...
    – EHS
    Commented Nov 19, 2014 at 13:06
  • Somewhere floating around this site is a picture of a manuscript of Rashi where you can see that the divrei hamatchil were written with a quotation mark. I can't find it, but I'm almost positive @avi posted it.
    – Menachem
    Commented Nov 19, 2014 at 16:56
  • here it is: judaism.stackexchange.com/a/13390/603
    – Menachem
    Commented Nov 19, 2014 at 17:41

I was once explained in Yeshiva that it can stand for ודייק ותמצא קל.

(After a little Googling, I found this) (A little more Googling, and I found this and this)

Some of the things it might stand for:

  • ודייק ותמצא קל
  • ודוחק קצת
  • ודוק וקל
  • ועיין דברי ותמצאם קלים
  • ודקדק ומצא קושטא

This is the closest I found to your rough translation:

ודייק ותמצא קל

Sources: here, and here

This one seems the most likely, since I also found it in ערוך השלחן (Choshen Mishpat 1:3)

Two others I found (also quite similar):

ועיין דבריי ותמצאם קלים and ודקדק ומצא קושטא

  • On the contrary, ודו"ק is used when something requires the reader to examine it further. Often you find it in a stronger form: ודו"ק היטב. When something is easier to understand, you generally find וק"ל, which stands for וקל להבין. The true answer is that the quotation marks were the equivalent of italics, as @Menachem says.
    – N.T.
    Commented Jan 8, 2023 at 10:00
  • The bane of every math student: "The proof is left as an exercise for the reader." (I actually sell a black baseball cap with ודו"ק on it in Kesav Rashi. Wearing one marks you as a Arukh haShulchan Yomi learner.) Commented Mar 7, 2023 at 22:46

Aside from the standard explanations, when I was in yeshivah I heard a jocular explanation that it stands for, going forwards and backwards, in Yiddish:

וויפיל דו וועסט קוועטשן, קדחת וועסט דו ווערן

"No matter how much you try to force an explanation, you will still be good for nothing."

  • Funny. But I never heard קדחת used in this sense.
    – Dave
    Commented Sep 21, 2011 at 2:47
  • I heard another version of the same line: וויפיל דו וועסט קראצ'ן, קדחת וועסט דו וויסן "No matter how much you sit on the matter, you will still know nothing."
    – EHS
    Commented Nov 19, 2014 at 12:59
  • ודו"ק: ווען דו ווילסט קענען, קיין וואלאזין דיין וועג. וק"ל: ווילסט קענען לערנען, לויף קיין וואלאזין
    – shmosel
    Commented Jan 8, 2023 at 3:27

I thought it was veDochak Ktzas, i.e. though it's still a bit forced.

  • 7
    To the best of my knowledge, it's most often used in cases where the author is quite sure of himself.
    – Dave
    Commented Sep 21, 2011 at 1:32

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