Psalms Chapter 34 is written in an acrostic, where every letter of the alef beis starts a verse. However, verse 6 starts with a ה, and the second half starts with a ו. The next verse starts with a ז, resuming the pattern.

דָּרַ֣שְׁתִּי אֶת־יְהוָ֣ה וְעָנָ֑נִי וּמִכָּל־מְ֝גוּרוֹתַ֗י הִצִּילָֽנִי׃

הִבִּ֣יטוּ אֵלָ֣יו וְנָהָ֑רוּ וּ֝פְנֵיהֶ֗ם אַל־יֶחְפָּֽרוּ׃

זֶ֤ה עָנִ֣י קָ֭רָא וַיהוָ֣ה שָׁמֵ֑עַ וּמִכָּל־צָ֝רוֹתָ֗יו הוֹשִׁיעֽוֹ׃

Why is this verse different than the others, containing two letters from the acrostic?

Note that this answer brings the source of my assumption being the Radak ad. loc.. That question and answer however doesn't address my question, which is why are they in one verse. That question is asking where the ו went, which I already addressed.

  • 2
    Maybe it just skips Vav like Ashrei skips Nun? Why assume the second half is relevant?
    – Double AA
    Commented Oct 10, 2019 at 2:41
  • 1
    Are you sure the ו in the second half is meant as part of the acrostic, and is not just a coincidence? There are, in fact, eleven other verses in the same psalm that begin the second half with a ו, so it seems likely that it would begin with a ו even if there was no acrostic. Also, Psalm 25 has no verse beginning with ו either.
    – Alex
    Commented Oct 10, 2019 at 2:51
  • I'm coming from Artscroll, which bolded the vav in this verse. Plus it made sense to me
    – robev
    Commented Oct 10, 2019 at 2:56
  • 1
    So perhaps a related question should be "Why did Artscroll bold a letter in the middle of a verse?"
    – Alex
    Commented Oct 10, 2019 at 3:00
  • 1
    Related: hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/q/22824/22655 Commented Oct 10, 2019 at 3:21

1 Answer 1


There are a few answers given to this question.

  1. @Alex noted the Rav Pealim (hebrewbooks, sefaria), who suggests that the vav-verse is missing, to show that it was not written on the 6 days of the week.

  2. This paper (end of page 3) cites a number of earlier sources that note that when one letter from the beginning is removed, and a final line beginning with פ is added ('פודה ה), the first, middle, and final letters spell out אלף, which is not only the first letter of the Aleph Bet, but also means to teach. As this paper notes (section 4), teaching is a central theme of this Mizmor:

    The theme of teaching picks up on the key words of Ps 25, למד or יורה in vv 4, 5, 8, 9, 12.

    (If that was the case, the choice of combining two into one sentence makes sense, and this was likely the easiest based on the vav already being in a correct position.)

  3. Many (secular scholars) would tell you that the Radak was incorrect, and this is missing a letter just like many other Mizmorim/prayers, as noted here. Others add that it would be conceivable that a scribe would skip over it having already started the previous phrase with a vav.

  • Does this answer the question? Seems more for the other question
    – robev
    Commented Oct 10, 2019 at 16:18
  • @robev each of the three answers answers the question, although the second is the only one that explicitly agrees with the Radak Commented Oct 10, 2019 at 16:46

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