Why do the Sifrei Eme"s (i.e. Job, Proverbs, Psalms) have cantillation marks?

Are they read to a tune or is it just punctuation for personal usage?

Have they ever been read publicly with the tune?

(See here for what inspired me to ask this.)


Many sephardim still have a tradition as to the melody of the ta'amei emet. You can buy recordings of the Moroccan tradition from http://www.tht.co.il/default.asp. If you've visited sepharadi synagogues before, you may recognize the melody -- we use it for Kabbalat Shabbat.

As for the question of why they have ta'amim: the books of the Tanach need some sort of Masoretic punctuation so that we can understand the proper grammatical reading of the text. Whether we have a melody for those ta'amim is really a separate issue. It pays great dividends to take some time to read about the functions of the different ta'amim.

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Also, there's a widespread Sephardic custom to read the Book of Iyov publicly on Tisha BeAv. I don't know whether they use the trop, but I would assume that they do, like any other public reading.

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I believe the Syrian community has a tradition of reciting the Sifrei Emet with trope.

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They had a tune. The Yemenites still have a tradition for how to sing Tehillim.

In Eretz Yisrael you can pass by Yemenite Batei Kinasiyoth ("th" intentional) and still hear the children singing Tehillim with the trop.

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Indeed, in a number of places here in Israel, Tehillim are read publicly on a daily basis from Tehillim scrolls written on parchment. According to many authorities, there is also a special bracha that is to be recited prior to reading material from Ketuvim out of a parchment scroll: ברוך אתה ה' א-להינו מלך העולם אשר קדשנו במצותיו וציונו לקרוא בכתבי הקודש (see for instance Masechet Soferim, chapter 14).

For a video of a public reading of Tehillim, with cantillation according to the taamei emet (Zilberman style), and with the aforementioned bracha, see here.

R' Mordechai Perlman, during his time at the Zilberman Kollel in Jerusalem, produced an instructional CD in which he teaches the cantillation of sifrei emet (according to the Zilberman style). R' Perlman has released his CD into the public domain; here is a download link for his CD.

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  • That tune for the beracha in the video sounds similar to what I usually hear on the berachot on Megillat Esther. Is there a known provenance to this tune? (If the answer's involved, let me know, and I'll post this as a real question.) – Isaac Moses Aug 23 '13 at 3:03
  • Does the Zilberman trup vary among Tehillim, Iyov and Mishlei? My understanding is the Syrian trup does. The CD you linked to only seems to discuss Tehillim. – Double AA Oct 9 '13 at 16:02
  • The tune they use for Mishlei is exactly the same; and, in fact, one of the sample chapters presented at the end of the CD is a chapter from Mishlei. Theoretically the trup works for Iyov, too; however, there are those who have a slightly different trup for Iyov. – Avi Shmidman Oct 9 '13 at 19:19
  • @AviShmidman Interesting. Do you know of any recordings of that Iyov trup? (And in the future try and remember to ping me @DoubleAA when replying to my comments.) – Double AA Oct 31 '13 at 5:11
  • @DoubleAA Rav Dan Beeri has made a recording of the Iyov trup. – Avi Shmidman Oct 31 '13 at 8:59

The GRA yeshiva in Lakewood and Israel still teach the Kids with the TRUP for Thillim.

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  • They use the Yemenite trop. – Yahu Dec 13 '10 at 3:31
  • Even though it no longer exists in Lakewood – SimchasTorah Dec 13 '10 at 4:37
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    And I believe the Merkaz haRav uses a variant on the Syrian melody. (In its Nawa variant, as opposed to Syrian Nahawand) – B.BarNavi Aug 10 '11 at 2:46
  • There was a new trop created that is used by the Zilberman's school in Yerushalayim and the kids use that. It is more Ashkenaz-friendly. – Adam Mosheh Feb 6 '12 at 19:26

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