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In the copy of Echa I used this past 9 Av, the final p'sukim were followed by the notation "סימן יתק״ק". These stand for "ישעיה",‎ "תרי עשר",‎ "קהלת", and "קנות" (i.e. Echa). These are the four books of Tanach that have an unusual custom: when one reads their respective ends publicly, he repeats the second-to-last pasuk after the last is read. (We read the end of Y'sha'ya on Shabas rosh chodesh and the end of T're Asar on Shabas Hagadol.)

However, many sidurim in the S'faradi custom (for example, the currently popular "סידור עבודת השם השלם") include Shir Hashirim before Kabalas Shabas, and repeat the second-to-last pasuk after the last.

So I wonder: Do any communities/traditions have both the סימן יתק״ק and the custom to repeat the second-to-last pasuk of Shir Hashirim? (Knowing the provenance of each may help answer that.) If so, how do such communities reconcile the two?

  • acronyms? – Double AA Nov 26 '13 at 6:37
  • @DoubleAA, sure, but not over any of the ones already there, I don't think. Maybe over torah-reading. Do as you see fit. – msh210 Nov 26 '13 at 7:51
  • I was thinking over leil-shabbat just like you don't have sukkot rosh-chodesh-new-month tisha-bav or pesach. – Double AA Nov 26 '13 at 15:08
  • @DoubleAA, maybe. The question is about a minhag of kabalas Shabas. But no biggie. As I said, do as you see fit. – msh210 Nov 26 '13 at 16:58
  • In the teimoni shul I Daven in, when we say sheer hasheereem 3arab shabboth, we reapeat the last line I think and not the second to last. – MoriDowidhYa3aqov Nov 26 '13 at 17:30
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I have trouble answering the question as posed because it asks about which communities "have the סימן יתק״ק." This mnemonic is included in some Bibles (both mss and printed editions) not because of communal tradition but because of the judgement of the scribes or editors. This being the case, let me rephrase the question somewhat: Is the common Sephardic custom of repeating the penultimate verse of Song of Songs based on the same considerations that motivate the repetition of the penultimate verses of YTQQ? According to Joseph Ben Naim (1882-1960), it is (see Nohg Bhkma: Oasr Blum Sl Mnhgim ʿl D. Hlqe HSuʿ Snhgu Bkl Qhilot Ysrel Bmzrh Ubmʿrb, 247, also quoted in Spiegel linked below). This is also James Kugel's position (see The Great Shift: Encountering God in Biblical Times, 299-300). On the other hand, Prof. Y.S. Spiegel of Bar Ilan argues that this is actually based on the once-popular custom of introducing and concluding biblical readings with a thematically appropriate verse (link). I might add that none of the older Sephardic siddurim I have checked mention anything about verse-repetition after Song of Songs. It seems that this custom only begins to be included in Sephardic Siddurim printed after WWII.

  • Hi Moshe! Welcome, and thanks for your insightful answer! – רבות מחשבות May 30 at 15:23
  • Thanks. I myself was troubled by this custom, when I first learned of it from Prof Kugel's book. – Moshe Wise May 30 at 16:03

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