Twenty-seven times (by my count) in Torah and in Ezekiel, we find the phrase אני ה׳ אלקיכם or אני ה׳ אלקיהם at the end of a pasuk (for example, Lev 25:55). In eight of these cases, the phrase is preceded by the word כי (for example, Lev 26:1).

Whenever the word כי is present, the trope is: כי - tevir, אני - merkha, ה׳ – tippekha, אלקיהם/כם - siluq. Whenever the word כי is not present, the trope is: אני - tippekha, ה׳ - merkha, אלקיהם/כם - siluq. The main difference to notice is that the main disjunctive in the phrase, the tippekha, is in different places. Note that this shouldn't be an effect of the word כי, because the tevir disjunctive is a lower lever disjunctive than tippekha, and so the placement of the tippekha should occur before the placement of the tevir.

Additionally, in five verses in Ezekiel, we have כי אני אדני ה׳ (Ezek 13:9, 23:49, 24:24, 28:24, and 29:16), which follows a very similar word pattern (although with different names of God and without the final suffix), yet the trope here splits כי אני from אדני ה׳ (unlike either of the cases in the preceding paragraph).

Does anyone know what the implications are of the different teamim choices, or the inclusion/lack of כי? Is there a reason why changing the names of God and omitting the possessive suffix should change the parsing of the verse? Are there any commentators (or grammarians/explicators of teamim) who discuss a difference in meaning between these cases?

  • Note as well Shemot 6:7.
    – Double AA
    Commented Feb 19, 2016 at 15:41
  • @DoubleAA It's interesting that your example (Ex 6:7) doesn't follow the same pattern as כי אני ... at the end of a pasuk, ie. כי has a munach and not a revi'a.
    – magicker72
    Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 15:56
  • 1
    Yes. I thought it was parallel in that the Pashta is on אדני and not on אני.
    – Double AA
    Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 16:02
  • I don't know much at all about Hebrew grammar/syntax/trope, but couldn't help noticing that that phrase occurs a LOT in Vayikra/Leviticus 19, sometimes shortened to Ani HaShem , and doesn't once have the Ki preceding it...probably doesn't have anything to do with the question, but those phrases sure do add a powerful emphasis to the laws in that chapter, helping to make it a major part of the "meat" of Vayikra/Leviticus.
    – Gary
    Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 17:36
  • 1
    What do you make of Isa 41:13 and 43:3 and Zec 10:6?
    – Double AA
    Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 1:07

2 Answers 2


Nehama Leibowitz, in the first volume of New Studies in Shemot (pp. 306-7), discusses the distinction between two possible syntactic structures of the first three words in Exodus 20:2.

(a) אנכי ה׳        אלהיך,
(b) אנכי        ה׳ אלהיך.

She cites Ibn Ezra and Shadal who discuss the two readings (they focus on Ex 20:2, the details of which aren't relevant to the question at hand). The distinction, as summarised nicely here, is as follows:

(a) "I, Whom you already know as Adoshem, am to be your God",
(b) "Let me introduce myself: I am the Lord your God".

(This answer doesn't address possible implications of כי introducing the phrase.)


R Menachem Di Lonzano writes in his Derekh Chayim 108b that the Tipcha is on "Ani" so as to not sound like "I am God, your god, [and not that other god who is also your god]". He concludes:

ולכן בכל אני ה' אלהיכם יש טרחא במלת אני לבד כשיבא מלת כי בתביר קודם לה לפי שאי אפשר לטרחא לבא אחר תביר אם לא במאריך באמצע.‏
And therefore in all "Ani Hashem Eloheikhem" there is a Tipcha on the word "Ani" except when the word "Ki" with a Tevir precedes it, for it is impossible for a Tipcha to come after a Tevir without a "Ma'arikh" in between.

A Ma'arikh might be what we call a Merkha or it could be what we call a Meteg/Gaya. Either way though the rule is odd because we find Tevir-Tipcha sequences all the time. Possibly what he means is Tipcha can't come straight after a Tevir when the Tevir also has no Meshareit, a rule which (if Ma'arikh is taken as a Meteg/Gaya) would have only a couple exceptions (the only two I see in Torah where you have Mafsik-Tevir-Tipcha with no Metagim/Makkafim on the latter two are Lev 11:9 and Deu 7:20).

So it seems according to this simply that the Tipcha-Tevir combo is impossible for technical reasons (whatever they may be exactly), and so when the word "Ki" is introduced the Tipcha shifts to the also-reasonable position on "Hashem".

(If I had to guess about the examples from Yechezkeil, I'd say that the name-combo אדני-יהוה is thematically too joint to split, and we prefer to lose entirely the syntactical division of the Tevir than to split up those names.)

  • It seems like a good idea, but I don't believe your guess as to what R' Di Lonzano meant, especially when באמצע is so explicit. BTW, apparently the BHQ has a tvir on נתן in Deut 18:14 (according to tanach.us).
    – magicker72
    Commented Apr 27, 2016 at 22:07
  • @magicker72 Well even if we don't the details of his rule, he thinks there's some Trop rule which is forcing a "dechiya" here. This is probably the best we're going to get.
    – Double AA
    Commented Apr 27, 2016 at 22:13
  • @magicker72 Even if you allow a Meteg on the Tevir-word, but not a Mesharet, the rule works decently well. Rules like this about Trop clustering on short words seem pretty reasonable.
    – Double AA
    Commented Apr 27, 2016 at 22:33
  • It's hard to know whether the rule works "decently well" without finding cases where the trope sequence doesn't appear where you might expect it.
    – magicker72
    Commented Apr 27, 2016 at 23:35
  • @magicker72 By "decently well" I meant there aren't so many exceptions. Every rule has exceptions. If you allow Meteg on the Tevir word, you get added Exo 36:6 and Num 24:8, 33:2, and 35:2.
    – Double AA
    Commented Apr 27, 2016 at 23:37

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