How often is the Shalseles Trop found in the Torah, and where?


1 Answer 1


Four times in Chumash:

ויתמהמה (Vayeira, Gen. 19:16)

ויאמר (Chayei Sarah, Gen. 24:12)

וימאן (Vayeishev, Gen. 39:8)

וישחט (Tzav, Lev. 8:23)

and three times in the rest of Tanach (excluding Tehillim, Mishlei, and Iyov, which use a different system of trop):

ונבהלו (Is. 13:8)

ויאמר (Amos 1:2)

ואמר-לה (Ezra 5:15)

  • According to Rabbi Joseph Ibn Caspi (in his commentary to Bereishis 19:16), the Shalsheles note conveys a state of uncertainty and indecision. (see here) Rabbi Yossi Jacobson has an online lecture where he analyzes the 3 times in in Bereshit where Lot, Eliezer and Yosef are uncertain (as indicated by the Shalshelet note), and then discusses the 4th time in Vayikra.
    – Menachem
    Commented Jul 3, 2011 at 19:46
  • 2
    More about shalshelet, from R. Mordechai Breuer's "Taamei HaMiqra": Shalshelet has the same function as segol, namely that it divides the first half of a pasuk (i.e. the part of the pasuk preceding the etnachta) in half, when the first half of the pasuk is long. However, a segol requires a zarqa earlier in the pasuk, so when a segol would occur on the first word of a pasuk, it becomes a shalshelet. This explains why shalshelet always occurs on the first word of the pasuk, and why there is always at least one zaqef between the shalshelet and the following etnachta.
    – Sam
    Commented Jul 3, 2011 at 22:18
  • 1
    Also from R. Breuer: The vertical bar that always follows a shalshelet is not a psik, but rather is part of the shalshelet itself, just like the vertical bar is part of the munach legarmeh. Since there are two different types of munach, one indicating a break and the other connecting to the next word, the vertical bar distinguishes between these two. Similarly, in Tehilim, Mishlei, and Iyov, there are two te'amim that look like shalshelet, of which the break has a vertical bar. Although the rest of Tanakh only has one type of shalshelet, we keep the bar, since it also indicates a break.
    – Sam
    Commented Jul 3, 2011 at 22:29
  • Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/15475. cc @Menachem
    – msh210
    Commented Mar 4, 2014 at 5:58

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