There seems to be a problem with breaking a pasuk up. This question refers to it as to be avoided, and this answer lists the issue and potential exceptions. The question is also discussed here.

In the Dirshu Daf HaYomi B'Halacha email of 24 Tshrei, I read,

Reciting Shema in L'olam The pasuk of Shema Yisrael (and in some siddurim the entire first parsha) was incorporated into L'olam for those times when it is necessary to fulfill the mitzva of Shema at that juncture in davening (see below). According to the Gra, the complete pasuk is said only when attempting to fulfill themitzva during L'olam. Otherwise, only half the pasuk (Shema Yisrael orHashem E-lokenu, Hashem Echad) is said. The poskim discuss whether the passage should conclude with a beracha. (סעיף ט, ס"ק לא, וביה"ל ד"ה כי)

So the GR"A had a practice to break a pasuk up into parts, even a pasuk which is normally said as a whole (so I am not sure that any of the exceptions really applies because there was no intent to "use" the partial verse, as in exception 4).

How could there be a minhag to do something which seems to be an improper practice?

  • 2
    I think in this context the two words "Shema Yisrael" are a title of a prayer, not half a pasuk. The same way when I say "Sof Zman Keriat Shema" I haven't said one sixth of a pasuk.
    – Double AA
    Oct 7, 2015 at 20:31
  • 1
    @DoubleAA but are the remaining words equally a title then? The other option is to say the next 4 words, alone.
    – rosends
    Oct 7, 2015 at 21:13

1 Answer 1


It's not so simple that a pasuk cannot be broken in half, as can be seen by this answer by Avrohom Yitzchok: (Credit: Fred)

Extracted from chaburas.org

The gemara in Ta'anit 27b and Megilla 22a say that any verse that Moshe did not define, we cannot define for ourselves (כל פסוקא דלא פסקיה משה אנן לא פסקינן)

While this concept of not breaking verses in half seems to have solid basis in the gemara, it is interesting that it is not cited in any context by Rambam, the Tur, or the Shulchan Aruch, and it is barely dealt with, if at all, by any of the major Rishonim.

There seem to be a number of possible exceptions:

(exception 1)

Magen Avraham (O.C. 422:8) deals with the issue of splitting up the possuk אָנָּא הֹ הוֹשִׁיעָה נָּא אָנָּא הֹ הַצְלִיחָה נָּא Psalms 118 (25) into two when saying Hallel and answers (according to Tosefos) that although we agree to the principle of not defining possukim for ourselves, here it is different because the possuk is being said by two people. וכתבו התו׳ הא דמפסיקין פסוק "אנא...” לשנים והא קי״ל דאסור להפסיק באמצע הפסוק שאני הכא שב׳ בני אמרוהו

(exception 2)

Daniel Shperber, in Minhagei Yisrael volume 2, cites Rav Reuven Margoliyot, who suggests that while there is a problem with beginning a verse and stopping in the middle, it is permitted for one to begin a verse from the middle and recite it to its conclusion.

(Exception 3)

In an appendix in volume four of his work, Shperber cites Rav Avraham Nadav, who offers four possible exceptions to this rule. First, it does not apply to verses in ketuvim.

(exception 4)

Second, it does not apply to verses recited as prayers or supplications.

(exception 5)

Third, it does not apply if the phrase is only two words long (such as "Hashem melech"). …..

(exception 6)

Finally, Nadav claims that according to the responsa Rav Pe'alim, one may divide a verse by an 'etnachta,' loosely described as a cantillation comma, since an etnachta has similarities to the punctuation used at the end of a verse ('sof pasuk'; for example, both would render the word 'kesef' as 'kasef').

(exception 7) The Tzitz Eliezer (9:17:10) cites the Sfat Emet asks how the Hagadah used on Pesach can cite so many fragments of verses (most famously "avadim hayinu")? The Sfat Emet claims that it is not considered to be breaking a verse if the verse contains the words "le'emor" or "v'amarta" – "and you should say" or "so saying." Since the verse describes something tat one should say, one only has to say that part, and does not have to recite as well the command to say it. The Tzitz Eliezer gives a more technical answer, claiming that when the hagadah cites such verses, it is sure to alter a word or two so as to avoid this problem.

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