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The Ashkenazi leining for the end of an aliya generally has a drop of 4 tones. In my preferred key, that's from D to A (hit y then e on this virtual piano). However, some baalei kriah in my shul do not do this when the last word of the aliya is Hashem's name, and instead drop only a single tone (D to C, hit y then t on that piano).

I would guess that the reason for this is some notion of respect, where they don't want to make such a drop on His name.

Is there any basis in halacha or firmly established minhag for this, or is it merely a personal quirk of a few people?

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    I believe I have heard this more prevalently among Jews of German extraction than among other Ashkenazim. – Isaac Moses May 8 '16 at 2:20
  • The notes 'y' and 'e' did not in the virtual piano didn't sound like the 'sof aliyah' trop that I almost universally here. – ephraim helfgot May 8 '16 at 2:25
  • I've never heard this (or perhaps not known to listen for it), but I've heard jumping a fifth instead of dropping a fourth (yp instead of ye on that keyboard). – magicker72 May 8 '16 at 3:27
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    Can't find a source, but I was taught it was to prevent the congregation humming along - and saying The Name in vain - as some (annoyingly) tend to do as the Aliya ends. – Danny Schoemann Jan 26 '17 at 9:36
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    @DannySchoemann "not a credible and/or official source" - I'm inclined to disagree. I have heard of Moreshet and they seem reliable enough, and I would venture that the Rav who responded is reliable as well. You know the rule - אשר יהיה בימים ההם . Unless you have specific reason not to trust the rav or Moreshet, I think it's a good answer. We've had a number of answers on this site - some from me - that came from a local rav. You don't personally know my local rav, but, if I claim he's reliable, many here trust my and my rav's opinion. – DanF Feb 13 '18 at 16:07
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+100

You asked:

Is there any basis in halacha or firmly established minhag for this, or is it merely a personal quirk of a few people?

According to Rav שמואל פנחס גלברד it's a Minhag originating in Ashkenaz (Germany, I assume), and to this day Yekkes lein this way.

He gives a reason that it's more correct (as in honorable) to raise one's tone when saying Hashem's name than to go lower - along the lines of (תְּנוּ עֹז לֵא-לֹקִים (תהלים סח, לה - attribute Strength to Hashem.‏

המנהג אכן היה קיים באשכנז, ועד היום יוצאי אשכנז נוהגים לפיו. הטעם הוא, כאשר מסיימים את הפרשה או חלקה בשם ה', אין לרדת בקול, אלא להיפך, בבחינת "תנו עוז לאלקים" - (תהלים סח, לה).‏

Source: Shut Moreshet

I grew up in a Yekkish shul and everybody leined like that. I was taught it was to prevent the congregation humming along - and saying The Name of Hashem in vain - as some (annoyingly) tend to do as the Aliya ends.

Source: My grandfathers ז"ל

  • Excellent answer! (If nothing else absolutely fantastic comes along, the bounty is yours.) – רבות מחשבות Feb 14 '18 at 16:45
  • Mind telling me which Yekke shul and where? – DanF Feb 15 '18 at 0:03
  • @DanF - Sure! As I've mentioned previously here, the Adas Yeshurun of Johannesburg and the Etz Chaim of Strasbourg. – Danny Schoemann Feb 15 '18 at 9:00

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