Some (most?) widely used siddurim today give the reader some pronunciation information that is not obvious in standard Hebrew lettering: when a sheva is pronounced (e.g., by making the sheva na bold, as in the Koren). When did that information first appear in a siddur?

  • 1
    FWIW some Siddurim probably starting listing Shva-Na before they started including the line "HaYom Yom X..." which was only added after the Kitzur Shelah (~1700) and wasn't even that widespread at first.
    – Double AA
    May 22, 2017 at 13:42
  • My recollection - Siddur Shilo began emphasizing this. I have no proof that they were first. However, at least from what I recall from Nusach Ashkenaz & Nusach Sefard siddurim, I don't recall seeing this in Adler, Philips, Birnbaum (in 60's - maybe later editions began doing it?) or Tikun Meir.
    – DanF
    May 22, 2017 at 15:53
  • @DanF later editions of Birnbaum do emphasise shva' na' and kamatz katon. I'm not a huge fan of them, but since I was gabbaing a minyan which uses Birnbaum machzorim over Rosh haShannah, I did notice that, as I did daven out of one (mostly). I believe that one of my grandfather's old siddurim, a Dutch impression from the 1830s (?) has a rafeh over shva' na' usage, although I'm not certain May 22, 2017 at 16:17
  • @NoachMiFrankfurt I gather that Birnbaum was quite popular among the Yekke community. Would you have one dating from one of his very early editions? I'm curious if he began his siddurim this way.
    – DanF
    May 22, 2017 at 16:22
  • @DanF, I don't know about it being popular amongst Jekkes (it's a fairly standard eastern variant of Nusach Ashkenaz) but I have a copy from one of the early editions. Currently, I'm away from my copy, so I couldn't check for features until I get back next week. May 22, 2017 at 16:25

1 Answer 1


This siddur, printed in 1904, as well as this one, published in 1916, emphasize a sheva na by placing a line above the letter. For example:


However, not all Siddurim from this period emphasized them.

  • ArtScroll does this (I believe the line is called a rafe), and Kehot puts a star above each sheva na.
    – ezra
    Jun 4, 2017 at 22:55

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