Many (if not all) shuls that I have been to have it such that in the first bracha of kriyas shema everyone reads until

וכלם פותחים את פיהם בקדשה ובטהרה, בשירה ובזמרה, ומברכים ומשבחים ומפארים ומעריצים ומקדישים וממליכים

The shliach tzibbur then reads this line, then everyone continues with the words

את שם האל המלך הגדול הגבור והנורא קדוש הוא

What's awkward is everyone is stopping in the middle of a sentence. My question is two fold

  1. I've noticed many siddurim break up the paragraphs, showing justification for this pause. What came first, the minhag to pause? Or the siddur had this break first, causing the minhag to develop. I guess looking at an old siddur will help
  2. Regardless how it started, what is the purpose for this pause (I'm assuming it's not arbitrary)? It seems inappropriate to pause in the middle of a sentence

The Tur (OC 61) says, in his guidance on careful pronunciation of Hebrew, to be careful to pause between a word ending in a ם and a word starting with an א, and one of the examples of that that he mentions is here וממליכים את. There's no need for a big pause or a paragraph break anymore than at the other places he mentions (such as שבחי ירושלים את or וראיתם אותו). Here and here are old Siddurim with no paragraph break there.

Perhaps people became extra careful at this location in particular because slurring the words can make the את sound like מת which in this case is awfully heretical.

  • Okay you've sufficiently shown #1 is that the minhag does not seem to be based on how the siddur breaks up the paragraphs. I don't believe this Tur justifies pausing for such a long time, and only here, considering a short pause is sufficient and this occurs throughout the words of tefillah – robev Jun 21 '17 at 19:43
  • @robev I never said the Tur justifies pausing for a long time. Pausing for a long time is indeed stupid. The printers of Sidduim who include a paragraph there aren't helping anyone. – Double AA Jun 21 '17 at 19:44
  • So you're suggesting this is a mistaken minhag which perhaps started by a justified short pause at that point – robev Jun 21 '17 at 19:47
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    I'd guess it was probably more like the practice started because of the paragraph break, and the paragraph break started because of an intra-line break (dash/colon/etc.) which started because of the justified short pause. – Double AA Jun 21 '17 at 19:49
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    Your last comment addresses the question almost more than your answer does, and I recommend you edit it in. – msh210 Jun 22 '17 at 3:15

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