When we speak, it is very normal to make an error and say something like “I saw John and Bob, I mean Bob in the store yesterday.”

How does one make a correction when he accidentally adds a word to the Torah reading - for example: ויאמר ה אל משה ואהרון I mean משה לאמר. Must he repeat the entire passuk? Please cite sources.

  • 1
    note that the zecher/zecher Parshas Zochor reading may be somewhat related
    – user15253
    Commented May 31, 2018 at 14:57
  • ויאמר ה אל משה ואהרון I mean משה לאמר - I hope that as part of the correction, you're not saying "I mean" ;-)
    – DanF
    Commented May 31, 2018 at 16:15

1 Answer 1


This OU article by Rabbi Zivotofsky summarises many different opinions:

Two extreme positions are cited by the Tur (OC 142): Either there is no need to correct any error and doing so will embarrass the baal korei, or, as the Shulchan Aruch (OC 142:1) and Rambam (Hilchot Tefillah 12:6) rule, even minor grammatical errors must be corrected. In this vein, the Sha’arei Efraim (3:16) advises chastising the baal korei even for minor errors. The Ramah (OC 142:1 and see commentaries) states a compromise position that requires correcting only mistakes that alter the meaning of the word.

Adding a name is obviously not a smaller error regarding a vowel, and for such cases:

The commonly accepted practice follows a third opinion, that of the Baal Hatanya, which requires the baal korei to re-read from the beginning of the phrase in which the error occurred. This ruling applies even if the phrase contains God’s name.*

* See Rabbi Hershel Schachter, “Lesser-Known Laws of Torah Reading,” Journal of Jewish Music 7:1-11, paragraph 46 where he also cites the Tosafot Anshei Shem to Mishnayot Brachot 2:3.

Phrase in this context is a meaningful unit of a verse as indicated by the teamim. However, there are others, who require the whole verse to be repeated, while some rabbanim are more lenient, and only require to correct the word and continue from there.

The repetition raises the concern of saying the divine name in vain, and it is discussed by the Tzitz Eliezer in connection with those, who finish first the verse before correcting. An argument for this practice can be found in Megillah 22a:

כל פסוקא דלא פסקיה משה אנן לא פסקינן ליה

Any verse that Moses did not divide, we may not divide. (Sefaria)

Despite the gemara, he cites R. Eliezer Papo, who argued in the Chesed laAlafim that this is problematic, if there is a divine name later on in the verse, so one should not finish it in such cases. Although it is still another debate, whether one should return to the beginning of the verse if the first half contained a divine name.

  • If there is no divine name before or after - what would be the svara to say to finish the verse if a word was added erroneously; what does that accomplish? Commented May 31, 2018 at 11:49
  • Clarification - Repeating the entire verse, I believe, is required in all situations once the verse has already been completed. I think there's a consensus on that. I.e., one cannot start in the middle of the verse at the point of the error. I didn't suggest that if one is still in the middle of the verse, one should first complete it before repeating the whole thing or even part of it. BTW, there are many places where using the wrong trope can change the meaning, as well. This is nuance that I think many gabba'im are unskilled at detecting.
    – DanF
    Commented May 31, 2018 at 15:58
  • @DanF If you have a source for your claim, I'm happy to include that. The OP said an added word, not a mistaken trop (there's no consensus whether one should stop the reader for that). Commented May 31, 2018 at 18:53
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    You quote sources about going back and reading correctly in case a mistake was made. But the case that a word was added seems different from others as regards that rule: indeed, repeating correctly an incorrectly read word fixes that error, but repeating a phrase correctly that was read incorrectly arguably aggravates that error: now, instead of having said an extra word you've said an extra phrase. So I think better sourcing is necessary for this answer: sources that apply the rules you cite to, specifically, the case that a word was added. (cc @Draizy-LeviPine )
    – msh210
    Commented Jun 2, 2018 at 21:56
  • @msh210 I understand your point, but in such cases the readers I've heard always returned, because technically there's no other way to correct such mistakes. I would also argue that by adding a word the correct verse was read. It's formally a correct one, but not at that particular location. Commented Jun 3, 2018 at 8:09

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