The two Shiros, Shiras HaYam and Shiras Ha’azinu, are both written slightly differently from one another, but are both written in a “brickwork” format, rather than the typical paragraph format (YD 275:3-5). From observing Sifrei Torah, the gist of it seems to be a layering of text, wherein the words are broken up into several word phrases, which are then layered line by line, with gaps in the middle.

What are considered the parshah breaks for these? Both songs are preceded by and followed by a Pesuchah - are those the bounds of the parshah, and one could start an aliyah in the fourth passuk of either song? Or are the breaks in the middle of the lines considered a new parshah each time?

When a ba’al korei reads a parshah, he may not begin an aliyah within three pesukim of the beginning of a parsha, nor may he end one within three pesukim of the end of a parsha (OC 138). To that end, I am aware that the practice is to have several parshah breaks during Shiras Ha’azinu, but none in Shiras HaYam (at least among Ashkenazim). Does this mean that the Shiros are a single parshah? If so, is this limited to Ha’azinu, but the breaks in Beshalach are Parshah breaks? Or does this in theory apply to Beshalach as well, just that in practice it wouldn’t occur without adding aliyos according to our minhag?

In the event that the gaps during a Shirah are not considered Parshah breaks, I would like an explanation as to why that is the case. In the event that Shiras HaYam and Shiras Ha’azinu are different, I would also like an explanation of that as well.


1 Answer 1


YD 275:3

כתב השירה כשאר הכתב או שכתב שאר הכתב כשירה פסול ודוקא שכתב השירה כשאר הכתב בלא פיזור אבל אם שינה בפיזור ממה שנהגו לא פסל ובלבד שיהא אריח על גבי לבינה:‏.

If he wrote a song like the rest of the text or he wrote the rest of the text like a song it is invalid, but only if he wrote it like the rest of the text without dispersing [the words around gaps]; but if he changed the dispersion from what is customary he did not invalidate it, so long as it is still [in the right sort of pattern/shape].

We see from here that these gaps are not normal Parsha breaks or else you'd have to keep them between the correct two words. "Song" mode is just different from "prose" mode. Gaps have different meanings. (It could be there are rules about the size of the gaps in song mode, or something else, which parallel the rules in the other mode, but fundamentally it's a different beast and you shouldn't just expect to treat it like a prose section with a higher density of breaks.)

  • Similarly I suppose you couldn't use "Rambam stumot" instead of "regular stumot" in the song bc that would throw off the shape, even though it's a kosher stumah
    – Double AA
    Jul 12, 2018 at 12:36
  • Note some things, like the 28 עתים in Kohelet may look like a song but actually be a series of regular adjacent Stumot. You gots to be careful in checking which category a particular piece belongs to.
    – Double AA
    Apr 16, 2019 at 17:28

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