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שַׁלְשֶׁ֓לֶת ֓ וַיֹּאמַ֓ר
Sof passuk ׃   paseq ׀
etnachta ֑   segol ֒
shalshelet ֓   zaqef qatan ֔
zaqef gadol ֕   tifcha ֖
revia ֗   zarqa ֘
pashta ֙   yetiv ֚
tevir ֛   geresh ֜
geresh muqdam ֝   gershayim ֞
qarney para ֟   telisha gedola ֠
pazer ֡   atnah hafukh ֢
munach ֣   mahapakh ֤
merkha ֥   merkha kefula ֦
darga ֧   qadma ֨
telisha qetana ֩   yerah ben yomo ֪
ole ֫   iluy ֬
dehi ֭   zinor ֮

The Shalshelet (Hebrew: שַלְשֶלֶת) is a cantillation mark found in the Torah. It is one of the rarest used, occurring just four times in the entire Torah,[1] in Genesis 19:16, 24:12, and 39:8, and in Leviticus 8:23. Words accented with the shalshelet mark only occur at the beginning of the verse.[2]

The Hebrew word שַׁלְשֶׁ֓לֶת translates into English as chain.[3] This shows the connection of the worlds[dubious ] by the links of a chain.[4][5] The symbolism of the Shalshelet is that the subject of the story is wrestling with his inner demons and is undergoing some hesitation in his actions.[6][7]

It is rendered musically by a long and elaborate string of notes, giving a strong emphasis to the word on which it occurs.


The Shalshelet mark is said to be used for various purposes:

  • In Genesis 19:16, it is used on the word "VaYitmah'maH"(and he lingered), when Lot is lingering in Sodom as it is marked for destruction, to show Lot's uncertainty.[8][9]
  • In Genesis 24:12, it is used on the word "VaYomar" (and he said), when Abraham's servant is trying to find a woman to marry Abraham's son Isaac, to indicate the hesitation the servant shows.[10]
  • In Genesis 39:8, it is used on the word "VaY'maen" (and he refused), during Joseph's attempted seduction by Potiphar's wife, to indicate Joseph's struggle against temptation.[11]
  • In Leviticus 8:23, the Shalshelet is used because Moses was slaughtering an animal in preparation for the anointment of his brother and nephews as priests, a position he coveted for himself. He is therefore sad he was not given this honor.[6]

Grammatically it is equivalent to segolta, but is never preceded by a conjunctive accent or a disjunctive of a lower class. It is thus related to segolta in the same way as Zakef gadol is related to zakef katan, or Yetiv to Pashta.

Total occurrences[edit]

Book Number of appearances
Torah 4[12]
   Genesis 3[12]
   Exodus 0[12]
   Leviticus 1[12]
   Numbers 0[12]
   Deuteronomy 0[12]
Nevi'im 2[13]
Ketuvim 1[13]


The Shalshelet has a melody similar to that of 3 Pazers. It has approximately 30 notes, though this number varies depending on the word on which it is used. ShalsheletMelody.jpg

External links[edit]