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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. The four words accented with the shalshelet mark all 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 on the word "Vayishchat" (and he slaughtered), 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 note occurs a total of 7 times in Tanakh. They are: ויתמהמה Genesis 19:16, ויאמר Genesis 24:12, וימאן Genesis 39:8, וישחט Leviticus 8:23, ונבהלו Isaiah 13:8, ויאמר Amos 1:2, and ואמר-לה Ezra 5:15.


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]


  1. ^ Jacobson, J.R. (2005). Chanting the Hebrew Bible (Student Edition). Jewish Publication Society. p. 60. ISBN 9780827610484. Retrieved 2015-04-08. 
  2. ^ Kelley, P.H.; Mynatt, D.S.; Crawford, T.G. (1998). The Masorah of Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia: Introduction and Annotated Glossary. Eerdmans Publishing Company. p. 147. ISBN 9780802843630. Retrieved 2015-04-08. 
  3. ^ Wolfson, E.R. (1995). Circle in the Square: Studies in the Use of Gender in Kabbalistic Symbolism. State University of New York Press. p. 211. ISBN 9780791424056. Retrieved 2015-04-08. 
  4. ^ Steinsaltz, R.A. (2007). Understanding the Tanya: Volume Three in the Definitive Commentary on a Classic Work of Kabbalah by the World's Foremost Authority. John Wiley & Sons. p. 302. ISBN 9780787988265. Retrieved 2015-04-08. 
  5. ^ Samuel, G. (2007). The Kabbalah Handbook: A Concise Encyclopedia of Terms and Concepts in Jewish Mysticism. Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin. pp. 2–327. ISBN 9781585425600. Retrieved 2015-04-08. 
  6. ^ a b "Under Duress in VaYeshev: The Shalshelet | Jewish Boston Blogs". Retrieved 2015-04-08. 
  7. ^ "On Not Trying to Be What You Are Not - Covenant & Conversation - Parsha". Retrieved 2015-04-08. 
  8. ^ Jacobs, L. (1995). The Jewish Religion: A Companion. Oxford University Press. p. 65. ISBN 9780198264637. Retrieved 2015-04-08. 
  9. ^ Goldstein, E. (2008). The Women's Torah Commentary: New Insights from Women Rabbis on the 54 Weekly Torah Portions. Jewish Lights Publishing. p. 64. ISBN 9781580233705. Retrieved 2015-04-08. 
  10. ^ Isaacs, R.H. (2006). A Taste of Torah: An Introduction to Thirteen Challenging Bible Stories. URJ Press. p. 73. ISBN 9780807408131. Retrieved 2015-04-08. 
  11. ^ Telushkin, J. (1991). Jewish Literacy: The Most Important Things to Know About the Jewish Religion, Its People, and Its History. HarperCollins. p. 24. ISBN 9780688085063. Retrieved 2015-04-08. 
  12. ^ a b c d e f Concordance of the Hebrew accents in the Hebrew Bible: Concordance ..., Volume 1 By James D. Price, page 6
  13. ^ a b Concordance of the Hebrew accents in the Hebrew Bible: Concordance ..., Volume 1 By James D. Price, page 5