Shnayim mikra ve-echad targum

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Shnayim mikra ve-echad targum (Hebrew: שנים מקרא ואחד תרגום, trans. "Twice Scripture and once translation"), is the Jewish practice of reading the weekly Torah portion in a prescribed manner. In addition to hearing the Torah portion read in the synagogue, a person should read it himself twice during that week, together with a translation usually by Targum Onkelos and/or Rashi's commentary (Shulchan Aruch Orach Chayim 285:1-6), and it is customary to also read the portion from the Prophets (ibid. 285:7).[1]


According to the Gemara in Tractate Berakhot 8a:

"...אמר רב הונא בר יהודה אמר רבי אמי "לעולם ישלים אדם פרשיותיו עם הצבור שנים מקרא ואחד תרגום
Rav Huna bar Yehuda says in the name of Rabbi Ammi: "one should always complete the reading of one's weekly Torah portion with the congregation, twice from the mikra (i.e. Torah) and once from the Targum."

This statement was interpreted as the ritual of Shnayim mikra ve-echad targum and is codified in the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim, 285:1).


Times of Recitation (starting with most ideal)
1. On Friday, after the morning prayer
2. On Friday, after midday
3. On the Sabbath morning, before the lunch meal
4. After the Sabbath lunch meal but before the time for the Mincha prayer
5. Up until Tuesday evening following the Sabbath of a particular weekly portion
6. Up until Shemini Atzeret of that particular year

As above, the basic obligation of Shnayim mikra ve-echad targum involves reciting the Hebrew text of the weekly portion twice and then reciting Targum Onkelos once.

  • The proper formula involves reading each verse of the week's portion twice in a row, followed by the Targum translation of that verse. The next verse is then recited in that order, until the end of the portion. Other authorities (e.g. the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 72:11) recommend dividing the text into its closed and open paragraphs as set out in a Torah scroll and in most printed copies, reading each paragraph as a whole, first twice in Hebrew and then once in Targum. Others divide by aliyot, reading one or two a day (see below) or according to other divisions.
  • While listening to the Torah in synagogue, one can read the text along with the reader and count it towards one recitation of mikra.[2]
  • By “Targum,” the Talmud refers to the Targum Onkelos. Numerous authorities[3] say that the commentary of Rashi is also acceptable. Some[4] maintain that it would be appropriate for one to study both Rashi and the Targum. If one does not have time for both, however, most poskim agree that Targum takes precedence over Rashi. The Mishnah Berurah[5] concludes that if one cannot understand the commentary of Rashi, he may use a translation that conforms with traditional interpretations of the text;[6] as an example, the book Tseno Ureno in Yiddish is suggested.[7]
  • Ideally, Shnayim mikra ve-echad Targum should be recited in its entirety on Friday after the morning prayers while wearing Tefillin and Tallit. If one was not able to read the portion on Friday morning then he should do so on the Sabbath after the morning prayer and before the meal. Whoever cannot read the weekly portion on Friday due to obligations such as work, and finds doing so difficult on the Sabbath, should divide the portion during the preceding week. Thus on Sunday, one should read until the end of the second Aliyah, on Monday till the end of the third Aliyah, etc., so that come Friday, he will have completed his weekly obligation. The day on which two aliyot are read may be changed based on the relative size of the aliyot.
  • The Hebrew text should be recited with cantillation and with proper pronunciation. The Targum, however, should not be recited with cantillation.[8]
  • One must be diligent to read the portion with no interruptions. If one is very thirsty, he may stop and drink (with before and after blessings).
  • After completing the weekly portion, the last verse should be read in Hebrew again so as not to complete the portion in the Targum translation. According to Chaim Yosef David Azulai, the last verse should be read twice.
  • When a holiday falls on a Friday, the weekly portion should be read on the Sabbath before the lunch meal. Some hold that Shnayim mikra ve-echad targum may be read on Yom Tov itself.
  • On the day of Hoshana Rabbah (any part of the daytime), Shnayim mikra ve-echad targum should be read for the V'Zot HaBerachah portion.
  • Moses Isserles, on 285:7, states that similarly reciting the Haftarah is customary although not obligatory (see Minhag). Other sources, e.g. Kitzur Shulchan Aruch ad. loc., likewise mention this custom. When (and if) the Haftarah for a bridegroom is read, one nevertheless reads the regular Haftarah here.

Specialized books[edit]

Although one may read Shnayim mikra ve-echad targum from any text, special books have been published which print the Hebrew text twice consecutively followed by the Aramaic Targum so as to assure that the reader will recite the requisite repetitions of each verse. Examples include Chumash Haavarat HaSidra[1][permanent dead link] and Chumash Shnayim Mikra Ve'Echad Targum[2][permanent dead link] (and with translation [3]). Electronic versions for use in Tablet computers and E-book readers are also available.[4]

Other works designed for daily Torah study - such as Chok l'Yisrael which includes the Torah with other study texts divided by the weeks of the year - will print the Hebrew text once, and, as with a standard Chumash, the reader must remember to repeat the Hebrew text before going on to the Targum. Some of these works divide the weekly portion by day and, generally correspondingly, by Aliyah (Sunday: first Aliyah, Monday: Second Aliyah...). Others divide the weekly portion differently: for example Chok L'Yisrael prescribes a set number of verses for each day of the week, with the remainder of the portion to be read on Friday.

See also[edit]

For other study cycles, see Torah study#Study cycles



  1. ^ Rabbi Dr. Azriel Rosenfeld: Orach Chayim Summary; Ch. 20
  2. ^ Mishnah Berurah 285:2; Aruch Hashulchan 285:3,13 Archived 2013-04-15 at
  3. ^ including the Rosh (Berachot 1:8) and the Tur (O.C. 285)
  4. ^ including the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 285:2)
  5. ^ 285:5
  6. ^ Tosafot (Berachot 8a, “Shnayim”) acknowledge the opinion that any translation of the Torah into one’s own language is acceptable, but they do not conclude agreeing with this opinion, since Targum Onkelos is a unique combination of translation and commentary.
  7. ^ " least one posek ruled that by reciting Mendelssohn’s translation of the Torah (for those not adept at reading Rashi’s commentary on the Torah), one has fulfilled the rabbinic obligation of שנים מקרא ואחד תרגום, no small matter."
  8. ^ Hayyim ben Joseph Vital, Peri Etz Chaim, Sha'ar Hanhagat Limmud. This may not always have been the case. Some fragmentary manuscripts from Israel contain passages from the Targum with cantillation marks: Paul Kahle, Masoreten des Westens. This may have been for public synagogue reading rather than private study.

Further reading

External links