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Rabbi David Sperling

Shevat 20, 5781
Question
Shalom HaRav, In bereshit perek א pasuk ה I see this sign "|" between word א-להים and לאור. What is the significance of this and what is the Torah trying to teach me ?
Answer
Shalom, Thank you for your question. The line you see in the printed version of the Hebrew Tanach (it is not found in the hand written Torah scroll – as the Torah scroll is written without any punctuation marks), has two different functions. Firstly, it is used as one of the cantillation notes- a “munach le’garmay”, which is a sign to enable a person who is singing the verses of the Torah (as we do whenever we read the Torah in public), to know what tune to use. The second use of such a line is not connected to the cantillation notes, but rather as a sign to make a small break between two words, and not to connect them when reading. The example you quote (Berashit 1,5) is of the second type. [See the “Simanim” edition of the Tanach]. Blessings.
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