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Shalshelet

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The Shalshelet is one of the marks used in cantillation of the Torah and is one of the rarest used. It is only found 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 word shalshelet means "chain".[3] This shows the connection of the worlds[dubious ] by the links of a chain[4][5].

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

Purpose

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

  • In Genesis 19:16, it is used on the word "and he lingered" to show uncertainty[6][7].
  • In Genesis 24:12, it is used on the word "VaYomer" (and he said) to indicate the hesitation of the servant[8].
  • In Genesis 39:8, it is used on the word "Vayimaen" (and he refused) to indicate a struggle[9].

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 zaqef gadol is related to zaqef qaton, or yetiv to pashta.

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