Hacham Shalom Yitzhak Halevy

< Nisan 5784 April 2024 >
A few quotes from the Rabbi on 'Redemption of Israel'
in which he teaches that it is customary to begin reading more rapidly from the words “in the land (that the LORD swore to your fathers” because of the love for the Land

Regarding your question concerning the custom in Sana’a, the capital city, where they recite the Shema with its cantillation, and begin reading more rapidly when they reach “And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying”. Know that I had not noted the point where they begin to read quickly before. If we attend closely to when they begin to accelerate, we may grasp the reason behind it. It is certainly an ancient custom, and we should not think that they do so with no reason. Attend and note that the custom to read in a uniform tone and tune is maintained until they reach “in the land that the LORD swore”, and only then do they begin to read rapidly (I have attended to this and heard it in various synagogues of Sana’a immigrants). Why? They must certainly do so for a reason. In my humble opinion, it seems to me that our ancestors’ reason for this was to indicate their love of the Land of Israel and their longing to move there, as though its very mention makes them they wish to fly there immediately…

Divrei Hachamim, Orakh Haim section, paragraph 8, pp. 3-4, Dror Press, Jerusalem, 1972
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