The Shnayim Mikra Plan

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chumashBy Rabbi Menachem Yoel Yormark

I have a simple suggestion to help with:

1) Keriah proficiency

2) Fluency in Chumash

3) Learning Disabilities

4) Kiruv Rechokim

5) Unmotivated students

6) The most serious problem of our times:

To help prevent children (and adults) from going off the derech:

We all are aware of the major catastrophe of our youth (and shockingly, adults) going off the derech. There have been many articles regarding this major problem offering different solutions. As a 4th grade Rebbe for over 20 years, and presently Director of the Resource Room,  I have been experimenting with a Shnayim Mikra project for a few years, that has succeeded beyond my expectations; and which can help immensely in improving keriah skills, fluency in Chumash (which is basis for hatzlacha in all learning), help with learning disabled students, Kiruv Rechokim, and also stem the tide of kids and adults going off the derech.

As we know, there is a mitzvah of Shnayim Mikra V’echud Targum. I assign my class every Friday to read shnayim mikra (no targum) until sheini every week for the weekly parsha, with parent signature due on Monday. I even sweeten the deal with Pringles rewards. I must say I have seen many positive results, including improvement in keriah skills, which can contribute to the off-the-derech problem. When 2nd, 3rd graders, heard about this, they happily joined in. Students are excited and love doing this, parents have told me it’s a great idea, some 2–4th graders are even reading the whole parsha twice!  Some parents of first graders told me their children actually now beg their parents to listen to them do Shnayim Mikra! Can you imagine that? Your children begging to learn with you, and having

Shnayim Mikra as part of their regular vocabulary! Parents have actually thanked  me for this homework! How often do you get a thank you for homework??                                                                                  This also forces the student to actually have eye contact with a Chumash for an extended  period of time, for as teachers know, eye contact with seforim is very inadequate these days! The advantages to doing Shnayim Mikra are numerous, including tremendous fluency in Chumash, which subconsciously gives a deeper connection to Torah and Mitzvos. If this is done every week, year after year,–just doing Shnayim Mikra–can you imagine how much more limud HaTorah and fluency in Chumash there is? It will leave a massive impact! Every Parsha contains and/or: mitzvos, halacha, mussar lessons, deep hashkofos,  and  major yesodos–that can have tremendous long-lasting effects on anyone who does shnayim mikra!! This is only reading Chumash, (not translating), which could have major effects on each child down the line as they reach their teen years; maybe they would think twice before going off the derech.  I had a student who was not in the mood for learning one day, and he asked me if he could do shnayim mikra. After reading only until shelishi twice, he told me he was ready to learn, his head was now “clear”,–reading chumash got him back on track! This demonstrates the amazing power of shnayim mikra. I also had one student who told me he had nothing to do one Sunday afternoon, so he decided to read the whole parsha twice, (as this was easier than other learning, such as mishna gemorrah,etc.)  What other activities would have been done otherwise??   Another proof of the amazing siyata dishmaya when using shnayim mikra to get a student more involved in learning: Another student was not learning well one day; I suggested doing shnayim mikra in the last 10 minutes of class. He eagerly started doing shnayim mikra.  The bell rang, and I told him to go to the next class. He said– “Wait, I want to read a few more pesukim (twice–an extra 5 minutes)!!”  The next class was GYM PERIOD!!  If you push shnayim mikra with your students, you will also have amazing stories to tell! Shnayim Mikra will give a student a totally different attitude towards learning and davening.

Just as there is Daf Yomi, you can call this- the  school’s- CHUMASH YOMI, and this is also a way to mechaneich young children the mitzvah of Shnayim Mikra V’echud Targum!
A 9th grade Rebbe told me he now requires his talmidim to do Shnayim Mikra V’Echud Targum, and it is helping them tremendously in many ways, and his young children are now doing it also!
In these troubled times, with internet, cell phones, social media, etc., and with all the other issues and problems our schools are facing today;–a shanyim mikra program in every school is very crucial at this time.      We should NEVER underestimate the importance and power of this crucial mitzvah of shnayim mikra at this time.    This must be mandatory, as part of every school curriculum!!
I have also seen amazing progress and improvement with learning disabled students, when I  have them read 5-10 pesukim per day in Chumash, of Parshas Hashavua.
The Rosh Hayeshiva, Rav Aharon Feldman shlita, told me –Targum is especially helpful for talmidim– as it will help their Gemorrah learning also! Rav Aharon Hersh Fried, author of the Torah’Umesorah Kriah Scan-told me (by email) –Reb Yaakov Kaminetzky, zatzal, said–that when Chazal said “Ben Chomeish LeMikra,” they meant that children should be taught and should practice Kriah in a Chumash; not a siddur or Tehilim.
Everyone must know keriah perfectly, read without hesitating or mistakes, as one would read English. For many students, this can take a lot of extra practice, and shanyim mikra is a wonderful way to get it done! Unfortunately, many who struggle in their school years, will have reading problems as adults, when the problem is more magnified and possibly embarrassing.  All parents can suggest and/or listen to their children every Shabbos to just read (not translate) every Parshas Hashavua until sheni/shilishi twice, as this is not a pressure/thinking situation. Shabbos is a perfect time, as there are fewer distractions, and most children would be receptive to only “read”, and it would make sense to them, because , after all, this is the parsha of the week. Mistakes in reading can be corrected at that time, mixing in divrei Torah on the parsha words/pesukim they are reading! Or else, give them a Chumash, and ask them just to read parsha out loud, as if they were davening. A Rebbe/Morah can also make this an assignment, with parent signature due on Monday.                                                                                                   For those who are already off the derech, and you feel there is a chance to bring them back , maybe just start with shnayim mikra until sheni. Even those who have excellent keriah skills, shnayim mikra will give a deeper connection to Torah and Mitzvos, helping everyone to stay on the derech. I can see warning signs of potential off-the-derech students in upper grades, and I am now pushing shnayim mikra with them, and I am getting a positive response!                                     Again, a very important reason for using Shnayim Mikra for improving keriah skills: there is limud hatorah at the same time doing and practicing keriah, because you get the mitzvah of limud hatorah with Torah Shebiksav– even if you don’t know or understand what you are reading. This can possibly cause more siyata dishmaya for more hatzlacha in keriah skills and Limud HaTorah!    Since “talmud torah keneged kulam”, there will hopefully be extra siyata dishmaya for keriah success. I am using this method with my students,–try it, you will see hatzlacha! If students are bored or not interested one day, have them get a Chumash and read shnayim mikra until sheni, and it will get them in the mood for learning.    I have also seen amazing progress and improvement with  learning disabled students, when I  have them read 5-10 (CHUMASH) pesukim per day, of Parshas Hashavua. I don’t know any reason why anyone would reject or object to this plan.  This should be mandatory in every Day School, Cheder, Mesivta/Yeshiva High School.  It is not only for the stronger students, but for the weaker ones also!  You might say–everyone probably already does Shnayim  Mikra V’echud Targum;–This is simply not true! Everyone must get involved in this great mitzvah! Parents must tell their children, schools and yeshivos must make this plan as part of their curriculum, anyone involved in Kiruv Rechokim must start each lesson reading Parshas Hashavua, and businessmen must encourage their friends, as this is a חִיוּב,  and NOT a  חוּמְרָא or מִנְהָג , or just a good idea. If everyone would take this mitzvah more seriously, the results will be:–It will greatly increase Limud HaTorah throughout K’lal Yisroel, increase fluency in Chumash, and greatly increase  knowledge of  halacha, deep hashkofos, and major yesodos,(which are in every Parsha) –and most important–it will be mechazeik the HALACHA of  the important mitzvah of Shanyim Mikra V’Echud Targum–which unfortunately is not done, and it is a “weak” mitzvah–:

...“חייב לקרות לעצמו בכל שבוע פרשת אותו השבוע

(ֹשְנַיִם מִקְרָא וְאֶחָד תַּרְגוּם”…(א”ח-סימן רפ”ה-א

(סימן  רפ”ה ש”ע–)– רָפָה=weak)

(It will also help solve the most serious problem of our troubled times —prevent our youth from going off the Derech!)

Even if you do much learning every day and night, Shnayim Mikra cannot be pushed aside just because there is “no time to fit it into my schedule,” because this is a חִיוּב,  not optional!!

Many schools have their own ideas and programs, and may not want to add this program to their school; however this will not interfere or complicate anything, as this plan can be done outside of any school program or homework—on Shabbos , or part of avos u’bonim, or part of a summer program, etc… If this plan is properly implemented as a mandatory program,  you will see how it will greatly benefit and improve your school!

I strongly suggest this (Shnayim Mikra) must be a separate grade on the report card ! If a student gets straight A’s  in the subject-“Shnayim Mikra,” then the result will be-much better grades in all other  classes!!!

Chazal did not tell us all of the reasons for their takonos, there were many hidden reasons that were not revealed to us.       Maybe, just maybe, some of the hidden reasons for Shnayim Mikra were to help  with Keriah Proficiency, as “Mikra” also means “Reading,” and also to help with other benefits mentioned above: Fluency In Chumash, help with learning disabilities, and to keep us all–on the derech, and help us all not go off the derech, because doing Shnayim Mikra week after week, every year, will have a massive impact! It will also help those students who just cannot concentrate or focus, “spaced out,”not interested, bored, distracted, not motivated, short attention span,(very common these days…), or  just lazy.  This plan is a consistent weekly goal which will bring סיעתא דשמיא for more הצלחה in all learning!

Shnayim Mikra will  give everyone the much needed “jump start” that weaker students (and stronger students) need for hatzlacha in all learning, especially in today’s troubled times, when there are so many learning problems! This is not my idea–I am just emphasizing and pushing a  Halacha from חַזַ”ל !!

Here is an added incentive:

“כל המשלים פרשיותיו עם הצבור מאריכין לו ימיו ושנותיו

(גמ’ ברכות ח:)

Maybe if we get involved in a program that gives a longer life, we may be זוֹכֶה to live a longer life!  If you really think about this plan, you will become very enthusiastic about it also!   I personally think if you do not try this plan, you are missing out on a great opportunity to help Klal Yisroel in these critical, very difficult times.  Try this plan for a whole school year–and you will be shocked and pleasantly surprised with the results, as you will verify for yourself the many benefits and progress in ALL of these areas.

For grades 9-12, it could also be a program similar to Daf Yomi, and you can call this- the  school’s- CHUMASH YOMI,– and this is also a way to mechaneich students– the mitzvah of Shnayim Mikra V’echud Targum, and also receive all of the benefits of the  Shnayim Mikra program.

For example: (with Targum)

Sunday-until Sheni 2x

Monday-until Shelishi 2x

Tuesday-until Revii  2x

Wednesday-until Chamishi  2x

Thursday-until Shishi  2x

Friday—until  Shevii-2x

Shabbos-Shevii until end– 2x

A sample homework verification sheet I use

for grades 1-8:

A Shnayim Mikra Program!

Every Shabbos you must read a portion of the weekly Parsha  twice ! Your parents need to sign the chart below, and students must be heard

by their parents

or by someone 15 years old or older.    This chart must be returned with parent signature to your teacher on Monday or Tuesday. (You get the mitzvah of learning Torah even if you don’t hand in the signed sheet!)  You may use one sheet for more than one sibling.


Grade and amount                            Parent signature

1st grade until Sheini–1x                                  __________________

2nd grade until Sheini–2x                                ___________________

3rd grade until Shelishi–2x                             ____________________

4th grade until Revii–2x                             _____________________

5th grade until  Chamishi–2x                       _____________________

6th grade until Shishi–2x                              _____________________

7th grade until Shevii–2x-with Targum      ____________________

8th  grade-Whole Parsha–2x-with Targum  ___________________

This program is sponsored for the merit of חולי ישראל.

“חייב לקרות לעצמו בכל שבוע פרשת אותו השבוע

שְנַיִם מִקְרָא וְאֶחָד תַּרְגוּם”…א”ח-סימן רפ”ה-א

“כל המשלים פרשיותיו עם הצבור מאריכין לו ימיו ושנותיו”

(גמ’ ברכות ח:)

Parents have actually thanked  me for this homework!

How often do you get a thank you for homework??

The Rosh Hayeshiva, Rav Aharon Feldman shlita, told me –Targum is especially helpful for talmidim– as it will help their Gemorrah learning also! Rav Aharon Hersh Fried, author of the Torah’Umesorah Kriah Scan-told me (by email) –Reb Yaakov Kaminetzky, zatzal, said–that when Chazal said “Ben Chomeish LeMikra,” they meant that children should be taught and should practice Kriah in a Chumash; not a siddur or Tehilim.

If this plan and sample verification sheet would be a mandatory curriculum, not optional, in every Day School,

The results will be–as explained in this article–(because maybe some of the hidden reasons for חַזַ”ל  requiring us all to do  Shnayim Mikra were also to help with all the  following:)

Help prevent children (and adults) from going Off the Derech,

Improve Keriah Proficiency, (which is a very big problem today),

Increase fluency in Chumash, (foundation of all learning)

Help learning disabled students, (with a daily dose of 5-10 Chumash pesukim per day, in Parshas Hashavua)

Help unmotivated students get spark for more learning,

Greatly increase Limud HaTorah throughout K’lal Yisroel,

as doing Shnayim Mikra is also Limud HaTorah–

which is the biggest Mitzvah one can do–

— תלמוד תורה כנגד כולם– (better than any Segulah!)

and will also increase knowledge of halacha, deep hashkofos, and major yesodos (which are in every Parsha),

For many students,(and adults), it will be a great sense of accomplishment!

Reading Torah Shebiksav (Chumash)– will greatly increase the chances for hatzlacha in all learning.

For some students, it may be the only learning done on Shabbos (or the whole week??).

This plan is a consistent weekly goal , and students today are very goal-oriented!

If the class is not in the mood to learn or pay attention, I suggest to have them  read  together, out loud and slowly, Parshas Hashavua until sheni. You will see how the power of Shanyim Mikra will get them back on track! It can be done on Shabbos in a no pressure situation, as it is only reading, not translating!

Does not interfere with other homework, because it is done on Shabbos!

If a student finishes a test or classwork before others are done, I tell them to do Shnayim Mikra, and  they are busy reading Chumash  for as long as I need them to be busy! For those talmidim who have difficulty to open a sefer in their spare time….or on Shabbos…, or finding excuses not to learn, opening up a Chumash to do Shnayim Mikra V’echud Targum is more likely(easier) than opening a Mishna, or Gemorrah, and if you think about it, it will most likely result into a deeper understanding of the parsha, and making it easier for  learning  Chumash, Navi, Halacha, Mishna and Gemorrah!! It will encourage deeper learning of Parshas Hashavua,  and Torah learning between parent  and student! It will lead also to learning some Rashis of the Parsha!

It will also obviously be mechazeik the important mitzvah of Shnayim Mikra V’echud Targum , WHICH ALSO GIVES אריכות ימים ושנים, –a long and healthy life- (Gemorrah Berochos 8b) !!

Therefore, I strongly suggest this (Shnayim Mikra) must be a separate grade on the report card ! If a student gets straight A’s in the subject-“Shnayim Mikra,” then the result will be-much better grades in all other  classes!!

Parents should strongly encourage and help their children to do this program, because they will benefit from all the wonderful advantages  how this program  will help their children, and all klal yisroel!!               Can this Shnayim Mikra Plan really do all of this??       YES IT CAN !!!   And a lot more!!!

Try it now!  You will see amazing results!

I truly think if this plan is properly implemented as a mandatory program in every school a.s.a.p., it will help students (and adults), and all klal yisroel–tremendously–and will help bring the Geula Shlaima.

Menachem Yoel Yormark

South Bend, IN

574-255-3351               574-383-0723

This article is L’iluy Nishmas:

Mordechai Aryeh ben Avrohom Yaakov

Miriam bas Tzvi Hirsch HaKohein

Chaim ben Tzvi

Tziril bas Yoseif HaLevi

Additional Shnayim Mikra info:

When doing Shnayim Mikra (and all davening)–  The  Shem must be read and pronounced correctly— Aleph-Daled-Nun-Yud. The aleph has a patach which is said correctly. However, for some strange reason, the Shem is very often said incorrectly. The daled–which has a cholem, must be pronounced doe or doi–(depending on minhag). The accent should also be on the nun, (noi). The correct way to say the Shem:–A-doenoithe daled with a cholem(Not A-di-noi— the daled with a sheva, and not “Ahdnoy,” the daled without the cholem, or skipping the daled and saying “Anoy.”) .   Many brochos are said, (most common serious mistake)–A-Di-noi, saying the daled with a sheva, or anoy (totally skipping the daled). Therefore, “Adinoi, Ahdnoy, and Anoy,” are all incorrect!! The correct way to say the Shem:–A-doenoithe daled with a cholem! One must be very, very careful in this matter!I read an article that Rav Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg,  zatzal, said you are not yotzai–even בדיעבד if you said “A-di-noi”(the daled with a sheva).  Unfortunately, many people will not change bad habits even when told the correct pronunciation. Maybe more tefillos would be answered if we only were more careful to say the name of Hashem correctly!!        Also, to improve keriah, students need to look in the siddur during Chazoras Hashatz, listening and  focusing on each word being pronounced clearly and correctly, and answering amein to every brocha.  This will also discourage talking  during Chazoras Hashatz, which is a very big aveira, as the Shulchan Aruch uses very strong, harsh language about those who talk during Chazoras Hashatz, as it states:  “Godol Avono Minsoh”, –“His sin (for talking during Chazoras Hashatz) is too great to be forgiven!”

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  1. another way to do shnayim mikra is the way of the Arizal in Chok L’Yisrael – a few pesukim every day (a particularl number each day) Monday through Thursday – then 26 pesukim Thursday night, then finish the parshah on Friday

    • actually that’s just the Hok LeYisrael seder that had a few pesukim every day. After tefillah on friday morning the custom of the Ari was to read the hok leyisrael section for friday and then to read the WHOLE parasha ShMV”T (all while still wearing tallit/tefillin btw).
      In other words, the part of Torah in the Hok LeYisrael seder has nothing to do with ShMV”T necessarily.

  2. This is a beautiful article.
    I wonder how many people will actually bother to pay attention to it.
    I find it strange that so many in our generation would much rather find an obscure segulah and put on their shirt backwards while glancing out the window over their left shoulder, or donate $37.13 to the Tzedaka organization with the glossiest flyer, instead of observing a mitzvah that is a clear obligation.

  3. One point which was mentioned briefly but not emphasized is the advantages of the boys reading targum. Having taught high school boys, I have seen how the ones which say the targum have a much easier time with gemora since they don’t need to relearn kriah but are already familiar with the basic word structures.

  4. Congratulations! Someone finally has the sense to go back to teaching the way Yisroel Saba (our ancestors) did. Learning Chumash was the foundation – ages five to ten – and only when the child was fluent in reading and familiar with the content did he go on to Mishnayos. What do we do? We don’t teach the boys to read Hebrew systematically, and then when they’re only ten we hit them with Gemara and Aramaic (which we also don’t teach systematically). No wonder the kids flounder and give up in discouragement. The schools should heed the advice of Rabbi Yaakov Horowitz and teach kriyah (and dikduk too) as a first step, and then go on to more challenging things when the boys are confident in reading. See Rabbi Horowitz’s site for his reading primer “Bright Beginnings,” a reading series that would really help all our kinderlach.

  5. Yeshivas Darchei Torah recently started a school wide shiniem mikra program perhaps this will start a new focus.
    KOl hakavod.
    We need to refocus on the basics.

  6. this is more inline with what this site should be all about
    and over the years its been getting better

  7. If someone would have told me how powerful shanim mikrah was a few years ago, i wouldnt have believed him

    but now 3 years later i am amazed at the changes i have seen in my richnuis by doing shnaim mikra


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