Thursday, July 6, 2023

יהצה, what is your real name?

In this week's פרשה, we find בני ישראל are confronted militarily by סיחון. The פסוק states כ"א:כ"ג ויבא יהצה. The question is, what was the name of the place? Was it יהץ and the pasuk is stating that he came to יהץ and the suffix ה implies to? Or is the name of the place actually יהצה?

The הפטרה appears to settle this quite unequivocally. In שופטים י"א:כ it states ויחנו ביהצה. That seems quite clear that the name of the place is יהצה. However, shockingly, אונקלוס in our פרשה renders ואתא ליהץ (as well as in דברים ב:לב)!!

תרגום יונתן in שופטים renders ושרו ביהצה.

Thank you to R' Ari Storch for pointing this out.

elie said...
ישעיה טו ד
ירמיה מח לד
MG said...
This question is asked in the Sefer Derech Sicha (questions to R' Chaim Kanievsky by one of his talmidim). R' Chaim answers simply that the name evolved to יהצה by Yiftoch's time. Targum Onkelos, although written later, used the name that existed in the time of Moshe, which was יהץ.


Larry S. said...

יפה צינת ר' אלי
בפרשת מסעי מובאים השמות: אֵילִמָה; וַיַּחֲנוּ, בְּדָפְקָה; וַיַּחֲנוּ, בְּרִתְמָה; וַיַּחֲנוּ, בְּלִבְנָה; וַיַּחֲנוּ, בְּרִסָּה; וַיַּחֲנוּ, בִּקְהֵלָתָה; וַיַּחֲנוּ, בַּחֲרָדָה; וַיַּחֲנוּ, בְּמִתְקָה;
; ; וַיַּחֲנוּ, בְּצַלְמֹנָה וַיַּחֲנוּ, בְּיָטְבָתָה וַיַּחֲנוּ, בְּעַבְרֹנָה ; וַיַּחֲנוּ, בְּעַלְמֹן דִּבְלָתָיְמָה;
נדמה שכאשר הסיומת ָה באה לצין שם של מקום בלבד ולא חלק מהשם גופו, אזי תמיד לפני ההברה האחרונה בא ; מעמיד כמו בשמות הבאים: אֵילִמָה;בִּקְהֵלָתָה
בְּיָטְבָתָה; בְּעַלְמֹן דִּבְלָתָיְמָה
ואִלו בשמות האחרים, כשאין מעמיד, אזי הסיומת ָה היא חלק בלתי נפרד מהשם

Shtikler said...

Very interesting. It would seem that the תרגום יונתן in שופטים would support ר' חיים's theory. But what about Elie's points? That would seem to contradict it.

MG said...

I don't think that's an issue at all. Those pesukim are not historical accounts; they are part of a nevuah, which is often more poetry than prose. It's perfectly acceptable for the Navi to use the ancient, original name of the city.

PJS said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
MB said...


Those are very interesting examples, but what did you mean by "Maamid"?