Sunday, February 06, 2011

Yerušalaim or Yerušalem?

If you follow along during the haftarot, or study Nach, you've noticed that the word Yerusahalayim (Yerušalaim) is almost always misspelled in many of the prophetic books, where it frequently appears without a yud. Were it not for the nekudot, we'd pronounce that word Yerušalem (or Yerushalem) .

According to Professor Emanual Tov there is a simple explanation. During the time of the prophets the name of the city WAS pronounced Yerušalem -- the spelling in our books is accurate. But by the time of the Masorites the pronunciation had shifted to Yerushlayim. Unable to recognize that the city's name had changed, the Masorites vocalized the word as per the pronunciation they knew.

This is why the word is spelled one way, but pronounced another.

For more see page 43 here. The relevant bit from Tov's book is below:



Search for more information about Emanuel Tov at 4torah.com.

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