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Is the פְּנִיאֵל of BeReishis 32:31 the same as the פְּנוּאֵל of 32:32? If so, why the change in term used to refer to it? If not, is there a story behind the two places with such similar names?

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Yud and Vav switch often in Hebrew words. – Double AA Nov 30 '12 at 5:43
@DoubleAA There seems to be no reason for the switch here (both times the word falls out on an אתנחתא). Rashi and Ibn Ezra usually comment when a word changes, while this time no one in the Mikra'os Gedolos does – b a Nov 30 '12 at 5:45
In a Sicha on the 10th of Kislev, 1985, - sichosinenglish.org/books/sichos-in-english/24/04.htm - the Lubavitcher Rebbe elaborates on an answer given by the Tzemach Tzedek (the 3rd Chabad Rebbe). – Menachem Nov 30 '12 at 15:54
See Rabbeinu BeChaye on the verse for a kabalistic explanation – Menachem Nov 17 '13 at 18:23
up vote 5 down vote accepted

It always seemed to me from reading the pesukim (and it seems Or HaChayim understands it this way as well) that the name of the place was Penuel and only Yaakov called it Peniel, presumably punning off the existing name of the place. Note that the location is mentioned many other times in Tanach and always as Penuel (Shoftim 8:8,9,17 Melachim 1:12:25 and I'd even include Divrei Hayamim 1:4:4).

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