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There are numerous places where Tana"ch uses the phrase "עד היום" or "עד היום הזה" ("until\to this day"). Usually, this phrase is used regarding the names of cities, towns, etc. - occasionally, such as the law of not eating גִּיד הַנָּשֶׁה (meat from the hind of the leg) the Torah also uses the phrase "ad hayom".

What does this phrase mean? Does it mean "forever" or until the date that the person wrote that phrase?

It seems in most cases, regarding names of places, it seems to mean "forever". So was the author predicting the future?

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Why does it seem to mean forever? Can you give examples that imply that? –  Double AA Jun 12 at 18:03
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Putting in sources would likely help to find the answer, especially if the answer is found in the meforshim on those psukim.... –  Shokhet Jun 12 at 18:09
    
II Kings 17:22-23: וַיֵּלְכוּ בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּכָל-חַטֹּאות יָרָבְעָם אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה לֹא-סָרוּ מִמֶּנָּה. עַד אֲשֶׁר-הֵסִיר יְהוָה אֶת-יִשְׂרָאֵל מֵעַל פָּנָיו כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר בְּיַד כָּל-עֲבָדָיו הַנְּבִיאִים וַיִּגֶל יִשְׂרָאֵל מֵעַל אַדְמָתוֹ אַשּׁוּרָה עַד הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה –  jake Jun 12 at 21:44
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@DoubleAA If D'varim 34:6 was written by Moshe or shortly after Moshe's death, it would be odd to read it as meaning "and no man knew his burial place until the day this verse was written": וַיִּקְבֹּר אֹתוֹ בַגַּי בְּאֶרֶץ מוֹאָב מוּל בֵּית פְּעוֹר וְלֹא-יָדַע אִישׁ אֶת-קְבֻרָתוֹ עַד הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה. –  Fred Jun 13 at 0:18
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@Shmuel In those instances, where the expression is used in a dialogue, it is obvious that it means "up until the time of this dialogue". I understood the OP as referring to those instances where the expression is used by an omniscient narrator. –  Fred Jun 13 at 2:53

3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

M'tzudas David, commenting the first time the phrase appears in Nach, writes:

It means to imply "forever", as anyone reading this verse, in his own time, will say "until this day". This is a general rule in the words of the prophets.

(Presumably, as Fred mentioned in a comment on the question, this refers only to "where the expression is used by an omniscient narrator" and not where it's used in quotation.)

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I believe that this phrase can be interpreted in three ways:

1) Quotations of the speech of a particular character in his time (see, for example Bereishis 48:15 in which Yaakov spoke to Yosef: “…God who hath been my shepherd all my life long unto this day”.

2) When the text meant to imply "forever" (as @msh210 quoted M'tzudas David above). I think that in this category also fits the cases in which the text intends to include times when other generations of readers will read the text.

3) or editorial comments after the text was written. See for example Ibn Ezra on Devarim 34:5 in which he says that this pasuk was written by Joshua.

I think that probably the answer to your question may be between the last two, however it remains to find the sources that indicate which is the case for each one of them.

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You can look at the book of Rav Amnon Bazak "Until This Day, Fundamental Questions in Bible Teaching" (Hebrew):

http://etzion.haretzion.org/11-news/mazal-tov/355-new-book-ad-hayom-hazeh

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