Is Akiva spelled with an Aleph at the end עקיבא or is it spelled with an Hai at the end עקיבה?

Please answer only with a source.

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    After reading tom smith's answer (judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/10434/…), I'm puzzled. Are you asking for the Tanna's name, or are you asking for a standard spelling if one uses the name but did not receive guidance from his parents? – Seth J Oct 3 '11 at 21:21
  • I am looking for the proper Masoretic spelling. I think Wikipedia can not be relied on for proper Masora spelling. Gemara is reliable for Masora. Parents need to know the proper way too. – Gershon Gold Oct 3 '11 at 21:43
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    judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/8999/… Per this answer it is with an Aleph. – Gershon Gold Oct 3 '11 at 21:57
  • +1 on the Avinu Malkeinu connection. Especially if it's really written by him and meant to have the same Gematria. Although it could've easily been poetic license. Then again, if it was poetic license, it could indicate that he wasn't particular on his spelling. How might that jive with his Shittah on spelling in formal documents like Gittin (divorce and financial)? – Seth J Oct 4 '11 at 14:29

As Seth noted, it's "עקיבא" in the standard-edition Bavli. However, it's "עקיבה" in the standard-edition Y'rushalmi. There may, for all I know, be exceptions to each of those statements.

Aruch Hashulchan writes (about gitin) that there are reasons to write it either way and that both are fine. He then quotes the Maharshal and Taz as saying that (for gitin) either is fine b'diavad but "עקיבה" is preferred l'chat'chila. Finally, he clarifies that that's where the person's own spelling of his name (his signature) is unknown: where it's known, one must write it the way he does. B'diavad, he writes, a get is fine if "עקיבה" replaces a person's own "עקיבא"; vice versa, however, it's okay only where a new get can hardly be written.

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    Idle speculation: the Aleph-ending would be rather unusual for a Hebrew word; that's far more common in Aramaic. So I might expect the Y'rushalmi to go with the more Hebrew-looking spelling while the Bavli uses a more Aramaic-spelling? Just speculating. – Joel Spolsky Oct 4 '11 at 3:06
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    @Joel, indeed. There are many other names where that's true; for example, חייא in the Bavli vs. חייה in the Yerushalmi. – Alex Oct 4 '11 at 5:46

The Beis Shmuel in Even Ha'ezer says that with regards to Gitin there are two opinions. He suggests one should write with an hei, but if one normally signs with a aleph that is how he should write.

There are different simanim for both names shown here. One famous siman is that the author of the "Or Zarua" saw in a dream the verse of "Or Zarua Latzadik Uliyishrei Lev Simcha" and that the last letters of the words spell Akiva (in other words it would be with a Hei).


In the standard Vilna edition of the Talmud Bavli it is spelled עקיבא with an Alef at the end.

I'm not sure how much more authoritative a source you're looking for.

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    According to the Maharshal the printers weren't medayek on this. – ertert3terte Oct 3 '11 at 21:23
  • @tomsmith, and that stands to reason, too. But I'm curious to see this Maharshal. Do you know where he says this? – msh210 Oct 3 '11 at 21:35
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    I don't have the original, but it is quoted in footnote 2 in hebrewbooks.org/… – ertert3terte Oct 3 '11 at 21:38
  • But what about the fact that it's almost always spelled with an Alef? Could that be chalked up to the fact that it's not a Hebrew name and Bavli was written in Bavel, whereas in E"Y they wrote it according to how it sounded to them? In other words, there is no "correct" spelling? Are there differences in different versions of the Mishnah (outside the context of the Talmud Yerushalmi/Bavli)? – Seth J Oct 11 '11 at 16:18

According to Wikipedia it is commonly spelled עקיבא although sometimes it is spelled עקיבה.

  • Looking for jewish sources. – Gershon Gold Oct 3 '11 at 21:09
  • So you're wondering only how its spelled in seforim? – Hod - Monica's Army Oct 3 '11 at 21:24
  • That would be way more authoritive than Wikpedia. – Gershon Gold Oct 3 '11 at 21:25
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    @GershonGold True, but I think in this case the margin of error is so small that Wikipedia can be trusted. Its hard to imagine that they just made up that there are occurrences of both spellings. In my experience, Wikipedia's errors are usually ones of omission. I've only ever seen untrue additions in controversial topics/facts. – Hod - Monica's Army Oct 5 '11 at 5:31

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