In Shmot 3:13, Moshe asks for a name to transmit to the people and Hashem says (in 3:14) to tell the people "ehyeh asher ehyeh" as the name. He cements this by saying "tell them ehyeh sent me".

From what I have seen, the word ehyeh in these two verses is treated as a name, not translated. But the ehyeh in 3:12 is treated like a first person verb (I will be). It seems to me that 3:12 can be read as the first time that Hashem uses the name, expecting Moshe to understand. Only when Moshe then asks for a name (indicating that he missed the point of 3:12) does Hashem explicitly identify the word with his name.

Are there any meforshim who see the ehyeh in 3:12 as the name with the verse answering Moshe's "who am I to go to pharaoh" question in 3:11 with "because ehyeh is with you and here is a sign..."?

  • See shevuous 35a, sofrim 4.1 too
    – Dr. Shmuel
    Commented Jan 20, 2020 at 17:01
  • Consider the following statement: “I am your father. Tell your brothers that Father sent you.” The same word “father” appears twice but the first time it is a regular noun and the second time it is a proper noun. But “Father” as a proper noun is itself a reference to the meaning of “father” as a regular noun.
    – Alex
    Commented Jan 20, 2020 at 22:22
  • @Alex but in 3:12 is there any linguistic difference that would distinguish? your example has "your father" vs. "father" but in the pesukim what signals this distinction?
    – rosends
    Commented Jan 21, 2020 at 10:20
  • See Ralbag on the verse
    – kouty
    Commented Jan 21, 2020 at 23:15

3 Answers 3


Or HaChaim on Shemot 3:14 makes this point:

ושם זה כבר רמזו אל עליון בנועם דבריו באמור לו כי אהיה עמך

The Supernal G-d had already hinted at this Name with His pleasant words when He said to him, "For E-hyeh is with you".

  • 1
    interesting, and thanks for the edits -- but this calls it a hint, not a declaration. are there any who see that this was the statement of nae and only because moshe didn't hear it as such did the clearer exclamation have to be made?
    – rosends
    Commented Jan 20, 2020 at 15:45

"Are there any meforshim who see the ehyeh in 3:12 as the name?"

Rashbam and Abarbanel. ( This comes from the commentary in the Gutnick Chumash pages 356-357)

Gutick Chumash page 356

Gutnick Chumash page 357

Also, in 3:15, L'olam is missing a vav. This implies that the name ehyey is a concealed name. ( This comes from the English translation of Mikraos Gidolos, Judaica press, The footnote cites Pesachim 50a )

Edits: Added picture of commentary from Gutnick Chumash showing references to Rashbam, Abarbanel, and Rambam who all apparently suggest that 'ehyey' is a name of G-d.

  • I see where Abravanel says this. I don't see it in Rashbam on these verses.
    – Joel K
    Commented Jan 21, 2020 at 14:02
  • Thanks @Joel K. I'll edit and post a picture of the comment I was referring to.
    – daniel
    Commented Jan 21, 2020 at 14:23
  • 1
    But this is discussing Ehyeh in verse 14, not verse 12, which was the question
    – Joel K
    Commented Jan 21, 2020 at 14:28
  • Nice catch, Joel. Thanks!
    – daniel
    Commented Jan 21, 2020 at 14:33
  • I'm not so sure about the Gutnick Chumash's view of Rashi. Perhaps Rashi doesn't consider it a three-word name in the first half of verse 14 (and even that is unclear), but that doesn't speak to the name in the second half of the verse.
    – Fred
    Commented Jan 22, 2020 at 22:14

This subject is discussed by many meforshim, particularly within Chassidut.

The first name pertains to the final redemption (which is why it is being utilized to address Moshe in the first redemption) and also precedes creation (meaning before the Kav enters the Makom Panoy and what follows afterward).

Regarding your observation that in Shemot 3:12 this name appears to be used as a verb is not quite correct. It is actually referring to two dimensions or aspects of the same name, similar to the usage of the name Havayah twice at the beginning of the 13 middot of Rachamim (In this case with Havayah, the two uses of the same name are referring to two different aspects of the same name.). The first Eyeh is the Asher aspect of the second Eyeh in the complete name.

Havayah, the name which was known indirectly to the Avot through its being 'dressed' in the name שדי, pertains to each and every generation. This is one of the inner intentions we have when reciting the first line of the Shema. That the word Shema itself (שמע) emphasizes this (The ש״מ of שמע is שדי-יהוה meaning 340).

This is what is meant in the conclusion of Shemot 3:15.

וַיֹּ֤אמֶר אֱלֹהִים֙ אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֔ה אֶֽהְיֶ֖ה אֲשֶׁ֣ר אֶֽהְיֶ֑ה וַיֹּ֗אמֶר כֹּ֤ה תֹאמַר֙ לִבְנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל אֶֽהְיֶ֖ה שְׁלָחַ֥נִי אֲלֵיכֶֽם׃ טו וַיֹּאמֶר֩ ע֨וֹד אֱלֹהִ֜ים אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֗ה כֹּֽה־תֹאמַר֮ אֶל־בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵל֒ יְהוָ֞ה אֱלֹהֵ֣י אֲבֹתֵיכֶ֗ם אֱלֹהֵ֨י אַבְרָהָ֜ם אֱלֹהֵ֥י יִצְחָ֛ק וֵאלֹהֵ֥י יַעֲקֹ֖ב שְׁלָחַ֣נִי אֲלֵיכֶ֑ם זֶה־שְּׁמִ֣י לְעֹלָ֔ם וְזֶ֥ה זִכְרִ֖י לְדֹ֥ר דֹּֽר׃

The two names mentioned in 3:14 and 3:15 pertain to different concepts.

Just as a point of reference, the quotation from Or HaChaim mentioned by Joel K is referring to a related, but different name affiliated with the creation and how it alludes to a particular permutation of the name mentioned in Shemot 3:14.

That reference, אל עליון, which is also mentioned in the opening blessings of the Amidah prayer, is referring to G-d's name צלמו which has the same gematria (166) as עליון. This is the name of G-d that we learn from Bereshit 1:26-27. Three of the letters from that name (צלם) were used in the building of Adam's wife, Chava. Those three letters together with the kollel (a gematria of 161) allude to the name referred to by Or HaChaim, namely the expansion of Eyeh with Yuds like this (א״לף, ה״י, י״וד, ה״י).

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