Bereishit 4:18 contains the word:


There is no vowel under the second yod, so I assume that it is not pronounced at all.

What is its function?

Is it a mater lectionis? Is a yod ever used as a mater lectionis for a kamatz?

Or maybe this is an example of keri uketiv?

Or something else?

(I'm unsure if the answer to this question would have any practical ramifications in terms of pronunciation, but I would like to understand more what is going on here.)

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    check the Radak sefaria.org/Genesis.4.18?lang=bi&with=Radak&lang2=en
    – rosends
    Commented Oct 13, 2020 at 12:20
  • 1
    relevant: sefaria.org/Minchat_Shai_on_Torah%2C_Genesis.30.18.1?lang=he
    – Joel K
    Commented Oct 13, 2020 at 14:00
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    "Is a yod ever used as a mater lectionis for a kamatz?" Does ־ָיו count?
    – msh210
    Commented Oct 13, 2020 at 15:02
  • @msh210 good point. Maybe that’s the model
    – Joel K
    Commented Oct 13, 2020 at 15:04
  • @rosends Excellent Radak reference which relates also to subject of Peniel and Penuel (the exchange of the letter Yud for Vav) with Yaacov Avinu (Bereshit 32:31-32) as well as Chanoch ben Yered (Bereshit 5:19-22) and his ascending alive from this physical, material world. Commented Oct 13, 2020 at 20:14

1 Answer 1


וַיִּוָּלֵ֤ד לַֽחֲנוֹךְ֙ אֶת־עִירָ֔ד וְעִירָ֕ד יָלַ֖ד אֶת־מְחֽוּיָאֵ֑ל וּמְחִיָּיאֵ֗ל יָלַד֙ אֶת־מְת֣וּשָׁאֵ֔ל וּמְתֽוּשָׁאֵ֖ל יָלַ֥ד אֶת־לָֽמֶךְ:

And Irad was born to Enoch, and Irad begot Mehujael, and Mehijael begot Methushael, and Methushael begot Lemech.

Rav Hirsch explains that this is because מחויאל (in his youth) became מחייאל as a result of the declining morals of his generation. That is from a passive resistance to Hashem, the generation turned into an active resistance. The extra Yud in the name according to Rav Hirsch is to show this change and make the distinction.

Irad begat Mechujael, מחוי אל in which godlines was extinguished. When the generation was young, it was מחויאל, passive, godliness was extinguished int, but later when it was older it was מחייאל, active, tried to do away with godliness. It was followed by מתושאל (מתו the root of מתים), seeking masses of people.

Note that the transliteration would show the two words as Mechu-yael turning into Mechi-yael. Thus it is not really a double yud but the vowel on the chet is חִירִק while the second yud is the consonent.

  • 1
    I'm not sure how this answers the question
    – Double AA
    Commented Oct 14, 2020 at 12:22
  • @DoubleAA Rav Hirsch explains that the double yud is to show the active attempt to extinguish godliness in the world. It is a matter of showing the active rather than the passive tense. Commented Oct 14, 2020 at 13:07
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    Does that make it a kri uktiv? I'm confused how that answers the question
    – Double AA
    Commented Oct 14, 2020 at 13:11
  • 1
    I think you’re reading more into R Hirsch than what he actually says. R Hirsch is addressing the change from מחויאל to מחיאל. He’s not talking about the double yod at all. His comments would remain precisely the same if the latter mention of the name was spelled מחיאל rather than מחייאל.
    – Joel K
    Commented Oct 14, 2020 at 17:26
  • @JoelK No Rav Hirsch transliterates this as Mechi-yael in order to show the difference from Mechu-yael. Thus it requires both yuds. The first yud is part of the vowel on the chet while the second yud is the consonant. Commented Oct 16, 2020 at 3:41

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