I am trying to understand the difference between the initial words in the following p'sukim:

Mishlei 9:10 תְּחִלַּ֣ת חׇ֭כְמָה יִרְאַ֣ת יְהֹוָ֑ה וְדַ֖עַת קְדֹשִׁ֣ים בִּינָֽה


Tehillim 111:10 רֵ֘אשִׁ֤ית חׇכְמָ֨ה ׀ יִרְאַ֬ת יְהֹוָ֗ה

Most of the commentators which I read seem to treat them as interchangeable (using one in the discussion of the other). The Malbim Be'ur Hamilot mentions the two words and says that he discussed the difference in Bereisheet but I can't find where so I'm left confused.

One version (reisheet) was chosen to be used in the morning prayers. Is that a function of the second half of the verse and the word is inconsequential, or is there something about the meaning of the word which makes it preferable in its use in prayer?

  • On Gen 1:1, Malbim writes ובשם ראשית לא ישמש רק אם שני הדברים כבר ישנם במציאות יאמר שהאחד ראשון להשני. Perhaps that's what he's referring to?
    – magicker72
    Oct 22, 2021 at 20:56
  • @magicker72 if so, that's not a very useful distinction here. But thanks for the find!
    – rosends
    Oct 23, 2021 at 23:43
  • I would add, to the point that even the Targumim are different: "שֵׁרוּי חוּכְמְתָא דְחַלְתָּא דַייָ" vs "שֵׁירוּי דְחָכְמְתָא דְחַלְתֵּיהּ דֶאֱלָהָא"
    – Al Berko
    Oct 24, 2021 at 12:02
  • The scholars would simply attribute it to different vocabularies of different authors that those sources represent. Which aligns with "דברה התורה כלשון ב"א" - the Torah speaks different jargons in different places.
    – Al Berko
    Oct 24, 2021 at 12:07
  • @AlBerko even more fascinating in the Targum would be the 2 different names of hashem connected to the 2 different words in question.
    – rosends
    Oct 24, 2021 at 12:21


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