What would the translation of לופפת be?

As in השאיפה להכרת האמת לופפת את לב האדם ואת מוחו

Thank you so much.

  • Where is the quote from?
    – Dov
    Commented Nov 29, 2021 at 23:08
  • פרקי אמונה השקפה והנהגה על פי ספרי מרן החזון איש Commented Nov 29, 2021 at 23:10
  • Ever go to a schwarma place and ask for a "lafa"? It's wrapped around the meat. Some sifrei Torah have a letter Pei that continues to spiral inwards, "Pei lefufa."
    – Shalom
    Commented Nov 30, 2021 at 10:47

1 Answer 1


I would translate it as follows:

The desire/aspiration to know the truth, envelops / clings to the human heart and mind.

When talking about the various blemishes / defects of a Kohen, the verse in Vayikra 21:20 writes:

אֽוֹ־גִבֵּ֣ן אוֹ־דַ֔ק א֖וֹ תְּבַלֻּ֣ל בְּעֵינ֑וֹ א֤וֹ גָרָב֙ א֣וֹ יַלֶּ֔פֶת א֖וֹ מְר֥וֹחַ אָֽשֶׁךְ׃

or who is a hunchback, or a dwarf, or who has a growth in his eye, or who has a boil-scar, or scurvy, or crushed testes.

Rashi analyses the word used to describe scurvy and writes as follows:

גרב וילפת — These are kinds of boil; גרב is identical with חרס (mentioned in Deuteronomy 28:27) — a boil which is dry both inside and on the surface. ילפת is identical with the Egyptian lichen, (חזזית) (Sifra, Emor, Section 3 15). Why is it called ילפת (root לפת “to embrace")? Because it continues to cling to the body until the day of death. It is wet on the surface and dry inside. In another passage, however, Scripture gives the name גרב to a boil which is wet on the surface and dry inside, as it is said (Deuteronomy 28:27) "[The Lord will smite thee…] ובגרב ובחרס”, where גרב necessarily denotes a wet boil since חרס (identical with חרש, potsherd) denotes the dry species. But the explanation is as follows: חרס always denotes the dry skin disease, ילפח always the wet one; as to גרב it depends: When Scripture mentions גרב together with חרס it is calling a ילפת by the term ,גרב and when it mentions it (גרב) together with ילפת (as is the case here) it is calling a חרס by the term גרב. Thus is it explained in Bekhorot 41a.

So, the term is used to imply something that "hugs" and encircles the object, in this case the skin condition "clings" to the body until the day of death.

In a similar context, when the Shulchan Aruch details the things that invalidate an esrog - one of the disqualifying features are boils. Indeed in OC 648:9 when introducing the notion of a חזזית (boil) the text writes two definitions in parenthesis - "תרגום או ילפת או חזזן".

As the SA develops the concept in OC 648:13 the Shaarei Teshuva explains why the word ילפת is an appropriate synonym bringing the Gemara in Bechoros cited above, and notes as follows:

וכן איתא בבכורות דף מ"א ילפת זו חזזית המצרית ואמר ר"ל שמלפפת והולכת כו' פירש"י מלפפת דבוקה בו כדמתרגמינן ויחבר וילפף ע"ש וענין דבוק בו...

And similarly it is brought in Bechoros 41a the word "ילפת" - this is the boils that the Egyptians were afflicted with, and Reish Lakish says (why is it then called "ילפת"?) as it grabs [melapefes] continuously. Rashi explains "מלפפת" as meaning clinging to it and hugging it. And this word over there is a matter of 'clinging' to something...

Thus, in the quote you bring the word is to be understood as an 'clinging' or 'enveloping'

Another example that expands this idea is the midrash in Devarim Rabbah 3:12 which discusses how Moshe was given the Torah. It writes there:

אָמַר רֵישׁ לָקִישׁ הַתּוֹרָה שֶׁנִּתְּנָה לְמשֶׁה, עוֹרָהּ שֶׁל אֵשׁ לְבָנָה, וּכְתוּבָה בְּאֵשׁ שְׁחוֹרָה, וַחֲתוּמָה בְּאֵשׁ, וּמְלֻפֶּפֶת בְּאֵשׁ

Resh Lakish said,"The Torah was given to Moshe, its skin of white fire and written with black fire, and sealed in fire, and wrapped with fire.

The Etz Yosef over there helps to translate the text by saying "תרגום וחיבר ומלפף" - that the fire was literally 'hugging' and enveloped the Torah.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .