What are the differences between "Olam" "Netzach" "Selah" "Va'ed" "Adey Ad"?

  • Closely related: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/10087 judaism.stackexchange.com/q/28333 . See also this article, and the Hebrew Wikipedia article.
    – Fred
    Commented Dec 26, 2022 at 6:31
  • No answer, just the way I think about this question. There are multiple kinds of "eternal" in Jewish thought: (1) will last as long as this world (ledoros = for the generations), (2) will last beyond olam haba -- infinite time, (3) is Beyond Time, Hashem's Eternity in that time isn't a relevent concept. And maybe until the end of history is shorter than until the end of olam hazeh, etc... Commented Dec 27, 2022 at 19:14

1 Answer 1


Partial answer:

'Eruvin 54a:

תנא דבי רבי אליעזר בן יעקב כל מקום שנאמר נצח סלה ועד אין לו הפסק עולמית

Sefaria translation:

A Sage of the school of Rabbi Eliezer ben Ya’akov taught the following baraita: Wherever it states netzaḥ, Selah, or va’ed, the matter will never cease. Netzaḥ, as it is written: “For I will not contend forever; neither will I be eternally [lanetzaḥ] angry” (Isaiah 57:16), which demonstrates that netzaḥ bears a similar meaning to forever.

Selah, as it is written: “As we have heard, so have we seen in the city of the Lord of Hosts, in the city of our God; may God establish it forever, Selah” (Psalms 48:9), which demonstrates that Selah means forever. Va’ed, as it is written: “The Lord shall reign forever and ever [va’ed]” (Exodus 15:18).

Ibn 'Ezra (T'hillim 3:3) brings various interpretations and concludes that sela serves to affirm that which was just stated, similar to amein:

והנכון כי טעם סלה כמו כן הוא או ככה ואמת הדבר ונכון הוא

Radak (ad loc.) concludes that sela is a musical direction that indicates an accent (similar to sforzando):

ואני אומר כי איננה מלת ענין ופרושה לשון הגבהה מן סלו סלו המסלה (ישעיהו ס״ב:י׳) כלומר באותו המקום שהיא נזכרת ונקראת זאת המלה היתה הרמת קול המזמור

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