I was wondering why the Torah uses two different spellings - with or without the letter Yod - to talk about the same character.

Twice the Torah says Eltzafan: shemot 6:22 and vayikra 10:4 and once Elitzafan in bamidbar 3:30

What do our mefarshim say about it?


1 Answer 1


As The Living Nach often mentions in the footnotes, variations in Biblical spelling of names is not unusual.

The most famous case is probabaly Eliyahu, as in Eliyahu Hanavi. Eliyahu is sometimes referred to as Eliya. In this case, the commentators match it one-to-one with Yaakov being written with an extra Vav, as if he's taking Eliyahu's Vav as collateral until he redeems us from Galut.

But mostly the difference is ignored, or pointed out, but not elaborated on.

Even calling people by various names is not unusual. Check Rashi in the various times the Yidden are counted in Chumash.

  • I am quite surprised about this answer. As far as I know, Saray becoming Sarah, Avram becoming Avraham, Itzhak and Ischak, Yaakov (chaser) and Yaakov maleh, Eldad and Elidad, Hoshea becoming Yehoshua etc, all are commented but how mefarshim
    – Eli83
    Jun 25, 2023 at 15:50
  • 1
    Good point, @Eli83, but those are examples of the Chumash announcing the name change. We're discussing name variations w/o any "official announcements". With the exception of Eldad and Elidad; where is that discussed? Jun 26, 2023 at 12:12
  • baal haturim on bam. 34:21 from Midrash Tanchuma Beaalotscha12 who says that Medad was also in chap 34 Kemuel ben Shiftan
    – Eli83
    Jun 26, 2023 at 16:35

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