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There is a famous Midrash that Yaakov took a Vav from Eliyahu. This is why their names are spelled

אליה & יעקוב

They say it has to do with the announcements.

What did he take?

I.e. what כח was in the Vav?

Reference:

www.sefaria.org/Rashi_on_Leviticus.26.42.1

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4 Answers 4

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The Maharal says that each letter ו represents a finger (due to its shape), and by taking 5, it is as if there was a handshake agreement that Eliyahu would redeem Israel. In addition, the letter ו has a numerical value of six, so 5x6=30, which is the number of bones in the hand according to the Mishna (Oholos 1:8)

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  • The link you provided does not take me to Maharal
    – zunior
    Commented Mar 26 at 20:52
  • @zunior it's Rashi on the right side of the screen and Gur Aryeh on the left side. Scroll left if you're not seeing it.
    – Harel13
    Commented Mar 27 at 5:29
  • @Harel13 When I made the link it had Maharal on the right. Strange.
    – N.T.
    Commented Mar 28 at 9:49
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The Shelah Hakudesh says that Hashem's presence in this world is marred by the existence of Amalek. As it says that "Yad Al Kes Kah", in the Parsha of Amalek. Kah is Yud Keh. The full name of Hashem is Yud Keh Vav Keh. So the Posuk is saying that Vav Keh is missing as Hashems name here is written using only the first two letters, Yud and Keh. When Amalek is ultimately completely destroyed, the Vav and Keh will be restored to Hashems name. The Shelah Hakudesh says this is what the Medrash is hinting at. Yaacov took five Vavs from Eliyahu as collateral for the ultimate redemption at the End of Days. Five missing Vavs are hinting to the missing incomplete name of Hashem, Vav- the letter missing from Hashems name in the Parsha of Amalek, and Heh- the five times the letter was taken is the other letter missing Heh-gematria 5.

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The Midrash you're referring to is often cited in discussions about the names of Elijah (אליהו) and Jacob (יעקב). In Hebrew, both names contain a "ו" (Vav), but in Elijah's name, it appears before the last letter (אליהו), whereas in Jacob's name, it appears before the second-to-last letter (יעקב).

The Midrash suggests that Jacob "took" or "acquired" the Vav from Elijah. This is typically interpreted metaphorically rather than literally. The Vav, as a Hebrew letter, carries grammatical and numerical significance. In the case of Jacob and Elijah, it's often understood to represent a transfer of spiritual or prophetic power.

However, the precise nature of what Jacob took from Elijah, or what power or aspect it represents, isn't explicitly detailed in the Midrash itself. Interpretations vary among scholars and within different Jewish traditions. Some suggest it signifies an aspect of prophetic authority, while others emphasize the continuity of the prophetic tradition from Elijah to Jacob.

Ultimately, this Midrash serves as a symbolic expression of the interconnectedness of biblical figures and the transmission of spiritual heritage across generations.

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  • "Some suggest it signifies an aspect of prophetic authority," can you source this? If so Ill select this as the answer
    – zunior
    Commented Mar 27 at 0:49
  • ChatGPT? (15 char)
    – Joel K
    Commented Mar 27 at 8:03
  • @JoelK no !!!!! Commented Mar 27 at 23:45
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Harav Duvid Feinstein says Moshiach/Eliyahu can only come when there is achdus and peace among Yidden and he cites the last Mishna in Eduyut that ELiyahu ,"“Eliyahu will neither push away nor bring near – he will only come to make peace in the world as it is written ‘Behold I send to you Eliya the prophet… …and he will restore the hearts of the fathers to the hearts of the sons and the hearts of the sons to the hearts of the fathers’ [Malachi 3:23-24]”.R' Duvid says the Vav is a connector as the Vavim connected the curtains in the Mishkan and the term Vav menas a hook or connector. That's why Yaacov took the Vav from Eliyahu as collateral that he will come back and reconnect the disparate Jews. https://torah.org/torah-portion/ravfrand-5763-bechukosai/

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