Vayikra 18:3, with the phrase on which Ibn Ezra elaborates bolded:

כמעשה ארץ-מצרים אשר ישבתם-בה לא תעשו וכמעשה ארץ-כנען אשר אני מביא אתכם שמה לא תעשה ובחקתיהם לא תלכו

Ibn Ezra:

שלא ירגיל אדם ללכת בדרך הזה עד שיהיה לו חק

I'm having trouble making sense of the subject, object, and binyan of ירגיל .ירגיל is hif'il, "he accustoms or habituates". Hif'il tells me this is meant in a non-reflexive sense. That is, the subject of the sentence, the אדם, is accustoming or habituating someone else to something, until it becomes a חק to that person (or maybe to the אדם?). However, other translations interpret it reflexively, and that makes more sense contextually. But if Ibn Ezra meant it reflexively, in the sense of the אדם accustoming or habituating himself to something, then why didn't he use hitpael? What am I missing?

  • 3
    I think the sense might be something like שלא ירגיל אדם [את עצמו] בדרך הזה.
    – Joel K
    Commented May 9 at 8:21
  • Sure! But in that case, why not שלא יתרגל?
    – Sophie M
    Commented May 9 at 15:15

1 Answer 1


הרגיל also has an intransitive meaning, "to be habituated." In a construction of הרגיל + infinitive I would translate it as an adverb (ירגיל ללכת = "habitually go"). There are some examples of this construction in Ben Yehuda's dictionary, entry רגל hif'il ב. Compare the adverbial use of the hif'il form in מֵיטִיב לְנַגֵּן (1 Samuel 16:17), הִגְדִּיל לַעֲשׂוֹת (Joel 2:2).

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