The verse in parshas Terumah Exodus 25:22 says:

וְנוֹעַדְתִּי לְךָ שָׁם וְדִבַּרְתִּי אִתְּךָ מֵעַל הַכַּפֹּרֶת מִבֵּין שְׁנֵי הַכְּרֻבִים אֲשֶׁר עַל אֲרֹן הָעֵדֻת אֵת כָּל אֲשֶׁר אֲצַוֶּה אוֹתְךָ אֶל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל׃

Rashi on this verse says (translation from chabad.org):

This “vav” [that Rashi adds, meaning “and,”] is superfluous, and there are many similar [examples] in the Torah. And you shall interpret it thus: "and all that I will speak with you there is all that I will command you unto the children of Israel."

There is one very large problem - the extra 'vov' Rashi is referring to does not exist! What happened and why?


2 Answers 2


Well, presumably Rashi had a different version. The question is — and is asked by the Mizrachi and the Minchas Shay — that no extant m'sora agrees with him. They offer no answer.

  • that is exactly my issue Feb 23, 2012 at 1:28
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    @simchashatorah, right, and I've provided two citations to great commentators (one on Rashi and the other on Tanach) who couldn't come up with an answer. That's not say there is definitely none, but it does make it seem unlikely we'll find it.
    – msh210
    Feb 23, 2012 at 1:56
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    yagata matasa tamin ygata vlo motzasah AL TAMIN Feb 23, 2012 at 1:58

Even though we do not have this extra 'vav' in our Sifrei Torah, and even though the Minchas Shai who was a contemporary of the Ramban states that he has never seen a Sefer Torah with this extra 'vav', nevertheless, the fact is not only did Rashi have it, but also the Ibn Ezra and the Chizkuni. Therefore, it would be useful to try and understand why the 'vav' logically should be there according to their Sifrei Torah.

First let us look at the posuk again with the taamei mikra - the cantillation notes.

וְנֽוֹעַדְתִּ֣י לְךָ֮ שָׁם֒ וְדִבַּרְתִּ֨י אִתְּךָ֜ מֵעַ֣ל הַכַּפֹּ֗רֶת מִבֵּין֙ שְׁנֵ֣י הַכְּרֻבִ֔ים אֲשֶׁ֖ר עַל־אֲר֣וֹן הָֽעֵדֻ֑ת אֵ֣ת כָּל־אֲשֶׁ֧ר אֲצַוֶּ֛ה אֽוֹתְךָ֖ אֶל־בְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל

Note that under the word העדת there is a note which looks like an upside down Y. This is called an esnachta, and it indicates a pause in the middle of the posuk (all or nearly all the posukim of the Torah have such a note in the middle), something like a semi-colon that we use in our sentences. Because of this pause, the two parts of the posuk need to make independent sense, and in our posuk if there is no 'vav' the second part of the posuk says "all that I will command you unto the Children of Israel", which makes no sense by itself.

But Rashi and the Ibn Ezra deal with this 'vav' in different ways.

The Ibn Ezra understands the first part of the posuk "I will arrange My meetings with you there, and I will speak with you from atop the ark cover from between the two cherubim that are upon the Ark of the Testimony" to mean that Hashem will communicate privately with Moshe, teaching him secrets and answering his questions, and he explains that the phrase "I will speak" also applies to the second half of the posuk: "and (I will speak) all that I will command you unto the Children of Israel". Hence we see how according to the Ibn Ezra the second half of the posuk makes sense with the 'vav'. (The Chizkuni understands the posuk in a similar fashion).

But Rashi deals with the 'vav' by calling it superfluous and subservient and thus ignores it, since he understands that the simple explanation of the posuk is to read the complete posuk as one statement, that Hashem is communicating to Moshe only that which he is to tell the Children of Israel. But since the posuk in reality has a 'vav' there is also a different, deeper understanding of the posuk, reading it in two halves. (Possibly Rashi thinks that the explanation of the Ibn Ezra (or something similar) that Hashem also communicates there secrets to Moshe, is the deeper understanding).

In conclusion I should point out that in practical terms it makes no difference whether in fact the Torah is supposed to have a 'vav' there or not, since Chazal have already told us that we are not expert in all the 'vavs' in the Torah, and thus the Torah is valid either way.

  • Regarding that last statement, is that ever applied anywhere else to a vav at the beginning of a word? I was under the impression that that is more a statement about deficiently written words.
    – Yishai
    Dec 23, 2013 at 19:16
  • @Yishai - צריך עיון.
    – user4523
    Dec 23, 2013 at 19:22
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    "Because of this pause, the two parts of the posuk need to make independent sense, and in our posuk if there is no 'vav' the second part of the posuk says 'all that I will command you unto the Children of Israel', which makes no sense by itself." This is the main point of your answer: that a direct object cannot sit by itself as the second 'half' of a pasuk (i.e. after an esnachta). Can you source that claim? I suspect it may be incorrect. (See e.g. Gen. 1.1.)
    – msh210
    Dec 24, 2013 at 23:43

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