Vayishlach 32:23 has:

וַיָּקָם בַּלַּיְלָה הוּא וַיִּקַּח אֶת שְׁתֵּי נָשָׁיו וְאֶת שְׁתֵּי שִׁפְחֹתָיו וְאֶת אַחַד עָשָׂר יְלָדָיו וַיַּעֲבֹר אֵת מַעֲבַר יַבֹּק

The Chizkuni translates "וַיָּקָם בַּלַּיְלָה הוּא" as "he got up at night", with "הוּא" meaning "he", i.e. Yaakov. This is followed by Rabbi Kaplan's translation as well as the chumash translation published in the more recent English translation of Rabbi S.R. Hirsch's chumash commentary.

However, the JPS, the chumash translation published in the old English translation of Rabbi Hirsch's chumash commentary, and ArtScroll's Stone Edition chumash translate "וַיָּקָם בַּלַּיְלָה הוּא" along the lines of "he got up that night" (emphasis supplied), as if it had said "וַיָּקָם בַּלַּיְלָה הַהוּא". My question is whether there's any classical (Jewish) support for this. That is, do any early Jewish commentaries/translations interpret the verse this way?

  • Check also Gen 19:33, 30:16 and I Sam 19:10 for other instances of those same two words.
    – Double AA
    Dec 2, 2012 at 4:14
  • I don't think we have a fixed rule about how many of the words in a definite phrase need a definite article, at least in Biblical Hebrew.
    – Double AA
    Dec 2, 2012 at 4:22
  • @DoubleAA those p'sukim have the same phrase, but I want to know about this pasuk specifically.
    – msh210
    Dec 2, 2012 at 4:23

1 Answer 1


As @DoubleAA noted above, several other verses use the same language. Let's assume, though, that we cannot compare them, and that the phrase may change meaning based on context. Then we may only glean information from commentators' comments on this verse specifically. After perusing the sources, here are the mefarshim that support the "הוּא" == "הַהוּא" reading:

It's up to you to choose which of these constitute "classical Jewish support".

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