In the Tanach, the word Yerushalayim is almost always written without a yud between the lamed and mem, but pronounced as if there is a patach under the lamed and a yud following it. We find though that Malki Tzedek was called Melech Shalem in Bereshis 14:18, and the midrash in Bereshis Rabba 56:10 implies that that is referring to Yerushalayim. This would seem to indicate that the city's name, at one point at least, was pronounced Yerushalem, as indeed it is vowelized in Aramaic, and that at a later period it was changed to Yerushalayim, as it indeed appears in Meggilas Esther. Did the switch occur, when, and why?


In the Chumash, we find "Malki-tzedek, king of Shalem", as well as Avraham referring to the place of Akeidat Yitzchak as "Hashem Yireh." The midrash says those names were combined, "Yireh+Shalem" -> "Yerushalayim."

Note that in Aramaic, it's pronounced "Yerushlame", which fits with how it's written Biblically -- no yud before the final mem. However in Hebrew, it's "Yerushalayim."

  • Why is it then that in Tanach it is still spelled without a yud? The aramaic pronunciation also would seem to indicate that the name as Yerushalem persisted after the combination of the names mentioned in the Midrash, which then makes the question stronger - when and why did the change occur? – Jewels Apr 28 '14 at 9:00
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    This doesn't seem to answer the question (when and why); it just repeats what is said in the question. – Scimonster Apr 28 '14 at 12:08
  • @Scimonster, that's because the question was edited substantially substantively since this answer was posted. – msh210 Apr 28 '14 at 16:02
  • @msh210 Oh. Now i want to take back the downvote, but it's been too long. :/ – Scimonster Apr 28 '14 at 17:22

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