In parshat Behar (Vayikra 25:10) is the phrase ושבתם איש אל אחוזתו ואיש אל משפחתו תשובו - "You shall return every man to his inheritance, and every man to his family shall you return."

Is there a reason for the shift in word order from inheritance to family? I.e. - in the first part, about the inheritance, the verb is stated first (VSO), but regarding the family the verb is after the phrase of what he is being returned to (SOV). Is there some reason or meaning behind this change or is it nothing more than the Torah's method of "poetry" and "parallelism"?

  • Are "SOV" and "VSO" used when the O is indirect, as here?
    – msh210
    May 11, 2014 at 5:26
  • @msh210 Good question. I don't know. Perhaps ask on Linguistics
    – Double AA
    May 11, 2014 at 5:28
  • There is neither a direct object nor indirect object as the verb in the pasuk is intransitive. The preposition אל (to) in each occurrence starts a prepositional phrase.
    – הבלשן
    Apr 14, 2017 at 20:36

1 Answer 1


Rashi actually addresses this issue.

(Sources from Sefaria.org)

ושבתם איש אל אחזתו. שֶׁהַשָּׂדוֹת חוֹזְרוֹת לְבַעְלֵיהֶן

And you shall return each man to his inheritance: (meaning) that the fields return to their (original) owners

(ואיש אל משפחתו תשבו. לְרַבּוֹת אֶת הַנִּרְצָע (קידושין ט"ו

And each man to his family shall you return: to include in the law of setting the slaves free also the slave whose ear has been pierced (Kiddushin 15a).

The Sifsei Chachamim comments on the change in the word order which Rashi is adressing the following:

ש: ולפי זה מקרא מסורס הוא וצריכין לומר ושבה אחוזתו אל איש כלומר ולא שהבעלים חוזרים לשדות כמובן מושבתם איש וגו

Because this verse is inverted and needs to say that "you shall return his inheritance to each man" and not that the (original) owners (physically) return to their fields as implied by "and you shall return to each man etc."

Hope this is helpful!

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