In the chumash, any sources. What is the literal translation and does it mean, mot = this world, yumat = the next world?

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    This question would benefit from an example or two of where this phrase is found, as well as some indication of what translation[s] you've looked at and what the source of your doubt is. In addition, the post should clarify where you got the suggested translation you've incorporated, and why you think it might be the literal translation. It certainly doesn't look like it.
    – Isaac Moses
    Commented Aug 22, 2014 at 17:28
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    Do you mean "mot yumat" 'surely he shall be put to death'? people.hofstra.edu/daniel_j_greenwood/pdf/CapitalPunishment.pdf
    – rosends
    Commented Aug 22, 2014 at 17:36
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    @SethJ, it's definitely on-topic, since it's asking for a translation of a Chumash term. It might be considered "too basic," but we tend to be rather liberal on that axis here, to promote education. As I indicated above, though, the question should really indicate why a translation is sought, given that there are plenty of translations out there.
    – Isaac Moses
    Commented Aug 22, 2014 at 17:51
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    @MosheBaron, that is a very different question than the one you have written above. I suggest leaving this one as-is (since there are now two reasonable answers) and redrafting a new question that is clearer about what you seek to know.
    – Seth J
    Commented Aug 22, 2014 at 17:54
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    I agree with @SethJ, and I recommend making the new question as clear as possible about what you already know, where your question is coming from, and what you're looking for. And leave out the word "literal."
    – Isaac Moses
    Commented Aug 22, 2014 at 17:58

4 Answers 4


The simple answer to your question (aside from confusing transliteration) is that it's stylistic - it's a translation meaning "he shall surely die". That's it.

As for why the emphasis, this article addresses the distinction between the usual formula (above) and the rarer formula dropping the first word. One answer given is:

The Meshekh Chokhma on Vayakhel points out that usually the death penalty is written "mot yumat," which is, in fact, the way it appears in Ki Tisa. In Vayakhel, the unusual form "yumat" appears. He claims that "mot yumat" refers to juridical punishment, while "yumat" means death at the hand of God. The parasha in Ki Tisa is defining chillul Shabbat for the future (as evidenced by the phrase li-doroteikhem (for your generations, meaning for all generations). However, in Vayakhel, the verse is specifically referring to not constructing the mishkan on Shabbat. Until the mishkan is completed, claims the Meshekh Chokhma, the legal system does not operate, and hence yumat at the hands of God rather than mot yumat in court.

  • Very interesting distinction. Do you know if the Meshech Chochma explains the reason for the doubling as implying two "deaths" - one by G-d since that is the penalty and one by the human court for carrying out G-d's will?
    – DanF
    Commented Aug 25, 2014 at 15:51
  • @DanF, I don't. Sorry.
    – Seth J
    Commented Aug 25, 2014 at 17:11
  • Do you have a source for "he shall surely die" being a translation?
    – WAF
    Commented Aug 26, 2014 at 0:37
  • @WAF, the article to which I linked renders it, "he shall surely be put to death." A rabbi of mine back in high school used to insist that we translate things precisely, even if the translation made no (or little) sense; he wanted us to demonstrate that we understood the parts of the word we were translating. In his parlance I would render it, "he shall surely be deaded." Does that satisfy?
    – Seth J
    Commented Aug 26, 2014 at 14:15
  • (@WAF, or, perhaps, "dead he shall be deaded," is better?)
    – Seth J
    Commented Aug 26, 2014 at 16:19

The Torah often "doubles" a verb as in "Aser T'aser", "Pato'ach Tiftach" (both in this week's parsha, R'eh).

This is a "literary style" that is used for "emphasis" or "certainty". In your example, it means "He shall surely die" (or "Surely be put to death").

Occasionally, there is a midrash or some other explanation to the doubling.


The Literal meaning is "He shall surely die". The Halachic meaning finds significance in the doubling of the word as is interpreted in Sanhedrin 45b as if the specified form of the death penalty cannot be performed, then any other form can be done.

Regarding meaning this world and the next, on the drash level, I saw that in the Akeidas Yitzchak by Rabbi Yitzchak Ben Moshe Arama (a late Rishon). Likkutei Levi Yitzchak by Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Schneerson brings that idea as well.

  • BTW, the background of this question is here
    – Yishai
    Commented Aug 25, 2014 at 20:58

regarding the 1st time its mentioned

shaarei kedusha 1:1

this is the zuhamas hanachash (the impurity the snake) injected in Chava (Eve) and in Adam, and through the evil and the impurity which he injected in them, he caused them sicknesses, afflictions, and death for their soul and body. And this is what is written "on the day you will eat from it, die you will die. (Bereishis 2:17)" [the hebrew word for death is repeated to indicate] death of the soul and death of the body.

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