According to http://onthemainline.blogspot.co.uk/2005/12/textual-criticism-of-torah-response-to.html

The only letter difference between Ashkenazim and Sephardim is whether a particular word ends with a silent aleph or silent heh.

What book/chapter/verse/word ?

  • 1
    This is only true of current practice. Historically things haven't been so uniform.
    – Double AA
    Commented Jun 9, 2016 at 7:03
  • There are actually 2-3 differences. I don’t know why the idea of only one difference is so widespread. (I also hate that there’s any difference, but what should one do?) Commented May 31 at 15:26
  • @QwertyCTRL. do you have a link showing the 2-3 differences?
    – barlop
    Commented May 31 at 19:28
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    @barlop, Ashkenazim have ו in the של(ו)ם of 1:17 Bamidbar. I recall another difference, but I can’t recall the source or even precisely what it is. Thus, I can prove 2. I hope the existence of #3 is a misremembering of mine, but I don’t think so. Commented May 31 at 22:34

1 Answer 1


The relevant word is דכא which in some scrolls is written דכה. See Deuteronomy 23:2.

While the portion of Aleppo Codex containing that word is currently lost, we do have the Aleppo Codex to Tehillim 90:3 where the same word appears spelled with an Alef. The Mesorah there notes that this spelling is used in three places and lists them: Deuteronomy 23:2, Tehillim 90:3 and Isaiah 57:15.

aleppo codex to tehillim 90 3

Many Ashkenazi scrolls used the Hey spelling, but upon seeing manuscript evidence some have started changing back to Alef (eg. the first Lubavitcher Rebbe). In the last 75 years when we have gained access to the Aleppo codex it seems the Alef side is even better supported.

See here for more discussion of the manuscript evidence in both directions.

See here for more variants in modern Torah scrolls.

  • thanks for the info re דכה in לא יבוא פצוע דכה Deuteronomy 23:2 And Re the google archived girsology link you give, (the girsology site itself seemed to be only up briefly), I found (by the same author joshua waxman) the articles posted parsha.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/girsology e.g. parsha.blogspot.co.uk/2014/08/the-spelling-of.html
    – barlop
    Commented Aug 2, 2015 at 4:13
  • In the early years of his leadership, the latest Lubavitcher Rebbe asked people with access to old manuscripts to check if they were written with an Aleph or a Hey. They all came back with Aleph (If I remember correctly). You can see these letters in his printed letters.
    – Menachem
    Commented Aug 2, 2015 at 7:46
  • From what I've seen, older Chumashim/tikkunim printed in the Ashkenazi world would print the Heh spelling as dominant, with a footnote about the Alef; or the two of them as equal possibilities. Newer chumashim/tikkunim have it printed with an Alef, with maybe a little footnote "by the way some Ashkenazi scrolls have a Heh."
    – Shalom
    Commented Aug 2, 2015 at 11:17
  • While the first Chabad Rebbe did say it's with an aleph, I'm not aware of him seeing any manuscripts. The 6th Rebbe did.
    – user613
    Commented Aug 13, 2015 at 7:38
  • You write "The Mesorah there notes that this spelling is used in three places and lists them: Deuteronomy 23:2, Tehillim 90:3 and Isaiah 57:15." <-- It says Which spelling is used in 3 places? Looking at a Feldheim Chumash, it has Heh in Deut 23:2 and Aleph in the other two places. So there are no other places where Dacah is spelt with a heh.
    – barlop
    Commented Sep 1, 2015 at 0:08

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