Parshas Nitzavim begins (Devarim 29:9-11):

אתם נצבים היום כלכם... ראשיכם שבטיכם זקניכם ושטריכם כל איש ישראל. טפכם נשיכם וגרך אשר בקרב מחניך מחטב עציך עד שאב מימיך. לעברך

The first verse-and-a-half is written in the second-person plural. Halfway through verse 10, it suddenly switches to the singular. Why?


1 Answer 1


In chumash, plural means that the people are being addressed as individuals, while singular means they are being addressed as a nation. The point of the first half is that each individual Jew is present. The verse then adds that the nation's adjuncts - the convert,etc. - are present, hence the whole nation is present. Now the nation as a whole will be bound by covenant. The adjuncts cannot be referred to in singular, since they are neither the parties of the covenant, nor do they belong to each Jew, rather only to the nation as a whole.

  • 1
    Adding a source or other evidence for your claims would improve your answer's value.
    – msh210
    Oct 4, 2015 at 18:43

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