In Genesis 43:11 Rashi's commentary on אֵפוֹא is

then: Heb. אֵפוֹא. This is a redundant word, used for stylistic purposes in the Hebrew

I was under the impression that the Torah is concise to the extent that not one letter is redundant. Is there a discussion of Rashi's comment with respect to אֵפוֹא in other sources?

  • Doesn't אֵפוֹא mean, "then"? So the translation would be "If this is so, THEN do this...". (OK, some coding languages don't require the word "then" in an "if" statement). But, it seems that this word isn't redundant at all. Does Rash"i or anyone else give examples of a similar construct in Tana"ch where this is not used?
    – DanF
    Commented Dec 10, 2015 at 15:43
  • 1
    see the answers here: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/18799/…
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Dec 10, 2015 at 16:14
  • Not sure if this is applicable, but there is a concept in grammar known as pleonasm, which is occasionally expressed as "redundancy" or "tautology," in which a strictly unnecessary word is used deliberately as part of the idiom. There seems to be a related stylistic concept in Hebrew: "When Robert South said, "It is a pleonasam [sic], a figure usual in Scripture, by a multiplicity of expressions to signify one notable thing," he was observing the Biblical Hebrew poetic propensity to repeat thoughts in different words, since written Biblical Hebrew was a comparatively early form of +
    – SAH
    Commented Dec 10, 2015 at 18:21
  • ..."written language and was written using oral patterning, which has many pleonasms." (-Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pleonasm#Syntactic_pleonasm )
    – SAH
    Commented Dec 10, 2015 at 18:22

1 Answer 1


Yaakov said this and the Torah is repeating word for word what Yaakov said. Rashi is saying that Yaakov said אֵפוֹא, even though it was redundant. Not that the Torah has a redundant word.

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