Targum Onklus Will either use the word אתא or על for the word בא. What is the logic behind his choice?

Of interest is the times where a variant text is brought, for instance in parshas Vayeishev 30 16 where אתא is used and an older version of על is brought in the parenthesis.

  • Why do you assume the version in parentheses is older?
    – Yitzchak
    Jan 4, 2016 at 2:53
  • there's a נ׳י written next to it which if I'm not mistaken stands for נוסח ישן.
    – user6591
    Jan 4, 2016 at 2:55
  • Mine say נ"א for נוסח אחר, never seen נ"י in that context. Just a thought, but it might follow a similar pattern to אזל vs. הלך as translations for וילך
    – Yitzchak
    Jan 4, 2016 at 2:56
  • But that is inconsequential to the question. The point is there is a variant text with whatever implications come along with that.
    – user6591
    Jan 4, 2016 at 2:56
  • I see artscroll has נ׳א whereas my mikros gedolos has נ׳י, so ignore the older comment for now:)
    – user6591
    Jan 4, 2016 at 2:59

1 Answer 1


In Jastrow, vol.1, pg 132, it gives several meanings for "אתא" depending on the context. They are: to join, to include, to arrive, and to occur to.

In Jastrow, vol. 2, pp. 1083-1084, it explains that the root of "על" is "עלל". Again, there are several meanings dependent upon the specific usage. They are: to bring about, to go about, to attend to, to be liable or likely to, to enter, to attend, and to search for.

In the context of your posuk, VaYeshev 30:16, the Hebrew is:

וַיָּבֹא יַעֲקֹב מִן-הַשָּׂדֶה, בָּעֶרֶב, וַתֵּצֵא לֵאָה לִקְרָאתוֹ וַתֹּאמֶר אֵלַי תָּבוֹא, כִּי שָׂכֹר שְׂכַרְתִּיךָ בְּדוּדָאֵי בְּנִי; וַיִּשְׁכַּב עִמָּהּ, בַּלַּיְלָה הוּא.

In the context of "על", Onkelos would be read, "And Yaacov 'entered in' (or 'came up', depending on the the elevation of the field as compared to the tents.) from the field, in the evening, and Leah went out to greet him and said, "he will 'look for' me (or he 'will attend to' me)...".

In the context of "אתא", Onkelos would read, "Yaacov 'came from' or 'arrived from' the field, in the evening, and Leah went out to greet him and said, "he will 'look for' me (or he 'will attend to' me)...".


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