In Psalm 81:6, why is Joseph's name spelled יהוסף? Seems to be the only place in the TaNaK that I currently know of that his name is spelled in this fashion.

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    Is it so in every manuscript? – user2411 Jul 11 '16 at 16:58
  • @Sarah hi Sarah, good question is it so in yours? – david macias jr Jul 11 '16 at 17:00
  • I don't know; I don't read Hebrew, or have access to various manuscripts. From what I understand, there is very little variance in manuscripts. My Tanakh says some minuscule percentage of variance, like 99.9% unity if I recall correctly. Perhaps this is one area of that small percentage of variance. Perhaps you could change your question to ask this, since there is no answer yet. – user2411 Jul 11 '16 at 17:02
  • @Sarah so far I've checked two different ones, and it spelled in that fashion – david macias jr Jul 11 '16 at 17:03
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    @Sarah I checked Aleppo, Leningrad, and BHS. They're all the same. – ShamanSTK Jul 11 '16 at 18:00

The gemara in sotah 10b says it is because he was מקדש שם שמים בסתר by not falling for אשת פוטיפר. The context can be understood as referring to יוסף's time in Egypt and hence this is an appropriate place to make that reference.

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    The Gemara (RH 11b-12a) adds that we learn from here that Yosef was freed on Rosh HaShanah. The perek then continues with a reference to Bnei Yisrael being freed from slavery ("I relieved from his shoulder his burden..." v.7), from which the Gemara (ibid.) learns that that, too, happened on Rosh HaShanah. – DonielF Jul 12 '16 at 21:30

Ibn Ezra says it's a more glorious version of Joseph's name, used here because "Joseph" refers to the Jewish people.


Sefer HaYoshor to Parshas Mikkeitz relates the following story:

"It was on that night that G-d sent one angel from His angels and attendants before Him and it came to the land of Egypt to Yoseph. The angel of G-d stood by Yoseph and behold Yoseph was sleeping in bed that nightin the house of his masters in the pit because his master had caused him to return to the pit because of his wife. The angel caused him to wake from his sleep and Yoseph got up and stood on his feet and behold an angel of G-d was standing next to him. The angel of G-d spoke with Yoseph and taught him all the languages of man on that night and he called his name Yehoseph. The angel of G-d went from him and Yoseph had returned and he slept in his bed and Yoseph was astonished about the sight that ha had seen." (My own translation)

Here we see how Yoseph got the name Yehoseph and (obviously) another source for this name.


It's pronounced Yeho-sef. The reason why its spelled like that is because(i think) it implies Gd is with him. The Yeho is the first few letters of YKVK, like EliYAHU, but when hashem's name (yah/yahu) is in the front of a name its yeho.

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    Welcome to the forum. Thank you for answering. Can you provide reliable, verifiable sources for the information your provide? – user2411 Jul 11 '16 at 20:47
  • I just answered back with my understanding/opinion – itai ifraim Jul 12 '16 at 4:37
  • Opinions would be better suited for the comment section. This site asks for answers from verifiable rabbinic sources. Do you know of any that address this? How did you come to these conclusions? – user2411 Jul 12 '16 at 11:47
  • It's like Yehonatan, – itai ifraim Jul 12 '16 at 21:53

The Mishnat R. Eliezer (Parahsa 17 p. 321-2) states:

שלשה ברחו מן העבירה, ושיתף הקדוש ברוך הוא שמו בשמן, ואלו הן. יוסף, (ובעז), ופלטי בן ליש, ויעל. יוסף ברח מן העבירה, ולפי שלא יאמרו יחידי היה, העיד עליו הקדוש ברוך הוא בעצמו, שנ' עדות ביהוסף. למה נתכנה כאן יהוסף, יה מעיד בו, שלא עבר.

Three people fled from sin, and God combined his name with theirs. They are: Yosef, (Boaz), Palti ben Laish, and Yael. Yosef fled from the sin, and in order that noone should say 'he was alone [and sinned]', God himself testified for his, as it says "testimony with Yehossef". Why is he called Yehossef? God testifies about him, that he did not sin.

Radak (Psalms 81:6), however, seems to downplay the phenomenon noting that this is simply a normal variation that we sometimes find in names:

יהוסף ויוסף כמו יוחנן ויהוחנן, יונדב ויהונדב


Perhaps it is because the ב...It would be weird to have it be spelled בִּיוֹסֵף, so perhaps the ה is there to make the pronunciation smoother? בִּיהוֹסֵף?

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    There are plenty of sources (not in Tanach, but, for instance, Targum Yonasan to Bereishis 39:7) in which the word ביוסף appears. – DonielF Jul 12 '16 at 21:31
  • This IS in a poetic passage though; so, it is not entirely unreasonable to think the spelling might be altered as a poetic device. If so, it is possible the Rabbis would not have commented on it. You should provide some support though to give the theory substance. Is there anything in the context itself that would give this spelling a poetic effect? Alliteration, repeated sound, repeated rhythm...anything that would make it need to be smoother? – user2411 Jul 12 '16 at 22:22

Yosef is mitzad olam hazeh, the brothers are mitzad olam habah (the entire Patterns in Time on Chanuka revolves around this theme).

Hashem created olam hazeh with a heh.

Sephas lo yodaati eshma, a malach taught Yosef the 70 languages.

That is Yosef became the nexus of all patterns of living and thus ruled the world.

I.e. Yosef acquired the heh, the expression of God's sovereignty in this world, and so his name is complete.

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    Yosef is mitzad olam hazeh, the brothers are mitzad olam habah What does this mean? Consider dejargonfying. What is your source for it? – mevaqesh Jan 1 '17 at 20:58

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