"To" Ha Shem.... In some Torah scrolls the HEY is enlarged for the word "To" which proceeds Ha Shem, What is the significance? I have not seen this in other verses of Torah where the word proceeding Ha Shem has a letter that is enlarged.

  • 2
    The Lamed means "to", not the Hey.
    – Double AA
    Dec 25, 2016 at 13:57
  • My apologies, I'm still trying to learn Hebrew correctly. Dec 25, 2016 at 14:20
  • A hei before a word means "the" and when it is before a verb it means "that". Just FYI.
    – ezra
    Dec 25, 2016 at 16:57
  • 1
    the Hey at the starting of the word here is sign of interrogation
    – kouty
    Dec 25, 2016 at 17:49

2 Answers 2


It is unclear what the ה in this pasuk means. (I've discussed it here.) The heh is not only enlarged but separated by whitespace.

If you look at Onkelos on that pasuk, he considers it its own single word, renders it as the Aramaic cognate הָא, which means "behold". This works well with the masora that the heh is a word in and of itself (*teiva bifnei atzmo**).

Alternatively, it is meant as the interrogative heh, and should be joined (at least in reading) to the next word. But if so, there are complications regarding whether the sheva under the lamed is to be read as a sheva nach or as a sheva na. How does it work with the preceding ha-, and how does it work with the following Divine name?

It makes sense to call attention to this strange occurrence of heh, and perhaps the masora about it being its own word is what motivated its enlargement.

  • I didn't notice the gap after the hey, thank you. Dec 26, 2016 at 19:41

Midrash Tanchuma (haazinu, Siman 5) explain this oddity with letter ה as an indication of the name Moshe. (Take the initial letter of every pesukim before in this parsha with this hei and its number equals the same as Moshe). The Kol HaTorah suggests that its size also mark the end of this acrostic. It is like a sign to an encoded signature, similar to some authors who encoded their names into their works.

  • 1
    good spot! though it doesn't speak about enlargement, only about the whitespace -- ספרו, ולכך הה' רחוקה מהשם. Dec 26, 2016 at 11:20
  • @joshwaxman I added to the answer a source which may suggest this. See in that link for further sources. Dec 27, 2016 at 1:21

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