Shir HaShirim Rabbah 2:13, expounding Shir HaShirim 2:4 (ודגלו עלי אהבה, literally translated as "his banner is beloved upon me"):

אמר רבי יששכר תינוק שקרא למֹשה מַשה לאהרֹן אהרַן לעפרֹן עפרַן אמר הקב״ה וליגלוגו עלי אהבה

Says R' Yissachar, a child who reads Moshe [as] "Masheh," Aharon [as] "Aharan," Ephron [as] "Ephran," Hashem says of him, "His mispronunciation (ליגלוגו) is beloved upon me."

If he just picked on one random name to botch up, I'd say he was just picking a random name. But he says three names. Seemingly the only common denominator between them is that they all have a cholom that's being pronounced as a patach. However, there are other such names - say, Yaakov being pronounced as Yaakav. Is there something unique about these three names that R' Yissachar picks them out to botch them up?

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    Torah Temima has a different version, not much more helpful: נח) יתכן דמכוין בקריאת שם משה בשי"ן שמאלי, וכמ"ש בנדרים י' א' נדר במותא ופי' הר"ן כנוי למשה [וע' תוי"ט], ואיירי בעלגי לשון, ולאהרן ארן [כי הה' נקל להחסר במבטא, כמו יונתן במקום יהונתן, לנחותם במקום להנחותם, אך הזריז זריז] וע' תוס' ע"ז כ"ב ב' דהכונה שבמקום אהרן קורא הרן, וצ"ע. ובשם עפרון קורא עופרן שהוא שם צדיקים כמש"כ תוס' במגילה י' ב': Jan 8, 2018 at 3:34
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    @רבותמחשבות At least there it isn't the same mistake three times in a row
    – Double AA
    Jan 8, 2018 at 3:42
  • @DoubleAA according to my answer, its just a common misread with three examples Jan 8, 2018 at 3:56
  • Seems like the author of this medrash was Yekke.
    – user6591
    Aug 7, 2018 at 4:06

1 Answer 1


Both this Midrash and another Midrash here

ודגלו עלי אהבה - א"ר אתא, עם הארץ שקורא לאהבה איבה, כגון ואהבת - ואייבת, אומר הקב"ה ודלוגו עלי אהבה:

are interpreted by some Poskim (see Tur/BY OC 142) to be referring to Kerias Hatorah, and they mean that people who mispronounce these names or words do not need to be corrected. These Midrashim are examples of common misreads (I guess it's easy to mispronounce a Cholam as a Pasach, or was in whatever time and place this Midrash was written). For a fuller treatment of this topic, see Alei Tamar Megillah 4:1.

I would be hard pressed to find three better names in Torah that have Cholams that can be turned easily to Pasachs (according to your reading, which is sourced in the Matnos Kehunah, apparently, and well-known). Offhand, I could think of Noach, but it seems weirder to add a Pasach before the "ach" sound.

(Note: Perhaps Yosef might have also made it? I would note that these three cases have names where the Cholam is next to a Tenuah Ketanah, perhaps it is easier to blend in a Pasach in those places.)

  • How about Yaakov?
    – DonielF
    Jan 8, 2018 at 3:57
  • @DonielF Also a good suggestion Jan 8, 2018 at 3:58
  • @DonielF see books.google.ca/… Here it says in Yedei Moshe that it is a "Zu Vein Tzarich Lomar Zu", meaning even a Bozo like Efron is included Jan 8, 2018 at 4:36
  • @DonielF or, you could say the simple understanding that Hashem is happy when children are reading these names, even when mispronouncing them, in which case we can say that he is even happy that they are learning about Efron (despite the fact that he is a Rasha), because it is still torah. If you like that, you can edit it in to my answer, but I don't have a source other than here tora.us.fm/tnk1/ktuv/mgilot/jj-02-04.html, which is still not a full source Jan 8, 2018 at 4:40

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