The verse mentions one of the materials in the Mishkan was עצי שטים. Artscroll and others translate it as acacia wood.

Rashi on the pasuk quotes Midrash Tanchumah (#9) that Yaakov planted ארזים in Egypt and commanded his children to bring them with them to the wilderness. Usually ארזים is translated as cedar wood.

Which is it? Acacia or cedar?

1 Answer 1


ארז, which you translated as cedar, is actually the name of a group of 10 (or 4) different types of trees (see the gemara in R"H on .כג, and the gemara in B"B), one of which is שיטא, which apparently Artscroll translates as accacia.

  • How would you explain the fact that JPS, Judaica Press, and ArtScroll all translate "ארז שיטה" in Isaiah 41:19 to mean "cedar", and translate "עץ שמן" as "acacia tree"? Apparently שיטה/שיטא doesn't always mean acacia.
    – ezra
    Feb 16, 2018 at 1:33
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    I find that kind of funny, as עץ שמן is another kind of ארז. Apparently they sometimes translate them as the klall, cedar, and sometimes as the prat, acacia (and yes, there are multiple kinds of acacia). Feb 16, 2018 at 1:38
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    The tanchuma doesn't say anything more than that שיטא is a kind of ארז, just like the gemara - it is not saying that acacia is cedar, that is just our common translation which is what the question was based on. Therefore I don't see what adding that helps for the answer (though I do agree that my answer could use editing for clarity, as I wrote it at 4 in the morning). Feb 17, 2018 at 17:31
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    Do you mean this: אמר רבי חמא ברבי חנינא: מאי דכתיב עצי שטים עמדים? שעומדים דרך גדילתן. דבר אחר: עומדים - שמעמידין את צפויין, דבר אחר: עומדים, שמא תאמר אבד סברן ובטל סכויין תלמוד לומר עמדים - שעומדין לעולם ולעולמים ... רבי יוחנן רמי: כתיב: ועשית לך ארון עץ, וכתיב: ועשו ארון עצי שטים - מכאן לתלמיד חכם שבני עירו מצווין לעשות לו מלאכתו" (יומא, עב ע"א-ע"ב)? Feb 20, 2018 at 4:10
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    Getting back to the main point, though - do you think that there is a benefit to have 2 different sources, both from the time of the Amoraim, which say the same thing? Feb 20, 2018 at 4:20

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