Is the first vowel in Tz'lfchd (Bamidbar 27:1) a kamatz katan or a kamatz gadol? If it is the first, should it not be Tz'lof-chad (Ashkenazic: Tz'lof-chod) and if it is the latter, should it not be Tz'la-f'chad (Ashkenazic: Tz'lo-f'chod)?

On the Internet there is hardly any Tz'lof-chad, Tz'lof-chod, Tz'la-f'chad or Tz'lo-f'chod. Are not all other transliterations in error? Only two should be correct, no?

  • 2
    Kamatz Katan. Don't learn too much from internet transliteration
    – Double AA
    May 1, 2018 at 23:08
  • It's a kamatz katan, as @DoubleAA said. Interestingly enough, the Septuagint has Σαλπααδ, Salpaad, which eliminates the entire vowel altogether.
    – ezra
    May 2, 2018 at 0:05
  • On the other hand, in Artscroll Jehoshua 17:3 it was transliterated in the other way. I'm puzzled, as this should be a kamatz katan, and Choglah is written correctly. mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt0617.htm#3 May 6, 2018 at 21:29
  • Good point. ArtScroll often uses in its translation the names known in non-Jewish circles, like Gideon (gid'on) and Gershom (geireshom), as can be seen on pages 2049-2052 of their Stone Edition TeNaCh. So these are not the transliterations that they approve, I believe, but the familiar non-Jewish ones on English Bibles. May 7, 2018 at 21:44

1 Answer 1


As others have already pointed out in comments, it's a kamatz katan, therefore it should be pronounced as Tzelofchad (or Tzelofchod in Ashkenazi). I tend to use Dovi's online edition of Tanakh, which seems to have a good quality in general, and shows kamatz katan with a distinct sign.

  • @DanF Sometimes I find it easy, like vayamot, vayakom, vayashov, sometimes it's trickier. Here's a quite good French site for the rules with examples (Google Translate does an acceptable job): dikdouk.free.fr/VoyellesIII.htm#DeuxQamatz May 3, 2018 at 17:33

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