Is there any rabbinical support for the word "צַו" as used in Isaiah 28:10 to mean "connection"? The usual translation that one reads for "צַו לָצָו" is "precept upon precept". Did any of the rabbis define "צַו" as "connection" instead?

Isaiah 28:10a כִּי צַו לָצָו צַו לָצָו

I ask this out of curiosity and for personal study, after finding out that the word "צַו" is the root word for "Mitzvah" מצוה. (Or in this case, are these two words not related?)

  • Are you asking specifically whether the word צו in Isaiah 28 means connection? Or in general if the word מצוה has a connotation of connection?
    – Joel K
    Aug 30, 2018 at 6:35
  • Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/61747/…
    – Joel K
    Aug 30, 2018 at 6:36
  • I understand that within the pregnancy of meaning, "connection" is a possible translation of "צַו". Therefore, is there any occurrence in the TaNakh, Gemara, Mishna, Halacha, Aggadot, Midrashim, or even among modern rabbis, etc., whereby somebody mentioned the possibility of "connection" (as opposed to "precept", etc.) being a possible translation for this passage in Isaiah 28.
    – ninamag
    Aug 30, 2018 at 6:45
  • There are lots of words, like צוות - team, לצוות - team-up that come from connection
    – Al Berko
    Aug 30, 2018 at 10:15

1 Answer 1


R. Yaakov Tzvi Mecklenburg in HaKetav vehaKabbalah, Shemot 24:12 writes:

שרש צו מצאנוהו גם על התחברות והתאחדות שני דברים יחד, כמו צו לצו קו לקו (ישעי' כ"ח) שהוא לד"ק חבור אל חבור

We have also found the root צו relating to connecting and uniting two things together, like 'צו לצו קו לקו' (Yeshayahu 28) which means, according to some, one connection to another.

  • 2
    While not a rabbinic source per se, this interpretation can also be found in a commentary to Yeshayahu by Meir Ish Shalom, printed in this festschrift in honour of Moritz Steinschneider on p.85.
    – Joel K
    Aug 30, 2018 at 7:28
  • @Joel_K I upvoted your answer. Great Find! Would love to know what other (modern or ancient) rabbis said about it.
    – ninamag
    Aug 30, 2018 at 10:26
  • Are the following quoted words your English translation or Mecklenburg's, because I am interested in how the following was written in Hebrew, "We have also found the root צו relating to connecting and uniting two things together ...."
    – ninamag
    Aug 30, 2018 at 14:13
  • My translation. The original Hebrew is in the piece I quoted שרש צו מצאנוהו גם על התחברות והתאחדות שני דברים יחד
    – Joel K
    Aug 30, 2018 at 15:26
  • Thank you. I want to make sure I understand, according to Mecklenburg צו also means "to unite two things together"? התאחדות שני דברים יחד?
    – ninamag
    Aug 30, 2018 at 15:34

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