I noticed this in Iyov 38:13,15:

יג לֶאֱחֹז, בְּכַנְפוֹת הָאָרֶץ; וְיִנָּעֲרוּ רְשָׁעִים מִמֶּנָּה.‏
טו וְיִמָּנַע מֵרְשָׁעִים אוֹרָם; וּזְרוֹעַ רָמָה, תִּשָּׁבֵר.‏

I know about unusual letter forms. Why is this letter in particular elevated?

  • Tehillim 80:14 and Shoftim 18:30 are the other two places where this phenomenon is observed (a priori, that is)
    – Double AA
    Jan 8, 2019 at 18:40

1 Answer 1


Talmud Sanhedrin 103b

אמר ר"ש בן לקיש מאי דכתיב (איוב לח, טו) וימנע מרשעים אורם וזרוע רמה תשבר מפני מה עי"ן של רשעים תלויה כיון שנעשה אדם רש מלמטה נעשה רש מלמעלה
ולא נכתביה כלל ר' יוחנן ור"א חד אמר מפני כבודו של דוד וחד אמר משום כבודו של נחמיה בן חכליה

Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish says: What is the meaning of that which is written: “And He will withhold their light from the wicked [resha’im], and the high arm shall be broken” (Job 38:15)? For what reason is the letter ayin of the word resha’im suspended slightly above the rest of the letters? It is suspended so that the word will be read rashim, meaning poor people. It means: Once a person becomes poor on earth below and the number of his enemies grows, he becomes poor in Heaven above, as he is certainly a sinner and that is why he is hated.
The Gemara challenges: If that is the meaning, let the ayin not be written at all and let the verse say: Rashim. Rabbi Yoḥanan and Rabbi Elazar both explain why the ayin was not omitted. One says: It was due to the desire to preserve the honor of David, who had numerous enemies below despite the fact that he was a righteous person and had a place in the World-to-Come. And one says: It was due to the desire to preserve the honor of Nehemiah, son of Hacaliah, who also had numerous enemies below, despite his righteousness.

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