Monday, November 02, 2009

Dotted Letters Example #2a: Be-reyshit/Genesis 18:9, Parshat Va-yeira


In Be-reyshit/Genesis 18:9, Parshat Va-yeira (Plaut p.123, Cohen p.87, Hertz p.64, Sforno p.87, JPS p.25, Jerusalem p.17, Stone p. 80) the word אֵלָיו eylav has three dots, one dot each over the letters א Aleph, י Yud, and ו Vav. We read:

וַיֹּאמְרוּ אֵלָיו, אַיֵּה שָׂרָה אִשְׁתֶּךָ; וַיֹּאמֶר, הִנֵּה בָאֹהֶל
And they said to him: 'Where is Sarah your wife?' And he said: 'There, in the tent.'
“Va-yom'ru eylav ayeyh Sarah ish'tekha? Va-yomer hineyh va-ohel.”

What are these dots for and what do they teach us? The angels who wished to announce Yitzchaq's conception actually knew where Sarah was; they asked this rhetorical question of Avraham out of courtesy, so they would not appear to be men approaching his wife unannounced, and also so that they wouldn't give their game away.
(Avot deRebbe Natan 30b)

Also, Alef-Yud-Vav spells איו ayo, a scholar. Nice.

Copyright © A. Barclay

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