Sunday, December 2, 2012

Jews and Figs

"R’ Yuden said: This fig, in the beginning of the season they collect it one by one, then two by two, then three by three, until they collect it with baskets and shovels. So in the beginning was Avraham, then Avraham and Yitzchak, then Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov, until “And the Jewish people bore fruit and spread and multiplied…”"

(Midrash, Bereishit Rabbah 46:1)

Have a great day,


  1. It is clear from the Yerushalmi that "Yudan" is a variant of "Yehudah". To pick the first example the Bar Ilan Responsa web site gave me, Bava Qama 2:6. The mishnah quotes "R' Yehudah" and the gemara opens by asking what is R' Yudan's source.

    How did this distortion come about?

    R' Yehudah is also referred to as R' Yudah, without the first hei. This is part of a general pattern of dropping first syllables: R' Illah -> R' Lo, da ela -> dela (no first alef). It would seem that the emphasis was so much on the last syllable that the first one was often slurred.

    The nun artificially closing the final syllable is a Greek thing. Like the way "Shelomo" is "Solomon" in the LXX (and from there to English and to Yiddish's "Zalman"),

    Anyway, since they did emphasize the "-dan" of "Yudan", it most likely retained the qamatz from the original "Yehudah". So I would transliterate it "Yudan", not "Yuden".

  2. Micha-
    When I posted that, I thought you would comment...