Monday, 12 October 2020

Parsha: B'reishit, "Vaychula, Vaychal"

Here is an exchange on the Leining Google Group
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I posed this question given: B'reisheet 2:1,2.
  • Vaychulu TARGUM v'ishtachlalu
  • Vaychal TARGUM v'sheitzei
Why did Onkelos change the verb?


  • "And the heavens and the earth are completed, and all their host;"(Bereishit: 2:1)
  • "and God completeth by the seventh day His work which He hath made, and ceaseth by the seventh day from all His work which He hath made." (Bereishit: 2:2)

As you can see, the same verb is used, albeit in passive and active voices.

FREE Online Youngs Literal Translation. Genesis Chapter 2:1-25.

As to the reason for the Targum's change of meaning, there is an old sefer on Onkelos named Patshegen (viewable at who explains that if "vaichulu" merely meant "completed" rather than shichlul (which he equates with the Hebrew "tikkun"), then the second pasuk would be adding nothing to the first: if the work was completed, then of course HKBH completed it. Thus, the first is interpreted as meaning perfected, while the second means completed.
- Meir



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