Sunday, May 21, 2017

Jerusalem: What's in a Name?

by Rabbi Ephraim Sprecher, Dean of Students, Diaspora Yeshiva

The phrase "Yom Yerushalayim" is first mentioned in Psalms 137, verse 7, 3 thousand years before the Six Day War. Where does the name Yerushalayim come from? The answer is given by Tosfot in Taanit 16, who state that the name Yerushalayim is a combination of two words, one uttered by Avraham at the Akeida (Bereishis 22), "Har Hashem Yeira'eh," which means "The mountain where Hashem will be seen," and the city was already called Shalem, peace, by Malkitzedek (Bereishis 14).

Thus, the city of Yerushalayim combines the two names, given by these great people, Avraham and Malkitzedek - "Yeira'eh" and "Shalem." Tosfot also explain that the reason that there is a YUD between the LAMED and the MEM in the word Yerushalayim is that we focus on the name, Shalem, which means peace and has no YUD.

In fact, of about 650 occurrences of the name Yerushalayim, only three times do we find that second YUD.

The question now arises why we pronounce the word Yerushalayim with a YUD when the vast majority of times it is written without the second YUD? The answer is that the PATACH-YUD-MEM ending in Hebrew makes the word dual, plural, for example, OZNAYIM (two ears), RAGLAYIM (two legs), YADAYIM (two hands). The above question is answered by the Talmud which explains that there are two Jerusalems, a heavenly one which is situated directly above the earthly Jerusalem. Just as the heavenly Jerusalem is Hashem's eternal capital, so is the earthly Jerusalem, Israel's eternal capital, despite the objections of the U.S. State Department and UNESCO.

Sh'muel Bet 5 states that Jerusalem was Israel's DC, DAVID'S CAPITAL, three thousand years before Washington, DC was the capital of the USA. Jerusalem will remain Israel's eternal, undivided DC capital despite the objections of our so-called "peace partners" and the United Nations.

This was sent to me, and I thought I would pass it on to my readers:
All days are from Hashem; all days are to help us.  Make the best of everyday.


  1. Not 100% sure regarding the exact details, though recall watching a shiur where it was mentioned Yerushalayim's name was to originally have Shalem precede Yeira'eh leading to some sort of argument between Avraham and Melchizedek over which name should precede the other.

    While Yeira'eh ended up preceding Shalem to form Yerushalayim, how would the latter's name have been formed had it been the other way round?

    1. Interesting. Since it appears so many times in scriptures, I doubt if there was ever a real decision to be made about the way it would be said. Hashem knew long before the creation of the universe.

      With that said, guessing at what it would have been if switch is without relevance. It would be making up a word that doesn't exist.

    2. Shaleim was an ancient name of Jerusalem. Avraham called the city יראה, Yireh [= Jeru] (Bereishis 22:14). Shem [son of Noach, also known as Malchizedek] called the place שלם, Shaleim [= Shaleim] (ibid. 14:18).
      G-d said, "If I call it Yireh [=Jeru] as
      Avraham did, then the righteous Shem will be distraught; but if I call it Shalem [=Salem], then the righteous Avraham will be distraught. Instead I will satisfy both of these righteous men by calling it Yireh-Shaleim [=Jeru-Salem]"
      - Bereishis Rabbah 14:18