web analytics
September 16, 2014 / 21 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Apartment 758x530 Africa-Israel at the Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York

Africa Israel Residences, part of the Africa Israel Investments Group led by international businessman Lev Leviev, will present 7 leading projects on the The Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York on Sep 14-15, 2014.



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

The Significance of the Name Yerushalayim

The Kotel in Jerusalem, Israel on Dec. 14, 2013.

The Kotel in Jerusalem, Israel on Dec. 14, 2013.
Photo Credit: Hadas Parush/Flash 90.

This is from Jerusalem and the Bible, a series of shiurim by Rav Yitzchak Levy.

1. Rabbinical Sources

A. In the Midrash (Bereishit Rabba 26, 10), we read:

“Avraham called it [the place] ‘Yir’eh,’ as it is written, ‘Avraham called the name of that place Hashem Yir’eh.’ Shem called it ‘Shalem,’ as it is written, ‘Malki-Tzedek, King of Shalem.’ The Holy One said: If I call the place ‘Yir’eh,’ as Avraham called it, then Shem – a righteous man – will be offended. If I call it ‘Shalem,’ then Avraham – a righteous man – will be offended. So I shall call it “Yerushalayim,” as both of them called it: [Yir'eh] Shalem – Yerushalayim.”

The Midrash explains that the name of the city is actually made up of two names, based on Avrham’s two distinct encounters with the city: his meeting with Malki-Tzedek, King of Shalem (Bereishit 14), and the story of the Akeida (Bereishit 22).

From the Midrash, it arises that the name of the city is formed as a result of two different events. In other words, the character of the city is a combination of two different qualities. Aside from this, from the language of the Midrash we learn that the Holy One tried, as it were, to join these two qualities together and to integrate them into the same place. In order for Jerusalem to exist, these two meanings must be unified.

Different interpretations may be attached to this name combination, pointing to different ways of understanding the character of the city and the combination of its two elements. We shall attempt, in this shiur, to present the various understandings of the two elements of the city and the nature of the unity that they create.

B. The above Midrash appears in rabbinical sources in several versions:

“Avraham called the name of that place ‘Hashem Yir’eh‘: Two righteous people gave it [the city] two [different] names: Shem called it ‘Shalem,’ Avraham called it ‘Yir’eh.’ The Holy One said: to cancel either of them is impossible, so I shall join them together and call it ‘Yerushalem‘ – ‘Yir’eh shalem‘ (“He shall see its perfection”), with a ‘vav‘ instead of the ‘alef‘ and ‘heh.’ What is the meaning of “yir’eh“? THIS IS A PLACE OF AWE (yir’a) AND SERVICE OF GOD.” (Midrash Ha-gadol, Bereishit 22:14).

The Midrash Ha-gadol adds two new pieces of information:

1. The word “yir’eh” is understood as “yeru” – the first letters of the name “Yerushalayim.” In other words, the letter vav (“u” sound) in “YerUshalayim” replaces the letters heh and alef in “yir’EH” – which is confirmed by the numerical value of these letters: vav (6) = alef (1) + heh (5) [1].

2. The word “yir’eh” is understood in the sense of a place of awe (“yir’a“) and service of God.

C. “We find that the Temple is called ‘Shalem,’ as it is written:

“Malkit-Tzedek, King of Shalem,” and this was Shem, son of Noach… Avraham called the [place of the] Temple ‘Yir’eh,’ as it is written, ‘Avraham called the name of that place ‘Hashem Yir’eh.’ The Holy One said: If I call it ‘Shalem,’ as Shem did, I will be nullifying the words of my beloved Avraham, who called it ‘Yir’eh.’ If I call it ‘Yir’eh,’ I shall be nullifying the words of the righteous Shem, who called it ‘Shalem.’” What did the Holy One do? He joined together the names that each had given: Avraham called it ‘Yir’eh,’ Shem called it ‘Shalem,’ and the Holy One called it ‘Yerushalayim.’ Thus: ‘His Tabernacle is in Shalem.’ And what is Yerushalayim? ‘Yir’eh‘ and ‘Shalem.’” (Midrash Tehillim, 76).

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

3 Responses to “The Significance of the Name Yerushalayim”

  1. Keep Jerusalem donn’t share it

  2. The whole of the Torah is about this union. Everything has a duality. The Law and the Prophets is a prime example of this duality.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Former Auschwitz guard Oskar Groening watched as Nazis murdered Jews.
Ex-Auschwitz Guard Charged with 300,000 Counts of Accessory to Murder
Latest Indepth Stories
Donny-Fuchs-medium

Originally scheduled to be held elsewhere, the hotel canceled, pressured by local missionary groups

syria_stratfo

It’s likely that some of the rebel factions, including US clients, have indeed made pacts with ISIS

Phyllis Chesler

Imam Tafsirli of the Harlem Islamic center: “You cannot be a Muslim without believing in Jesus”

Gas Pump

If simple fuel choice were implemented, the power of petroleum and those who sell it would cease.

Value of IS: It enables people to see the place to which all other Islamist fascism is headed.

“When Frank does something he does it well and you don’t have to worry about dotting the i’s or crossing the t’s.”

President Obama: “ISIL is not Islamic. No religion condones the killing of innocents”

he time of the Uman pilgrimage is upon us, and we dare not ignore the opportunity to highlight the danger.

Healing requires that the victim be validated for being harmed and the guilty assume responsibility.

During the war, not once was Hashem’s name mentioned to the nation by Israel’s PM or gov’t officials

How many illegal Arab structures are there in the city? Why are they not being destroyed?

We did not win the war in Gaza because we are still captive to the concept of the 2 state solution.

Trapped in a false notion of power, America will lose the battle in the same way Israel now loses.

It’s a cliché, but nonetheless true that 9/11 changed my life. There is evil in the world. Our grandparents were right.

More Articles from Yeshivat Har Etzion
Yeshivat Har Etzion in Alon Shvut, Israel.

According to the Maharal, Sedomites’ inability to perform chesed catalyzed their fall into a pit of immorality.

The Kotel in Jerusalem, Israel on Dec. 14, 2013.

There are two elements to the name “Jerusalem,” which must be unified for the City to exist.

Rav Soloveitchik asserted that Shavuot is sanctified not only by the court’s counting, but even by the individual’s counting.

The question of Jewish identity, for example, has been greatly affected by the legacy of the Holocaust.

If itis a mitzva to eat matza all Pesach, then why is there no berakha attached to it?

At our seder we emulate the way it was celebrated in Temple times, as if the Temple still stood.

The sacred flames of passion between the Jewish people and the Almighty expressed in Shir Ha-Shirim.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/the-significance-of-the-name-yerushalayim/2014/05/28/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: