web analytics
December 21, 2014 / 29 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
8000 meals Celebrate Eight Days of Chanukah – With 8,000 Free Meals Daily to Israel’s Poor

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.



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
Tekuma MKs Uri Ariel, Orit Strook and Zevulun Kalfa at a meeting Saturday night.
Jewish Home Unity Overcomes the ’Yesha Faction’
Latest Indepth Stories
UN Flags

If the UN Grants national recognition to Palestine, why stop there? Tibet, Chechnya, Basque…

The annual  Chabad menorah lighting in Sydney has been called off this year because of the murders in the Lindt cafe.

The decision to not publicly light the Menorah in Sydney, epitomizes the eternal dilemma of Judaism and Jews in the Diaspora.

Greiff-112814-Men

Am Yisrael is one family, filled with excruciating pain&sorrow for losing the 4 kedoshim of Har Nof

Two dreidels from the author’s extensive collection.

What is its message of the dreidel?” The complexity and hidden nature of history and miracles.

Police play down Arab terrorism as mere “violence” until the truth can no longer be hidden.

The 7 branches of the menorah represent the 7 pillars of secular wisdom, knowledge, and science.

Obama obtained NO verifiable commitments from Cuba it would desist from acts prejudicial to the US

No one would deny that the program subjected detainees to less than pleasant treatment, but the salient point is, for what purpose?

For the past six years President Obama has consistently deplored all Palestinian efforts to end-run negotiations in search of a UN-imposed agreement on Israel.

It’s not an admiration. It is simply a kind of journalist fascination. It stands out, it’s different from more traditional Orthodoxy.

For Am Yisrael, the sun’s movements are subservient to the purpose of our existence.

Israelis now know Arab terrorism isn’t caused by Israeli occupation but by ending Israeli occupation

Anti-Semitism is a social toxin that destroys the things that people most cherish and enjoy.

Amb. Cooper highlighted the impact of the Chanukah/Maccabee spirit on America’s Founding Fathers

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: