Saturday, October 20, 2012

Missing vav in Parshat Noach

There seems to be a vav missing from my Chumash in parshat Noach. Can anyone help explain to me where it has gone?

Let me explain what I mean (I am really no expert in these things, so there may be a really obvious answer):

In Bereishit 9:29 the verse (in my chumash) reads:
וִיהִי, כָּל-יְמֵי-נֹחַ, תְּשַׁע מֵאוֹת שָׁנָה, וַחֲמִשִּׁים שָׁנָה; וַיָּמֹת.

Which means (according to KJ):
And all the days of Noah were nine hundred and fifty years; and he died.

I looked in my tikkun korim, and it says the same thing.

However, if you look in Onkelos, he writes:
והוו, כל יומי נוח, תשע מאה וחמשין, שנין; ומית.

If my rudimentary grasp of Aramaic grammar is correct, והוו is plural. So the Hebrew should say וַיִּהְיוּ instead of וִיהִי.

If you look in the Leningrad Codex (which I think is the oldest text we have, since the Aleppo Codex is missing most of Chumash) the word is with a vav:

And if you look in the first printed mikra'ot gedolot, printed by Daniel Bomberg in 1525 it also seems to have the vav.

As far as I know, this is the text from which all other chumashim were taken. So how come my chumash today does not have the vav?


  1. I just found in Ohr Torah from Menachem di Lonzano that he is also bothered by the fact that all the Ashkenazi Torahs have the extra vav. He claims that according to the mesorah it should be without. He cites Rama that it is a machlokes in mesorah, but decides that it should be without the vav.

    Ohr Torah

  2. My Chumash - at least the one that I was using this morning says has a footonote on that word stating that "נוסח התימנים: ויהוי", so nit looks like the Temanim kept the Vav.