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    Belittling God – B’har

    OnkelosThe final words of the sidra are “I am the Lord your God” (Lev. 25:55).

    This is nothing new to anyone who has been following the Torah readings and especially Parashat K’doshim and the beginning of the Ten Commandments.

    But when you compare the Hebrew of the Chumash with the Aramaic of Targum Onkelos, you see a change in the spelling.

    The Hebrew follows its normal pattern and spells the word for “your God” as if the word were plural.

    It is normal with the Torah to refer to God in the plural, not that there is (God forbid!) more than one God, but it is the plural of majesty. It shows the unique greatness of the Almighty that makes him the concentration of all power and might.

    L’havdil, one might similarly attribute to an earthly potentate a plurality of status when they say things like “We declare”, “You must obey our word”, etc.

    What Onkelos does is to replace the plural with the singular, not that it disagrees with the concept of God’s unique greatness, but it does not wish people to get a wrong, superficial impression about God.

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