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    Similar verbs – Vayyeshev

    The Bible has similar verbs for “sit”/”dwell” (yashav) and “turn, return” (shuv).

    At the beginning of this week’s Torah reading the verb y-sh-v denotes to dwell, but when we come to the Psalms the two options are both there and the commentators sometimes get confused.

    Take for example the beginning of Psalm 126, the famous Shir Hama’alot. It says B’shuv HaShem, which denotes “When the Lord overturned the exile of Zion”… and look at Psalm 23:6, V’shavti b’vet HaShem (“I shall dwell in the House of the Lord”.) Some choose to translate this latter phrase “I shall turn to the House of the Lord”.

    The likelihood is that the apparent ambivalence is deliberate and the poet is well aware of what he is doing.

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