A Drop Of Dikduk

Rabbi Mordechai Terebelo

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Parsha Vayigash

The Statement: Perek 46:23 "U"Vnei Dan Chushim" and the children of Dan were Chushim

The Problem: If only one son is mentioned as being born to Dan, then why does the Torah use the plural word U"Vnei. It would seem more proper to say "U"Ven Dan Chushim" and the son of Dan is Chushim which is singular. The Solution: The Gemorah in Bava Basra 143b discusses if a person can refer to one son also in the plural. The Gemorah tries to cite this Verse as a proof since it refers to one son in the plural. The Gemorah rejects this as a proof saying that perhaps the plural form is because the children of Dan will be many just like reeds. (Tosfos points out, that while certainly Dan only had one son nevertheless the Torah uses the plural to allude to the future)

The Ebn Ezra offers two solutions. One is, that this is the way the Torah speaks, sometimes substituting plural for singular.(which would seem to be one theory of the Gemorah in Bava Basra) The other solution that he offers is that in reality Dan had two sons and one passed away. Therefore the Torah uses the plural to allude to this fact that at one time had two sons but only one survived and went to Mitzrayim. Rav Yakov Kamenetsky in his Sefer Emes L'Yakov, further offers a possibility that both sons were given the name Chush. (thus the plural Chushim) This would be similar to Mar Kshishah and Mar Yanukah who are mentioned in the Gemorah.

For further discussion see Minchas Shi on this Posuk

Rabbi Mordechai Terebelo is Rav of Congregation Young Israel of Lawrenceville New Jersey He is also a Rebbe in Bezalel Hebrew Day School of Lakewood New Jersey and a member of the Kollel of Beth Medrash Govoha

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