Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Shiloh - What's In A Name

I have been asked by many, both Jews and non-Jews, for the meaning of the name Shiloh (שילה), the community in which I live and which, for almost four centuries served as the site of the Tabernacle in the pre-monarchic period of the Jewish tribal federation rule over the Land of Israel.

So, for the interested, here are various Midrashic interpretations of Shiloh.

1. Shiloh is another name for the Messiah and in the verse: ...until Shiloh come... (Genesis 48:10), the reference is to the arrival of the Messiah and then Judah is relieved of his status.

2. It is an abbreviation for שם יפרה למקיימי התורה - there will flower for the upholders of the Torah.

3. That the kingdom is his, or in Hebrew שלו.

4. A gift for God, or in Hebrew שי לה'

5. Or a gift for the Messiah שי לו.

6. As the verse in Genesis refers to Judah's scepter that shall not depart from between his feet, the verse in Deuteronomy 28:57 is recalled: "and towards her after-birth that comes from out from between her feet" and the Hebrew term for after-birth there is: שליה.

7. Shiloh (של"ה) without the yud, in gematria equals 335 which recalls the 1335 of Daniel 12:12. And since we really don't know when those days will be, it will be sudden and here in Genesis the impression is "until Shiloh [335] comes". And the 1000 figure is not that import but the 335 is.

8. Anagram for Moshe (משה) for in Shiloh (שילה) you have two of the Hebrew letters that make up his name, the the shin and the hey, and if you add the yud and the lamed, that is, 10 + 30, that equals 40 which is the Hebrew letter mem which is the missing letter!

9. It is a form of the Hebrew word שלוה or tranquility. That when Messiah comes, peace and quietude will reign.

There are a few more but I think these will keep you busy for a while.

Referenced at Rav Menachem Kasher's "Torah Shleima".

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