Updating the torah
As the story of Judith and Tamar reaches its climax, the translation of Genesis gives, "As she was being brought out, she sent...." But the Sefer Torah doesn't seem to say that. Moreover, this spelling appears far, far more often than the "right" way, which suggests, alternatively, that this is another correct spelling for "she".The second "she" is hey-yod-aleph, exactly as it should be. This bit of gender confusion is only the most common of the Sefer Torah's shall we say, spelling oddities.In fact, the word only appears once in the Sefer Torah, at Genesis .
Actually, this latter is an example of a class of errors, or spelling variants if you prefer, where an extra letter is slipped in.In 2007, Rabbi Steinsaltz embarked upon an undertaking of groundbreaking importance for the Jewish people, and especially dear to those who study Maimonides and draw from his deep well of wisdom and inspiration: the Maimonides Project, a commentary and updating by Rabbi Steinsaltz of the Rambam's classic Code of Jewish Law, the Mishneh Torah.The Mishneh Torah was intended to provide definitive answers to the vast array of halachic (Jewish legal) questions extant in the Rambam's time.These are called "mah-lay" in Hebrew ("full") or plene in English.
The opposite is where a letter is "khaser", ("absent") in Hebrew, or defective in English. Indeed, it can be a semantic question even whether there is a spelling variant at all.Indeed, it sometimes seems like no word, no matter how important, is immune.