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Why does Judaism have such an emphasis on Hebrew phrases in their religion and seems reluctant to translate them to English or another language?

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up vote 11 down vote accepted

Hebrew is the language of the Torah. The holy language. Translation inevitably creates a certain perspective on the text, as a Hebrew word can have multiple meanings or interpretations. A word for word translation would not make sense. The meaning often gets simplified, if not lost, in translation.

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Hebrew is called "leshon hakodesh" ("the holy language"). The Rambam (Moreh Nevuchim 3:8) explains that the Hebrew language has no "bad words"; there are only euphemisms (to give one example, urine is called "the water of the legs"). Ramban (Shemos 30:13) writes that it is called holy because the Torah was written in that language, G-d is called by names in that language (vs. other languages — e.g. in English, "God" — in which the names don't have inherent holiness).

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for the same reason tha Muslims chose to pray in Arabic. And the same reason that the Roman Church has preserved the Latin Liturgy.

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And what reason is that? – Double AA Oct 3 '12 at 0:54

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