Questions about the Hebrew letters, or aleph-bet.

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What is the dot in this vav?

What is this dot in the word יִוָּדַ֤ע in Mikeitz 41 31. וְלֹֽא־יִוָּדַ֤ע הַשָּׂבָע֙ בָּאָ֔רֶץ מִפְּנֵ֛י הָרָעָ֥ב הַה֖וּא אַחֲרֵי־כֵ֑ן כִּֽי־כָבֵ֥ד ה֖וּא מְאֹֽד׃ How does it effect the reading ...
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1answer
51 views

posuk for the name “Pearl” to say in shemone esre [duplicate]

I am searching for a possuk beginning with a pei and ending with a lamed, to say in Shemona Esre, for name Pearl. I have found one in tehillim perek 7, but would love a different one if at all ...
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100 views

Why is hebrew, the holy language, so messy?

Something that has always bothered me and I've never really understood is why Hebrew is so messy. If it is the language of G-d, the language in which the world was created and the language in which ...
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28 views

Direction & order of strokes when writing letters

When writing Torah scrolls, mezuzahs, or tefillin scrolls, is there any significance to the direction of the strokes of the pen for each letter? Or the order of the strokes for each letter? IE: (If ...
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0answers
31 views

Who were the original users of Ktav Ashuri?

It is generally stated that ktav ashuri started to be used during the exile, adopted from Babylonian sources. Who exactly was using this alphabet? Do we have archeological examples of these letters ...
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31 views

Why are there so many Nikkudot? [closed]

1) Why does every vowel has more than one way to be written? 2) Does every nekkud has a slightly different pronunciation?
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12 views

Origins B'zrat Hashem (בס״ד)? [duplicate]

It's a very common practice to write "בס״ד" (whit the help of G-d) at the top of letters, notes, texts, etc. People from different cultures and regions seem to do this, but what are the origins of ...
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34 views

Implication of uncertain letters in the Torah

I learned that there are a number of uncertain letters in the written Torah This article lists 12 (counts vary). (1) Bereishit 4:13 "Mineso" (E&T w/o Vav) (2) Bereishit 7:11 "Ma'ayanos ...
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1answer
44 views

yud ha'heh -official name

What is the official name of the yud in the heh, and tet in the tuf - do we say simply yud ha'heh and tet ha'tuf (assuming tuf is vav with a roof, followed by backward-facing script-tet) ? Also, is ...
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תעבנו, תעינו, תעתענו Why three things that begin with a ת?

The Vidui that is said during the days of Selichos, and on Yom Kippur, and by Nusach Sefard on days that Tachanun is recited, starts with Ashamnu and goes letter by letter through the Aleph Bais. At ...
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1answer
57 views

What do the letters of Teshuvah stand for?

I found online that Teshuvah stands for: תמים תהיה עם ה' אלקיך שויתי ה' לנגדי תמיד ואהבת לרעך כמוך בכל דרכיך דעהו הצנע לכת עם אלוהיך Is there any source for this?
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167 views

Are shin and cin considered different letters?

Halachically is ש a single letter with two pronunciations or are there 2 different letters in the Hebrew alphabet (shin and cin) which happen to be draw the same in the torah, have the same gematria ...
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1answer
89 views

What is the reason that the Torah uses a ן (final “Nun”) at the end of 2nd person plural verbs?

Frequently, the Torah uses a final nun (ן) at the end of verbs. They seem to be 2nd person plural verbs. An example: Deuteronomy 5:30: בְּכָל־הַדֶּ֗רֶךְ אֲשֶׁ֨ר צִוָּ֜ה יְהוָ֧ה אֱלֹהֵיכֶ֛ם ...
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2answers
165 views

According to Chazal, does Beged Kefet matter?

The Hebrew alphabet has 22 written characters (plus 5 specialized characters for the ends of words - ם, ן, ץ ,ף, ך) generally assumed to be each originally associated with distinct sounds. The ...
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83 views

ד mi yodeya (the pronunciation)?

The gemara (Brachoth 13b) records that one is supposed to draw out the ד of "אחד" in the first verse of the Shema: .תניא: סומכוס אומר: כל המאריך באחד מאריכין לו ימיו ושנותיו אמר רב אחא בר ...
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Why does Orthodoxy hold that the Torah has not changed?

King David c. 1040–970 BCE, indeed any of the ancient Jewish kings, if presented with a modern Sefer Torah would not have been able to read it. The masoretic text we now have, written between the 7th ...
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1answer
69 views

How many letters are there in Tanach?

Although I know how many letters there are in the five books of the Torah, 303,626, I do not know of how many letters there are in Neviim and Kesuvim. So, my question is, "How many letters are there ...
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79 views

ג (gimel) mi yodeya (the pronunciation)?

From a halachik perspective, what are the correct ways to pronounce the ג (gimel)? Are there variant traditions? Is there an academic/linguistic opinion on how it was most likely pronounced from the ...
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1answer
60 views

ב (bet) mi yodeya (the pronunciation)?

What are the correct ways to pronounce the ב (bet)? Are there variant traditions? Is there an academic/linguistic opinion on how it was most likely pronounced from the time of the giving of the Torah ...
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49 views

א mi yodeya (the pronunciation)?

What is the correct way to pronounce the א (aleph)? Are there variant traditions? Is there an academic/linguistic opinion on how it was most likely pronounced from the time of the giving of the Torah ...
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Unexpected Dageshim

I learned that a rule of Dageshim is that gutteral letters (אהחע''ר) reject dageshim. My question is why do we find 4 alephs (Genesis 43:26, Leviticus 23:17, Job 33:21, Ezra 8:18), 17 reishs (1 ...
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Why are all pronunciations of each letter voiced or voiceless?

There are differing m'soros (religiously significant traditions) about the right way to pronounce various letters of the alphabet when praying or reading the Torah. (There are even more ways that the ...
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45 views

Is a ש after a holam always a “shin” and never a “sin”?

In some siddurim that are printed in certain Hebrew fonts, you will find words such as משה (Moshe) or חשך (darkness) that do not print with two nekudot. The most explicit way to point these words ...
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152 views

Broken פ- What's wrong with it?

In Mishnat Sofrim, the Chofetz Chaim discusses the correct forms of the letters as they should appear in sifrei sta"m. When he comes to thee letter פ in its medial form, he says that the current ...
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82 views

Rabbi Akiva and Ketarim

In Menachos the Gemara relates the Moshe asked Hashem about the meaning of the "crowns" on many Hebrew letters as written in the Torah. Hashem then gives the following response: אמר לו, אדם אחד יש ...
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338 views

Did Rembrandt really get the 'mene, mene' inscription in his painting of Belshazzar's Feast wrong?

Forgive me if you feel this is not the best forum to ask this question on, but it seems the most apposite one out of those currently available. The inscription that appears on the wall in Daniel 5:25 ...
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The Yud and Hey in creation (Isaiah 26:4)

Isaiah (26:4) is usually translated: "Trust in G-d forever, for in Y-ah, [who is] G-d, is the everlasting rock." However, the prefix translated here as "in" can also mean "through" or "by"; and the ...
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Is there a book that explains the large and small letters in the Torah? [duplicate]

I am seeking a book, in English, that lists and explains the reasons for the large and small letters in the Torah. (A similar question on this topic did not specify English and did not elicit any ...
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How to pronounce the name שימי

There's an amora (or at least one) in the Bavli named שימי. I think I've always heard this pronounced with an initial letter sin. However, I saw recently that the Koren-Steinsaltz edition has a ...
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238 views

Have any of you ever heard anyone pronouncing ayin as “ng”?

I have read historically the letter ayin was pronounced by some Dutch, Portuguese, and Italian Jews as a velar nasal consonant (ng as in sing). Reference to this can be found here, here, and here. I ...
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Why can't someone who can read check the Sefer Torah?

In this question, i talk about if a Sefer Torah might have a misformed letter, a child who can recognize letters but not read is brought to say what letter it is. If everything surrounding is covered ...
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118 views

Are the letters on a dreidel supposed to be in any particular order?

This is a little silly, but... Should the letters on a dreidel be in order? Like, if you turned it right to left, should it go nun - gimel - hey - shin, because of "nes gadol haya sham"? Or are there ...
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1answer
81 views

Wordplay concerning the Ayin and the Aleph in Gemara

I remember hearing about some interesting statements made about those that fail to distinguish pronunciation between the ayin and the aleph. An example was given in gemara about why such a distinction ...
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What happens if a sefer torah might have a mistake?

If a sefer torah has a definite mistake, it cannot be used, and the reading must be done again from a kosher torah. (SA OC 143:4) But what if it only might have a mistake? For example, if it's ...
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52 views

Writing the name of Hashem [duplicate]

When writing sheim Hashem, why do people replace one letter with a kuf/ as in קל, יקוק, ה', צבקות, שקי etc.?
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1answer
63 views

Why does the Machzor Rabba sometimes have an א at the bottom of the page?

My Machzor Rabba, nusach Ashkenaz, sometimes prints a dot, and sometimes an א at the bottom of the page. Anyone know why? I've included pictures of a double page with two dots, one with two alephs, ...
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י-ו as a name of Hashem

Sometimes the letters י-ו seem to serve as a name of Hashem. For example, many authors replace י-ו with טז in a numbering system, presumably so as to not write Hashem's name, similar to replacing י-ה ...
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173 views

Are there any letters that do not have a distinct pronunciation?

Are there any two letters which do not have a distinction between their pronunciation in any tradition of pronunciation? To ask the inverse, is there at least one tradition of pronunciation for each ...
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76 views

Using Zephaniah 3:8 as a pangram

Would usage of Zephaniah 3:8 solely as a pangram – it being the only option with both finals and cantillation – constitute shemos, and therefore require genizah? לָכֵ֤ן חַכּוּ־לִי֙ נְאֻם־יְהוָ֔ה ...
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Mishneh Torah Statistics

How many halchos are in the Mishneh Torah? How many chapters are in the Mishneh Torah? How many books are in the Mishneh Torah? (How many halachos, and chapters are in every sefer of Mishneh ...
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361 views

Talmud Statistics

How many letters are in the Talmud?* How many words are in the Talmud? How many dafim are in the Talmud? How many tractates are in the Talmud? How many letters, words, and dafim are in every ...
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1k views

How many words are there in Tanach?

How many letters are in the Torah? How many words are in the Torah? How many verses are in the Torah? How many chapters are in the Torah? How many letters, words, verses, and chapters are in every ...
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1answer
125 views

Who are the original Jews? [closed]

Is the people running Israel at the moment the original Jews and was the letter J in the Greek or Hebrew alphabet?
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146 views

What is the reason for “stretched” letters in the Torah?

I noticed that in many Sifrei Torah, Sofrim prefer to "stretch" certain letters. It seems that these letters are stretched to end a line if there wouldn't be enough space to start a new word. That's ...
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1answer
150 views

Which letters can be exchanged in a gematria/notarikon?

So, for instance, the rabbis would sometimes count hei (ה) as if it were chet (ח) (as in, yShabbat 7:2). Are there other letters that you are allowed to switch when computing a gematria or deriving a ...
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62 views

Source for the order of the aleph-beis?

What is the source for the Hebrew alphabet being in the order that it is? Meaning I realize that there are perhaps several sources that Aleph is the first letter, beis is the second etc, but is there ...
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211 views

Is a Sfardi ש incorrect according to this Gemara?

In Masechet Shabbat 104a, it talks about the shapes of the letters, and meaning behind it. One thing it says is: ומאי טעמא שיקרא אחדא כרעיה קאי ואמת מלבן לבוניה? And what is the reason that ...
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2answers
63 views

What are some examples of chazal making a midrash about the way a letter looks?

So, for instance, one could say that the nekudot over the word "kissed" in the verse in which Esau kissed Jacob suggest that Esau tried to bite Jacob because the line of dots looks like bite marks. ...
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156 views

If the “Nun” preceding Bamidbar (Num) 10:35 is not upside down, is the Torah still kosher?

While reading last week's parsha, I noticed that the letter "nun" immediately preceding the verse Vayehi B'nso'ah ha'aron Bamidbar 10:35 was written as regular nun (tagin on top) rather than upside ...
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1answer
84 views

Jewish headstone abbreviation

What does פ"נ on a Jewish headstone stand for? I have seen it on many stones, seems to be a common occurrence.