Questions about the Hebrew letters, or aleph-bet.

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

1
vote
0answers
16 views

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 ...
1
vote
0answers
26 views

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 ...
1
vote
0answers
27 views

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 ...
4
votes
3answers
132 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
68 views

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 ...
6
votes
2answers
106 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
29 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
75 views

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 ...
1
vote
1answer
43 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.?
2
votes
1answer
48 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, ...
8
votes
1answer
94 views

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 ...
2
votes
2answers
141 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 ...
3
votes
0answers
41 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 ...
-4
votes
2answers
91 views

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 ...
-4
votes
2answers
101 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
263 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
123 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?
7
votes
2answers
110 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
73 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
53 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
146 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
53 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. ...
7
votes
1answer
127 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
71 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.
13
votes
2answers
161 views

Why does almost every pasuk in Megillat Ruth start with a vav?

Every single pasuk except 8 in megillat Ruth starts with the letter vav. Is there any reason for this or is it just a quirk of how it was written? If there is a reason, what about the 8 pesukim which ...
1
vote
0answers
91 views

Why is the name of the first Hebrew letter also the word for 1000?

I find it interesting the first letter in the Hebrew alphabet is "Aleph", which shares the letters and is pronounced nearly identically to the word for one thousand - "Eleph". Why might this be? ...
5
votes
2answers
100 views

Is a Torah that does NOT have the (rabbati) large and small letters (keti'ah) still kosher?

I have a Torah in my shul that does not have any large or small letters where required (e.g. - the 1st letter in the Torah, "Breishit", is written larger than the rest.) Is this Torah still considered ...
0
votes
1answer
62 views

A word seems to be written in an unusual way in Psalm 60,2

Why is there a medial mem rather than a final mem at the end of the word "aram" in Psalm 60:2? (Please see screenshot below.)
5
votes
1answer
88 views

What's the significance of בי״ה שמ״ו סימן, espcially on Dt. 31:28?

In most sifre Tora (Torah scrolls), 240 columns of text each start with the letter vav (ו), and five do not. The first of those five exceptional columns, of course, is the first column of the Torah, ...
1
vote
0answers
28 views

May the Jewish year be abbreviated in legal documents?

In conjunction with this question I would like to know if the popular abbreviation for the Jewish year 5774 commonly written as תשע״ד may be used in legal documents and if so why.
1
vote
1answer
64 views

Why do we abbreviate the Jewish year to the hundreds column?

The current Jewish year is 5774 however it is popularly abbreviated as 774 - תשע״ד. I would like to know why this abbreviation was adopted. I realize that to write out the number 5,000 would require ...
3
votes
1answer
67 views

When transliterating a name for the Ketubah, can the letters י and ה be written together?

Specifically, the name in this case is Natalya. Is it considered appropriate to spell it as נטליה, which seems like the most correct transliteration? As a child in a yeshiva, I had teachers who ...
3
votes
1answer
201 views

Why are some letters in the names of Haman's sons little?

In Esther 9:7,9 there are letters in the names of Haman's sons which are written smaller than usual in the megillah. Barring the purimfest 1946 explanation, what is the reason for these letters being ...
12
votes
2answers
209 views

Aleph with a Dagesh

In four places in Tanakh, our text has an aleph with a dagesh: Gen 43:26, Lev 23:17, Job 33:21, and Ezra 8:18. What is the significance of this, and for the first two examples, how would you indicate ...
3
votes
1answer
140 views

פ in German Sta"M Script

Does anyone know the German custom for the letter pey in Sta"m sofer? I know that the shape in Litvisch Bet Yosef is influenced by the Mekubalim of Tzfat (The Ari in particular) who said that the ...
8
votes
1answer
124 views

Why is the hey in Elo-* replaced with a kuf?

As we know when we write Hashem's name, we replace the hey with a kuf. Why davka a kuf? For example: Elokai, Elokeinu, Elokah, or "Yud-Key-Vav-Key". And in "Yud-key-vav-key", why is it pronounced ...
2
votes
1answer
79 views

Three letters at the end of the parasha

What are the three letters either samechs or pe's which are at the end of the parasha in the Chumash?
3
votes
0answers
75 views

Why don't Ramaniote Jews use the hei in names?

I am named after my grandfather and great grandfather on my mother's side, both of whom were Ramaniote. My name, therefore, is "Avram Mosh" (אברם מוש) instead of "Avraham Moshe" (אברהם משה). I've been ...
3
votes
1answer
196 views

How do I pronounce “yod” when there is a dot inside of it?

I'm trying to brush up on my Hebrew. As an American Jew, it is still important to me to be able to recite my prayers from the siddur in their original Hebrew. How do I pronounce "yod" when there is a ...
3
votes
2answers
120 views

What is the problem with writing שט as a number?

In Hebrew, numbers are represented by letters. When these letters spell out something unpleasant or undesirable, they are moved around. An example is שד which means “demon” becomes דש in the Mishna ...
3
votes
3answers
142 views

Small Kaf in ולבכתה (when Avraham mourns Sara)

Genesis 23:2: וַתָּמָת שָׂרָה, בְּקִרְיַת אַרְבַּע הִוא חֶבְרוֹן--בְּאֶרֶץ כְּנָעַן; וַיָּבֹא, אַבְרָהָם, לִסְפֹּד לְשָׂרָה, וְלִבְכֹּתָהּ.‏ And Sarah died in Kiriatharba--the same is ...
3
votes
1answer
108 views

Altering the Spelling out the Hebrew Year

In 1983-1984, the Hebrew year was 5744. Normally, the year would have been spelled out in Hebrew letters תשמ״ד, but according to my rabbi then, Rabbi Phillip Rabinowitz, zt'l, as pronounced the word ...
2
votes
0answers
170 views

The almost-alphabetic acrostic Al Chet

The Al Chet that we say four times on Yom Kippur - the long list of sins that we list and ask to be forgiven for - is a double-acrostic (in nusach Ashkenaz). Each letter is represented twice in a row ...
1
vote
1answer
49 views

where did a“t b”sh come from?

one of the "systems" of remez (hints) is a"t b"sh where the first letter of the aleph bet can be switched to the last letter. The pattern continues moving inward toward the center with bet pairing ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Complete list of verses corresponding to people's names?

There is a custom to say a verse corresponding to ones name at the end of the Amidah, as a Segulah not to forget his name on the day of Judgement. There are several sources for this practice, ...
-1
votes
1answer
257 views

Hebrew alphabet spelling for phrase in psalm 23, and the phrase “God is my refuge”?

I find the Hebrew alphabet to be very beautiful but as of right now I only know the meaning of a couple of symbols. I would love to have the correct original spelling for the beginning of psalm 23, ...
3
votes
1answer
166 views

All but every 6th letter begins the name of a misechte

For each letter in the aleph beis, there is at least one misechte in shas whose name starts with it — besides for every 6th letter (vuv, lamed and tzadi). Did anyone ever hear any explanation ...
6
votes
2answers
282 views

Why is one permutation of the name of God backwards?

If you spell out each letter that makes up the name of God, then add up the gematria (numerical value) of each letter of each fully spelled out letter you get various values. The value depends on how ...
2
votes
1answer
200 views

Why is the ketuba left incomplete until the signing?

In the ketuba, the ק in the word "וקנינא" is sometimes left incomplete until the time that the ketuba is signed. Why is the ketuba left incomplete?
2
votes
0answers
190 views

Can we teach reading Hebrew without using the full names of the letters and vowels?

I've heard in Chabad and elsewhere that when teaching children to read Hebrew, one must call the letters and vowels only by their full traditional name. This is in my opinion very distracting for a ...