Questions about the Hebrew letters, or aleph-bet.

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2
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1answer
126 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 ...
19
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3answers
905 views

Is the winding פ in this sefer torah kosher?

Leaving aside all other issues with the text as displayed, are the pehs acceptable, or do they actually need an inverted vav on the inside (instead of these whirls)?
2
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1answer
70 views

Source Midrash - why the first letter of the Tenach is a Bet

What's the source of the Midrash that talks about the reason why the letter Bet was chosen as the first letter of the Tenach and not the Alef? The reason being given in this Midrash is that it is ...
6
votes
1answer
230 views

Why is it “Beiz”?

I understand the Ashkenazi pronunciation of Hebrew is that the letter 'ת' with no דגש is an 's' sound. So why do (many) Ashkenazim pronounce the name of the letter 'ב', which is normally spelled ב-י-...
2
votes
4answers
326 views

The Meaning behind the Kaf

Searching for the root for Kipah (כפה) I found the word Kaphaph (כפף) from the root Kaph or Kaf כף. Kaf (as a word) means (hand)palm, while yod refers to yad (the hand). Kaf (as a letter כ) has a ...
4
votes
4answers
298 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 ...
1
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0answers
36 views

Where can one find a complete guide to Hebrew numerals?

I am looking for an instruction resource on Hebrew numerals that is comprehensive, insofar as it: lists all (or nearly all) of the euphemistic exceptions in frequent use (such as "chai" for 18, רחץ ...
5
votes
2answers
121 views

Who were the original users of Ktav Ashuri?

According to one opinion found in the Talmud Sanhedrin 22a ktav ashuri was brought up from the first exile, assumedly adopted from Babylonian sources. Who exactly was using this alphabet? Do we have ...
5
votes
2answers
362 views

how do you pronounce the soft reish?

from the sefer yetzirah it seems that there is both a hard and soft letter reish (see 4th perek, aryeh kaplan edition). How do you pronounce the soft reish?
3
votes
1answer
58 views

Chilufei Otiyot and the 22 Alef-Bets

In Sefer Yetzirah we are told of the 231 Gates, in various other sources we learn that there are many different Alef-Bets (Some saying as many as 231). Of these I know the standard, AtBash, AlBam, ...
5
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3answers
3k 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, ...
3
votes
1answer
46 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
77 views

How does one pronounce the sefardi Ayin?

I was taught how to read in an ashekenazi yeshivah where no difference was made between the aleph and ayin. I keep trying to make my ayin gutteral but it never sounds exactly how the sephardim ...
2
votes
2answers
265 views

Are there any sources that try to rectify the difference in letters in the Torah and refs to 600k letters?

There are references (I don't have them handy - please reference if you know) that say there are 600k letters in the Torah corresponding to all the Jews (at least in the desert) and that each Jew has ...
1
vote
1answer
50 views

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 ...
18
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2answers
1k views

Relationship between Samekh and Sin

What is the relationship between the letters samekh and sin? Did they ever have distinct sounds? Why do they exist as separate letters?
8
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1answer
273 views

How to pronounce the name of the last letter in the Hebrew alphabet?

I have heard mixed answers as to how to pronounce the letter תּ Is it taf or tav? (I'm referring to the halachic pronunciation not the common street way.) Is there a difference between Ashkenazi or ...
5
votes
3answers
225 views

The letter Dalet

The fourth letter of the Hebrew alphabet is "dalet" and not "daled." Why, then, do Ashkenazi Jews not pronounce it as "dales." I have heard an answer that "dales" sounds too much like "dalus", ...
3
votes
1answer
59 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
125 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 ...
6
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0answers
50 views

Source for the Beit Yosef's צ

In most forms of k'tav stam (Sephardi, Ari, Jeckisch, et c.) the righthand yud of the letter צ is reversed (see fig. 1). On the other hand, the Beit Yosef's צ uses a regular י shape in the righthand ...
3
votes
0answers
81 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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0answers
38 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?
0
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0answers
13 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 ...
1
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0answers
45 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 (E&...
0
votes
1answer
49 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
302 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 ...
6
votes
0answers
42 views

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 ...
1
vote
1answer
78 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?
7
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2answers
132 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, ...
5
votes
1answer
176 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
105 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
256 views

Eicha - why are the Pesukim with the פ before the Pesukim with the ע?

The first 4 Perakim of Eicha are written in the order of the Aleph Bais. However in Perek 2, 3, & 4 the Pesukim for פ are written before the Pesukim with the ע. Why? And then why in Perek 1 is it ...
0
votes
1answer
66 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
219 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
200 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
95 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 יעקב:...
-2
votes
1answer
125 views

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 ...
1
vote
1answer
78 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 ...
2
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0answers
85 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
52 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
84 views

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 ...
3
votes
2answers
156 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
53 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
88 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 ...
10
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3answers
454 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
120 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
92 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 ...
8
votes
6answers
616 views

Different Size Letters in the Torah

I've often wondered if someone has compiled anything about the "special letters" in the Torah: All the letters that are either big or small. Together, do they read as something special? One or more ...
1
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0answers
28 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 ...