Questions about the Hebrew letters, or aleph-bet.

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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
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1answer
160 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
85 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.
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2answers
230 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 ...
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0answers
118 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
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2answers
135 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 ...
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1answer
81 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.)
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2answers
129 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, ...
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1answer
71 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
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1answer
77 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
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1answer
293 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 ...
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2answers
343 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
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1answer
173 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
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1answer
137 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
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1answer
132 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?
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0answers
84 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 ...
5
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1answer
401 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
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2answers
127 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 ...
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3answers
216 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 ...
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1answer
118 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 ...
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0answers
259 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 ...
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1answer
62 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 ...
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3answers
2k 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, ...
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1answer
338 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, ...
4
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1answer
184 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 ...
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2answers
354 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
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1answer
293 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?
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0answers
210 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 ...
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2answers
283 views

Correcting tav/sav

If someone who usually pronounces the letter "ת" without a dagesh as "sav" is leining Torah, and he accidentally says "tav" in a place where he would normally say "sav", should the gabbai correct him? ...
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2answers
138 views

Why are Chazal asking if words are spelled with א or ע?

In Shabbos 77a-77b, Chazal ask about the spelling of a series of words, questioning whether the words are spelled with an alef - as in גראינין - or with an ayin - as in גרעינין. Wasn't ayin vocalized ...
7
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1answer
265 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 ...
3
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1answer
298 views

Was the Hebrew Alphabet also given with the Tablets and Law?

My research for my answer to Which alphabet were the original Torah scrolls in? gave me an idea--Since the Early Alphabetic alphabet is also called Sinaitic, and the timing seems about right, maybe ...
3
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2answers
294 views

Why do we use yud, yud? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Double Yud as G-ds Name In the siddur we often do not write out the four letter name of God (yud,kay, vav, kay) but instead write yud, yud. Why do we do this? Is this a ...
5
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1answer
185 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 ...
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1answer
152 views

Why is a chet with a patach pronounced differently? [closed]

Why is a chet with a patach at the end of a word pronounced "ACH" and not "CHA"? Example: מָשִׁיחַ
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0answers
161 views

Good resource for learning vowel pronunciation

In trying to improve my leyning, I'm trying to get the finer points of vowel pronunciation down. What is a good resource to learn, e.g., the difference between a patach and chataf-patach or a ...
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3answers
877 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).
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2answers
200 views

Why werent Rashi letters changed back

What is the basis of the change in Rashi's letters from the standard Hebrew ones? And if it was something that was dependent on a specific factor then, why weren't they changed back?
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0answers
87 views

Words in Sefarim in Modern Hebrew [closed]

Sometimes in the more modern seforim, I see an alternate spelling of סוגיה instead of סוגיא, with a Hei (ה) replacing the Aleph (א). Why is this? Also, is this done with similar words? For example, ...
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1answer
231 views

Learning the shapes of the letters as a Baal Koreh

I would have thought that the shapes of the letters would be a good thing for Baal Koreh to know, but I was told that since Sefrie Torah are not invalidated until they are declared as such, this would ...
4
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1answer
135 views

Midrash on children and the letter shapes?

I've heard about a midrash that discusses a day when little children took over the study hall and, by interpreting the shapes of the Hebrew letters, articulated many of Judaism's most powerful ...
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1answer
852 views

What does the /shin/ marker (like Petucha/Setuma) at the end of Torah books mean?

I've been reading about details of Torah sofrut, and after learning about the paragraph markers peh / פ (petucha) and samekh / ס (setuma), I noticed some similarly placed shin markers (mostly at the ...
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1answer
151 views

Psalm 145: Which Person?

Psalm 145 makes up the bulk of the oft recited prayer known as Ashrei. It is an alphabetic acrostic (missing the letter nun) about the greatness of God. The verses beginning with Alef, Bet, Dalet, ...
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3answers
349 views

Resources for learning Hebrew from scratch?

I was raised as a Jewish identifying secular child, and it's only in my adolescence/adulthood I've really become at all observant. One of the problems is, of course, I've never had a Hebrew class! ...
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2answers
348 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?
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0answers
94 views

Why do we write the number 16 as tet + zayin? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How could the numerals יה and יו be used irreverently? I understand that we write the number 15 as tet vav as opposed to yud hey to avoid writing the shem Hashem, but ...
5
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2answers
739 views

What is the Real Alter Rebbe Ksav?

There is a tradition that the Alter Rebbe (R' Shneur Zalman of Liadi) innovated a new Ksav (not the one in the Shulchan Aruch Harav) and taught it to sofrim who passed it on from teacher to student. ...
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2answers
1k views

Tehilim HaChida - in the order of the Aleph Bais

I recently came across the Tehilim HaChida which is the entire Tehilim with the Pesukim rearranged in the order of the Aleph Bais by first letter. From the introduction it seems like it is a special ...
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6answers
5k views

Which alphabet were the original Torah scrolls in?

I've assumed that the Torah scrolls we read today as the same that Moses wrote. I always assumed it's been the same alphabet. However lately I came across documents explaining the evolution of the ...
5
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1answer
141 views

Adir Hu - mi yodeya?

A popular song sung at the seder is Adir Hu. The song contains many phrases of the pattern: [Adjective] is He. that are grouped together alphabetically with a refrain asking for the speedy ...