Questions about Hebrew grammar as related to Judaism.

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Why does the Rambam change language?

In Hilchos Megillah V'Chanukah, the Rambam writes in 2:15 טו. כיצד חובת סעודה זו שיאכל בשר ויתקן סעודה נאה כפי אשר תמצא ידו, ושותה יין עד שישתכר וירדם בשכרות Why does the Rambam switch from ...
7
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1answer
38 views

What does the ל of לבעבור mean?

Shemos 20:17: ויֹּאמֶר משֶׁה אֶל הָעָם אַל תִּירָאוּ כִּי לְבַעֲבוּר נַסּוֹת אֶתְכֶם בָּא הָאֱלֹהִים וּבַעֲבוּר תִּהְיֶה יִרְאָתוֹ עַל פְּנֵיכֶם לְבִלְתִּי תֶחֱטָאוּ What does the 8th word in ...
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1answer
42 views

The use of tsere yod in Psalm 2:3

I can understand most of the breakdown of the word מוסרותימו in Psalm 2, thanks to your website viz masculine noun from root אסר with female plural ending ות. Also the poetic ending מו for 'their', ...
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51 views

Masculine Terms applied to God

Since ancient Israel was a patriarchal society, does that mean that the intermediary humans that wrote the Tanach were inclined to apply masculine aspects to God because men were dominant in those ...
4
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1answer
33 views

Were there specific locusts in reserve for the 8th plague?

Hashem's instructions to Moshe to bring the locusts reads as follows: וַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה אֶל משֶׁה נְטֵה יָדְךָ עַל אֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם בָּאַרְבֶּה וכו And Hashem said to Moses, "stretch out your ...
3
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1answer
70 views

Grammar of Birchot HaShachar

I have at times noticed that there are disagreements in the grammar of certain brachot in Birchot haShachar. For example, the first brachah is "אשר נתן", one of the later ones is either (depending on ...
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0answers
76 views

Are there rules on what are the correct vowels

I understand that, excluding the 24 books of Tenach, in all the Torah books (i.e. Mishna, Talmud...) we have no tradition on specific vowels. (I was reading a Shulchan Aruch Harav vowelized, in which ...
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2answers
56 views

Why is שלחה used as a masculine word?

In Shmuel 1 16:11, the word שלחה is used as a masculine word. The Mesora there lists 6 places where שלחה seems to be used as a masculine word. Another case is Bereishis 43:8 and another is Melachim 2 ...
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3answers
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Why חלפות (=malei) and then חלפת (=chaser)?

Bereishit 45:22: לְכֻלָּם נָתַן לָאִישׁ חֲלִפוֹת שְׂמָלֹת וּלְבִנְיָמִן נָתַן שְׁלשׁ מֵאוֹת כֶּסֶף וְחָמֵשׁ חֲלִפֹת שְׂמָלֹת Why is the first occurence of the word "חלפות" written מלא (with ...
4
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1answer
23 views

Singular and plural in Maoz Tzur

In the first five paragraphs of Maoz Tzur, the first-person singular is used fifteen times. However, the first-person plural is used just once, in ושם תודה נזבח - and there a thanksgiving-offering we ...
3
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1answer
30 views

Why does the language in the 13 Midot of Drasha shift?

In shacharit, we recite the 13 middot (already a strange word) through which a piece of Torah text is explained (explicated?) This comes from Braita d'Rav Yishma'el and, admittedly, I haven't look at ...
5
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1answer
54 views

Dikduk Q: Rashi and Ibn Ezra on the Sar Hamashkim

In the end of Parshas Vayeishev, the Pasuk says the Sar HaMashkim 'Lo zachar es yosef' and 'Vayishkacheihu'. Rashi explains that the dual terminology indicates that he forgot him on that day (the day ...
6
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1answer
39 views

Gender in Vayishlach 33:6-7

In Vayishlach (Bereishis 33:6-7), Yaakov's wives and children bow to Esav. With regard to the maidservants and their sons, the verse states וַתִּשְׁתַּחֲוֶיןָ - in the feminine, whereas by Leah and ...
5
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1answer
42 views

What does Rashi mean by לין שם דבר?

Rashi on bereshis 24:23 says "לין שם דבר." ie. "lin" is a noun. How does that fit in the context considering that Eliezer was asking for a place to "lodge". Even though lodge can be a noun, in this ...
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1answer
52 views

Why Mishna Berurah chooses chesronaM with a M in borei nefashos?

Mishna Berurah 202:3 quotes the nusach of borei nefashos as "Boreh Nefashos Rabos VeChesronaM" with a M in opposition to the common version vechesronaN with a N. As "vechesronan" is referring to ...
5
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3answers
674 views

Okay to address a rabbi with “you”?

I find it awkward to constantly say "Rabbi" instead of "you" while in a conversation. For example: "Hello Rabbi. I once spoke with the Rabbi regarding X. The Rabbi said Y. I think that the ...
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1answer
42 views

What is the precise translation of the word ארשע?

The pasuk in Iyov 10:7 states: עַל דַּעְתְּךָ כִּי לֹא אֶרְשָׁע וְאֵין מִיָּדְךָ מַצִּיל Chabad.org translates: It is in Your knowledge that I will not be condemned, but no one can save ...
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Why the person switches in Shemos 14:2-4?

Shemos 14:2-4: דבר, אל-בני ישראל, וישובו ויחנו לפני פי החירות, בין מגדול ובין הים: לפני בעל צפון, נכחו תחנו על-הים.‏ ואמר פרעה לבני ישראל, נבוכים הם בארץ; סגר עליהם, המדבר.‏ ...
5
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3answers
93 views

Why is “שבי” switched from masculine to feminine?

The beginning of Parshas Ki Seitze says: כִּי תֵצֵא לַמִּלְחָמָה עַל אֹיְבֶיךָ וּנְתָנוֹ יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ בְּיָדֶךָ וְשָׁבִיתָ שִׁבְיוֹ וְרָאִיתָ בַּשִּׁבְיָה אֵשֶׁת יְפַת תֹּאַר ...
0
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1answer
32 views

In the phrase זכר למעשה בראשית in Kiddush, is the word זכר an adjective?

Usually, a word that has a segol such as "zecher" gets a tzerei when it becomes an adjective. Example - "mateh" becomes "matei" when used as an adjective as in "matei Levi". Q - in the phrase זכר ...
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תעשה vs עשה (Ta'aseh vs Assei)

The Gemara in Eiruvin 54b says: באהבתה תשגה תמיד כגון רבי (אליעזר) בן פדת אמרו עליו על רבי (אליעזר) שהיה יושב ועוסק בתורה בשוק התחתון של ציפורי וסדינו מוטל בשוק העליון של ציפורי (תניא) א''ר יצחק בן ...
2
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1answer
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What is the right way to say ברכו את ה׳ המברך?

What is the right way to say ברכו את ה׳ המברך? Is it ברכו את (pause) ה׳ המברך as I have heard or ברכו (pause) את ה׳ המברך? We do find the את having a relationship with ה׳ as in Rabbi Akiva's drosho: ...
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vowels on vav before mem

Can someone explain why the following examples, all from parashat ki tzetzeh - כִּי תֵצֵא, are written with a kamatz: "vamet" - וָמֵת - (D'varim 21:21) "vameta" - וָמֵתָה - (D'varim 22:21) "vametu" ...
1
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1answer
66 views

Unusual pronunciation of “Mol” in Devarim 1:1

Devarim 1:1 uses the phrase "Mol Suf". The word is pronounced "Mol" vs. "Mul". I assume that the literal definition of the word is "against" or "near". In other locations in the Torah, the word is ...
4
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45 views

Proper Reading of the Word זועה

The word זועה appears six times in tanach: Yeshayahu 28:19 Yirmiyahu 15:4 Yirmiyahu 24:9 Yirmiyahu 29:18 Yirmiyahu 34:17 Divrei Hayamim II 29:8 In each one of these instances except the first, the ...
15
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1answer
248 views

Why are the names of some Masechtot in Aramaic while others are in Hebrew?

I noticed that the names of some Masechtot have an Aramaic plural ending - nun - such as "Gittin", while others have a Hebrew ending - mem - such as "Bikurim". Was there some pattern or logic in ...
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93 views

Why do we have the rule of “Nasog Achor”?

In Torah reading, there is a rule of "Nasog Achor". The rule is as follows: Usually, Hebrew words get the accent (and trope note) on the last syllable. However, if the word following it has its ...
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2answers
81 views

On schwa following word-initial “וּ”

Mishna B'rura 61:36 specifies that we should be careful to pronounce a sh'va na (mobile schwa) as na and a sh'va nach (quiescent schwa) as nach in "Sh'ma". Unfortunately, there's a class of sh'va I'm ...
5
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2answers
78 views

Theological Aspects of Hebrew Grammar

Are there any aggadic, kabbalistic, halachic or other theological teachings related to the grammar or morphology of Hebrew? I am not referring to the orthography (or anything at all related to ...
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1answer
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On the gender of the implied “פַּעַם שֵׁנִי” in Esther 2:14

Ester 2:14 speaks of each candidate for the title of queen consort: בָּעֶרֶב הִיא בָאָה וּבַבֹּקֶר הִיא שָׁבָה אֶל בֵּית הַנָּשִׁים שֵׁנִי In the evening she would arrive and in the morning ...
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What is the plague being referred to in Parshas Korach?

Bamidbar 17:11 ויאמר משה אל אהרן קח את המחתה ותן עליה אש מעל המזבח ושים קטרת והולך מהרה אל העדה וכפר עליהם כי יצא הקצף מלפני יהוה החל הנגף And Moses said unto Aaron: 'Take thy fire-pan, and ...
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1answer
64 views

Why does the Gemara sometimes use the word Ben and sometimes use the word Bar?

Why does the Talmud sometimes refer to someone as Ploni ben Ploni, and other times as Ploni bar Ploni? Classic example: In Bava Batra 14b the gemara says Rabbi Shimon ben Yocahi In Bar Ilan's ...
3
votes
1answer
162 views

Pray to G-d in feminine (leshon nekeva)

For some reason I remember there were sources strictly prohibiting turning to G-d as a woman. Of cause there are may be prophets metaphores etc. But I think it is at least not encouraged to describe ...
4
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1answer
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Why does the Torah sometimes refer to Shabbat as a masculine noun and other times as a feminine noun?

There are times when the Torah refers to Shabat in feminine as in Shmot (Ex.) 31:13 "...But you shall observe my Shabbats, for SHE is a sign". Other times the masculine voice is used as in Shmot (Ex.) ...
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60 views

(Ki) Ani Hashem Elokeihem

Twenty-seven times (by my count) in Torah and in Ezekiel, we find the phrase אני ה׳ אלקיכם or אני ה׳ אלקיהם at the end of a pasuk (for example, Lev 25:55). In eight of these cases, the phrase is ...
1
vote
1answer
79 views

שאול - Sha-ul vs She-ol

Ignoring vowelization, Sha-ul and She-ol is spelled the same way שאול We know that Shaul's name was derived from the root radical שאל = to question. However, She-ol is pronounced like ש - אול ...
4
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1answer
68 views

In the Rosh Chodesh leining, why is “Shabbas b'Shabato” pronounced with a pasach?

Recently, I paid attention to the Rosh Chodesh Torah reading (Bamidbar/Numbers Chapter 28) and noticed that in verse 10, "olas Shabbas b'Shabato…", the word "Shabbas" is vowelized with a pasach (short ...
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52 views

Is there a reason for the change in word order in Vayikra 25:10?

In parshat Behar (Vayikra 25:10) is the phrase ושבתם איש אל אחוזתו ואיש אל משפחתו תשובו - "You shall return every man to his inheritance, and every man to his family shall you return." Is there a ...
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1answer
33 views

Patach with chet [closed]

Is there any instance in which a final chet takes a regular patach, rather than a patach ganuv? This also goes for 'ayin and hey mapik.
4
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1answer
97 views

Pronunciation of Yerushalayim

In the Tanach, the word Yerushalayim is almost always written without a yud between the lamed and mem, but pronounced as if there is a patach under the lamed and a yud following it. We find though ...
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Grammatical origins of names in Tanach

Almost all nouns in Hebrew fit into one of several standard "templates". For example, מִבְחָן comes from the root בחנ combined with the pattern מִפְעָל (already used by many other words). There would ...
0
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1answer
69 views

What is the proper grammatical usage of *hamentaschen*?

Possibilities: singular / plural hamentasch / hamentaschim (as seen here) hamentaschen / hamentaschen I believe the second option prevails colloquially. Is there a correct/incorrect usage of this ...
4
votes
1answer
121 views

Why shva nach when it should be a chataf patach?

Shmot 31:4 says לַחְשֹׁב, מַחֲשָׁבֹת; לַעֲשׂוֹת בַּזָּהָב וּבַכֶּסֶף, וּבַנְּחֹשֶׁת Why does the word לחשוב have a shvah under the chet when normally a Peh-Gronit shoresh in the Pa'al binyan has ...
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votes
3answers
165 views

Why is future tense used in Esther 3:2?

In Megillas Esther Perek 3 Pasuk 2 we are told: וּמָרְדֳּכַי--לֹא יִכְרַע, וְלֹא יִשְׁתַּחֲוֶה. Why is this sentence in future tense? Why does it not it say לא כרע ולא השתחוה, in the past tense?
12
votes
2answers
197 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
131 views

Origin of the term Motza'ei Shabbos

I often hear that מוצאי שבת means "departure of the Sabbath," but it seems to me that the phrase for this should be צאת שבת (or יציאת שבת). The phrase מוצאי שבת seems to me to mean המוצאים של שבת, ...
7
votes
1answer
61 views

Second and third person at beginning of Mishpatim

The start of Mishpatim (Exodus 21:2-6) discusses the Hebrew slave. It starts with "Ki sikneh eved ivri" - "When you will buy a Hebrew slave", referring to the master in the second person. The ...
2
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0answers
54 views

Dagesh in Ne'umecha

Most nouns with a pronoun suffix and end with a short vowel have a dagesh chazak added. Examples: עַמִּי, כֻּלּוֹ, בָּתֵּינוּ. However, the word כִּנְאֻמֶךָ (in Emes Veyatziv) does not have a dagesh ...
2
votes
1answer
79 views

Paroh vs. Faroh in Parshat Bo

I am used to פרעה being pronounced as "Paroh" as it has been for the last few parshot, but I noticed today that in Parshat Bo (Shemot 10:11) it is to be pronounced "Faroh". What causes this change? ...
2
votes
1answer
120 views

Are there prophetic perfect tenses?

In Christianity, there is a school of interpretation where God sometimes describe future events using past tenses. God, being outside of time, see future events as if it already happens and hence use ...