Questions about Hebrew grammar as related to Judaism.

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Meisvei in Gemorah

Why do we pronounce the word Meisvei as such when in the Gemorah the pronounciation looks like it should be Meisevei? We don't seem to pronounce the yud.
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54 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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66 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 ...
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49 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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3answers
263 views

Why are there two different forms of the mitzvah brachot (“l-” and “al”)?

Some mitzvah brachot are of the form ...vitzivanu "l'X" ("to X", infinitive verb), and others are of the form "al X" ("upon X", gerundive verb). I particularly noticed this during Sukkot with two ...
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190 views

How come Sepharadim say “Boreh peri haGEFen” but “Shelo Asani AVed”

I think Hacham Ovadia has a footnote in Hazon Ovadia on Pesach (and probably elsewhere) in which he discusses why we don't use the pausal form of gafen instead of gefen. He writes (if i remember ...
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49 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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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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50 views

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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70 views

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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121 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 ...
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64 views

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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57 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 ...
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93 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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(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 ...
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55 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 ...
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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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29 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.
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65 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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445 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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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 ...
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152 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?
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148 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 ...
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1answer
64 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 ...
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178 views

Good Talmudic Grammar resource for one unfamiliar with grammar in general?

Inspired by: How to say Adonainu Moreinu VeRabeinu in Aramaic I'd like to understand Talmudic/Aramaic Grammar a little better and am looking for a good resource that will break it down for me. ...
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79 views

מַלְאַךְ ה׳—“the angel of GOD” or “an angel”

In various places the Torah refers to מַלְאַךְ ה׳; e.g., twice in Bereishis 22. Mechon Mamre’s JPS translation renders this as “the angel of the LORD”, but is the definite article implicit in this ...
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100 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, ...
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4k views

Proper recitation of Hamakom Yenachem

Is the proper phrase to console a mourner always the plural המקום ינחם אתכם בתוך שאר אבלי ציון וירושלים or should it be changed depending on whom it is said to (singluar, feminine, etc.)?
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167 views

Why does the book of Ester use the present tense so often?

I noticed that the book of Ester uses, often very awkwardly, the present tense to describe things that usually are written in the past tense (I didn't notice this much use of the present tense in ...
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1answer
57 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 ...
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42 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 ...
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72 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? ...
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1answer
89 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 ...
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3answers
241 views

Which books help one acquire a systematic understanding of Biblical Hebrew grammar?

A question for the grammar experts. How can I learn Hebrew grammar in a systematic way? Especially a book that would help me understand how to layn properly. Something that covers rules of nikkud, ...
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1answer
110 views

לא (lamed-aleph) vs אל (aleph-lamed)

Hebrew beginner, here. I was asking why the prefix for "not" was usually לא but occasionally אל. Some kind Hebrew students told me אל was only used for future tense, saying not to do something. One ...
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1answer
177 views

Verbs or Nouns in the Amidah

In the second brakhah of the amidah, מחיה is vocalized with a segol under the yud in some siddurim--making it a present-tense verb (1); and with a tzere in other siddurim--making it a noun in ...
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219 views

Should I say shmei or shmeh?

Some Ashkenazim are medakdek to pronounce their Aramaic "correctly". And they know that there is a mapik heh in Amein Yehei ShemeiH Rabba. Thus, יְהֵא שְׁמֵ*הּ* רַבָּא מְבָרַךְ לְעָלַם וּלְעָלְמֵי ...
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102 views

Variable pronunciation of patach chataf in Lithuanian Hebrew

In theory, a "patach chataf" - a patach with a shva next to it, like this: חֲ is pronounced in Lithuanian Hebrew like a patach followed by a yud. This results in the common pronunciations (which I ...
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111 views

The torah sometimes uses “olah tamid” and sometimes “olat tamid” but they seem to mean the same thing; what's the difference?

I know that in Biblical Hebrew (and presumably other varieties), we see the construct "noun adjective", with the noun unodified, such as "parah adamah" (red heifer). We also see the noun-chain ...
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4answers
175 views

Why does Yitzchak's blessing of Yaakov refer to Yaakov's mother's *sons*?

B'reishit 27:29 reads: Let peoples serve thee, and nations bow down to thee. Be lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother's sons bow down to thee. Cursed be every one that curseth thee, and ...
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70 views

punctuation of ledor vador in Modim prayer of the Amida

מוֹדִים אֲנַֽחְנוּ לָךְ, שָׁאַתָּה הוּא, יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ וֵאלֹהֵי אֲבוֹתֵֽינוּ, לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד, צוּרֵֽנוּ צוּר חַיֵּֽינוּ, מָגֵן יִשְׁעֵֽנוּ, אַתָּה הוּא לְדוֹר וָדוֹר, נֽוֹדֶה לְּךָ וּנְסַפֵּר ...
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284 views

Ashkenazic vs. Sefardic grammar tendencies

I notice that when referring to God in the second person in a possessive form, Sefardim often use the female form where Ashkenazim use the male form. For example, where Ashkenazim say in kedusha, ...
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1answer
308 views

Grammatical quirk in Yoda-esque sentences

Usually when the word אתה appears in Tanach and tfilah, we pronounce it מלרע (a-TAH or a-TOH. whichever you like, that's not really my point. The emphasis is on the end of the word). Why in ...
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3answers
207 views

What's the difference between LaZman and LeZman?

In the Mishnah Brurah (676:1) it says: והגיענו לזמן הזה הלמ"ד בחיר"ק ולא בפת"ח That in the Bracha of Shehechiyanu, the Lamed in the word Lazman should be said with a Hiriq and not with a Patach. ...
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3answers
215 views

Is the name of God simply a third person form of to be?

This article http://www.eliyah.com/yahweh.html claims that Yahweh is simply a third person form of Hayah (to be). The first form is Ehyeh. Just like the word "be" in English is rarely used and become ...
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40 views

Who first described the grammatical distinction of vav ha-hipukh v. vav ha-chibur in Tanakh?

To be more specific, who first wrote that a vav ha-chibur connects words or clauses together, but the vav ha-hipukh causes a "perfect" verb to become "imperfect" (for lack of better terms), and ...
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98 views

What is the difference between (for example) “notein” and “hanotein”?

I was looking through the brachot this morning. Many are structured as identifying hashem as "one who __" such as "matir assurim" or "oteir yisro'el btif'arah." But the final three add in the letter ...
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1answer
137 views

How to vowelize “כתובה” (“marriage document”)?

The promissory note a husband gives his wife when they wed is called a כתובה. In my experience, people usually pronounce/vowelize this word "כְּתֻבָּה / k'suba". Such a form (mishkal) exists in ...
8
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2answers
237 views

Is the bracha pronounced “ha-MO-tzee” or “ha-mo-TZEE”?

The blessing we say on bread, "hamotzee lechem min ha'aretz" -- on what syllable is the stress in the word "hamotzee"? Is the bracha pronounced "ha-MO-tzee" or "ha-mo-TZEE"? In Psalms 104:14 we find ...
8
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1answer
139 views

What are some good resources for finding the meaning of unfamiliar Hebrew and Aramaic words in Acharonim?

I have no trouble using Jastrow for Tanach and Shas but I find it difficult to apply to Acharonim. How might I use it more effectively? Are there peculiarities of grammar I'm missing? For a few ...