Questions about Hebrew grammar as related to Judaism.

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4
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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
votes
1answer
21 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
73 views

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: ...
3
votes
1answer
28 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 ...
11
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0answers
147 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 ...
5
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1answer
53 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 ...
8
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2answers
146 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 ...
24
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4answers
371 views

Female praying in masculine language

When women daven (pray), even by ourselves, it is convention to daven with male-gendered words ("modeh" vs "moda" as one of many examples). Why is this; are there sources that say we should be doing ...
13
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4answers
423 views

Yisgadal or Yisgadel?

I've noticed that some people, when reciting kaddish, pronounce the first words as "yisgadal v'yiskadash" with a patach under the dalet of both words, while others say "yisgadel v'yisgadesh" with a ...
5
votes
1answer
41 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
48 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
votes
3answers
658 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
41 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 ...
11
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3answers
410 views

Meaning and pronunciation of יישר כחך

What is the exact meaning of the phrase "יישר כחך", and what is the gramatically-correct way to pronounce it?
3
votes
1answer
159 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 ...
3
votes
0answers
21 views

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
89 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 ...
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0answers
84 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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1answer
29 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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1answer
45 views

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 ...
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0answers
36 views

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" ...
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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 ...
1
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1answer
65 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
votes
2answers
76 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 ...
15
votes
3answers
290 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 ...
9
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1answer
222 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
52 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 ...
5
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2answers
74 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 ...
3
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2answers
52 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
81 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.) ...
6
votes
1answer
68 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 ...
2
votes
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 ...
4
votes
1answer
110 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 ...
6
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0answers
59 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
70 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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0answers
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
90 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 ...
9
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1answer
516 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 ...
3
votes
0answers
29 views

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 ...
10
votes
3answers
159 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?
11
votes
2answers
181 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
65 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
192 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. ...
3
votes
2answers
88 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
122 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, ...
13
votes
3answers
6k 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.)?
3
votes
2answers
170 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 ...
7
votes
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 ...