Questions about Hebrew grammar as related to Judaism.

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10
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1answer
572 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
31 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
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 ...
0
votes
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 ...
7
votes
1answer
198 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
89 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
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, ...
13
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3answers
7k 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
174 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
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
votes
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
119 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 ...
14
votes
3answers
299 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, ...
2
votes
1answer
220 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
199 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
255 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
146 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
130 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 ...
10
votes
4answers
202 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
75 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
315 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, ...
2
votes
1answer
341 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
225 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. ...
2
votes
3answers
300 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 ...
0
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0answers
45 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
198 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
votes
2answers
263 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
votes
1answer
154 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
110 views

How should the vowel/s represented by “yud yud” be pronounced outside of Yiddish?

אורייתא, ברייתא and היינו are just three common examples of Aramaic words found in Gemara which are commonly pronounced containing the 'ay' (/ai/ei) sound. Of course, this corresponds to Yiddish whose ...
5
votes
1answer
199 views

Online tanach with qamatz qatan marked?

Although there are many places to find the Tanach online, I'd like to find one where qamatz qatan is specially marked. Preferably free, of course, though I'll take what I can get. Does anyone know of ...
3
votes
1answer
172 views

Importance of learning grammar

What are the traditional Jewish opinions about the importance of learning and speaking Hebrew with proper grammar (dikduk)?
10
votes
1answer
294 views

הוא is he? Or is it?

The third-person feminine pronoun in Hebrew is היא, "hee." But in most instances in the Torah, the word is spelled הוא, with a vav rather than a yud as the middle letter. How does this make sense ...
-1
votes
1answer
138 views

Why is there a Vuv with a Patach in וַיִּקְרָא?

What is the reason for the patach under the vuv in וַיִּקְרָא, the first word of the third book of the Pentateuch? I would expect a schva, which, at least in modern Hebrew, is what sits under a vuv ...
3
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0answers
56 views

Eliphaz and Bildad Zophar

Iyov 42:9: וַיֵּלְכוּ אֱלִיפַז הַתֵּימָנִי וּבִלְדַּד הַשּׁוּחִי צֹפַר הַנַּעֲמָתִי וַיַּעֲשׂוּ כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר אֲלֵיהֶם ה׳ In the JPS translation: So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the ...
5
votes
1answer
196 views

Bamidbar or Bemidbar?

What is the name of this week's parsha? What about the sefer? The text clearly says "Bemidbar" (or B'midbar), but many call it Bamidbar. Is this a grammatical or traditional difference? Could one ever ...
14
votes
4answers
393 views

Zeraim Moed Nashim Nezikim Kodshim Taharos - why not Moadim?

The names of the Shisha Sidrei Mishna (Six Orders of Mishnah) are: Zeraim, Moed, Nashim, Nezikim, Kodshim, Taharos. All of them besides Moed are in plural form. However Moed is in singular form. Why ...
2
votes
1answer
112 views

Zechuto Yagen/Tagen Alenu?

Why is it that many people say זכותו יגן עלינו - according to grammar, shouldn't it be תגן עלינו since זכות is feminine? I guess I am just looking for a justification of the general practice.
3
votes
1answer
83 views

Strange abbreviation זי"ע [duplicate]

Apparently this abbreviation is supposed to mean זכותו יגן עלינו. Surely this is grammatically incorrect, as the word זכות is feminine, and the phrase should be זכותו תגן עלינו?
2
votes
3answers
307 views

Root of word צְלוֹתְהוֹן?

Looking at the Kaddish Shalem focusing on the words תִּתְקַבֵּל צְלוֹתְהוֹן, what is the etymology of the word tzelot-hon? Is this construct even hebrew? I found the root צְלָא meaning "pray" with ...
2
votes
1answer
58 views

Singular and plural language in Vaikra 10:1

In parashat shemini, chapter 10, verse 1 it is written: וַיִּקְחוּ בְנֵי אַהֲרֹן נָדָב וַאֲבִיהוּא אִישׁ מַחְתָּתוֹ וַיִּתְּנוּ בָהֵן אֵשׁ וַיָּשִׂימוּ עָלֶיהָ קְטֹרֶת וַיַּקְרִיבוּ לִפְנֵי ...
11
votes
1answer
149 views

impure animals: present, future, past

The verses in Vayikra 11:4-6 gives 3 examples of different impure animals which don't have split hoofs, namely: the camel, the 'hyrax' (shafan) and the hare. An interesting thing I once noticed is ...
2
votes
1answer
70 views

Kodesh Hee Shabbath HaMalkah

In a well known Shabbath song, there is a line that goes, "Kodesh Hee Lachem Shabbath HaMalkah." Roughly, this translates to, "Holy is she to you, the Sabbath Queen." Oddly, however, the modifier ...
2
votes
1answer
101 views

Why “מִי וָמִי” instead of “מִי וּמִי”?

I have always thought that as a general rule, the vav conjunctive prefix is usually a "וְ". But, when the word being "prefixed" either starts with a shva or starts with a "lip-letter" (בומ"פ), the vav ...
3
votes
0answers
80 views

Difference between 'rafa' and 'ripa'

The root רפא, "heal", is used in various places in Tanach, sometimes in binyan paal and sometimes in binyan piel. I wonder what the difference is between these. Does any Tanach commentator, or the ...
3
votes
2answers
224 views

How to say Adonainu Moreinu VeRabeinu in Aramaic

I have heard people translate "Adoneinu Moreinu VeRabeinu" (please don't ask where) into Aramaic as "Adonana Morana Verabana". I assume that the "a" is an aleph at the end. However, I realized that ...
6
votes
2answers
169 views

Ibn Ezra's Arabic-based explanation of the vav heading some clauses

Sh'mos 9:21: וַאֲשֶׁר לֹא שָׂם לִבּוֹ אֶל דְּבַר יהוה וַיַּעֲזֹב אֶת עֲבָדָיו וְאֶת מִקְנֵהוּ בַּשָּׂדֶה And 13:17: וַיְהִי בְּשַׁלַּח פַּרְעֹה אֶת הָעָם וְלֹא נָחָם אֱלֹהִים דֶּרֶךְ אֶרֶץ ...
11
votes
3answers
406 views

Were our symbols for trope and nekudos created by the Masoretes, or transmitted by them?

It is commonly said in secular sources that the shapes of the trope and nekudos we use today were invented by the Masoretes (7th to 11th Century CE), but I cannot find any source in our mesorah to ...
7
votes
1answer
143 views

Change of name in Megillat Esther from Hegeh to Hegai?

In Megillat Esther, the Pasuk (2:3) says that Achashverosh gathered the girls and placed them in the women's house, and the one who guarded them was הגא (ending with an א and with a segol under the ...