questions about Hebrew grammar

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6
votes
2answers
149 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
325 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
132 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 ...
12
votes
5answers
310 views

Plural of “Nafka Minah”

(Inspired by HodofHod's commment here: Four Holy Cities) What is the proper plural for the common Aramaic phrase Nafka Minah נפקא מינה which means something along the line of "practical differences"? ...
3
votes
1answer
81 views

ReEh in singular (Deut. 11:26)

The Ba'al HaTurim to Deut. 11:26 cites Bab. Megillah 31b in saying that all the blessings and curses in "Mishneh Torah" (usually this means Sefer Devarim - Deuteronomy) are written in singular, and ...
12
votes
3answers
203 views

Grammatical function of Emet te'amim?

The Emet books (Iyov, Mishlei, Tehillim) have a cantillation system that is not used elsewhere in Tanach. In addition to the use of cantillation marks not found elsewhere (iluy, ole, dehi, geresh ...
3
votes
2answers
101 views

Question regarding ונביא גדול הוא קרוב ממשה רבנו in Rambam's Hilkhos Teshuva

Here is some text from Rambam's Hilkhos Teshuva: לפי שבאותן הימים תרבה הדעה והחכמה והאמת...מפני שאותו המלך שיעמוד מזרע דויד בעל חכמה יהיה יתר משלמה ונביא גדול הוא קרוב ממשה רבנו ולפיכך ילמד כל העם ...
3
votes
2answers
121 views

Why does Rashi say that a hey at the end = a lamed at the beginning so many times?

Over and over again, Rashi on Chumash points out that a hey at the end of the word means the same as a lamed at the beginning. He doesn't just clarify that that is the usage, he states the rule itself ...
2
votes
1answer
103 views

Why does Rashi comment on some verb-לו phrases and not others?

A feature of lashon hakodesh (Biblical Hebrew) is that a verb is sometimes followed by "לו", inflected for the person, number, and gender of the subject, without the "לו" indicating an object of the ...
5
votes
1answer
335 views

What is the difference between adonai and adoni?

I'm sure I've missed something quite obvious here, but I've always been told that adonai is "my Lord", and so I always assumed that it was adon with 'my' stuck to it. But, that would be adoni, with a ...
3
votes
1answer
122 views

Why use an active verb with no subject?

In parshat Noach, perek 7, pasuk 23, The opening word "וַיִּמַח" is presented as an active verb, attested to by the presence of the word אֶת (I am summarizing the discussion of rashi and the ...
10
votes
3answers
208 views

וינוחו בה\בו\בם ישראל in Shabbat shemoneh esrei — why the change?

I've noticed that the Friday night shemoneh esrei (nusach Ashkenaz) uses the line "בה", shacharit and musaf use "בו", and mincha uses "בם" in the phrase "וינוחו _ ישראל מקדשי שמך..." What is the ...
14
votes
8answers
477 views

Why is “Shalom Aleichem” always plural?

Why do we say Shalom Alaichem to one person if Alaichem is plural? Is it saying you and all of the Jews? Is that why it's plural?
7
votes
2answers
187 views

Stress of הושיעה and הצליחה in Hallel

Why is הושיעה Mileel (penultimately stressed) whereas הצליחה is Milra (ultimately stressed) in Psalms 118:25?
6
votes
1answer
133 views

גמר חתימה טובה gender

During the nine and a half days ending with Yom Kipur, we wish each other "גמר חתימה טובה" (an end to the good signing). This seems very strange. Shouldn't it be "גמר חתימה טוב" (a good end to the ...
6
votes
1answer
108 views

What does מִלְמַעְלָה in Gen 7:20 mean?

Genesis 7:20, describing the flood, says: חֲמֵשׁ עֶשְׂרֵה אַמָּה מִלְמַעְלָה, גָּבְרוּ הַמָּיִם; וַיְכֻסּוּ, הֶהָרִים.‏ Almost everybody translates the first clause as some approximation of ...
0
votes
0answers
28 views

Why do we vary the form of the attributes of HaShem in the selicho “Kail Rachum shmecho”?

In the selicho "Kail Rachum shmecho" we ask HaShem to do things because of ("lema'an") - a list of things. Some are in the masculine form eg shemecho and some in the feminine form eg amitoch, brisoch. ...
4
votes
3answers
158 views

The dagesh in “elo-ha” means what?

I'm not so clear on the use of the dagesh as a point of definition -- I understand some fo the pronunciation issues but not all of them either so I would appreciate any help here. I recall learning ...
1
vote
0answers
36 views

How to conjugate “their resting place(s)” in Kel Malei Rachamim?

The memorial prayer Kel Malei Rachamim concludes "may they rest in peace in their resting place[s], and let us say Amen." Okay, how to say "resting place[s]." Mishkavam? Mishkaveihem? Mishkevoseihem? ...
7
votes
0answers
117 views

Why is there a custom to join “Hashem” and “Elokenu” together in the line Al Taazvenu in Shema Kolenu in Selichot

In Shema Kolenu, based on the Posuk in Psalms 38:22 we say the phrase: Al Taazvenu Hashem Elokenu Al tirchak mimenu | Don't leave us Hashem Our God Don't distance yourself from us. The ...
1
vote
1answer
87 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
13
votes
3answers
231 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 ...
4
votes
5answers
516 views

Chassidic Rebbes don't use Hebrew Grammar?

I have not witnessed enough test cases to statistically verify anything, but I have heard various Chassidic Rebbes make b'rachos and daven out loud, and without fail, they mispronounce a majority of ...
9
votes
2answers
131 views

verb + its infinitive

Many, many times in Tanach, including Chumash, a verb has its infinitive nearby. Examples include B'reshis 2:16 מִכֹּל עֵץ הַגָּן אָכֹל תֹּאכֵל (I think that's the first example in Chumash) and ...
2
votes
0answers
146 views

Two-letter shorashim and phonetic shorashim?

I have heard many times in the name of Rabbi Shimshon Rafael Hirsch that every Hebrew shoresh (usually defined with three letters) has a more basic root of two letters. I also heard in his name that ...
2
votes
0answers
39 views

Singular and plural language in Deut. 4:25

Why does the Pasuk (Deut. 4:25) switch between singular and plural when building up to the consequences of what "you will [do]"? "When you (sing.) will have children and grandchildren, and you (pl.) ...
3
votes
2answers
91 views

In the גמרא when should I read 'לך' as 'לְךָ' and when should I read it as 'לָךְ'?

When I use an Artscroll gemara with vowels, sometimes it will vocalize the word לך differently. The pattern I notice seems to be that it vocalizes לך as לְךָ for hebrew, i.e. a mishna or braisa, and ...
3
votes
1answer
72 views

Where does the comma go in the Birkas Kohanim, and why?

In which of the positions (1) or (2) does the comma go in the introduction to Birkas Kohanim, ברכנו בברכה המשלשת (1) בתורה (2) הכתובה על ידי משה עבדך Bless us with the blessing which is ...
4
votes
2answers
160 views

Copula insertion in “Jewish American vernacular English”

What explains the unnecessary insertion of copulas before Hebrew and Yiddish participles used in English contexts? For example, why the common formulation "he is yotze" rather than simply "he yotze"? ...
4
votes
1answer
112 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, ...
5
votes
2answers
125 views

Yumatu and the plural in Dev 24

Devarim 24:16 makes a statement which is central to Jewish theology. The posuk makes clear that a father will not be put to death for the sins of his son and that a son will not be put to death for ...
5
votes
2answers
76 views

Shifting subjects and objects in Gen 12:15

There are three statements in Genesis 12:15: וַיִּרְאוּ אֹתָהּ שָׂרֵי פַרְעֹה וַיְהַלְלוּ אֹתָהּ אֶל פַּרְעֹה וַתֻּקַּח הָאִשָּׁה בֵּית פַּרְעֹה And Pharaoh's princes saw her, and they ...
5
votes
3answers
355 views

How do you pronounce Hashem's name when there is a prefix?

When you have a prefix, such as a lamed, before the name YKVK people pronounce it la | donai instead of la | a | donai. Why?
2
votes
0answers
101 views

Intonation of questions in ancient Hebrew [closed]

That is, when someone asks a question in English, their pitch goes up at the end. When someone makes a statement in English, their pitch goes down. This is not universal: In German, only some ...
5
votes
1answer
158 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?
6
votes
1answer
71 views

Final Nun vs. Final Mem in “Madlikin”

In the Hanerot Halalu that we recite when lighting the Hanukkah candles, it says "anachnu madlikin." Why madlikin and not madlikim? Why is a final nun used and not a final mem? I have searched ...
10
votes
2answers
153 views

“־הם” versus “־מו”

Usually, the suffix "־הם" is used to mean "them" as an object, as is "להם" or "אליהם". Or it is used to mean "their" in possessive form, as in "כליהם" or "אבותיהם". But sometimes, the very same usage ...
10
votes
1answer
166 views

Accent mark in וישבע לו

In many Chumashim, the word וישבע in Parshas Chayei Sara (24:9) contains both a munach and a meseg (meteg). One example: I do not understand what the meseg is doing there under the beis. Typically ...
8
votes
2answers
199 views

הקדוש ברוך הוא אנחנו אוהבים אותך ‎— or אותו?

There is a popular song some of whose lyrics are "הקדוש ברוך הוא אנחנו אוהבים אותך". Does anyone have a source — besides some recent lyricist — for these words precisely, or a source for any instance ...
6
votes
2answers
410 views

Pronunciation of משנה הלכות

Are R' Menashe Klein's volumes of responsa pronounced "Mishna Halachos" or "Mishaneh Halachos"? Can someone provide the grammatical explanation please?
10
votes
2answers
302 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?
2
votes
1answer
137 views

Pronunciation of Esther's cousin's name.

I have seen a couple of places where Mordechai’s name is spelled with a kamatz katan under the daled. Has anyone else seen this and do you know which is more accurate: Mordechai/ Mordachai/ Mordochai ...
6
votes
1answer
131 views

Plural vs Singular masechtot names

Why are some masechtot names plural (e.g. gitin, kidushin) while others are singular (e.g. tomid, nida and shabos)?
3
votes
1answer
99 views

What's the significance of the dot in “bqr” in Danial vs the omission of the same in Genesis

In researching the phrase "evening and morning" I noticed a very small difference in the Hebrew text between Genesis 1 (e.g. 1:4) and Daniel 8:14, where the latter has a tiny dot in the first letter ...
6
votes
2answers
151 views

יִבָּנֶה הַמִּקְדָּשׁ עִיר צִיּוֹן תְּמַלֵּא — why not תִּמָּלֵא?

The Shabas table song "Tzur mishelo achalnu" contains the following line: יִבָּנֶה הַמִּקְדָּשׁ עִיר צִיּוֹן תְּמַלֵּא yibane hamikdash ir Tziyon t'male the Temple should be built; you ...
6
votes
2answers
213 views

Zeicher vs Zecher

What is the underlying argument between the two pronunciations and what are the multiple ways to deal with the problem?
1
vote
0answers
48 views

Is our practice often at variance with the psak of the Mishnah Berura as in the brocho on the Talis Godol? [closed]

Mishnah Berura, OC 8 (4) [10] says that the brocho on the Talis Godol is “lehisataif b*e*tzitis” and not as I see in the all my siddurim “lehisataif b*a*tzitis”. Are there many cases where what we do ...
21
votes
3answers
303 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
157 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
151 views

How to pronounce the name of the sefer “Bnei Yso(s)cher”

How does one pronounce the name of the sefer בני יששכר ? I've heard people pronounce both sins -- so it is Ysoscher. (There is also a common custom to pronounce the name יששכר with both sins the ...