Questions pertaining to the Hebrew language, as related to Judaism. See the help center: http://judaism.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic

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Evolved minimal Hebrew pronunciation in halacha

Inspired by comments on this question: Say a person travels from place to place where there are certain traditional havarot (pronunciations) such that what were likely originally distinct sounds, are ...
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25 views

Writing Responsa in English

I was reading the introduction to Rabbi Yehuda Henkin's book "Responsa on Contemporary Jewish Women's Issues" and he wrote something that I found interesting: Whether Halachic response should be ...
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Did Moses divorce Tziporah? [duplicate]

Exodus 18:2: וַיִּקַּ֗ח יִתְרוֹ֙ חֹתֵ֣ן מֹשֶׁ֔ה אֶת־צִפֹּרָ֖ה אֵ֣שֶׁת מֹשֶׁ֑ה אַחַ֖ר שִׁלּוּחֶֽיהָ׃ And Jethro, Moses’father-in-law, took Zipporah, Moses’wife, after he had sent her away ...
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2answers
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What does the word נחירה mean

In Modern Hebrew it means "snort", but what about in Classical Hebrew? I have found this word in Simla Hadosho 1:21. This states that if you want to feed your animals meat but you do not know the ...
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What does shomo-a tishm'u in the shema prayer mean?

The second paragraph of the shema begins with "and it will come to pass that if you continually hearken to my commandments..." Apparently shomo-a tishm'u means continually hearken but I would like ...
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Assist with understanding Shada"l regarding grammatic usage in Shemot 18:26

Exodus 18:26 (minor modif. to Sefaria English): וְשָׁפְט֥וּ אֶת־הָעָ֖ם בְּכָל־עֵ֑ת אֶת־הַדָּבָ֤ר הַקָּשֶׁה֙ יְבִיא֣וּן אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֔ה וְכָל־הַדָּבָ֥ר הַקָּטֹ֖ן יִשְׁפּוּט֥וּ הֵֽם׃ And they ...
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1answer
31 views

Meaning and function of Va'yechulu

What does Va'yechulu mean literally in Hebrew? What is the function of Va'yechulu during worship?
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1answer
49 views

What is the official name for the “additional readings” on special torah-reading days?

On certain special Shabboses, like the four parshiyot, there is a special torah reading that replaces Maftir after the weekly parsha is read. Is there a name for this extra not-from-the-weekly-parsha ...
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100 views

Why is hebrew, the holy language, so messy?

Something that has always bothered me and I've never really understood is why Hebrew is so messy. If it is the language of G-d, the language in which the world was created and the language in which ...
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30 views

Why is the term דגה frequently used to refer to Egyptian (Nile) fish?

I ran a word search using Snunit's tool on the appearance of the word דג in the Bible. The search revealed 17 occurrences, and all of them had that word or some form of the word such as דגים (plural ...
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2answers
42 views

Why is כל written with Kamatz?

When praying with the siddur and reading Torah, I've asked myself why is the word כל written with Kamatz if it sounds Kol and not Kal. I've also seen other words like this, but with less frequency. ...
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29 views

What does the word “Mevoar” mean in “NaKh Mevoar”?

I often see books titled "NaKh Mevoar" or "Rashi Mevoar". What does the word "Mevoar" mean?
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42 views

What is the hebrew Word for the rationalist approach [closed]

What is the hebrew term for the rationalist approach of the Rambam, the Ran, the Rivash, Ralbag etc.?
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61 views

How do we know when the word ידע means intercourse or just (brain) knowledge?

I shall cite 3 verses. What I state below in terms of "plain" knowledge vs. intercourse is confirmed by Rash"i and / or other commentaries on each verse: 1 - Genesis 4:1 (excerpt): וְהָ֣אָדָ֔ם ...
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28 views

Understanding a Hebrew expression: בטלה דעתו אצל כל אדם

The Bartenura, in his commentary to Kelim 27:3, notes that the rules concerning the admixture of cloth with sack, sack with leather and leather with matting only apply to those specific combinations ...
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Is nechoshet copper, brass or bronze [duplicate]

In the bible the word נחושת means what? I saw a few translations: copper, brass, bronze. What is the definition of the word
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31 views

Why are there so many Nikkudot? [closed]

1) Why does every vowel has more than one way to be written? 2) Does every nekkud has a slightly different pronunciation?
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12 views

Origins B'zrat Hashem (בס״ד)? [duplicate]

It's a very common practice to write "בס״ד" (whit the help of G-d) at the top of letters, notes, texts, etc. People from different cultures and regions seem to do this, but what are the origins of ...
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Alleged mistranslation in Genesis 17:19 and 17:21

I have recently read in a Muslim website claims that verses 17.19 and 17.21 of Genesis are misinterpreted by Jews, because 1) The word אֲבָל "abal" used in 17.19 means "Yes indeed" in Hebrew, not ...
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Difference between Slumber and Sleep

In Tehillim 121, David says of Hashem "הִנֵּה לֹא-יָנוּם, וְלֹא יִישָׁן שׁוֹמֵר, יִשְׂרָאֵל." At first glance, this appears redundant, נום means slumber and שנה means sleep. What is the difference ...
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How holy is Aramaic?

I've always thought that Hebrew is the Lashon HaKodesh, the language G-d speaks, and the language of Judaism. And that Aramaic is also important but somewhat secondary. But based on this answer, it ...
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3answers
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What is the connection between “שיח” as prayer and “שיח” as a bush?

פרשת וירא (כא טו): וַיִּכְלוּ הַמַּיִם מִן הַחֵמֶת וַתַּשְׁלֵךְ אֶת הַיֶּלֶד תַּחַת אַחַד הַשִּׂיחִם Genesis 21:15: And the water in the bottle was spent, and she cast the child under one of the ...
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90 views

Grammar question in Vayera

I've been learning Bereshit with Rashi in school, and while reading a part of Vayera, I noticed that there were two grammatically different statements in one Pesuk. Bereshit (18:7) וְאֶל ...
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Why is Elokim plural? [duplicate]

There are many names of G-d and all of them seem to be written in a singular form. But Elokim is the only name I know that has an "-im" termination. What is the meaning behind this?
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1answer
78 views

Origin Of Hasidic Pronounciation [closed]

Does anyone know when and by whom the Hasidic Pronunciation started? I mean "burich" as opposed to "boruch". The same goes for Yiddish.. "vus" as opposed to "vos". I've heard that it was in opposition ...
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5answers
152 views

Difference between אֲנִי and אָנֹכִי

Throughout the Tanakh, I have come across אֲנִי (ʾani) and אָנֹכִי (ʾanokhi) many times, which both mean "I". What is the difference between the two words in Tanakh?
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What is an appropriate hebrew translation of 'ought to be put into geniza'?

I have some texts that are not religious (like dictionary) but contain The Name. And because it's not obvious that one should not recycle them, but rather put to geniza, I want to mark them somehow. ...
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2answers
149 views

Using hebrew as a day-to-day language

I've heard that many Rabbis (including the Lubavitcher Rebbe) say that one shouldn't use Lashon Hakodesh (hebrew) as a daily language, because hebrew is too holy for mundane speech. It sounds very ...
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hebrew names for girl child

I want to name my new born baby girl as Nessa which means miracle but want to know Which verse in the Hebrew bible mentions the word Nessa
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3answers
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What is an appropriate greeting for Yom Kippur?

What is an appropriate greeting for Yom Kippur? "Hag Sameach" doesn't seem to work. Is it "Have a good fast," or something similar? I'm interested in knowing Hebrew and English.
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1answer
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What are these marks with the numbers designating the Jewish years on this calendar?

I can see that the Hebrew is Elul 775 to Tishrei 776. What are those marks prior to the Hay and the Vav?
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1answer
150 views

Can someone translate this “hidden” message from Hebrew to English? [closed]

Can someone translate this "hidden" message? I would have pulled out the letters, but it is difficult for me not being very familiar with Hebrew to even identify some of the letters. This is a ...
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4answers
155 views

What is the correct translation of הֵילֵ֣ל?

Shalom everyone, new visitor here. The term הֵילֵ֣ל may be found in Isaiah 14:12, but I have not been able to find it in any Hebrew dictionaries. English translations range from "morning," to ...
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3answers
166 views

Rosh HaShanna glossary: What do hain, hesed, and rachamim mean?

There are many words in the siddur and in the machzor for Rosh HaShanna that seem central to the prayers for the season including hain, hesed, and rachamim, and also words translated as: help, save, ...
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What Hebrew must I know in order to read the Minchas Shai?

I am interested in understanding the Tenach better, as well as rules related to leining. I have resources for learning biblical Hebrew. Vocabulary lists, and charts showing verb conjugations. If I ...
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1answer
53 views

What is the meaning of the term יום טוב (Yom Tov)?

I did a search in Tanac"h for the term יום טוב (along with any prefixes to the term) The term appears a few times in Esther, esp. in the 2nd to last chapter. One example is: Esther 9:19: ...
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1answer
78 views

Can אֲדֹנָי refer to a person or just to God?

In Book of Ezra chapter 10 No.3 the Bible uses the Hebrew word אֲדֹנָי to talk about Ezra. I thought this word was used only when talking about God. What does this word mean?
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Explanation of Gemara's Interpretation of מצא

The Gemara Bava Kamma (113b) states that the term ומצאתה implies physical acquisition (rather than mere finding as the word would seem to imply): אמר רבינא {דברים כב-ג} ומצאתה דאתאי לידיה משמע ...
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When did the Hebrew language officially get documented? Dictionary and grammar? [closed]

What is the oldest Hebrew dictionary and grammar book? I would also be interested in learning when the script and actual sounds was documented. I'm trying to understand how the language officially ...
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Different types of giants in Tanach

What's the difference between the ענקים and the רפאים of Tanakh? Both seem to be very large people. Is one a subset of the other? Some Sources: Bamidbar 13:33 and Rashi there, Devarim 3:11
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What is the reason that the Torah uses a ן (final “Nun”) at the end of 2nd person plural verbs?

Frequently, the Torah uses a final nun (ן) at the end of verbs. They seem to be 2nd person plural verbs. An example: Deuteronomy 5:30: בְּכָל־הַדֶּ֗רֶךְ אֲשֶׁ֨ר צִוָּ֜ה יְהוָ֧ה אֱלֹהֵיכֶ֛ם ...
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Is “tirtzach” 'murder'?

The way I was taught it (and confirmed by this answer and the comment on it), the Hebrew word "tirtzach" refers to murder, and is distinguished from the H-R-G and M-T roots which mean "kill." ...
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How to translate Olam in the Torah?

Bereshit 3:22: ‏…וְלָקַח גַּם מֵעֵץ הַחַיִּים וְאָכַל וָחַי לְעֹלָם In search for a definition of the word עֹלָם, Olam, as in this verse, I found different translations: 'Universe', ...
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Use of speaking “Baruch HaShem” in 1492 Spain

I am writing a play that takes place during the Spanish Inquisition. A Rabbi is walking home from the King's court and his belongings are tossed to the ground by hooligans. A young Spanish girl picks ...
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what determines what parts of the talmud(if any) are in hebrew rather than aramaic?

I read in this question http://english.stackexchange.com/questions/226412/origins-of-turn-over-in-his-grave-turn-over-in-her-grave-etc-etc/226478?noredirect=1#comment576934_226478 That this line in ...
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70 views

What is the source and reason for saying “Yeyasher Kochacha” or “Chazak Ubaruch”?

Follow up to this M.Y. question Why do congregants say to a person who has received an aliyah or was shaliach tzibbur (there may be other situations, but I can't think of any others) either "Yeyasher ...
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Why does the Torah use the term עַשְׁתֵּֽי־עָשָׂ֥ר instead of אַחַ֨ד עָשָׂ֥ר for the number 11? [duplicate]

There are two places in the Torah that I can recall (if there are others, please inform me) where the term עַשְׁתֵּֽי־עָשָׂ֥ר is used for the number 11. Numbers 7:72: בְּיוֹם֙ עַשְׁתֵּ֣י עָשָׂ֣ר ...
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1answer
153 views

What is the meaning of “Rav”?

I see that some names have the word "Rav" in the name, names like Rav Yitzchak Meir Morgenstern and Rav Berg. I don't know much about Judaism. I want to know what is the meaning of "Rav".
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5k views

Hebrew document found in grandfather's attic—what does it state?

I found this document in my grandfather's attic and would be thankful if someone could tell me (a) what this document is, (b) whether there are any names written, and (c) which, if any, religious ...
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38 views

How did Bilam become Balaam? [duplicate]

How did it come about that Bilam came to be known as Balaam in the non-Jewish world?