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

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

1
vote
1answer
30 views

Is a ש after a holam always a “shin” and never a “sin”?

In some siddurim that are printed in certain Hebrew fonts, you will find words such as משה (Moshe) or חשך (darkness) that do not print with two nekudot. The most explicit way to point these words ...
1
vote
1answer
77 views

Difference between El and Eloah

El(אל) and Eloah(אלוה) are both singular forms (nouns), but its אל thats being used to form the plural Elim (אלים), and אלוה thats being used to form the plural Elohim (אלוה׳ם). Both singular forms ...
12
votes
6answers
18k views

Nefesh, neshama and ruach as words for “soul”

All three words can mean something like "soul", e.g., neshama in גלגול נשמות, and ruach in וַתְּחִי רוּחַ יַעֲקֹב אֲבִיהֶם (Bereshit 45:27). So, what is the difference?
10
votes
1answer
113 views

What exactly does “Lord of Hosts” (צְבָאוֹת) mean?

When I think of the Judaism, I don't think of Angelic armies attacking the armies of evil directly. G-d usually works in far more subtle ways than this, e.g. appearing as a burning bush to motivate ...
0
votes
0answers
28 views

What is the origin of the Chassidish pronounciation of hebrew? [duplicate]

If I am not mistaken initially there were Ashkenazic Jews which later on branched off into Chassidim via the leadership of the Baal Shem Tov. Does this mean that prior to the Baal Shem Tov all ...
2
votes
0answers
50 views

Why is the term שליט“א more commonly used for a rav than the term נ”י?

As a follow up to this answer to a M.Y. question, why is שליט"א more commonly used after a notable Rav's name than the term נירו יאיר (or נ"י, as an abbreviation)? A wise person, such as a rav is ...
0
votes
1answer
55 views

And it was so? Perhaps mistranslated?

A speaker of modern Hebrew would translate the following expression from Genesis 1: וַיְהִי-כֵן "And it will be so." But every translation of Torah I have seen says "and it was so." Couldn't ...
2
votes
0answers
27 views

Book, commentary, or other source that explains the Biblical usage of “compass” directions

IIRC, there may have been a M.Y. question that referred to a source that explained the Biblical usage of the 4 directions. I.e. it explained why: קדם is East ים is West נגב is South צפון is North ...
0
votes
1answer
46 views

Is the phrase הקדוש ברוך הוא gramatically incorrect?

Based on the answer to this M.Y. question, stating that קדוש is an adjective, wouldn't the expression הקדוש ברוך הוא be grammatically incorrect? Shouldn't it be הקודש ברוך הוא , since קודש is a noun? ...
9
votes
3answers
214 views

Did Rembrandt really get the 'mene, mene' inscription in his painting of Belshazzar's Feast wrong?

Forgive me if you feel this is not the best forum to ask this question on, but it seems the most apposite one out of those currently available. The inscription that appears on the wall in Daniel 5:25 ...
4
votes
2answers
148 views

Studying the Written Torah in English

In terms of fulfilling the Mitzvah of Talmud Torah, when studying the Written Torah, must one learn the translation in tandem with the Hebrew words? Or is it sufficient to understand the meaning, ...
4
votes
1answer
46 views

Is there a difference in meaning between קָדֹֽשׁ and קֹֽדֶשׁ?

I am helping my son lain parshat Emor. He's having a hard time seeing the difference between קֹֽדֶשׁ and קָדֹ֥שׁ esp. when they are written the same. Usually, when I train students to lain, I try to ...
1
vote
1answer
32 views

Avodah Melachah; work what is the difference

The roots לאך and עבד are the basis to form the words that could be translated as 'work' מלאכה and עבדה. But what is the difference? What distinguishing work from work? Some times its prohibited to ...
0
votes
1answer
49 views

Why is it called “Matzah shmurah”?

The term "מצה שמורה", means "watched matzah". AFAIK, in making "shmurah matzot" The wheat is being watched, not the matzah, itself. Perhaps, from the time it comes out of the oven until it's packaged, ...
8
votes
2answers
97 views

Is there a reason or pattern as to when the Torah uses אֵת instead of אֶת?

I noticed a mix of the two forms of the Hebrew objective marker commonly pronounced אֶת. in the Torah. (There is no English translation of this word. It is used only to notify that an object follows ...
4
votes
3answers
125 views

Why is the reading from the Prophets on Shabbat called הפטרה?

The reading from the prophets that is done on Shabbat morning, is called הפטרה. This seems to come from the root word פטר meaning "to exempt". What, if anything, is being "exempted"?
1
vote
2answers
43 views

Does anyone have a suggestion for a good book on dikduk?

I'm looking for a good book on dikduk for strictly loshon hakodesh (for studying tanach and talmud) . Any suggestions? in english preferably
10
votes
4answers
266 views

What's “chelek Eloka mimaal”?

I have frequently heard the human (or only the Jewish?) soul referred to as "חלק אלוק ממעל", literally "portion/section/piece/allotment of God (from) above". What does this mean? Who's the first to ...
0
votes
1answer
35 views

Living Trust in Hebrew

For the purpose of a kethubah the groom is writing that the living trust that is in the bride's name shall remain her property. But i don't know how to render "living trust" in Hebrew. Does anyone ...
2
votes
0answers
56 views

Pronunciation of אַשְׁרֵי

אַשְׁרֵי in Psalms 1:1 is pronounced with 3 syllables in Mechon-Mamre's mp3 file t2601. It is pronounced with 2 syllables in the last verse of Psalms 2 in Mechon-Mamre's mp3 file t2602. My question ...
3
votes
1answer
44 views

Meaning of the (Hebrew?) abbreviation Ka"H

I saw this on a frum forum: It bothers me when my daughters keep hearing about their (ka"h) appearance,and no one talks about character. I had never seen this abbreviation before. Does anyone ...
-1
votes
1answer
36 views

What is wrong if a wife rebukes her husband and(/or) does not watch over him

In this list אם מקללתו בחנם או מזלזלת אביו ואמו והוכיחה בדברים ואינו משגחת עליו (My translation "if she (the wife) curses him (the husband) without a reason, disrespects his parents, rebukes him ...
1
vote
0answers
22 views

What is the difference between these two brachot? [duplicate]

During Shacharit (the morning service) and Ma'ariv (the evening service), these are two blessings that seem quite similar. After the Shema, one says "Baruch ata Hashem, go-al Yisrael." A few minutes ...
4
votes
1answer
73 views

Why is the word “mitzvos” treated as grammatically masculine in certain prayers?

The prayer accompanying several mitzvos (such as putting on tallis and tefillin) expresses the desire that it be considered that the mitzvah is fulfilled as well as all the "613 mitzvos dependent on ...
2
votes
1answer
38 views

Is there a connection between פסח (Pesach) and פה (peh / mouth)?

Is there a connection between פסח (Pesach) and פה (peh / mouth)? They sound similar. Plus, we are commanded to do lots of symbolic eating on the holiday. Has it been written about or discussed? ...
1
vote
0answers
51 views

Hebrew being Lashon HaKodesh, is the inclusion and exclusion of certain phonemes and sounds in the language significant?

For instance, the English sounds of "J", "W","Th", and "Ch" are for the most part unused in Hebrew. Although as an exception, I've seen a Yemenite Chazan use some of these sounds while reading the ...
4
votes
0answers
33 views

What's “צרה שלא תבא”?

There's an expression I've read many times in slightly variant forms: "איזה צרה שלא תבוא" or "על כל צרה שלא תבא" or the like. It means something like "any tragedy that should not happen" and it's used ...
4
votes
1answer
64 views

Why דָּת in Esther but דַּת in kidushin?

There are two places "דָּת" appears in Tanach in a form that means "the law of": Esther 2:12 and 9:13. In both places it appears as "דָּת" with a kamatz.[1] Yet, when we marry, according to the ...
4
votes
1answer
50 views

Uniqueness of the phrase “Shabbat Shalom”

Why does only Shabbat get described as "Shalom," as in the greeting "Shabbat Shalom"? I don't hear anyone saying "Yom Tov Shalom" or "Purim Shalom", etc.
1
vote
2answers
45 views

What does ראש חודש אדר ה׳תשע״ה mean?

I understand Rosh Hodesh Adar but not the last abreviation. What does it mean? I need to know the meaning of each letter of this abreviation.
14
votes
5answers
11k views

What does Kadosh really mean?

What do the terms קדוש (Kadosh), קדושים, קדושה, and קדיש really mean?
2
votes
1answer
30 views

What is the difference between akh and ekha [closed]

For example, retsonekha, retsonakh. Kodsheha, kodshakh. What is the reason for this difference? I see this difference in several places in the jewish prayer books, for example in Yedid Nefesh or in ...
5
votes
3answers
450 views

Is there a chart available displaying all Hebrew letters and vowels?

I'm looking for a nice chart that will give me the following things, so I can print it out and keep it handy: Picture of each letter in traditional "book" font = Picture of each letter in ...
2
votes
2answers
189 views

Why werent Rashi letters changed back

What is the basis of the change in Rashi's letters from the standard Hebrew ones? And if it was something that was dependent on a specific factor then, why weren't they changed back?
3
votes
1answer
467 views

What is this medallion?

This was given to me on my bat mitzvah several years ago, and I have no idea what it's about. Can you please explain/translate what this is? Does it have an official name? I'd like to read more about ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

What is the original meaning of the world “hevel”?

I am not religious myself, but lately I have found myself somewhat attracted to Ecclesiastes. Reading about it, I am fascinated about what seems to be endless meanings and interpretations of the word ...
3
votes
1answer
397 views

What is the prayer uttered by Michael Ginberg's dad in Mad Men?

In the second last scene of episode 5x03 of Mad Men, Michael Ginsberg (one of the Jewish characters on the show) comes back home from the grocer's to be greeted by his dad. The latter encourages ...
7
votes
1answer
8k views

what is “kodesh”?

What does the word קֹדֶשׁ (sometimes קודש), kodesh, mean? Its form is that of a noun, like אֹכֶל or בֹּקֶר or לֹבֶן. But קדושה is a noun, and (I'm pretty sure) it means "the state/quality of being ...
6
votes
1answer
128 views

“Qof, Qof” What does this mean?

An old (formerly used) synagogue building in my town has this sign on the front of it: The text says "Shaaray Torah", the name of the congregation, but what is the meaning of the two qofs above it? ...
10
votes
1answer
177 views

Request document Identification (Ancient Scroll?)

Hi I have a document from Tunsia that I can't identify. Can anyone help me with this?
5
votes
2answers
69 views

The word 'Halakhah'

When and under what circumstances did the word "halakhah" (also spelled "halacha", "halachah" or, in Hebrew, הלכה) come to mean Jewish law?
2
votes
0answers
40 views

Are all hiriqs the same or is there a distinction if a yud or other silent letter follows?

For example, what would be the difference in pronunciation of the hiriq in these two words: נִקּוּד and תִּינוֹק? What about רִאשׁוֹן? Is it "Rishon" similar to "pit" or "Reeshon" similar to ...
1
vote
0answers
30 views

Is there a term for doing a mitzvah the same way every time?

I read in a book (why can't I find it when I want it?) that among the reasons that a tallit gadol has an atarah on it is because there is value in doing a mitzvah the same way each time. If it did ...
7
votes
7answers
2k views

Hard Yeshivish phrases to translate [closed]

Does anyone ever have trouble finding good English translations of certain yeshivish phrases, especially when in conversation with someone who would not understand the original? Post your favorite ...
1
vote
0answers
60 views

Origin of the Ashkenazi Pronunciation? [closed]

What is the actual story behind the Ashkenazi way of pronunciation? I am uncertain as to whether Ashkenazim consider their form of pronunciation older than Sephardi, just an alternative, or... Any ...
4
votes
3answers
149 views

Have any of you ever heard anyone pronouncing ayin as “ng”?

I have read historically the letter ayin was pronounced by some Dutch, Portuguese, and Italian Jews as a velar nasal consonant (ng as in sing). Reference to this can be found here, here, and here. I ...
4
votes
2answers
67 views

How do you pronounce numbers 248, 365, and 613 in the siddur?

In the meditations before putting on the tallit and tefillin in the morning, there are three numbers — 248, 365, and three instances of 613. They’re written out in standard Hebrew letter notation in ...
-1
votes
1answer
48 views

Applications of word tzipor

Can the Hebrew word "tzipor" mean any kind of flying creature in Genesis 1, or is the word only referring to fowls such as sparrows, hawks, etc.?
8
votes
2answers
180 views

Are there any studies that compare Biblical Hebrew to modern Hebrew?

(I am a Hebrew speaker) When reading the Bible, one encounters sometimes words whose meaning in modern Hebrew clearly does not correspond to what was meant in the text (in Kohelet for example, "מסכן" ...
10
votes
1answer
301 views

What is the source of the expression המבין יבין?

The Forward writer Philologos in his most recent column claimed that the earliest uses of the expression והמבין יבין are found in the Ra'avad and in the Radak. Based on the fact that both these ...