Questions pertaining to the Hebrew language, [as related to Judaism](http://judaism.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic).

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2answers
146 views

What does this piece of jewelry say?

A classmate showed me a pendant that she recently acquired. It was described to her as representing some sort of blessing for marriage. None of the people who looked at it could figure out what the ...
6
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4answers
505 views

What is the meaning of tehom?

Throughout the Tanach, and I've seen it in Midrashim as well, there is a concept of the "Tehom", translated as "Deep Waters". It appears in the creation story in Bereishis, and in the song at Yam Suf. ...
1
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1answer
32 views

Ancient Biblic Hebrew [closed]

My question concerns the Biblical Hebrew. In fact I'd like to know whether you know some online course (MOOC or otherwise) which might allow me to study the Biblical Hebrew. I'm interested in ancient ...
0
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1answer
46 views

Why does Koheleth 12:1 use בוראיך instead of בוראך?

Koheleth 12:1 says: וּזְכֹר, אֶת-בּוֹרְאֶיךָ, בִּימֵי, בְּחוּרֹתֶיךָ: עַד אֲשֶׁר לֹא-יָבֹאוּ, יְמֵי הָרָעָה, וְהִגִּיעוּ שָׁנִים, אֲשֶׁר תֹּאמַר אֵין-לִי בָהֶם חֵפֶץ. 1 Remember then ...
2
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2answers
87 views

Does the greeting “Good Yom Tov” contain a redundancy?

Does the greeting "Good Yom Tov" contain a redundancy? Doesn't "Yom Tov" mean "Good day"? So you are saying "Good good day?"
5
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2answers
310 views

Davening not in Hebrew

Isn't it better to daven in your first language rather than davening in Hebrew and only knowing part of what you're sayig?
9
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4answers
197 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 ...
7
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1answer
242 views

What was the language spoken by Jews in Israel in 16th century

Did the Jewish inhabitants of Safed and Jerusalem (contemporaries of Rav Yosef Karo and the Ari) speak Hebrew when they learned Torah or did they speak Arabic, Ladino or some other language? I saw a ...
1
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2answers
57 views

Is there a book / document that explains the proper use of kamatz katan in the Torah?

I am a Ba'al Kri'ah. I am quite confused regarding the rules of "kamatz katan". Another Ba'al Kri'ah explained that a kamatz katan occurs when a kamatz is used in a word (usually a verb) when the root ...
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6answers
3k views

Which alphabet were the original Torah scrolls in?

I've assumed that the Torah scrolls we read today as the same that Moses wrote. I always assumed it's been the same alphabet. However lately I came across documents explaining the evolution of the ...
1
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1answer
68 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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1answer
37 views

How do you say He who darkness -> light in Hebrew

In describing Ha'Shem how do you say who brings light to darkness in Hebrew with phonetic verbalisations? That is to say do you say He brings light to darkness or that He brings light from darkness?
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1answer
35 views

what does the hebrew word chavivus - חביבות - mean

The Gemoro mentions the concept of chavivus - חביבות - in numerous places. what would be the most acurate english translation / explanation of chavivus?
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1answer
114 views

When, and why did the term “am ha'aretz” come to mean “ignoramus”?

In Tana'ch, the term "am ha'aretz" meant either "the tribal counsel" as we see when Abraham wanted to purchase the Cave of Machpela, he bowed down to the "am ha'aretz". It also meant "the nation" or ...
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3answers
80 views

What is the Hebrew for “Codes”?

Two of the best-attested genres of halakhic literature are (in English) referred to as codes and responsa. The former includes the Mishne Torah, the Arba'ah Turim, the Levush and the Shulchan Arukh ...
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1answer
58 views

Hebrew Text of Petition for Peace

Reading in my Koren Siddur, I am working on the Hebrew words. I noticed that in the petition for peace in the Mincha text for the weekday Amidah (the same is present in the Ma'ariv) the English reads ...
2
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0answers
112 views

When did the “Israeli accent” come into existence? [closed]

When did the "Israeli accent" (for speaking Hebrew) come into existence? I believe that Hebrew as a spoken language was introduced in the late 19th century with the creation of modern Zionism. ...
5
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3answers
103 views

Etymology of מחילה

I am looking for a possible etymological root for the word מחילה as meaning forgiveness. The word מחל does not appear in Tanach1, and neither does מחילה, nor does מוחל, and I was unable to find any ...
1
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1answer
80 views

Any Rules for Qamets Chatuph When Khaf Follows Chet?

In my slow but constant pursuit of Hebrew knowledge, I have not yet resolved the rules for the Qamets Chatuph (the Qamets that produces an "o" sound as opposed to an "a" sound). Fortunately, some ...
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2answers
92 views

The meaning of the word חטא

The word chet is "sin" and is used as such (and in related ways -- sin offering, guilt from sinning, cause others to sin etc.) over 200 times according to my Even-Shoshan. It seems to be connected to ...
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2answers
88 views

Explaining if the terms 'Father' and 'son of G-d' are used in Jewish books

Within Judaism and their books, was it a custom of the time to refer to G-d as the Father? Is the term son of G-d used in any of your works? I heard this term is used to refer to an observant ...
0
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1answer
57 views

A word seems to be written in an unusual way in Psalm 60,2

Why is there a medial mem rather than a final mem at the end of the word "aram" in Psalm 60:2? (Please see screenshot below.)
7
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2answers
679 views

Hebrew letters Hey-Yud-Dalet after a name

I'd seen some stuff written about a man, with the Hebrew הי"ד (Hey-Yud-quotes-Dalet) after his name. What does that mean?
2
votes
3answers
117 views

The text of the fourth question at the seder

I just read through 40 or so Haggadot and, while I have a provisional (common sense) answer, no one seems to address this, so I appreciate any "real" sourced answers. The fourth question (current ...
4
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2answers
127 views

why does Ruth 1:8 use עמדי instead of עמי?

Ruth 1:8 says: ח וַתֹּאמֶר נָעֳמִי, לִשְׁתֵּי כַלֹּתֶיהָ, לֵכְנָה שֹּׁבְנָה, אִשָּׁה לְבֵית אִמָּהּ; יעשה (יַעַשׂ) יְהוָה עִמָּכֶם חֶסֶד, כַּאֲשֶׁר עֲשִׂיתֶם עִם-הַמֵּתִים וְעִמָּדִי. 8 And ...
3
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0answers
69 views

The difference between Chazal and Razal

I have heard it said before that Chazal (חז"ל = חכמינו זכרונם לברכה; "our sages of blessed memory") refers to sages of the Mishna and Gemara, while Razal (רז"ל = רבנים/נו זכרונם לברכה; "our/the ...
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4answers
176 views

The difference between שור and פר

In Mishpatim (and perhaps elsewhere), the Tora refers to an animal incurring or causing damage, and calls it a shor, שור, commonly translated ox. In Pin'chas (and Achare and perhaps elsewhere), the ...
6
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1answer
65 views

How to teach tefilla to small children in a way that makes it meaningful?

Are there any schools of thought or practical methodologies for teaching tefilla to children under the age of 10 who are not native hebrew speakers in a way that is fun, engaging and makes the ...
13
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5answers
10k views

What does Kadosh really mean?

What do the terms קדוש (Kadosh), קדושים, קדושה, and קדיש really mean?
4
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3answers
4k views

Meaning and Difference between baruch and bar'chu

I'm sorry, I don't know a word of Hebrew, and I really want to know what these sentences mean: Bar'chu et Adonai ham'vorach l'olam vaed Baruch atah Adonai If I didn't write them correctly, ...
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2answers
63 views

What does ודוק or ודו"ק mean? [duplicate]

ודוק or ודו"ק appears extensively in rabbinic literature, particularly in Ashkenazi Halachic writings since the 17th century. I was once told that it meant that the author thought the proposed ...
1
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1answer
55 views

Is/Where is Tefillot (or Tefillah) ever spelt with a yud?

I have almost always seen the word Tefillah and I suppose Tefillot, spelt with no Yud. Tav, Feh, Lamed, Vav, Tav. (Tefillot) Tav, Feh, Lamed, Heh (Tefillah) But the Sacks singers siddur spells it ...
3
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1answer
431 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 ...
4
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0answers
100 views

Why does the prefix She- appear in only Tehillim, Shir Hashirim, and Koheles?

The prefix שֶׁ is very common in Mishnaic and Modern Hebrew, but in Tanakh appear rarely, except in Tehillim, Shir Hashirim, and Koheles, where it is all over the place. Why are these books the only ...
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votes
1answer
111 views

Does Hebrew have any word that exclusively means god or gods? [closed]

In English, a monotheist may say there is only one god, namely Hashem. The Hebrew would be something like, "There is only one elohim, Hashem". There is a problem with that statement. Many bible ...
5
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3answers
112 views

Is there a substantive difference in meaning when the Torah uses the Hebrew verb root דבר rather than אמר?

Is there a substantive difference in meaning when the Torah uses the Hebrew verb root דבר rather than אמר, or do they both pretty much mean "to say" or "to speak"? Do any sages see the choice of one ...
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2answers
81 views

What is “קוצר לשחת”?

The mishna, M'nachos 71 amud 1, says: קוצר לשחת ומאכיל לבהמה That is, under the circumstances described there (not important for this question), one is allowed to cut his grain לשחת and feed the ...
3
votes
2answers
85 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 ...
3
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1answer
260 views

Translation of haggadah section titles

What are the litteral translations of the different section titles of the haggadah? (i.e. What exactly do kadesh, urchatz, etc. mean)
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4answers
524 views

“Veadar” as the name of the extra month in leap years?

In older books and other publications that describe the Jewish calendar, it's quite common to see the extra leap month referred to as "Veadar." (One example is here.) But I have yet to hear that ...
1
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2answers
71 views

הִיא vs הִוא in siddurim

In siddurim[1] , in the passage of veshammeru, even when reported with full teamim, אוֹת הִוא לְעֹלָם is always converted to אוֹת הִיא לְעֹלָם, with the yod instead of the vav. Why is the ...
8
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2answers
118 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, ...
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1answer
705 views

What's the difference in Biblical Hebrew between “zahav” and “paz”?

What's the difference in Biblical Hebrew between "zahav" and "paz"? Artscroll calls one "gold", the other "fine gold." Any other distinctions?
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0answers
40 views

Problems of transcription [closed]

mispar hekhrachi is the standard gematria method. But I can not find out which Hebrew word is behind the transcription „hekhrachi“. Can you provide any help?
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0answers
75 views

“The local rabbi is in charge” — what's the pithy Hebrew? [closed]

I am failing to recall a pithy phrase involving the word דין to indicate that one should respect the decisions of one's local Rabbi. Something like, 'the decisor of the place is the decisor.' Is there ...
1
vote
1answer
114 views

Peh at the end of a word

Is there any where in Tanach a word that ends with a "feh sofit" (the form of the letter feh/peh that comes at the end of a word) but has the sound of a "peh" (and not "feh".) Similarly I would ask ...
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.)?
5
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2answers
121 views

resource for learning proper sefardi pronunciations

I learned Hebrew at an Ashkenazi school, but my heritage is Sefardi. Over the years I have tried to learn the mainstream Sefardi pronunciations (probably the way Rav Ovadia Yosef would pronounce ...
1
vote
2answers
306 views

Best way to learn Hebrew to read Torah

I didn't have the opportunity growing up to learn Hebrew. My goal is to be able to sight-read the Hebrew in Torah. I have taken several classes in grammer and syntax, and my vocab is moderate. What ...
11
votes
6answers
14k 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?