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

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8
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4answers
291 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
315 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
197 views

What is the difference between gerim, nochrim and zarim?

What is the difference between gerim, nochrim and zarim? Both halachicly and denotatively.
3
votes
2answers
51 views

Hamracheim or Hammerachim?

In Modim in the Shmoneh Esre we say המרחם כי לא תמו חסדך the question is whether the מ in המרחם should have a daggesh or not, and thus what sort of Shva should be under said מ?
8
votes
5answers
3k views

Etymology/connection between Ari, Aryeh, Yehudah, Leib, and Leibel

What is the relationship between the following names that often go together is some combination? Ari/Aryeh Yehudah Leib/Leibel I've encountered many men, young and old, with the following first ...
3
votes
1answer
101 views

Altering the Spelling out the Hebrew Year

In 1983-1984, the Hebrew year was 5744. Normally, the year would have been spelled out in Hebrew letters תשמ״ד, but according to my rabbi then, Rabbi Phillip Rabinowitz, zt'l, as pronounced the word ...
8
votes
0answers
109 views

What is the difference between (for example) “notein” and “hanotein”?

I was looking through the brachot this morning. Many are structured as identifying hashem as "one who __" such as "matir assurim" or "oteir yisro'el btif'arah." But the final three add in the letter ...
-5
votes
2answers
158 views

Is God's name differ a lot from Yahweh/Yehovah? [closed]

I've heard names like Yimeryahu (Jeremiah). Then Yoshiyahu (Josiah), then Chisikiyahu (Hezekiah). All those names ended in God's name, YH. But it's spelled yahu (or is it?) So God's name couldn't ...
4
votes
0answers
127 views

Knowledge of meanings of Hebrew names in Daniel

I have being doing a study on Daniel and the meanings of the names of Daniel and his friends and wondered how these would be understood between the friends. For example my name is Stephen, meaning ...
4
votes
2answers
123 views

Difference between חֵטְא and עֲבֵרָה

Is there a difference between a חֵטְא (cheit) and an עֲבֵרָה (aveira)? I translate both of those words as "sin." Maybe they signify a different level of magnitude? Or maybe one word is simply ...
7
votes
1answer
5k 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
1k views

Hard Yeshivish phrases to translate

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 ...
11
votes
4answers
1k views

Is Hebrew the mother of all languages spoken today in the world?

I often wonder what language Adam, Seth, Noah and Abraham (may peace and blessings be upon them) used to speak. What was their native tongue? Was it classical Hebrew? If yes, then would it be right to ...
1
vote
0answers
104 views

origin of chassidish havarah(pronunciation)

When did people start using the chassidish havarah? If making that change was deliberate, who instituted it? I remember seeing some where that it was started to oppose the maskilim who where medakdek ...
3
votes
0answers
98 views

What is the Hebrew term for the drawing of the hands inward during lighting of Shabbos candles?

Someone elsewhere asked what is the Hebrew term for the drawing of the hands inward during lighting of Shabbos candle. For example, Chabad.org describes the custom, Extend your hands over the ...
4
votes
1answer
156 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
243 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 ...
9
votes
4answers
315 views

All you need is love?

I once had a Hebrew professor state with absolute determination that "Ahavah" (the Hebrew word for "love") does not, in fact, mean love. His proof was twofold: 1. G-d could not have commanded us to ...
3
votes
2answers
193 views

Conceptual Relationship Between “River” (יאר) and “Light” (אור)

There seems to be a relationship between the words "river" (יאר) and light (אור), that is only underscored by the fact that "river" in Hebrew (נהר) is essentially the same word as "light" in Aramaic ...
3
votes
2answers
199 views

What's the most efficient method for learning biblical Hebrew?

I have gone through some basic schooling at a modern yeshiva. For 10 years I haven't touched a Chumash, but would like to get back into it. I have started reading the Artscroll Chumash--reading the ...
-1
votes
1answer
201 views

Hebrew alphabet spelling for phrase in psalm 23, and the phrase “God is my refuge”?

I find the Hebrew alphabet to be very beautiful but as of right now I only know the meaning of a couple of symbols. I would love to have the correct original spelling for the beginning of psalm 23, ...
4
votes
4answers
938 views

What is the meaning of 'Tishbi' in 'Eliyahu haTishbi'?

I've heard theory that it's a place, but have never heard of a place with a similar name...
7
votes
2answers
263 views

Definition of Leitzanus

I have often seen leitzanus, mockery, defined along the lines of making a joke out of serious matters. Intuitively this is a good definition, but does anyone have a source which spells it out? And to ...
5
votes
2answers
130 views

What does נְחשֶׁת mean?

In Teruma (25:3), the verse says "וְזֹאת הַתְּרוּמָה אֲשֶׁר תִּקְחוּ מֵאִתָּם זָהָב וָכֶסֶף וּנְחשֶׁת". Chabad (as well as Artscroll) translates it as "And this is the offering that you shall take ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

Correct response to tizku l'mitzvot

What is the correct response to someone saying, "tizku l'mitzvot" after you do a mitzvah, or something helpful? For example, after helping someone make an Eruv Chatzeirot they might say "tizku ...
5
votes
1answer
117 views

Community/Synagogue Honorifics

I visited the Rare Books section of the JTS in New York in Dec. 2009, to view an old manuscript from Kezmarok, Slovakia. I selected certain pages that I was interested in translating, on behalf of ...
3
votes
1answer
81 views

Why is the word שמך vocalized differently in different places?

Gen 32:29 says: וַיֹּאמֶר, לֹא יַעֲקֹב יֵאָמֵר עוֹד שִׁמְךָ...‏ Thy name shall be called no more Yaakov... But in 30 it says: וַיִּשְׁאַל יַעֲקֹב, וַיֹּאמֶר הַגִּידָה-נָּא ...
3
votes
1answer
162 views

Importance of learning grammar

What are the traditional Jewish opinions about the importance of learning and speaking Hebrew with proper grammar (dikduk)?
9
votes
0answers
151 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
234 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 ...
30
votes
2answers
1k views

What does “mi yodeya” mean?

What does "mi yodeya" mean?
-1
votes
1answer
132 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
60 views

hebrew grammar query, Bamidbar 31:17

I seek to understand Bamidbar sedra mattos Chapter 31 verse 17. Specifically, the word הֲרֹגוּ is stumping me. It is not the kal impererative masculine plural. The word Hirgoo, הִרְגוּ, appears as the ...
1
vote
0answers
62 views

Regional Ashkenazi Pronunciation

I don't know if this is the right forum to ask this, but I would like to find audio tracks of Jews from different Ashkenazi communities speaking Hebrew (be they leyning, davening, discoursing or ...
10
votes
1answer
172 views

Prounciation - IM vs YIM? with ים ending

I've read that ידים is to be pronounced ya- DAI - im, yet שמים is to be pronounced sha-MAI-yim. Both end the same, but are pronounced differently. (This was from a text purporting to teach "Biblical ...
1
vote
1answer
55 views

Why is birkas kohanim in the masculine singular?

If the kohanim are blessing the entire people, one would think that it should be worded, "יברככם...וישמרכם" Why is it in the singular form? On a related note, if a father places this blessing on his ...
14
votes
4answers
373 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
139 views

What is the meaning of this painting?

I am in possession of this mysterious painting with Hebrew characters, but I do not know what words mean. I suspect that they may provide a clue to what is being represented in each of the painted ...
2
votes
0answers
77 views

Netzach, Selah, Vaed - what is the difference between these words?

Eruvin 54a says that it was taught by Rabbi Eliezer ben yaakov that wherever it says Netzach, Selah, or Vaed it means it will remain so forever. "כל מקום שנאמר 'נצח' 'סלה' 'ועד' – אין לו הפסק עולמית" ...
3
votes
1answer
107 views

Will all Jews speak Hebrew when Mashiach comes?

This question just kind of popped into my head, so I'm not sure whether it is really a good question for this site, but I wonder if anybody has written about it. I would imagine that since when ...
2
votes
3answers
268 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
0answers
182 views

Can we teach reading Hebrew without using the full names of the letters and vowels?

I've heard in Chabad and elsewhere that when teaching children to read Hebrew, one must call the letters and vowels only by their full traditional name. This is in my opinion very distracting for a ...
0
votes
1answer
147 views

What's the Hebrew idiom for “what's his name” or “What's his face”

I vaguely remember some phrase used in Torah discussions such as "moni palomy" or "moni plamoni" that means "John Doe" or "What's his name" or "John Q Public". Seems like it was used in Ester, but I ...
5
votes
1answer
164 views

What is the Shekhina?

To what are people referring when they talk about the Shekhina? Is it a form of God? A part of God? An attribute of God? Perhaps it is something else entirely? Also, what is the etymology of the ...
1
vote
1answer
134 views

Do we read it as directing or breaking the ear?

Rashi to Shemos 31:17 states: וינפש: כתרגומו ונח, וכל לשון נופש והוא לשון נפש, שמשיב נפשו ונשימתו בהרגיעו מטורח מהמלאכה. ומי שכתוב בו (ישעיה מ כח) לא ייעף ולא יגע, וכל פעלו במאמר, הכתיב מנוחה ...
2
votes
1answer
56 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
210 views

Why is the Haggadah written in Hebrew?

The Haggadah was written during the Talmudic period, so I would expect it to be written in Aramaic. Especially since the entire purpose of the Haggadah is the telling over of the story of ...
3
votes
3answers
645 views

Translation of the word “nimshal”

Rabbinic writings (e.g. * Rabbah and other midrash) use the words "mashal" (noun) and "nimshal" (verb). What do these terms mean in English? I've heard "parable" or "allegory" for the noun but I am ...
2
votes
2answers
84 views

Niqqud for שְׁיָרֵי in Zevachim mishnah

I am really no expert in Hebrew grammar and I know there are many variants of same word. In particular I think there is no tradition for the puntuaction of the Mishnah. However in my siddur ...
2
votes
1answer
98 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 ...