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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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
84 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
61 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 ...
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0answers
225 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. ...
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3answers
123 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 ...
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1answer
122 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
116 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
95 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 ...
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1answer
68 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.)
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2answers
821 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?
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3answers
138 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 ...
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2answers
134 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 ...
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0answers
118 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
194 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 ...
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1answer
71 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 ...
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3answers
5k 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
96 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 ...
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1answer
81 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 ...
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0answers
120 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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1answer
176 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 ...
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3answers
121 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
84 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 ...
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2answers
91 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 ...
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1answer
301 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
616 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 ...
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2answers
76 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 ...
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2answers
145 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
989 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
81 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
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1answer
144 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 ...
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3answers
9k 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.)?
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2answers
145 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 ...
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1answer
292 views

In the beautiful language of hebrew what is Todah? [closed]

I went to a synagogue the other day and after presenting the chief rabbi with an apple he exclaimed 'TODAH!'. Anyone know what this means?
5
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1answer
203 views

Rav Yonason Eibeschitz's puzzle

There is a story that the Jews were oppressed and there were harsh decrees and Rav Yonason Eibschitz was challenged by the governor to write "am yisroel chai l'olmei ad" for every Jew who lived in his ...
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3answers
410 views

Question about Ashkenazi pronunciation

BS"D I was at an Ashkenazi beith kneseth this past shabboth and noticed that they didn't distinctly pronounce their Shuruq's and Hholam's and instead substituted them with Hhireq's. I'm not sure if ...
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1answer
82 views

Paroh vs. Faroh in Parshat Bo

I am used to פרעה being pronounced as "Paroh" as it has been for the last few parshot, but I noticed today that in Parshat Bo (Shemot 10:11) it is to be pronounced "Faroh". What causes this change? ...
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1answer
236 views

How do I pronounce “yod” when there is a dot inside of it?

I'm trying to brush up on my Hebrew. As an American Jew, it is still important to me to be able to recite my prayers from the siddur in their original Hebrew. How do I pronounce "yod" when there is a ...
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2answers
538 views

Where did “shabat shalom” come from?

What is the source for the greeting "שבת שלום"? Where is it earliest attested in print? What does it mean?
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0answers
134 views

Pronunciation of גפ״ת

Does גפ״ת (which stands for גמרא, פרש״י, תוספות) have a conventional pronunciation, as do שליט״א ("shlita"), תנ״ך ("tanakh"), etc.?
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2answers
887 views

Different traditions in Hebrew pronunciation

The theme of Hebrew pronunciation is one that facinates me and, as such, I want to get some feedback on some issues I've been thinking about for years. I have already discussed some of these issues ...
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1answer
330 views

לא (lamed-aleph) vs אל (aleph-lamed)

Hebrew beginner, here. I was asking why the prefix for "not" was usually לא but occasionally אל. Some kind Hebrew students told me אל was only used for future tense, saying not to do something. One ...
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1answer
587 views

What coin is this?

It is a little over an inch diameter, thicker and heavier than any coin would be. The lettering almost seems random....or maybe the middle word is a name? Can someone help me identify this coin? ...
3
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1answer
183 views

How could different pronunciations arise when we are obligated to pronounce the Shema precisely?

If one does not pronounce the Shema correctly, one has not fulfilled their obligation (שולחן ערוך או"ח סימן סב). If so, then how could different pronunciations of the Hebrew words arise? Shouldn't at ...
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2answers
221 views

Correcting tav/sav

If someone who usually pronounces the letter "ת" without a dagesh as "sav" is leining Torah, and he accidentally says "tav" in a place where he would normally say "sav", should the gabbai correct him? ...
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0answers
122 views

How did names of foreign gods find their way into the Torah and Hebrew language?

After having found one explanation that the origin of the Hebrew word "Shachar" שחר which is used in the context of "Alos HaShachar" is the name of a foreign god. As well that "Shemesh" שמש which we ...
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2answers
160 views

Does “die” in Bereishit 2:17 imply the *beginning* of a process death, or simply *death*?

It is true that Adam and Eve didn’t die the exact day they ate, as some seem to think Genesis 2:17 implies. The Hebrew is die-die (muwth-muwth), which is often translated as “surely die” or ...
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0answers
313 views

Saying “Elokim” when not referring to Hashem

People often say "Elokim" instead of "Elohim" when speaking in order to avoid taking God's name in vain. I have observed, however, that some people always substitute the word "elokim" for "elohim" ...
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1answer
91 views

Source for Osnat's Locket

I've heard that the reason Joseph knew he could marry Osnat was because he saw her wearing a locket / pendant with a Hebrew inscription on it so he knew she was a Hebrew. Has anyone heard this story ...
3
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1answer
88 views

Solitary Aramaic word in 'Al HaNissim

In the standard Ashkenazi Siddur, why is the Aramaic word פורקן used in the otherwise entirely Hebrew prayer of על הנסים?