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

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4
votes
1answer
150 views

What is the correct pronunciation of last letter in the Hebrew alphabet?

I have heard mixed answers as to how to pronounce the letter תּ Is it taf or tav? (I'm referring to the halachic pronunciation not the common street way.) Is there a difference between Ashkenazi or ...
5
votes
4answers
2k views

What does the Bible mean by “those that urinate against the wall” in I Samuel 25:22?

A more precise version of this vague question: What does the Bible mean by "those that urinate against the wall" in I Samuel 25:22? There are different translations for the phrase; what is the ...
2
votes
2answers
344 views

Which pasuk in Tanach has the most letters?

I'm attempting to build a database with every pasuk in Tanach, I'm trying to determine the size of the varchar needed for this. Which pasuk is this and how many letters does it have?
6
votes
1answer
92 views

Did Achashveirosh and Haman speak Hebrew?

Tosfos in Megilah (13b, s.v. הַכֶּסֶף נָתוּן לָךְ ) expound the pasuk in Esther (3:11) וַיֹּאמֶר הַמֶּלֶךְ לְהָמָן, הַכֶּסֶף נָתוּן לָךְ; וְהָעָם, לַעֲשׂוֹת בּוֹ כַּטּוֹב בְּעֵינֶיךָ - And the ...
8
votes
5answers
325 views

Learning Hebrew on my own?

I am trying to learn Hebrew on my own. I currently am not in a position to be attending Hebrew classes, and I tend not to do so well in a classroom environment. I wish to learn biblical Hebrew ...
5
votes
1answer
380 views

What is the difference between adonai and adoni?

I'm sure I've missed something quite obvious here, but I've always been told that adonai is "my Lord", and so I always assumed that it was adon with 'my' stuck to it. But, that would be adoni, with a ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Why is the word “tzvi” ambiguous?

The word tsvi (צבי) is traditionally considered to mean "deer". For example, the Hebrew name "Tsvi" has the Yiddish equivalent "Hersh", and "Hirsch" means "deer" in German. On the other hand, in ...
15
votes
8answers
496 views

Why is “Shalom Aleichem” always plural?

Why do we say Shalom Alaichem to one person if Alaichem is plural? Is it saying you and all of the Jews? Is that why it's plural?
3
votes
7answers
493 views

Hebrew Pronunciation of the Conservative Movement

Why does the Conservative Movement pronounce Hebrew in a quasi-Sephardic pronunciation, even though their engagement in Wissenschaft Des Judentums would have led them to embrace the Yemenite ...
6
votes
3answers
266 views

Why the emphasis on Hebrew in Judaism?

Why does Judaism have such an emphasis on Hebrew phrases in their religion and seems reluctant to translate them to English or another language?
6
votes
1answer
133 views

גמר חתימה טובה gender

During the nine and a half days ending with Yom Kipur, we wish each other "גמר חתימה טובה" (an end to the good signing). This seems very strange. Shouldn't it be "גמר חתימה טוב" (a good end to the ...
8
votes
3answers
266 views

“Baruch shekivanti…”

There is a phrase of self-compliment people use when they find that they have independently arrived at the same conclusion as someone great. It begins with the words "ברוך שכיוונתי", translated ...
-1
votes
3answers
218 views

How can I understand the torah text? [closed]

Please tell me how can I read the Torah. I want to learn Hebrew so that I can read Torah perfectly. Please help me out.
3
votes
1answer
143 views

Difference between the words zachor and pakad

What is the difference between the words zachor and pakad? They are used with what seems like very similar meanings throughout the Rosh HaShanah davening, as well as in the Chumash. Here are some ...
0
votes
2answers
357 views

Pronunciation for אלוהים הוא אלוהים שלי

I got this from translating 'G-d is my G-d' on Google Translate. However I don't know how to pronounce the Hebrew. Can somebody give me the pronunciation on this and is there a Hebrew name that means ...
4
votes
4answers
257 views

Is there a Mitzva to speak Loshon Kodesh?

Is it a Mitzva to speak Loshon Kodesh? (sources)
6
votes
3answers
244 views

Resources for learning Hebrew from scratch?

I was raised as a Jewish identifying secular child, and it's only in my adolescence/adulthood I've really become at all observant. One of the problems is, of course, I've never had a Hebrew class! ...
-1
votes
4answers
146 views

Return *his* dress?

After the command to return a lost ox, we find: "You should do likewise for his dress (לשמלתו)." However, two pesukim later, we see וְלֹא-יִלְבַּשׁ גֶּבֶר שִׂמְלַת אִשָּׁה (and a man shouldn't wear ...
4
votes
5answers
543 views

Chassidic Rebbes don't use Hebrew Grammar?

I have not witnessed enough test cases to statistically verify anything, but I have heard various Chassidic Rebbes make b'rachos and daven out loud, and without fail, they mispronounce a majority of ...
14
votes
6answers
380 views

Silent letter in Yisachar

Why don't we pronounce the second ש in יששכר?
2
votes
0answers
162 views

Two-letter shorashim and phonetic shorashim?

I have heard many times in the name of Rabbi Shimshon Rafael Hirsch that every Hebrew shoresh (usually defined with three letters) has a more basic root of two letters. I also heard in his name that ...
0
votes
1answer
222 views

Hebrew text for Rambam's letter to Ovadia the Ger online and good Hebrew shiur on it

Does anyone know where I can find the Hebrew text for the Rambam's letter to Ovadia the Ger online, and a good Hebrew language shiur on it?
5
votes
0answers
130 views

Good resource for learning vowel pronunciation

In trying to improve my leyning, I'm trying to get the finer points of vowel pronunciation down. What is a good resource to learn, e.g., the difference between a patach and chataf-patach or a ...
3
votes
1answer
143 views

Why don't translations of Tehilim 119 translate נשף like the Gemara?

The Gemara on Berachos 3b asserts that נשף can mean either "dawn" or "evening", and cites Tehilim 119:147 as an instance of "evening". However, every translation I have seen of this verse - the ...
2
votes
1answer
96 views

Is it “Vay-SHA-vucha” or “Va-YASH-vucha” in Anim Zemiros?

Is it "Vay-SHA-vucha" or "Va-YASH-vucha" in Anim Zemiros? I've heard both, and seen both in different siddurim. Any insight?
2
votes
1answer
160 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?
9
votes
3answers
206 views

What is the etymology of סמאל?

I've heard that סמאל (Samael, a "bad" angel) is related to the word שמאל (left). Is there any basis for this, and are there any other explanations for his name? The Hebrew Wikipedia claims that it is ...
3
votes
1answer
164 views

etymology of “Bnei Blial”

The term "בְּנֵי בְלִיָּעַל" appears several times in Shmuel (e.g., 1Sam 2:12). It is usually translated along the lines of "dishonorable people". Where does בְלִיָּעַל come from? Are there other ...
1
vote
0answers
64 views

Words in Sefarim in Modern Hebrew [closed]

Sometimes in the more modern seforim, I see an alternate spelling of סוגיה instead of סוגיא, with a Hei (ה) replacing the Aleph (א). Why is this? Also, is this done with similar words? For example, ...
4
votes
3answers
186 views

The essence of a thing is in its Hebrew name?

Based on this comment here. According to Kabbalah, how do physical objects derive their life-force from their Hebrew name, if Hebrew doesn't have names for everything?
1
vote
2answers
543 views

What's wrong with 'Hip Hip Hooray'?

When cutting the cake at a Jewish birthday party, or other celebrations when a cheer is called for, 'Hip Hip, Hooray!' is never used but rather the Hebrew 'Heyach!' 'Heydad!'. It seems to be a great ...
1
vote
2answers
129 views

Why is it called Ayin Hara?

Why is it called Ayin Hara (singular) shouldn't it be Anayim Raos (Plural)?
7
votes
3answers
219 views

Shiluach HaKen: why not “Hatzipor”

If you send away the bird, why is Shiluach HaKen called that, meaning "sending the nest", and not "Shiluach Hatzipor", "sending the bird"? The nest is staying in place!
1
vote
2answers
132 views

Midrash/Medrash

Can anyone explain to me the difference between Midrash and Medrash? Is one of them known to be more correct (i.e. most likely older)?
3
votes
3answers
218 views

What is the source of the word “Rabbi”? [closed]

What is the source of the Hebrew word "Rabbi" - which is commonly applied to a Rav, Rosh Yeshiva, etc.?
4
votes
2answers
163 views

Copula insertion in “Jewish American vernacular English”

What explains the unnecessary insertion of copulas before Hebrew and Yiddish participles used in English contexts? For example, why the common formulation "he is yotze" rather than simply "he yotze"? ...
0
votes
2answers
150 views

Ve-dibarta BAM? or bam?

Would saying "ve-dibarta BAM!!!" (with the letter A pronounced like Apple) help me to discharge my obligation when reciting kriat shema, or would it be better that I say "bam" instead? (the letter A ...
8
votes
1answer
270 views

A Lubavitch custom of reciting zecher and zeicher in “Ashrei”?

My cousin, a Lubavitcher, says both zecher and zeicher (that is, both זֶכֶר with a segol and זֵכֶר with a tzeire) in "Ashrei". I noticed this when I visited him a good few years ago, and assumed it ...
7
votes
2answers
132 views

בְּתוֹךְ and בְּקֶרֶב are used in different places and both translated “in the midst”; what's the difference?

I understand בְּתוֹךְ as "in the midst of". The tree of life is b'tokh ha-gan (in the midst of the garden), and God spoke to the people mitokh ha-eish (from the midst of the fire). I learned today ...
11
votes
2answers
588 views

חס ושלום! (whatever that means)

What on earth does חס ושלום mean literally, or what is its etymology? Why do people use that phrase in particular to "ward off" bad things? (That last part of the question is not asking whether saying ...
6
votes
1answer
162 views

Does G-d only hear one language?

I'm a little confused by Rambam Hil. Tefilla 1:4. Consequently, when someone would pray, he would be limited in his ability to request his needs or to praise the Holy One, blessed be He, in ...
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votes
2answers
533 views

How to write “Isaiah 41,10” in Hebrew? [closed]

I've already seen that someone wanted to know how to write Isaiah in Hebrew, but my question is mainly about the numbers, because I found just a few numbers, which can be written in Hebrew. I've ...
2
votes
1answer
107 views

Comparison of Lexica: BDB and Strong's Hebrew

Which has more entries, BDB or Strong's Hebrew? Is there any known mapping between the two?
3
votes
1answer
41 views

Shir Urinanim- Whats the diffrence?

In Ma'oz Tzur, it says: וּמִנּוֹתַר קַנְקַנִּים נַעֲשָׂה נֵס לַשּׁוֹשַׁנִּים בְּנֵי בִינָה יְמֵי שְׁמוֹנָה קָבְעוּ שִׁיר וּרְנָנִים What is the Difference between Shirim and Rinanim?
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vote
2answers
161 views

Can the word “eitz” mean “a thought” in the Torah?

Is there support in the Talmud or later rabbinical literature to interpreting the Torah term "eitz," commonly translated as "tree," to also mean "thought". This of course, is a common usage in ...
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votes
1answer
173 views

Permissibility of speaking foreign languages?

(Inspired by this comment). Does halacha permit Jews to speak languages other than Hebrew? Bedieved? Lechatchilah?
5
votes
3answers
410 views

Silent aleph (no, I mean really silent)

Please explain what is going on with the letter aleph in certain places in Tanakh (e.g. the second to last word of Devarim 3:12, the first word of Tehilim 34:10) where the aleph contributes neither a ...
3
votes
0answers
109 views

Intonation of questions in ancient Hebrew [closed]

That is, when someone asks a question in English, their pitch goes up at the end. When someone makes a statement in English, their pitch goes down. This is not universal: In German, only some ...
3
votes
3answers
258 views

Does anyone know of a public domain recording of Tanakh chapters or verses?

The question title explains it all -- I'm looking for a public domain audio recording of the Tanakh. For example, these people have recorded Genesis: ...
3
votes
2answers
339 views

What's the etymology of the Hassidic term “b'sho'oh” for a chaperoned quasi-date?

I've heard in the Hassidic world, if two families decide that one's young fellow should meet the other's young lady, the couple has a brief, chaperoned, meeting, known as a b'shoh (spelling?), to ...