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

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3
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3answers
354 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
189 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
241 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?
4
votes
5answers
576 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 ...
5
votes
0answers
137 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
502 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. ...
3
votes
1answer
150 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
165 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
231 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
182 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
73 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, ...
1
vote
2answers
610 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
196 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?
0
votes
2answers
151 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
145 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
166 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 ...
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.)?
-1
votes
1answer
134 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 ...
-1
votes
2answers
585 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
257 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
vote
2answers
169 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 ...
-4
votes
1answer
175 views

Permissibility of speaking foreign languages?

(Inspired by this comment). Does halacha permit Jews to speak languages other than Hebrew? Bedieved? Lechatchilah?
3
votes
0answers
111 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
178 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
321 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: ...
2
votes
1answer
110 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?
2
votes
1answer
476 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? ...
7
votes
3answers
108 views

The difference between צדיקים and חסידים

What's the difference between צדיקים and חסידים? I assume that there is a difference because of Psalms 145:17. Also at the end of Nishmat Kol Chai where it says "uvdivrey tzadikim titbarach uvilshon ...
3
votes
2answers
144 views

Clothing and shame, etymologically speaking

I have been unable to find an etymological connection between the root for shame בשש (especially as it turns into the forms of בושה בושת) and the word for "clothe" לבש. Shame was introduced in ...
9
votes
4answers
319 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 ...
4
votes
5answers
239 views

Why isn't Half Hallel called “85 percent hallel”?

When we say hallel on days like Rosh chodesh, we don't say parts of two prakim of tehillim. This is often called "chatzi" hallel, or half hallel. In fact, according to ...
2
votes
1answer
328 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
131 views

Root of the name Aharon

What is the etymology of the name Aharon? The only serious site I've found that proposes an etymology is this, but I'm hoping for a more classical source, i.e. Chazal or Rishonim.
4
votes
2answers
200 views

Is Aggadah the same thing as Midrash?

(Inspired by a comment on this question.) What characteristics define Aggadah and Midrash, and how are they related? If the distinction is merely that Aggadah is a more general category of "legend" ...
29
votes
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 ...
6
votes
2answers
183 views

What does שעטנז (sha'atnez) mean?

.שעטנז. I'm asking about the literal meaning behind the word, its etymology, etc.
11
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
314 views

What color is Yarok?

Yarok ירוק in modern Hebrew means green. What color does it refer to in Mishnaic Hebrew? I have heard that it refers to yellow and not green because the Mishna in Sukkah (on 34b) discusses a citron ...
6
votes
3answers
346 views

How much is Classical Hebrew (in which the Hebrew Bible is written) is different from the modern Hebrew? [closed]

How much is Classical Hebrew (in which the Hebrew Bible is written) is different from the modern Hebrew? In which areas lie the main differences? Can any Jew or Israeli today understand what is ...
8
votes
2answers
451 views

Why can't Ploni Almoni be a real name, in Ruth?

The verse states (Ruth 4:1): וּבֹעַז עָלָה הַשַּׁעַר, וַיֵּשֶׁב שָׁם, וְהִנֵּה הַגֹּאֵל עֹבֵר אֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר-בֹּעַז, וַיֹּאמֶר סוּרָה שְׁבָה-פֹּה פְּלֹנִי אַלְמֹנִי; וַיָּסַר, וַיֵּשֵׁב Now Boaz ...
4
votes
1answer
58 views

Tutorials for learning more about Jewish practice

I wish to learn more about the steps for "Hazara betshova" (Getting stronger) preferably in Hebrew. I have no knowledge of the Jewish practice at all so a place which assumes no past knowledge will be ...
0
votes
1answer
121 views

Extra yud in Yerushalaim

Why and by whom was there a yud added to make "ירושלים" instead of the original "ירושלם"?
11
votes
1answer
135 views

First-Temple-Era names of the Hebrew months?

The Chumash refers to the months simply as "the first", "the second", and so on. Today we know them by their Babylonian names (Nisan, Iyar ...) Occasionally the Prophets from the First-Temple Era use ...
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votes
3answers
3k views

How do you write Isaiah in Hebrew? [closed]

How do you write Isaiah in Hebrew and does it matter if the writing is in a vertical direction. (This is for a tattoo for a childs name on a parent)
3
votes
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)
3
votes
1answer
101 views

What's the significance of the dot in “bqr” in Danial vs the omission of the same in Genesis

In researching the phrase "evening and morning" I noticed a very small difference in the Hebrew text between Genesis 1 (e.g. 1:4) and Daniel 8:14, where the latter has a tiny dot in the first letter ...
3
votes
3answers
191 views

Conventions for derivation of Hebrew names

How is a Hebrew name chosen for a person whose legal name is English (or other vernacular)? Is the name chosen based on phonetic resemblance to one's English name, a resemblance in meaning, or mere ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

Wishes to a mourner in addition to “Hamokom Yenachem Eschem”

I have heard some people say in Yiddish after "Hamokom Yenachem Eschem B'Soch Shaar Aveilei Tzion V'Yerushalayim" ("May God comfort you alongside the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem"), "Zulst Mer Nisht ...
10
votes
2answers
163 views

“־הם” versus “־מו”

Usually, the suffix "־הם" is used to mean "them" as an object, as is "להם" or "אליהם". Or it is used to mean "their" in possessive form, as in "כליהם" or "אבותיהם". But sometimes, the very same usage ...
4
votes
1answer
517 views

Hebrew Havarah?

Similar to this question Different parts of Eastern Europe had different dialects. For example, Ukrainian, Polish and Hungarian Jews pronounce a "Shuruk" as a EE, or a Komatz as an oo (so Boruch ...