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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איש אחד What does the Echad refer to and where else in the Tanch is it found?

In Shmuel Aleph Perek Aleph Elkana is refered to as Ish Echad before his name is given. The Midrash, according to Meam Loez, says that the Echad means Singular or Special. I was wondering where else ...
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74 views

Meaning of the (Hebrew?) abbreviation Ka"H

I saw this on a frum forum: It bothers me when my daughters keep hearing about their (ka"h) appearance,and no one talks about character. I had never seen this abbreviation before. Does anyone ...
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456 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: ...
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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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338 views

Are there analogs to “Abba” & “Ima” for in-laws? [closed]

I know that “אבא” and “אמא” are originally Aramaic translations of the Hebrew “אבי” and “אמי” which have become adapted to Hebrew, especially in the accusative case. Are there similar forms in ...
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בישול Versus שולק

The Shulchan Aruch and the Gemara use two words that to me seem to mean the same thing: "Cooking". My question is what is the difference between שולק (Sholek) and בישול (Bishul)? Please provide ...
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43 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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159 views

Are there any letters that do not have a distinct pronunciation?

Are there any two letters which do not have a distinction between their pronunciation in any tradition of pronunciation? To ask the inverse, is there at least one tradition of pronunciation for each ...
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1answer
701 views

According to Jewish sources: which language came first, Hebrew or Aramaic?

I've heard that Aramaic and Hebrew are similar languages in vocabulary, syntax, and structure. There is, however, some debate about which is the older, or original, base language. After a bit of ...
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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 ...
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334 views

Definition of Baal Nefesh

I have seen "Baal Nefesh" used frequently in various contexts: sometimes as one who is scrupulous in halacha, other times as someone who is a quality person. What is its simple translation/meaning?
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167 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 ...
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179 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 ...
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140 views

Goy Versus Leum

The Posuk Says (Gen. 25,23): שְׁנֵי [גיים] גוֹיִם בְּבִטְנֵךְ וּשְׁנֵי לְאֻמִּים מִמֵּעַיִךְ יִפָּרֵדוּ Translated as: Two nations are in your womb, and two kingdoms will separate from your ...
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176 views

Learning Hebrew

If I have a decent Hebrew knowledge, but not great, what books (i.e. dictionaries, lexicons, etc.) should I have at hand when I'm learning a sefer, such as the Mishneh Torah?
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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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139 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 ...
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222 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 ...
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592 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? ...
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213 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 ...
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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 ...
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106 views

“Ramba”m“ or ”The Ramba“m”?

I often hear the Hebrew abbreviation for Maimonides appended to a definite article but don't quite understand why it should be there when the unabbreviated name would (I think) never warrant such an ...
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402 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 ...
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111 views

What is the meaning of “Rav”?

I see that some names have the word "Rav" in the name, names like Rav Yitzchak Meir Morgenstern and Rav Berg. I don't know much about Judaism. I want to know what is the meaning of "Rav".
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113 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 ...
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1k 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 ...
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753 views

Different words for clothing

Whats the difference between kasah (covering) and labash (covering)? And when we look to clothes then what's the difference between kesut and lebush? And what about beged (cloths) ? Please show me ...
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144 views

Why does “ateres roshi” mean “my parent”?

The phrase "עטרת ראשי" (ateres roshi == my head's crown) appears in many Hebrew texts to refer to respectable individuals. I heard in a shi'ur recently that it specifically refers to the father of the ...
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142 views

Is there a single syntactic class “פעיל” in Biblical Hebrew?

Is there a unique class of Biblical Hebrew words of the form "פעיל"?Is the putative class of Biblical Hebrew words strictly a class of nouns or adjectives?If not, is it strictly divisible into two ...
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319 views

Kel (Melech) Chanun V'Rachum — do you say Melech?

Some siddurs have the phrase "Ki Kel Melech Chanun V'Rachum Ata" at the conclusion of Ya'aleh v'Yavo. Some have Melech in parentheses; some don't have it at all. Can anyone tell me something about ...
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27 views

Compare Devarim 14:11 and Devarim 14:20- Is there a difference in meaning between “tzipor” and “of”?

The two verses Devarim 14:11 and 14:20 appear to say the same thing except that v 11 uses the word "tzipor" and v 20 uses the word "of". Aren't they the same thing? If yes, what is the second verse ...
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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?
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95 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 ...
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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?
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236 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 ...
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174 views

How do you pronounce the הוי״ה in hataras nedarim (annulment of vows) before Rosh HaShanah?

In the siddurs I've seen, we ask for annulment for vows made "with the name הוי״ה ". That word is left unvowelized. How is it pronounced?
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309 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 ...
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185 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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222 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 ...
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184 views

Importance of learning grammar

What are the traditional Jewish opinions about the importance of learning and speaking Hebrew with proper grammar (dikduk)?
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70 views

Picking out the alephs

How can you quickly pick out all the alephs on a page of Hebrew printed text?
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49 views

Is “tirtzach” 'murder'?

The way I was taught it (and confirmed by this answer and the comment on it), the Hebrew word "tirtzach" refers to murder, and is distinguished from the H-R-G and M-T roots which mean "kill." ...
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1answer
184 views

Difference between El and Eloah

El(אל) and Eloah(אלוה) are both singular forms (nouns), but its אל thats being used to form the plural Elim (אלים), and אלוה thats being used to form the plural Elohim (אלוה׳ם). Both singular forms ...
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85 views

Difference between 'rafa' and 'ripa'

The root רפא, "heal", is used in various places in Tanach, sometimes in binyan paal and sometimes in binyan piel. I wonder what the difference is between these. Does any Tanach commentator, or the ...
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123 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 ...
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348 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 ...
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420 views

What is the prayer uttered by Michael Ginberg's dad in Mad Men?

In the second last scene of episode 5x03 of Mad Men, Michael Ginsberg (one of the Jewish characters on the show) comes back home from the grocer's to be greeted by his dad. The latter encourages ...
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112 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?"
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174 views

Meaning of the a word in an magen david

I have a magen david with שוי writen inside and I want to know the meaning
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602 views

Where can I find Hebrew etymologies?

In what reliable source can I look up the etymology of English (or other) words stretching all the way back to Semitic languages, especially Hebrew? I often have suspicions that certain words might ...