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

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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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1answer
308 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 ...
3
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1answer
26 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 ...
3
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1answer
82 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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1answer
86 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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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?
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177 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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1answer
160 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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166 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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208 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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1answer
167 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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1answer
69 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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2answers
220 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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1answer
36 views

Why are the names of some mitzvos changed to from “al” or “lo” to “bal”

For example, אַל תְּשַׁקְּצוּ אֶת נַפְשֹׁתֵיכֶם בְּכָל הַשֶּׁרֶץ הַשֹּׁרֵץ וְלֹא תִטַּמְּאוּ בָּהֶם וְנִטְמֵתֶם בָּם (al t'shaq'tzu...) is commonly called בל תשקצו (bal t'shaq'tzu), אֵת ...
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92 views

Gentiles praying in Hebrew

Can a gentile pray in hebrew, and recite the Psalms? I am a Noahide (Chassidic Gentile) who is interested in going through the conversion process to Reform Judiaism. Is it okay for me to pray the ...
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69 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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101 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 ...
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80 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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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 ...
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3answers
284 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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2answers
87 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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1answer
336 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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3answers
164 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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3answers
536 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 ...
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2answers
52 views

Shaarei Teshuvah by Rabbeinu Yonah online

Does anyone know where I can find the Hebrew text of שערי תשובה by Rabbeinu Yonah online?
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1answer
76 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? ...
2
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1answer
140 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 ...
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4answers
676 views

Looking for a good English-to-Hebrew translation software

I'm looking for a translation software, or website, that accurately translates entire sentences and paragraphs from English to Hebrew, without grammar mistakes or funny language usage. Anyone know of ...
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2answers
164 views

Why is “Merkos L'inyonei Chinuch” spelled that way?

In the title Merkos L'inyonei Chinuch, why is the word מרכז transliterated with an 's' in place of a 'ז' rather than a 'z'?
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2answers
130 views

Why does the book (Megillah) of Esther never use the Hebrew word “armon” for palace?

It talks about the capital and "the king's house", but never uses the Hebrew word for "palace", "armon", as appears in Psalms and elsewhere. (Or does it appear and I missed it?) Why not?
2
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1answer
116 views

How does the word “Talmud” derive from root LMD? Is the word Aramaic?

I know what "Talmud" means and that it derives from the root Lamed Mem Dalet. But I cannot figure out how the word derives. Is it Aramaic (i.e. not Hebrew) and/or are there any other words that follow ...
2
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1answer
214 views

Are “tzipor” and “tziporen” related?

Are the words ציפור (bird) and ציפורן (finger nail OR a spice [found in k'tores]) etymologically related? I heard that both were connected to the root צ.פ.ר (arise) or to anatomical protuberance but I ...
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2answers
168 views

Yarden's River Name

Why is it called ירדן?
2
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1answer
142 views

Schwa+Heh Pronunciation

How should a heh with a schwa under it be pronounced in an intermediate position in a word? E.g. פדהאל, or נהדר
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2answers
128 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 ...
2
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1answer
63 views

How is סדר טהרות properly pronounced or pointed?

The last seder of the Mishnah is טהרות, but I can find no agreement on the vowels for this word. Some variations I have seen: טְהָרוֹת טַהֲרוֹת טָהֳרוֹת There may be others. Which answer makes the ...
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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? ...
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2answers
198 views

What is the Morph-Phonological Split in Hebrew that makes it so Unique? [closed]

Can some one explain this to me? In a mixed language par excellence, large and monolithic blocks of material are imported wholesale from each of the ancestral languages. Thus, while the verbal ...
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3answers
117 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
402 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?
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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?
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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 ...
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3answers
117 views

What is the meaning of the words כהיום הזה in the prayer על הניסים ?

What is the meaning of the words כהיום הזה in the prayer על הניסים ? Are there options other than the Artscroll interpretation, "unquestionable clarity"?
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2answers
67 views

Research Project on How the Revival of the Hebrew Language Led to Jewish Nationalism [closed]

Can someone help me with finding sources (ie, things to read) about my research topic of "How the Revival of the Hebrew Language Led to Jewish Nationalism"
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2answers
373 views

What are the Hebrew titles for synagogue functionaries in various communities?

In every Ashkenazic synagogue I've seen, the fellow calling up people to the Bima is called a "gabbai." (Which was originally a Hebrew word for "collector", as in Tzedaka collector; I can see how the ...
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1answer
80 views

Shva na after meteg on short vowel

When a long vowel has a meteg, there is a difference of opinion if the shva after it is na or nach. What about a short vowel with a meteg? Is it vayihi chen or vayhi chen? Is it tihiyeh or tihyeh? Is ...
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1answer
152 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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1answer
170 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
100 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 ...
2
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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?