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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0
votes
4answers
496 views

Tzanua…Not Tznius! [closed]

People often say tznius when they mean to say tzanua. Do you know of any other examples in Hebrew, Aramaic, or Yiddish in which people use the noun but they really mean to use the adjective?
19
votes
2answers
514 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?
6
votes
1answer
436 views

מֶה, מָה, מַה - Meh, Mah, Ma - What's the difference?

What causes the difference in vowelization of the Hebrew word for "what"? In some contexts it is מֶה, in others - מָה, and in yet others - מַה. The hypothesis that an acquaintance and I converged on ...
3
votes
2answers
162 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?
3
votes
2answers
372 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
299 views

Why is Hebrew Called “Jewish” in the Bible?

We see that in most of the Bible, the Jews are called "בני ישראל/Israelites"; only in later books are they called "יהודים/Jews" (e.g. Esther 2:5, Zechariah 8:23), after the loss of the 10 tribes. ...
10
votes
2answers
183 views

“m'nora” on Chanuka

My kid came home from school one day insisting that the thing we light on Chanuka is not a m'nora but a chanukiya. I replied that that's the word most Israelis use now but that m'nora is a perfectly ...
3
votes
1answer
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?
8
votes
1answer
379 views

Why shin and sin?

Why does Hebrew use the same letter to represent two different sounds: shin and sin? As far as I know, with the exception of when using a dagesh kal, no other Hebrew letter has this property.
16
votes
6answers
464 views

Silent letter in Yisachar

Why don't we pronounce the second ש in יששכר?
5
votes
3answers
524 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
837 views

Relationship between Samekh and Sin

What is the relationship between the letters samekh and sin? Did they ever have distinct sounds? Why do they exist as separate letters?
3
votes
3answers
592 views

Moreh Nevuchim Arabic-Hebrew

Does anyone know of a Hebrew/Arabic online or in print?
1
vote
2answers
112 views

What information do Hebrew pronouns carry/express?

(inspired by this question) Does the nominal pronoun in a Hebrew sentence with a conjugated verb i) add information or ii) deserve to be translated? Conversely, exactly how muchi) information does ...
5
votes
1answer
301 views

Why are some Hebrew prepositions always conjugated in plural form?

(inspired by this question) Certain Hebrew prepositions, such as אל, על, and לפני, are always conjugated in the plural form even with a singular object: thus אליו, עליך, etc. Others don't: the ...
3
votes
6answers
563 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
332 views

The Absolute Unity of G-d

As we all who know Hebrew can assert, the sufix "im" in the words usually means plurality. How can HaShem be Elohim or Elokim if He is absolutely One and the Only Lord?
1
vote
2answers
139 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)?
2
votes
2answers
69 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"
2
votes
2answers
208 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
261 views

Did any Achronim Write Books Comparing Arabic to Hebrew?

Did any achronim write books comparing Arabic to Hebrew?
0
votes
3answers
445 views

Good Jewish Blogs about the Modern Hebrew language? [closed]

Are there any good Jewish Blogs about the Modern Hebrew language?
10
votes
4answers
321 views

Can anyone help decipher the bottom two lines of this inscription?

I've recently been fortunate to find a photo of the gravestone of one of my ancestors, R' Nosson (ben Meir) Maas, Shochet of Frankfurt-am-Main (d. 1836). The inscription is quite laudatory: פ"ט הזקן ...
5
votes
1answer
179 views

Tree is it Eitz or Illan

What is the Diffrence between Eitz and Illan?
10
votes
3answers
295 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
184 views

sameach vs. samach

Nusach S'farad, in the amida ("sh'mone esre") of holidays and Shabas, has "וְשַׂמַּח נַפְשֵׁינוּ בִּישׁוּעָתֶךָ" ("v'samach..."), but in sheva b'rachos it has "שַׂמֵּחַ תְּשַׂמַּח" ("sameach..."). ...
9
votes
4answers
573 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
227 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.?
2
votes
2answers
402 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 ...
3
votes
4answers
358 views

Computer Support for Nekudos [closed]

Can it hurt to include Nekudos (vowel marks) when typing Hebrew? Do all systems that support Hebrew lettering automatically support Nekudos? If not, do they at least degrade gracefully?
7
votes
2answers
117 views

Why are several Biblical characters called “man of the Lord” (Ish HaElokim), but no one in the Bible is ever “man of God” (Ish Hashem)?

Ramban makes this observation (Deut. 33:1), and says "anyone with a good intellect" can figure out the reason. Okay I'm stumped ... help me out here please?
12
votes
3answers
186 views

In the Bible, why did robbers bother tunneling into houses to rob them?

Exodus 22:1 speaks about the robber who was found "tunnelling in" to someone's house (vis-a-vis self-defense). Is that just a figure of speech, or did they actually go to that much trouble? (What ...
6
votes
1answer
787 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?
2
votes
1answer
98 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?
3
votes
1answer
164 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?
4
votes
1answer
130 views

What does חיו“ש וכט”ס stand for?

What does this abbreviation stand for? It is part of the greeting section of a letter written in Hebrew from the late 19th century. The phrase in which it appears is: שפעת חיו"ש וכט"ס לכבוד הרב ...
6
votes
2answers
431 views

Pronunciation of משנה הלכות

Are R' Menashe Klein's volumes of responsa pronounced "Mishna Halachos" or "Mishaneh Halachos"? Can someone provide the grammatical explanation please?
9
votes
2answers
267 views

Is there a difference between “p” and “f” when transliterating from English to Hebrew?

When transliterating an English name to Hebrew (e.g. for a Ketubah or Get), is there a way to distinguish between a "p" and "f" sound? E.g. Fine, NY vs Pine, CO. Would both just be spelled (assuming ...
7
votes
1answer
454 views

How is “Jerusalem” pronounced when reading a Ketubah?

"Jerusalem" is spelled the same way in Hebrew and Aramaic (if you ignore the vowels); but in Hebrew it's pronounced "Yerushalayim", and in Aramaic it's pronounced "Yerushleim" (as it appears in the ...
14
votes
5answers
11k views

What does Kadosh really mean?

What do the terms קדוש (Kadosh), קדושים, קדושה, and קדיש really mean?
2
votes
2answers
170 views

Yarden's River Name

Why is it called ירדן?
1
vote
2answers
142 views

Why is it called Ayin Hara?

Why is it called Ayin Hara (singular) shouldn't it be Anayim Raos (Plural)?
7
votes
7answers
2k views

Hard Yeshivish phrases to translate [closed]

Does anyone ever have trouble finding good English translations of certain yeshivish phrases, especially when in conversation with someone who would not understand the original? Post your favorite ...
2
votes
1answer
145 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
3
votes
1answer
309 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
342 views

Davening not in Hebrew

Isn't it better to daven in your first language rather than davening in Hebrew and only knowing part of what you're sayig?
15
votes
8answers
575 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?
6
votes
4answers
206 views

Shalom Alaichem and vice versa

Why do people respond Alaichem shalom when someone tells them Shalom Alaichem? Doesn't it mean the same thing?
7
votes
2answers
276 views

Definition of Leitzanus

I have often seen leitzanus, mockery, defined along the lines of making a joke out of serious matters. Intuitively this is a good definition, but does anyone have a source which spells it out? And to ...
2
votes
3answers
570 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 ...