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8
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1answer
565 views

מֶה, מָה, מַה - mɛ, mʌ, ma - What's the difference?

What causes the difference in vowelization of the Hebrew word for "what" in the Bible and classical Jewish texts? In some contexts it is מֶה, in others - מָה, and in yet others - מַה. The hypothesis ...
11
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2answers
1k 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
54 views

What does shomo-a tishm'u in the shema prayer mean?

The second paragraph of the shema begins with "and it will come to pass that if you continually hearken to my commandments..." Apparently shomo-a tishm'u means continually hearken but I would like ...
11
votes
3answers
767 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 ...
12
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7answers
26k views

Nefesh, neshama and ruach as words for “soul”

All three words can mean something like "soul", e.g., neshama in גלגול נשמות, and ruach in וַתְּחִי רוּחַ יַעֲקֹב אֲבִיהֶם (Bereshit 45:27). So, what is the difference?
3
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1answer
102 views

What is the meaning of the term יום טוב (Yom Tov)?

I did a search in Tanac"h for the term יום טוב (along with any prefixes to the term) The term appears a few times in Esther, esp. in the 2nd to last chapter. One example is: Esther 9:19: עַל־...
1
vote
1answer
82 views

How to say Mi Yodeya's version of Echad Mi Yodeya in hebrew

A selcetion of the Mi Yodeya series is being prepared for the hagadah mi yodeya 14 are the books of the Rambam. 15 were the cubits of the Flood. 16 are the maneh of the myrrh. 17 were the ...
4
votes
1answer
592 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 ...
12
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2answers
151 views

Grammar question in Vayera

I've been learning Bereshit with Rashi in school, and while reading a part of Vayera, I noticed that there were two grammatically different statements in one Pesuk. Bereshit (18:7) וְאֶל ...
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2answers
39 views

What to say to someone on a yahrzeit

Is there a standard expression used to greet or comfort those who are celebrating an anniversary of mourning? (...and why is it said?) Even if not, what should one say? (...and why?) We should merit ...
3
votes
0answers
36 views

What is the difference - דעה vs דעת

The words דעה and דעת both seem to come from the same root of לדעת, to know. Is there a difference in meaning between them? The only indication I can think of is the נוסח אשכנז version of the ברכה of ...
5
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0answers
46 views

Leshabeichacha and loseis/latet shevach

Towards the beginning of the נוסח אשכנז version of davening, in the section beginning לעולם יהא אדם ירא שמים, we say as follows: לפיכך אנחנו חייבים להודות לך ולשבחך ולפארך ולברך ולקדש ולתת שבח ...
12
votes
1answer
464 views

הוא is he? Or is it?

The third-person feminine pronoun in Hebrew is היא, "hee." But in most instances in the Torah, the word is spelled הוא, with a vav rather than a yud as the middle letter. How does this make sense ...
11
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2answers
304 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 ...
-1
votes
0answers
32 views

What do we call the date of death of an Av?

I was under the impression that there was another word than "yahrzeit" to refer to the date of departure from this world of an Av or other major figure. It seems "yahrzeit" is also used in practice (q....
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2answers
36 views

Tehillim 72.17 ינין or ינון?

Is messiahs name ינין or ינון? I know the vav and the yo'd are very similar, is this why it reads differently ?
3
votes
1answer
375 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 ...
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3answers
243 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 Yiddish,...
1
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1answer
59 views

Is there a word for this concept? [closed]

I recently learned the Korean word han, which, according to Wikipedia, "denotes a collective feeling of oppression and isolation in the face of insurmountable odds (the overcoming of which is beyond ...
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4answers
300 views

Have any of you ever heard anyone pronouncing ayin as “ng”?

I have read historically the letter ayin was pronounced by some Dutch, Portuguese, and Italian Jews as a velar nasal consonant (ng as in sing). Reference to this can be found here, here, and here. I ...
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0answers
47 views

Why are cantillation notes called טעמי המקרא?

Cantillation notes (aka trope) is called טעמי המקרא in Hebrew. I have seen the Hebrew word טעם used to mean: taste as in: Numbers 11:8: שָׁטוּ֩ הָעָ֨ם וְלָֽקְט֜וּ וְטָחֲנ֣וּ בָרֵחַ֗יִם א֤וֹ ...
5
votes
3answers
242 views

Pronunciation of חשמונאי

A friend today told me that the word חשמונאי traditionally pronounced "Chashmonai" should really be pronounced "Chashmunai" with the vav being read as a shuruk vowel instead of a cholom. Is this true?...
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0answers
37 views

Where can one find a complete guide to Hebrew numerals?

I am looking for an instruction resource on Hebrew numerals that is comprehensive, insofar as it: lists all (or nearly all) of the euphemistic exceptions in frequent use (such as "chai" for 18, רחץ ...
6
votes
1answer
69 views

How to change someone's hebrew name?

I am wondering how to change officially someone's hebrew name. I have seen in the Tora that Hashem changes people's names. Like Sarai became Sarah, Avram became Avraham,Yaaqob became Yisrael, Yetkuel ...
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0answers
50 views

Why would one paraphrase and not quote a pasuk?

In the second bracha before Shma in the morning, there is a line which is taken from Tehillim 86:11 which reads, "יַחֵד לְבָבִי לְיִרְאָה שְׁמֶךָ". The construction I found in the Artscroll reads (I ...
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0answers
50 views

Do brachot speak of time or place?

In the formulation of a bracha we use the words "melech ha'olam" which is translated as "king of the universe" (Koren and Artscroll). But "olam" is used through tanach as "forever" (or at least a long ...
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1answer
36 views

Usage of “Making Aaliyah”

I had heard that "Making Aaliyah" is informally used to mean anyone going to Israel (not necessarily moving there, and not necessarily Jewish) for religious reasons. I was more recently informed that "...
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0answers
93 views

Proper Reading of the Word זועה

The word זועה appears six times in tanach: Yeshayahu 28:19 Yirmiyahu 15:4 Yirmiyahu 24:9 Yirmiyahu 29:18 Yirmiyahu 34:17 Divrei Hayamim II 29:8 In each one of these instances except the first, the ...
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0answers
23 views

What are good grammars to help me understand the language of Rabbinic Literature?

I have recently finished my grammar book on Biblical Hebrew, and I would like to get a grammar that would help me start to read rabbinic literature, specifically, the Talmud, and the commentaries of ...
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2answers
134 views

What do you call a female Chosid?

I have encountered a lot of different words purporting to be the feminine version of Chosid (Hasid/Hassid/חסיד). I have seen or heard: Chosides (~Chosidit?) Chasideh/Chasida Most recently, "...
2
votes
2answers
195 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
42 views

Stringing nuts together: a question on the Bartenura, Uqtzin 2:5

In explaining the Mishna, the Bartenura often clarifies obscure words by providing a cognate word in either Hebrew or Aramaic - the latter usually taken from the Targum, but sometimes from the Bavli ...
4
votes
1answer
69 views

How holy is Aramaic?

I've always thought that Hebrew is the Lashon HaKodesh, the language G-d speaks, and the language of Judaism. And that Aramaic is also important but somewhat secondary. But based on this answer, it ...
2
votes
1answer
86 views

Translation please Yiddish and roshai taivois about getting married fast

Please help me translation (understand) Igres kodesh 24 pg 227 (second paragraph) I understand the last line that "whoever shortens the time between the decision (to get married) and the marriage ...
2
votes
2answers
41 views

what is the etymology of “Nebat”?

Brown Driver Briggs, usually unabashed at offering extra-canonical etymology, offers only "proper name" as the etymological parse of נבט, given that it is only ever found in the phrase " יָרָבְעָ֣ם ...
0
votes
1answer
42 views

Deuteronomy 6:7 and 8:10 - Why are the words pronounced “Milra”?

I'm relaying this question from my shul's chazzan to me, who is a Torah reader. I'm stumped... Deuteronomy 8:10: וְאָכַלְתָּ֖ וְשָׂבָ֑עְתָּ וּבֵֽרַכְתָּ֙ אֶת־יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֔יךָ עַל־הָאָ֥רֶץ ...
3
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0answers
67 views

Does Rabbinic Literature misunderstand the infinitive absolute?

The infinitive absolute is a conjugation classified generally by a qametz under the first consonant, and a holem or holem - vav by the second. According to the Cambridge Introduction to Biblical ...
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1answer
151 views

Evolved minimal Hebrew pronunciation in halacha

Inspired by comments on this question: Say a person travels from place to place where there are certain traditional havarot (pronunciations) such that what were likely originally distinct sounds, are ...
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4answers
1k views

Most original form of the Hebrew Bible/Tanach

Not sure if they are the same thing (the Hebrew Bible and the Tanach). I read in this link that "there are many different Jewish translations of the Hebrew Bible". This kind of confuses me because I ...
3
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0answers
51 views

Prayer for the Government if the President or VP is female

The prayer Hanosen Teshuah as recited in the US has the line את הנשיא ואת משנהו. To me, these terms sound masculine. If the President and/or Vice President of the United States were female, would this ...
8
votes
1answer
208 views

Is there a difference in meaning between קָדֹֽשׁ and קֹֽדֶשׁ?

I am helping my son lain parshat Emor. He's having a hard time seeing the difference between קֹֽדֶשׁ and קָדֹ֥שׁ esp. when they are written the same. Usually, when I train students to lain, I try to ...
11
votes
4answers
412 views

What's “chelek Eloak mimaal”?

I have frequently heard the human (or only the Jewish?) soul referred to as "חלק אלוק ממעל", literally "portion/section/piece/allotment of God (from) above". What does this mean? Who's the first to ...
0
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1answer
118 views

Plural of yasher koach?

Many expressions in Hebrew take different forms when referring to women or groups. What is the correct way to say yasher koach/ײשר כּח to multiple people?
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vote
1answer
48 views

Real green hair?

I've seen people with their hair dyed green, but I was under the impression that nobody has naturally green hair. But Rashi says (Tazria 13:37) שער שחר - מנין אף הירוק והאדום שאינו צהוב? תלמוד ...
10
votes
2answers
2k views

What's the meaning of “Hashmal” (electricity in modern Hebrew) in the bible? (Ezekiel 1:4)

Ezekiel 1:4: I saw, and behold, there was a stormy wind coming from the north, a great cloud with flashing fire and a brilliance surrounding it; and from its midst, like the color of the Hashmal ...
3
votes
1answer
759 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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votes
3answers
4k views

Two words for “redeem”: what's the difference?

When we talk about "redeeming" a first-born son or a captive, we use "pidyon" (root פדה). When we talk about what God does for us we use "goel" (גאל). My dictionary translates both of these roots as ...
15
votes
7answers
16k views

What does Kadosh really mean?

What do the terms קדוש (Kadosh), קדושים, קדושה, and קדיש really mean?
8
votes
2answers
160 views

Is there a reason or pattern as to when the Torah uses אֵת instead of אֶת?

I noticed a mix of the two forms of the Hebrew objective marker commonly pronounced אֶת. in the Torah. (There is no English translation of this word. It is used only to notify that an object follows ...
11
votes
4answers
4k views

Correct response to tizku l'mitzvot

What is the correct response to someone saying, "tizku l'mitzvot" after you do a mitzvah, or something helpful? For example, after helping someone make an Eruv Chatzeirot they might say "tizku l'...