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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4
votes
1answer
45 views

Uniqueness of the phrase “Shabbat Shalom”

Why does only Shabbat get described as "Shalom," as in the greeting "Shabbat Shalom"? I don't hear anyone saying "Yom Tov Shalom" or "Purim Shalom", etc.
1
vote
2answers
37 views

What does ראש חודש אדר ה׳תשע״ה mean?

I understand Rosh Hodesh Adar but not the last abreviation. What does it mean? I need to know the meaning of each letter of this abreviation.
14
votes
5answers
11k views

What does Kadosh really mean?

What do the terms קדוש (Kadosh), קדושים, קדושה, and קדיש really mean?
2
votes
1answer
26 views

What is the difference between akh and ekha [closed]

For example, retsonekha, retsonakh. Kodsheha, kodshakh. What is the reason for this difference? I see this difference in several places in the jewish prayer books, for example in Yedid Nefesh or in ...
5
votes
3answers
435 views

Is there a chart available displaying all Hebrew letters and vowels?

I'm looking for a nice chart that will give me the following things, so I can print it out and keep it handy: Picture of each letter in traditional "book" font = Picture of each letter in ...
2
votes
2answers
186 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?
3
votes
1answer
460 views

What is this medallion?

This was given to me on my bat mitzvah several years ago, and I have no idea what it's about. Can you please explain/translate what this is? Does it have an official name? I'd like to read more about ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

What is the original meaning of the world “hevel”?

I am not religious myself, but lately I have found myself somewhat attracted to Ecclesiastes. Reading about it, I am fascinated about what seems to be endless meanings and interpretations of the word ...
3
votes
1answer
369 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 ...
12
votes
6answers
16k 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?
7
votes
1answer
7k views

what is “kodesh”?

What does the word קֹדֶשׁ (sometimes קודש), kodesh, mean? Its form is that of a noun, like אֹכֶל or בֹּקֶר or לֹבֶן. But קדושה is a noun, and (I'm pretty sure) it means "the state/quality of being ...
6
votes
1answer
114 views

“Qof, Qof” What does this mean?

An old (formerly used) synagogue building in my town has this sign on the front of it: The text says "Shaaray Torah", the name of the congregation, but what is the meaning of the two qofs above it? ...
10
votes
1answer
175 views

Request document Identification (Ancient Scroll?)

Hi I have a document from Tunsia that I can't identify. Can anyone help me with this?
5
votes
2answers
68 views

The word 'Halakhah'

When and under what circumstances did the word "halakhah" (also spelled "halacha", "halachah" or, in Hebrew, הלכה) come to mean Jewish law?
2
votes
0answers
35 views

Are all hiriqs the same or is there a distinction if a yud or other silent letter follows?

For example, what would be the difference in pronunciation of the hiriq in these two words: נִקּוּד and תִּינוֹק? What about רִאשׁוֹן? Is it "Rishon" similar to "pit" or "Reeshon" similar to ...
1
vote
0answers
26 views

Is there a term for doing a mitzvah the same way every time?

I read in a book (why can't I find it when I want it?) that among the reasons that a tallit gadol has an atarah on it is because there is value in doing a mitzvah the same way each time. If it did ...
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 ...
1
vote
0answers
55 views

Origin of the Ashkenazi Pronunciation? [closed]

What is the actual story behind the Ashkenazi way of pronunciation? I am uncertain as to whether Ashkenazim consider their form of pronunciation older than Sephardi, just an alternative, or... Any ...
4
votes
3answers
126 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
51 views

How do you pronounce numbers 248, 365, and 613 in the siddur?

In the meditations before putting on the tallit and tefillin in the morning, there are three numbers — 248, 365, and three instances of 613. They’re written out in standard Hebrew letter notation in ...
-1
votes
1answer
41 views

Applications of word tzipor

Can the Hebrew word "tzipor" mean any kind of flying creature in Genesis 1, or is the word only referring to fowls such as sparrows, hawks, etc.?
8
votes
2answers
162 views

Are there any studies that compare Biblical Hebrew to modern Hebrew?

(I am a Hebrew speaker) When reading the Bible, one encounters sometimes words whose meaning in modern Hebrew clearly does not correspond to what was meant in the text (in Kohelet for example, "מסכן" ...
10
votes
1answer
273 views

What is the source of the expression המבין יבין?

The Forward writer Philologos in his most recent column claimed that the earliest uses of the expression והמבין יבין are found in the Ra'avad and in the Radak. Based on the fact that both these ...
12
votes
3answers
3k 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
70 views

hebrew grammar query, Bamidbar 31:17

I seek to understand Bamidbar sedra mattos Chapter 31 verse 17. Specifically, the word הֲרֹגוּ is stumping me. It is not the kal impererative masculine plural. The word Hirgoo, הִרְגוּ, appears as the ...
4
votes
1answer
61 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 ...
-1
votes
1answer
82 views

What are clear and concise translations of the various meanings of “Ruach HaKodesh” in English?

The Wikipedia entry for "Holy Spirit (Judaism)" identifies this English term with the Hebrew term Ruach HaKodesh1, but also indicates that Ruach HaKodesh can mean a higher spiritual state of an ...
0
votes
0answers
34 views

Is Moisheva (or Mosheva) a female version of the name Moshe?

Is Moisheva (or Mosheva) a female version of the name Moshe? Are there any examples of this? Is the Hebrew word for "settlement" moshav/moshavim or moshava/moshavot? Background: a rabbi has ...
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?
2
votes
3answers
434 views

Best way to learn Hebrew to read Torah

I didn't have the opportunity growing up to learn Hebrew. My goal is to be able to sight-read the Hebrew in Torah. I have taken several classes in grammer and syntax, and my vocab is moderate. What ...
10
votes
4answers
241 views

What's “chelek Eloka 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
48 views

(Online) Hebrew Babylonian Talmud

I sometimes need to show things from Gemorra for someone who knows both Modern Hebrew and Lashon Hakodesh, but not Aramaic. I do not need inserted explanation, like the Hebrew ArtScroll or Mesivta, ...
-1
votes
2answers
48 views

What mean “peley” and “nava mina”? [closed]

At a gemara Shiur, I often heard the expression "it is peley" and the word "navamina". I do not know what these words mean. Navamina is not in the Melamed Dictionnary... Can you please tell me the ...
0
votes
1answer
39 views

What mean Cholek, Chozer, modey and Gozer?

When studying Masseret Ketubot with a Rabbi, he often says "He is Cholek", "He is Chozer", "He is Modey" or "He is Gozer". These four words seems related. It seems, according to the context, that they ...
2
votes
1answer
97 views

How do I write in Hebrew for a Ketubah, “On the first day of the week, the thirtieth day of Adar I in the year fifty-seven seventy one”

How do I write in Hebrew for a Ketubah, "On the first day of the week, the thirtieth day of Adar I in the year fifty-seven seventy one"? Question was asked by Stephen Spiegel, I'm just posting it ...
-1
votes
1answer
51 views

Should we say Leelou Nishmat ou Leelou Nishmata for a deceased woman? [closed]

Should we say Leelou Nishmat or Leelou Nishmata for a deceased woman? I heard a Rabbi saying Leelou Nishmata but it seems quite uncommon. What should we say?
1
vote
1answer
35 views

What mean the words Girsha and Mochel?

These two words seems related to each other. I often heard "he is mochel the tnay (the condition)" or " girsha stam". I think it means something like he abandoned his condition but I can't find the ...
7
votes
3answers
103 views

Why does kaftor vaferach mean “very nice”?

I have seen sefarim, and heard people giving derashos, use the expression "kaftor vaferach" to mean that an idea works out very nicely, or everything comes out very cleanly. The words kaftor vaferach ...
16
votes
6answers
464 views

Silent letter in Yisachar

Why don't we pronounce the second ש in יששכר?
-2
votes
4answers
159 views

Return *his* dress?

After the command to return a lost ox, we find: "You should do likewise for his dress (לשמלתו)." However, two pesukim later, we see וְלֹא-יִלְבַּשׁ גֶּבֶר שִׂמְלַת אִשָּׁה (and a man shouldn't wear ...
6
votes
1answer
57 views

Easy/pretty way to typeset Hebrew with Te'amim

I'm setting out to create a bentsher and am looking for the right software for the job. First, it is important to me that I have the ability to add Te'amim to biblical passages (e.g. kiddush). ...
4
votes
0answers
129 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
148 views

What is the difference between (for example) “notein” and “hanotein”?

I was looking through the brachot this morning. Many are structured as identifying hashem as "one who __" such as "matir assurim" or "oteir yisro'el btif'arah." But the final three add in the letter ...
24
votes
4answers
380 views

Female praying in masculine language

When women daven (pray), even by ourselves, it is convention to daven with male-gendered words ("modeh" vs "moda" as one of many examples). Why is this; are there sources that say we should be doing ...
3
votes
2answers
136 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
90 views

Is there another meaning behind the words “Urim Vetumim”? [closed]

We all know the classical meaning of the words אורים ותומים (loosely translated: light and truth), referring to the Choshen Mishpat, I was wondering if there is another accepted meaning of the words ...
10
votes
5answers
4k views

Etymology/connection between Ari, Aryeh, Yehudah, Leib, and Leibel

What is the relationship between the following names that often go together is some combination? Ari/Aryeh Yehudah Leib/Leibel I've encountered many men, young and old, with the following first ...
7
votes
2answers
422 views

Pronunciation of “Two”s in Hebrew

Thomas O. Lambdin calls out the words שְנַיִם and שְתַּיִם as exceptions to "shewa as the initial vowel in a word is always vocalized," i.e. it is "shtayim" and "shnayim". That's a secular expert's ...
0
votes
1answer
40 views

Why is talmud Yerushalmi in Aramaic

I assume that the Tanaaim and Amoraim in Eretz Yisrael spoke Hebrew, so why is the Talmud Yershalmi in Aramic not Hebrew?
14
votes
4answers
3k views

B'siyata D'shmaya or Baruch Hashem

Often, at the top of written work, Jews write either ב"ה, which stands for Baruch Hashem =blessed is the Name i.e., God, or בס"ד, which stands for b'siyata d'shmaya =with Heavenly help. What is the ...