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

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10
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201 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
129 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 ...
-2
votes
0answers
85 views

Program for making/designing the Vilna daf (Hebrew typesetting program) [closed]

Does anyone know what program I can use to recreate the format of the Vilna daf? In other words, I'm looking for a Hebrew typesetting program.
3
votes
3answers
134 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
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0answers
81 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 ...
-3
votes
0answers
51 views

What these words mean? [closed]

Reading the guemara ( Ketoubot, Ayin Beth, amud beth), I had some troubles with the following words. Can you please tell me what they means ? Mochel // Biat Znut // Achuley Achley Tnay // Zvara // ...
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
409 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
34 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 ...
0
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0answers
52 views

English translation for tzaruch

I'm looking for the meaning of "tzaruch" in English. I have read, in Torah sources, that "tzaruch ochel" means "for the purpose of eating". Does the word "tzaruch" alone mean "the purpose", or only ...
8
votes
2answers
874 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
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 ...
2
votes
1answer
77 views

How is one allowed to say the word “Hashem”?

There's a famous Taz (quoted in Kitzur) which says that one isn't allowed to say the name of Hashem in foreign languages (So saying/writing B-ga or G-d in vain would be forbidden). Why would Hashem ...
1
vote
1answer
33 views

what Difference between Shamash and eved

Why is the servant-candle on the menorah called “shamash” (meaning servant) instead of “eved” which is the word for servant in Hebrew
0
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2answers
59 views

What is the meaning of the phrase לצאת ולבוא?

What is the meaning of the oft-repeated phrase לצאת ולבוא as in Deuteronomy 31:2 ? I realize it means "to conduct business" or "to lead", but I was hoping for more of a deep dive (does it come from a ...
4
votes
0answers
33 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?
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vote
0answers
29 views

Meaning of סוף (suf) = weed/reed vs edge/end

What is the original meaning of the word סף and its cognate סוף ? We know that סף in the Bible means edge or threshold. But why does its cognate סוף carry the meaning of weed or reed most of the ...
11
votes
3answers
397 views

Meaning and pronunciation of יישר כחך

What is the exact meaning of the phrase "יישר כחך", and what is the gramatically-correct way to pronounce it?
4
votes
2answers
113 views

How does a Braille siddur work?

A member of our minyan has a degenerative vision problem and has, for a time, been using a home-made very-large-print siddur. After an absence, she returned this Shabbat with a guide dog and said she ...
7
votes
2answers
82 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
51 views

Shaarei Teshuvah by Rabbeinu Yonah online

Does anyone know where I can find the Hebrew text of שערי תשובה by Rabbeinu Yonah online?
5
votes
1answer
83 views

The lack of “ch” sound in Hebrew

As far as I know, there is no tradition of Lashon HaKodesh pronunciation in which there is a sound that matches the "ch" (IPA: t​͡​ʃ) of English. Is there any significance to this ...
9
votes
0answers
124 views

Request document Identification (Ancient Scroll?)

Hi I have a document from Tunsia that I can't identify. Can anyone help me with this?
2
votes
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 ...
4
votes
1answer
106 views

What does והבוכ"ע mean?

I have found this word a few times in the Satmar Rebbe's Divrei Yoel (such as here, for example, in Parshat Metzora'). I am assuming that it is an acronym, rather than a transliterated Yiddish word, ...
7
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
178 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 ...
0
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1answer
27 views

In the phrase זכר למעשה בראשית in Kiddush, is the word זכר an adjective?

Usually, a word that has a segol such as "zecher" gets a tzerei when it becomes an adjective. Example - "mateh" becomes "matei" when used as an adjective as in "matei Levi". Q - in the phrase זכר ...
5
votes
1answer
79 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?
1
vote
0answers
58 views

How does “Jezebel” translate into English? [closed]

I've heard some Christian ministries preach that the name-word "Jezebel" can be translated into modern English as: "One with whom there is no cohabitation" They then later expound that the "women's ...
1
vote
0answers
34 views

vowels on vav before mem

Can someone explain why the following examples, all from parashat ki tzetzeh - כִּי תֵצֵא, are written with a kamatz: "vamet" - וָמֵת - (D'varim 21:21) "vameta" - וָמֵתָה - (D'varim 22:21) "vametu" ...
3
votes
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 ...
0
votes
2answers
42 views

What do “Batél Beshishim Lechatechila” and “ Mevatél Issur Lechatechila” mean?

What do "Batél Beshishim Lechatechila" and "Mevatél Issur Lechatechila" mean?
3
votes
1answer
301 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
36 views

Hebrew word/image HELP for Paintings [closed]

I am an artist and have completed five paintings of 5 different Hebrew words for our prayer room. I don't speak Hebrew, but was told that the images and words were correct, but one was in question ...
2
votes
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 ...
8
votes
1answer
1k views

Is this a mistake in a Torah scroll or intended decoration?

In the following pictures, is the superscript addition a correction or intended decoration? Are corrections like this kosher?
4
votes
0answers
43 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
26 views

What is the significance of this twirly pe? [duplicate]

The picture below shows two examples of the letter pe. They are both written on the same piece of vellum, in Genesis 23. One pe is written normally, whereas one has a twirl. What's the significance ...
4
votes
2answers
108 views

Hebrew of the Mishneh Torah

In what type of Hebrew did Rambam write the Mishneh Torah? I just started to learn Biblical Hebrew and when I have learned basics I will start to read Pentateuch in Hebrew with some help The next ...
1
vote
0answers
75 views

“Hello” and “sincerely” when writting letters

Not sure if this falls on the side/outside of the scope of this page. If so, let me know, and I can delete. I have heard of shalom aleichem among people and the reply aleichem shalom, or simply ...
1
vote
2answers
63 views

Were Jews enslaved by Egypt or instead corvee labor?

Richard A. Gabriel has a military interpretation of the Exodus. A key part of his analysis is that Avadeem is not the word for slave, it is the word for “worker” or even servant. If this is ...
2
votes
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 ...
5
votes
1answer
375 views

Etymology of the word “trope”

The word Trope seems to me to be a Yiddish word. What is the source of this word? How do you say this word in Hebrew? Taamei Hanegina?
3
votes
0answers
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 ...
4
votes
1answer
53 views

Cognitive meaning of כפר

What is the cognitive meaning of the root כפר? It's applications (that I know of, feel free to add) are: כפיר - lion cub (Shoftim 14:5) כפר - village (Shmuel 1 6:18) כופר - Replacement (bamidbar ...
5
votes
2answers
72 views

Theological Aspects of Hebrew Grammar

Are there any aggadic, kabbalistic, halachic or other theological teachings related to the grammar or morphology of Hebrew? I am not referring to the orthography (or anything at all related to ...
1
vote
1answer
88 views

Jebediah​​​ (?)

Some claim that Jebediah is a Hebrew name. Is it a Jewish name? Either way; what does/would it mean, and how is it/would it be spelled and pronounced in Hebrew?
2
votes
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 ...