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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8
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1answer
557 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 ...
4
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1answer
587 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 ...
3
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1answer
101 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־...
2
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1answer
143 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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
5
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0answers
122 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 ...
5
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475 views

Saying “Elokim” when not referring to Hashem

People often say "Elokim" instead of "Elohim" when speaking in order to avoid taking God's name in vain. I have observed, however, that some people always substitute the word "elokim" for "elohim" ...
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161 views

Good resource for learning vowel pronunciation

In trying to improve my leyning, I'm trying to get the finer points of vowel pronunciation down. What is a good resource to learn, e.g., the difference between a patach and chataf-patach or a ...
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0answers
96 views

Use of speaking “Baruch HaShem” in 1492 Spain

I am writing a play that takes place during the Spanish Inquisition. A Rabbi is walking home from the King's court and his belongings are tossed to the ground by hooligans. A young Spanish girl picks ...
4
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0answers
184 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
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0answers
204 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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140 views

Why does the prefix She- appear in only Tehillim, Shir Hashirim, and Koheles?

The prefix שֶׁ is very common in Mishnaic and Modern Hebrew, but in Tanakh appear rarely, except in Tehillim, Shir Hashirim, and Koheles, where it is all over the place. Why are these books the only ...
4
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0answers
417 views

Knowledge of meanings of Hebrew names in Daniel

I have being doing a study on Daniel and the meanings of the names of Daniel and his friends and wondered how these would be understood between the friends. For example my name is Stephen, meaning ...
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88 views

Levana or Yareach?

In the entire Tanach the moon is generally called Yareach. There are 3 instances where it is called Levana. One is ישעיהו: כד. כג. וחפרה הלבנה ובושה החמה. Another one is ישעיהו: ל. כו. והיה אור הלבנה ...
3
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0answers
35 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 ...
3
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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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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 ...
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 ...
3
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0answers
95 views

Is “tirtzach” 'murder'?

The way I was taught it (and confirmed by this answer and the comment on it), the Hebrew word "tirtzach" refers to murder, and is distinguished from the H-R-G and M-T roots which mean "kill." ...
3
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0answers
97 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 ...
2
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0answers
50 views

In Genesis 6:3, How Should the Context Affect Interpretation of “To Contend/Plead”?

Disclaimer: There are A LOT of pieces to this I don't understand, which is making it very difficult to ask: I would appreciate your suggestions! 1. Question : Genesis 6:3 -... My Spirit will ...
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0answers
49 views

What Hebrew must I know in order to read the Minchas Shai?

I am interested in understanding the Tenach better, as well as rules related to leining. I have resources for learning biblical Hebrew. Vocabulary lists, and charts showing verb conjugations. If I ...
2
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0answers
14 views

Explanation of Gemara's Interpretation of מצא

The Gemara Bava Kamma (113b) states that the term ומצאתה implies physical acquisition (rather than mere finding as the word would seem to imply): אמר רבינא {דברים כב-ג} ומצאתה דאתאי לידיה משמע ...
2
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0answers
62 views

what determines what parts of the talmud(if any) are in hebrew rather than aramaic?

I read in this question http://english.stackexchange.com/questions/226412/origins-of-turn-over-in-his-grave-turn-over-in-her-grave-etc-etc/226478?noredirect=1#comment576934_226478 That this line in ...
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0answers
61 views

Jewish word definitions?

I am new to this site and wish to be involved in questions and answers ( As one who has studied the trinity doctrine for many years I may be of some help). As I read through various posts I see terms ...
2
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0answers
85 views

ג (gimel) mi yodeya (the pronunciation)?

From a halachik perspective, what are the correct ways to pronounce the ג (gimel)? Are there variant traditions? Is there an academic/linguistic opinion on how it was most likely pronounced from the ...
2
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0answers
84 views

Unexpected Dageshim

I learned that a rule of Dageshim is that gutteral letters (אהחע''ר) reject dageshim. My question is why do we find 4 alephs (Genesis 43:26, Leviticus 23:17, Job 33:21, Ezra 8:18), 17 reishs (1 ...
2
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0answers
74 views

Why is the term שליט“א more commonly used for a rav than the term נ”י?

As a follow up to this answer to a M.Y. question, why is שליט"א more commonly used after a notable Rav's name than the term נירו יאיר (or נ"י, as an abbreviation)? A wise person, such as a rav is ...
2
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0answers
32 views

Book, commentary, or other source that explains the Biblical usage of “compass” directions

IIRC, there may have been a M.Y. question that referred to a source that explained the Biblical usage of the 4 directions. I.e. it explained why: קדם is East ים is West נגב is South צפון is North ...
2
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0answers
98 views

Pronunciation of אַשְׁרֵי

אַשְׁרֵי in Psalms 1:1 is pronounced with 3 syllables in Mechon-Mamre's mp3 file t2601. It is pronounced with 2 syllables in the last verse of Psalms 2 in Mechon-Mamre's mp3 file t2602. My question ...
2
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0answers
102 views

Hebrew being Lashon HaKodesh, is the inclusion and exclusion of certain phonemes and sounds in the language significant?

For instance, the English sounds of "J", "W","Th", and "Ch" are for the most part unused in Hebrew. Although as an exception, I've seen a Yemenite Chazan use some of these sounds while reading the ...
2
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0answers
45 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 "pizza"?...
2
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0answers
136 views

How did names of foreign gods find their way into the Torah and Hebrew language?

After having found one explanation that the origin of the Hebrew word "Shachar" שחר which is used in the context of "Alos HaShachar" is the name of a foreign god. As well that "Shemesh" שמש which we ...
2
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0answers
142 views

Pronunciation of גפ״ת

Does גפ״ת (which stands for גמרא, פרש״י, תוספות) have a conventional pronunciation, as do שליט״א ("shlita"), תנ״ך ("tanakh"), etc.?
2
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0answers
155 views

Netzach, Selah, Vaed - what is the difference between these words?

Eruvin 54a says that it was taught by Rabbi Eliezer ben yaakov that wherever it says Netzach, Selah, or Vaed it means it will remain so forever. "כל מקום שנאמר 'נצח' 'סלה' 'ועד' – אין לו הפסק עולמית" ...
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0answers
211 views

Can we teach reading Hebrew without using the full names of the letters and vowels?

I've heard in Chabad and elsewhere that when teaching children to read Hebrew, one must call the letters and vowels only by their full traditional name. This is in my opinion very distracting for a ...
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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 ...
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0answers
36 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 ...
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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
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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0answers
52 views

א mi yodeya (the pronunciation)?

What is the correct way to pronounce the א (aleph)? Are there variant traditions? Is there an academic/linguistic opinion on how it was most likely pronounced from the time of the giving of the Torah ...
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0answers
34 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 ...
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0answers
74 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 "...
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0answers
60 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 ...
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0answers
45 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" ...
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0answers
2k 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 ...
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0answers
125 views

Regional Ashkenazi Pronunciation

I don't know if this is the right forum to ask this, but I would like to find audio tracks of Jews from different Ashkenazi communities speaking Hebrew (be they leyning, davening, discoursing or ...
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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....