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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3answers
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The letter Dalet

The fourth letter of the Hebrew alphabet is "dalet" and not "daled." Why, then, do Ashkenazi Jews not pronounce it as "dales." I have heard an answer that "dales" sounds too much like "dalus", ...
4
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1answer
94 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 ...
4
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1answer
73 views

Why דָּת in Esther but דַּת in kidushin?

There are two places "דָּת" appears in Tanach in a form that means "the law of": Esther 2:12 and 9:13. In both places it appears as "דָּת" with a kamatz.[1] Yet, when we marry, according to the ...
3
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1answer
188 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 ...
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1answer
113 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
18 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: ...
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1answer
51 views

Why does the language in a typical bracha (blessing) change from an individual request to mentioning a group?

A typical bracha starts (or ends) ברוך אתה ה hich seems to be an individual praise, as you are individually acknowledging that He is your (personal) G-d (As I understand, אדוני means my Lord). Then, ...
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1answer
54 views

ב (bet) mi yodeya (the pronunciation)?

What are the correct ways to pronounce the ב (bet)? 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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1answer
73 views

How to translate Olam in the Torah?

Bereshit 3:22: ‏…וְלָקַח גַּם מֵעֵץ הַחַיִּים וְאָכַל וָחַי לְעֹלָם In search for a definition of the word עֹלָם, Olam, as in this verse, I found different translations: 'Universe', ...
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1answer
42 views

what does the hebrew word chavivus - חביבות - mean

The Gemoro mentions the concept of chavivus - חביבות - in numerous places. what would be the most acurate english translation / explanation of chavivus?
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0answers
326 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" ...
5
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0answers
146 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
70 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 ...
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0answers
34 views

What's “צרה שלא תבא”?

There's an expression I've read many times in slightly variant forms: "איזה צרה שלא תבוא" or "על כל צרה שלא תבא" or the like. It means something like "any tragedy that should not happen" and it's used ...
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0answers
60 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
164 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 ...
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0answers
124 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 ...
4
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0answers
122 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 ...
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0answers
245 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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0answers
110 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 ...
4
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0answers
76 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 ...
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0answers
49 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." ...
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0answers
85 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 ...
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0answers
11 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 ...
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0answers
49 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 ...
2
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0answers
70 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
60 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 ...
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0answers
61 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 ...
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0answers
29 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 ...
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0answers
72 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 ...
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0answers
42 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 ...
2
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0answers
122 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
134 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
192 views

origin of chassidish havarah(pronunciation)

When did people start using the chassidish havarah? If making that change was deliberate, who instituted it? I remember seeing some where that it was started to oppose the maskilim who where medakdek ...
2
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0answers
131 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" ...
2
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0answers
202 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 ...
2
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0answers
245 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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0answers
17 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 ...
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0answers
43 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 ...
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0answers
42 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
67 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 ...
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0answers
33 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
46 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
39 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
461 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
94 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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46 views
+100

Rosh HaShanna glossary: What do hain, hesed, and rachamim mean?

There are many words in the siddur and in the machzor for Rosh HaShanna that seem central to the prayers for the season including hain, hesed, and rachamim, and also words translated as: help, save, ...
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0answers
66 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 ...
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0answers
64 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 ...