Questions about the definitions, meaning and use of words specific to Judaism or words that carry unique meaning in Jewish law.

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5
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1answer
28 views

Is there a difference between Simlah and Salmah?

In Parshat Mishpatim (22:8), the text, discussing guarded and stolen items, the list includes the word Salmah ("garment") which the Onkelos translates as "ksu". A similar word, Salmat, is used in ...
4
votes
3answers
129 views

Define the terms used for “types” or “grades” of tefillin

Follow up on this M.Y. question: The questioner mentioned these grades of tefillin: Peshutim Mehudarim Dakos Gassos Gassos Prudos I have heard of some of these terms, but there may be others on ...
2
votes
2answers
36 views

Exodus 19:16- “that were in the camp”

Regarding Exodus 19, verse 16: Why is it necessary to state that all the people “that were in the camp” had trembled? In other words, is not the phrase “in the camp” superfluous here?
0
votes
3answers
63 views

Alternative to “mensch”

When talking to a Torah Scholar, if you want to say that they are a "mensch" (as well), is there a better word that fits with a more Haredi/Litvish hashkafah? I am asking as (it seems to me) a more ...
1
vote
1answer
30 views

Meaning and function of Va'yechulu

What does Va'yechulu mean literally in Hebrew? What is the function of Va'yechulu during worship?
2
votes
1answer
48 views

What is the official name for the “additional readings” on special torah-reading days?

On certain special Shabboses, like the four parshiyot, there is a special torah reading that replaces Maftir after the weekly parsha is read. Is there a name for this extra not-from-the-weekly-parsha ...
1
vote
2answers
46 views

Explain differences in terms used for “prayer”

Please explain the differences in the types of "prayer" that is meant when these terms for "prayer" as found in Tanac"h are used. I have intentionally omitted English translation for these verses, as ...
0
votes
0answers
15 views

Judgments Commandments [duplicate]

What is the difference with a, Commandments, Law, Testimonies, Precepts, Judgments, Statutes, Ordinances. In away they all mean the same but I'm sure they are different, thankyou.
0
votes
2answers
59 views

Why is תורה sometimes written תורת?

Why is Torah sometimes written in the Torah with a "ת" at the end instead of an "ה"?
0
votes
2answers
99 views

Why is hebrew, the holy language, so messy?

Something that has always bothered me and I've never really understood is why Hebrew is so messy. If it is the language of G-d, the language in which the world was created and the language in which ...
0
votes
1answer
30 views

Why is the term דגה frequently used to refer to Egyptian (Nile) fish?

I ran a word search using Snunit's tool on the appearance of the word דג in the Bible. The search revealed 17 occurrences, and all of them had that word or some form of the word such as דגים (plural ...
3
votes
2answers
105 views

About Shemot 35:3

Why Shemot 35:3 is being translated as "do not burn fire" if the piel form of the verb "burn" in the Written Torah always being translated as "eradicate". Excellent example is Dvarim 21:9. If I ...
6
votes
0answers
32 views

Ya'amod by an Aliya

The root of the word Ya'amod means to stand in place. See Hebrew dictionary here. Thus why do we call up someone to an Aliya with the word Ya'amod? We are not asking him to stay in place, we are ...
1
vote
1answer
43 views

What is the origin of the Yiddish word “nebach”? Is there a Jewish, Biblical source? [closed]

I've found numerous articles about what the word "nebach" (נעבעך) means, for example here and here. However, I have not been able to determine the true source of it. Is this word, so commonly used ...
1
vote
2answers
42 views

Why is כל written with Kamatz?

When praying with the siddur and reading Torah, I've asked myself why is the word כל written with Kamatz if it sounds Kol and not Kal. I've also seen other words like this, but with less frequency. ...
6
votes
1answer
61 views

What is the argument between Rashi and the Ra'avid about the meaning of HaMelech HaKadosh

I was reading בחינת דת, a work of Hashkafa by Elias ben Moise del Medigo and in it he references* an argument between Rashi and the Ra'avid regarding the meaning of HaMelech HaKadosh. The context is ...
3
votes
1answer
60 views

How do we know when the word ידע means intercourse or just (brain) knowledge?

I shall cite 3 verses. What I state below in terms of "plain" knowledge vs. intercourse is confirmed by Rash"i and / or other commentaries on each verse: 1 - Genesis 4:1 (excerpt): וְהָ֣אָדָ֔ם ...
0
votes
1answer
41 views

short definition for 'Chavrusa'

I'm looking for a way to accurately describe what a chavrusa (in a yeshiva setting) is to a non-Jew. I'm ideally looking for a one or two line description. Basically the shorter the better, but it ...
1
vote
2answers
96 views

Is it said anywhere in the Jewish scriptures that 'Amalek' means “wrung, twisted neck”?

I have read somewhere that the meaning of the word Amalek is "wrung, twisted neck" which symbolizes his difficulty to make correct judgements, as for that both the head and the heart and the ...
1
vote
0answers
31 views

When does the Gemara say “שנאמר” vs. “כדכתיב”

There are many times when the Gemara uses the word "שנאמר" when it quotes a verse. Why does it sometimes use the word "כדכתיב" when quoting a verse, and sometimes it says "שנאמר"
3
votes
3answers
61 views

Which אֶת is which in Gen. 17:21?

The word "אֶת" can mark the direct object (as in Gen. 1:1) or mean "with" (as in Gen. 35:14). I recently saw someone ask whether "וְאֶת", the first word of Gen. 17:21, means "and with", which struck ...
4
votes
1answer
44 views

Difference between Slumber and Sleep

In Tehillim 121, David says of Hashem "הִנֵּה לֹא-יָנוּם, וְלֹא יִישָׁן שׁוֹמֵר, יִשְׂרָאֵל." At first glance, this appears redundant, נום means slumber and שנה means sleep. What is the difference ...
0
votes
1answer
53 views

Is “Yehud” a proper term for the Hebrews (ancient or otherwise)?

Reading an article about trauma in Jewish history I found the term "Yehud" (in addition to other terms) indicating the society, culture or community, for instance [1]: Jeremiah W. Cataldo "Memory ...
4
votes
0answers
49 views

What is the history of the terms Posek and Psak Halacha?

From my searches, the Tanach does not have the term Psak or Posek in it. Many questions here related to questions on psak quote the Rambam, but those sections refer to Horyaot, or Divrei Halacha, or ...
9
votes
1answer
75 views

Where is Shabbos called “the most precious of days”?

In our Shabbos tefillos, we say that חמדת הימים אותו קראת You (Hashem) called it (the Sabbath) the most precious of days. In the Shabbos poem "Baruch Keil Elyon" (composed by HaRav Barukh ...
5
votes
5answers
397 views

What does it mean to qualify Judaism with the term “Orthodox”?

I notice that quite a few questions include "Orthodox" in the title. I wonder if people could clarify what it means to be an "Orthodox" Jew relative to another Jew that is not considered "Orthodox". ...
1
vote
1answer
78 views

Zephaniah 2:3 — the use of אוּלַי meaning “perhaps”

In Zephaniah 2:3 the word אוּלַי (oo-layee) means "perhaps". I have not otherwise really seen The G-D of the Bible so indifferent (though maybe that's the wrong word). Can someone help me understand ...
12
votes
5answers
151 views

Difference between אֲנִי and אָנֹכִי

Throughout the Tanakh, I have come across אֲנִי (ʾani) and אָנֹכִי (ʾanokhi) many times, which both mean "I". What is the difference between the two words in Tanakh?
-1
votes
2answers
69 views

Yachid v.s. Echad

What is the definition and difference between Yachid and Echad? I read some where that Maimonides told HaShem is Yachid, but isn't He Echad?
4
votes
4answers
432 views

What is an appropriate hebrew translation of 'ought to be put into geniza'?

I have some texts that are not religious (like dictionary) but contain The Name. And because it's not obvious that one should not recycle them, but rather put to geniza, I want to mark them somehow. ...
0
votes
0answers
12 views

Why do we write “G-d” instead of “God” [duplicate]

Some people tend to write "G-d" instead of "God". I thought that it was for respect or maybe they don't want to erase or profane the word "God", and that seems ok. But if I'm right, then why do we ...
2
votes
1answer
41 views

Why mention Shabbat at Yom Tov havdalah?

Shabbat and Yom Tov share the same text of havdalah (the main bracha), both in davening and with wine. It all makes sense for Motzei Shabbat, but why do we mention המבדיל בין יום השביעי לששת ימי המעשה ...
2
votes
1answer
38 views

מועדים וחגים what's the difference?

What is the difference and why does the Torah give two terms when its talks about the Jewish holidays? מועדים וחגים. I want to know a halachic difference not a kabbalistic meaning.
3
votes
0answers
21 views

Is there a difference between Sarnu and Sararnu?

In the vidui, we list our sins alphabetically, and for the samech, the word in my machzor is "sararnu" -- this is translated as "we have turned away." After the list there is a paragraph which ...
5
votes
1answer
61 views

Looking for a word with a distinct meaning driven by mesorah

I am researching some words to see the agendas of translators. One way to understand what a translator knew or cared about is to look for words which have a generally accepted meaning, and an ...
2
votes
1answer
30 views

וכל מאמינים - essentially the same for both כ lines

The piyut Vechol Maaminim for Rosh Hashanah follows a pattern - two lines for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet, each one describing God in some way. However, the two lines for the letter Kaf seem to ...
1
vote
1answer
54 views

Is שכרות in the Talmud (or other rabbinical sources) limited to alcoholic substances?

In many places in the Talmud the word "שכרות" is used (Shabbat 10, Beitzah 4, etc.) in these places is it proper to understand it as referring to alcoholic beverages (the simple/common translation?), ...
4
votes
0answers
32 views

What do the different terms for “judges” indicate?

In a few places in the chumash, the word "elohim" is translated as "judges". Rashi does this on Bereishit 6:2 and many meforshim do this on the uses in Shemot (such as in 22:7 and 8) saying that the ...
3
votes
1answer
96 views

Jew vs Gentile, terminology in the Jewish Holy Book(s)?

I have never understood fully the distinction between the Jewish race and the religion. I was wondering how the Chosen People/Jewish person vs Gentile is interpreted in the Jewish faith. When the ...
2
votes
3answers
87 views

Definition of the term “Talmud” in the phrase “Talmud Torah”

What is the definition of the word "Talmud" used by Chazal in the expression talmud Torah? Does it mean learning Torah, or teaching Torah? I seem to remember this discussed in an article (perhaps on ...
-1
votes
2answers
46 views

בין אדם לחבירו - between man and his fellow man

The translation of בין אדם לחבירו is between man and his fellow man. 1) Does בין אדם לחבירו also apply to women? 2) If it does, then shouldn't it be worded בין אשה לחבירה or בין אשה לחברתה?
0
votes
1answer
93 views

כשם in the blessing at the end of the bris כשם שנכנס לברית כן יכנס לתורה לחופה ולמעשים טובים

At the end of the bris (circumcision) ceremony, the congregation wishes כשם שנכנס לברית כן יכנס לתורה לחופה ולמעשים טובים In the manner that he entered the bris, so shall he enter for Torah, the ...
2
votes
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
votes
2answers
31 views

How to understand the word zakai (exempt)?

Is the word zakai (exempt) (as opposed to hiav, guilty) different from the word mutar (permitted) or the word patur (actually a phrase, patur aval assur, without penalty but prohibited)? If so, how ...
2
votes
1answer
74 views

Was referring to a Jewish firstborn son as “____ bar [mother's name]” insulting in the first century?

There is a passage in the Christian "gospels" in which Jesus is referred to by his community in an unusual way. The text [Mark 6:3] was originally written in Greek, but the English translation is: ...
1
vote
1answer
38 views

halachic status of a “Promise” [duplicate]

If I promise something by saying "I Promise..... to do something". What status does that have. Does it have the same status of a Neder? Or maybe a promise has no significance in halachah and therefore ...
-1
votes
1answer
86 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', ...
3
votes
2answers
109 views

Order of כִּי נֵר מִצְוָה וְתוֹרָה אוֹר

Mishlei 6:23 says כִּי נֵר מִצְוָה וְתוֹרָה אוֹר. By the Mitzva it first says Ner and then Mitzva, however by the Torah it first says Torah and then Or. Why is there a change in the order, why not ...
5
votes
2answers
678 views

What is the correct response to “Chazaq u'Baruch!”?

When a person gets an aliyah or other synagogue privilege the congregants of an Ashkenazic synagogue generally thanks him by saying "Shokyach!" or "Yasherkoach!" to which he responds "Baruch Tehiye!". ...
4
votes
2answers
108 views

Salvation of Hashem

I read on Rabbi Wein's website the following: With the absence of wishful thinking and of recognition of the true facts of the reality of our situation there must also be a sense of a better future. ...