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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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 ...
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". ...
7
votes
3answers
334 views

Why masechet “Beitza”?

Why do we call it masechet Beitza now, and not masechet Yom Tov, as was apparently once common? Unlike the parshiot, which are named after their first words, masechtot are all named after topics, ...
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 ...
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.
1
vote
1answer
77 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 ...
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 ...
-1
votes
2answers
68 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
291 views

Is Goy meant to be a pejorative term?

I have never heard this word before, but the Wikipedia article insists: The word is also used to pejoratively describe those not of Jewish descent. It is commonly used to refer to Christians and ...
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 ...
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 ...
2
votes
2answers
559 views

Tizku L'Shanim Rabot tovot v'umot?

I was wished this blessing today by a Spanish/Portuguese-descended friend. What is the last word and, by extension, what does the entire phrase mean? My friend did not know, but he said it was a ...
15
votes
3answers
3k views

What should I be aware of when using the term “Jew”?

As a gentile who finds himself writing about Judaism in the ancient world, I've found myself reluctant to use the word "Jew". I tend to use phrases like "Jewish people" and "Hebrew" when it makes ...
10
votes
2answers
209 views

What exactly does “Lord of Hosts” (צְבָאוֹת) mean?

When I think of the Judaism, I don't think of Angelic armies attacking the armies of evil directly. G-d usually works in far more subtle ways than this, e.g. appearing as a burning bush to motivate ...
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 ...
12
votes
7answers
23k 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?
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
31 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
73 views

What does the Rambam mean by בשרו חם?

In Hilkhot De'ot 3:7 (3:2 in non-Yemenite versions) the Rambam writes: For example, a person with warm constitution (בשרו חם) should not eat meat or honey... What exactly is meant by "warm ...
9
votes
4answers
219 views

Origin of the term Motza'ei Shabbos

I often hear that מוצאי שבת means "departure of the Sabbath," but it seems to me that the phrase for this should be צאת שבת (or יציאת שבת). The phrase מוצאי שבת seems to me to mean המוצאים של שבת, ...
3
votes
1answer
94 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 ...
-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 ...
7
votes
5answers
545 views

K'shaim Shenichnas L'Bris Kain Yikones L'Torah L'Chupa U'Lmaasim Tovim: why that order?

When a baby boy has his Bris we wish him "K'shaim Shenichnas L'Bris Kain Yikones L'Torah L'Chupa U'Lmaasim Tovim" - just like you entered the covenant so to should you enter into Torah, marriage, and ...
8
votes
1answer
94 views

Why do we call the “judges” experts?

The hataras nedarim of Erev Rosh Hashanah starts with "Listen now my masters, expert judges" ("‎שמעו נא רבותי, דיינים מומחים‎").1 In practice, at least as far as I've seen, these judges are ...
6
votes
3answers
169 views

Age of Universe and Shabbat

If one believes that our world is billions of years old, i.e. accepting the idea of each day in Sheshis Imei Berieshit (the Six Days of Creation) as eras and not literal days, then how does one ...
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
3answers
1k views

Chachma, bina vaadat. Whats the difference?

Whats the difference between the concepts: chachma, bina and daat? We see them listed together in the amida.
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: ...
7
votes
2answers
108 views

Their altars…and *his* asheirah?

Shemot 34:13: כִּי אֶת מִזְבְּחֹתָם תִּתֹּצוּן וְאֶת מַצֵּבֹתָם תְּשַׁבֵּרוּן וְאֶת אֲשֵׁרָיו תִּכְרֹתוּן For you shall dismantle their altars, break their monuments, and cut down his ...
1
vote
1answer
37 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', ...
5
votes
2answers
677 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!". ...
17
votes
5answers
328 views

What is the nature of the numeral “ashtei-asar” (11)?

What is the nature of the numeral ashtei-asar (meaning 11) as in (BeMidbar 29:20, Parashat Pinchas): וּבַיּוֹם הַשְּׁלִישִׁי פָּרִים עַשְׁתֵּי-עָשָׂר What is the basic word? Is this using ...
4
votes
2answers
107 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. ...
2
votes
0answers
27 views

Assist with Rash“i's explanation of verb usage - ”N-CH-L" in describing the tribal heads who will inherit the land

Numbers 34:18: וְנָשִׂ֥יא אֶחָ֛ד נָשִׂ֥יא אֶחָ֖ד מִמַּטֶּ֑ה תִּקְח֖וּ לִנְחֹ֥ל אֶת־הָאָֽרֶץ׃ Numbers 34:29 אֵ֕לֶּה אֲשֶׁ֖ר צִוָּ֣ה יְהוָ֑ה לְנַחֵ֥ל אֶת־בְּנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל בְּאֶ֥רֶץ ...
0
votes
2answers
132 views

Where does Rav Dessler mention that root word of אהבה is הב?

I read in one of Rav Dessler's books where he says that the root word of אהבה is הב, which means "give" in Aramaic. Does anyone know where he mentions this?
3
votes
1answer
151 views

What is the meaning of “Rav”?

I see that some names have the word "Rav" in the name, names like Rav Yitzchak Meir Morgenstern and Rav Berg. I don't know much about Judaism. I want to know what is the meaning of "Rav".
2
votes
1answer
66 views

An obscure reference to a “golden vein”

There is a term in Yiddish is גילדני אדער - and the translation as hemorrhoids is given in Harkavy's Yiddish/English/Hebrew dictionary. The term is mentioned numerous times in the Jewish legal ...
10
votes
3answers
359 views

Why is the Machzor called a Machzor?

The Siddur we use for Yom Tov is known as a Machzor. What does it mean and where did this originate?
1
vote
1answer
136 views

Avodah Melachah; work what is the difference

The roots לאך and עבד are the basis to form the words that could be translated as 'work' מלאכה and עבדה. But what is the difference? What distinguishing work from work? Some times its prohibited to ...
-2
votes
1answer
43 views

Disciplining one's mouth

Where do the words: כל רגע ורגע שאדם חוסם את פיו, זוכה לאור הגנוז שאין כל מלאך ובריה יכולים לשער, originate from?
8
votes
3answers
4k views

What is the original meaning of the word “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 ...
1
vote
1answer
61 views

What do the expressions AL CHET or VIDUI mean? [closed]

I would like to know what the expressions AL CHET or VIDUI mean, in English please.
4
votes
2answers
110 views

Difference between behema and chaya

What is the difference between the term behema and chaya used in the torah and mishna? Is it that one means domesticated animal while the other means wild animal?
8
votes
1answer
206 views

Rav vs. Rabbi in Talmudic Times

I was reading about the life of Rabbi Zera, and it said he was originally a Rav. The Rabbis of Eretz Yisrael offered to confer on him the title of Rabbi and at first he refused, until they told of ...
3
votes
1answer
72 views

What is the difference in definition for 3 terms used regarding “leavened” (chametz)?

The Torah uses 3 terms that all appear to mean "leavened food" (from English definitions that I could find): חמץ and שאור are mentioned in Exodus 12:15: שִׁבְעַ֤ת יָמִים֙ מַצּ֣וֹת תֹּאכֵ֔לוּ אַ֚ךְ ...