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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3
votes
0answers
22 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
569 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 ...
16
votes
3answers
4k 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
234 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
31 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
25k 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
59 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
33 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
76 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
229 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
102 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
47 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
105 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
607 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
96 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
177 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
33 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
78 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
113 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
42 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
95 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
725 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
345 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
134 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
150 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
167 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
70 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
375 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
176 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
63 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
143 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
227 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
92 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
117 views

What is the tzror hachaim (bond of life)?

On tombstones one finds the acronym for t'hay nafsho/ah tzrurah b'tzror hachaim (may the soul be bound to the bond of life). What is this bond of life? Do we have any sources which explain what this ...
2
votes
2answers
152 views

In relation to the verb to shoot, what does torah mean?

In relation to the hebrew verb to shoot YaRaH, what does torah literally mean? If the word torah comes from the hebrew verb, to shoot, then what does torah literally mean? does it mean "shooting" or ...
2
votes
0answers
57 views

Claim for number of times the Tetragrammaton (and 'distinct words') appear in the Chumash

This article makes the following claim: And now to our correspondence: one of the most important contributions to Jewish scholarship in the recent past has been the work of Rabbi Zalman Pinhas ...
2
votes
1answer
159 views

Does the name Rami (רמי‎) have a meaning based in Judaism? If so, what is it?

Does the name Rami (רמי‎), as used by figures in the Talmud such as Rami bar Papa and Rami bar Chama, have a meaning based in Judaism? If so, what is it? If רמ means high or exalted, does רמי mean my ...
5
votes
1answer
96 views

What's a musar vaad and why is it called that?

I'm familiar with the term "ועד" (vaad) as meaning something like "congress" or "council" or "board": a legislative or similar body like the Vaad Arba Aratzos, the Vaad Harabonim of Queens, or the ...
1
vote
1answer
49 views

Is there a term for wine poured for a kosher libation?

Yayin nesach is the term used for libation wine poured for idol worship. Is there a term for wine offered on the Altar in a kosher sacrifice?
25
votes
5answers
795 views
2
votes
1answer
101 views

Why does Yaakov say, “ראיתי אלוקים פנים אל פנים”?

In Bereishit 32:31, Yaakov says, "ראיתי אלוקים פנים אל–פנים" after his encounter with the angel. Most commentators, such as Rashi, interpret that when Yaakov says this, he really meant "I have seen ...
3
votes
0answers
59 views

Rav Moshe's Chanuka additions to Baruch Hashem Yom Yom

This morning in Shul I saw a pamphlet that said as follows. The song Boruch Hashem Yom Yom, the sixth stanza is referring to Chanuka. It said in this pamphlet that Rabbi Moshe Feinstein Zatzal would ...
0
votes
2answers
88 views

Saying ביצה versus ביה

1) Why do people refer to the hebrew word for egg, ביצה, as ביה? 2) When one says ביה isn't he also saying part of G-d's Name?
-2
votes
2answers
69 views

What is the upper limit to the age of Bagrus?

Nowadays, we say a girl becomes a naarah when she reaches age 12 and a bogeress, when she reaches age 12 1/2, at which point she is no longer called a naarah. At what age, or under what ...
3
votes
3answers
134 views

Source of the term בכתמים שומעין להקל

In the halachos of Niddah, there is a term which I have come across not infrequently. The term is בכתמים שומעין להקל, which roughly translated means "in [the halachos of blood] stains we listen to ...