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
votes
2answers
70 views

How do different scholars define “aggadah”?

It is common to conceive of Shas (Bavli and Yerushalmi) as being an admixture of halakha and aggadah, and I've no doubt that people have differed from one another on the precise delineations of each. ...
-1
votes
1answer
27 views

What does “having עונות ידועים” mean?

What does "having עונות ידועים" mean in the language of the Mishnah Berurah? You can see it at the bottom of the right side of this page : ...
1
vote
1answer
34 views

Saying magein avraham versus magein avram

The chazzan is at the end of Avos (first bracha of Shmoneh Esrei) and he says, "...מגן אברם" (without the hei) instead of "...מגן אברהם," (with a hei). Would he be יוצא?
-1
votes
1answer
37 views

Oleh and chazak chazak

I've heard that, when receiving the last aliyah in a particular sefer, the oleh (one who received the aliyah) should not say “chazak, chazak…” because it is a berachah given to him by the congregation ...
6
votes
6answers
4k views

Online glossary of Talmudic terms

Is there an online glossary anywhere that explains important Talmudic terms, with similar scope to the Practical Talmud Dictionary? I'm more interested in an Aramaic-English resource, but ...
14
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
53 views

Cognitive meaning of כפר

What is the cognitive meaning of the root כפר? It's applications (that I know of, feel free to add) are: כפיר - lion cub (Shoftim 14:5) כפר - village (Shmuel 1 6:18) כופר - Replacement (bamidbar ...
1
vote
2answers
82 views

What is the meaning and origin of the term “in the parsha” with regard to someone who is looking for a shidduch?

Recently, I spoke to a neighbor who had a 20 year old daughter. I asked the mother if she was dating anyone and she responded that she was "in the parsha". This is a new term to me. I assume the term ...
9
votes
5answers
275 views

What's a floor?

There are certain laws pertaining to a floor. For example, if a Sefer Torah is dropped on the floor, one is supposed to do some sort of atonement (eg., most famously, fasting for 40 days). What is ...
1
vote
0answers
43 views

What's “כי אתא פלוני אמר פלוני”?

The phrase "‫כי אתא [name] אמר [name],‏ [statement]‏‬‬" appears many times in the Bavli. For example, Rosh Hashana 35:1: כי אתא רבין אמר רבי יעקב בר אידי אמר רבי שמעון חסידא לא ...
3
votes
2answers
125 views

דע לפני מי אתה עומד on the ark

In some shuls it says on the ark, "Da Lifnei Mi Atah Omeid." Is there any source from which that comes?
6
votes
2answers
294 views

Is there any contemporary posek who says you can deviate from the wording in the shmona esrei?

I am reading Kavvana: Directing the Heart in Jewish Prayer by Rabbi Dr. Avi (Seth) Kadish. There he makes the argument that the Anshei Kneset Hagedolah never established the exacting wording for the ...
1
vote
1answer
90 views

Jebediah​​​ (?)

Some claim that Jebediah is a Hebrew name. Is it a Jewish name? Either way; what does/would it mean, and how is it/would it be spelled and pronounced in Hebrew?
6
votes
4answers
530 views

What is the meaning of tehom?

Throughout the Tanach, and I've seen it in Midrashim as well, there is a concept of the "Tehom", translated as "Deep Waters". It appears in the creation story in Bereishis, and in the song at Yam Suf. ...
3
votes
4answers
345 views

what does baruch atah Hashem mean?

most times, the beginning of a beracha is Baruch Atah Adonai, etc. which is usually translated as Blessed are You God, etc. what does it mean to say that God is blessed? (on the surface it implies ...
2
votes
2answers
126 views

What is a Parzuf?

Can someone please explain in terms that a simple Jew can understand, the definition of the kabbalistic concept called a Partzuf?
2
votes
2answers
88 views

What is the difference in meaning between לתור and לחפר with regards to spying the land?

I am combining concepts from this week's Torah and Haftarah: In the Torah portion, it says with the spies that they went לתור את הארץ (Bamidbar 13:16). With Yehoshu'a it says לחפר את הארץ (Yehoshu'a ...
4
votes
2answers
165 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
59 views

Please explain the meaning of the word “Be'emunah” in the last paragraph of “Yekum Purkan”

The last paragraph of "Yekum Purkan" - the prayer recited on Shabbat before Musaf - has a paragraph that praises the people that supply the needs of the synagogue and community. There is a phrase that ...
2
votes
0answers
53 views

What is Nivul Peh and who decides what it is [closed]

is Dam* or He** objectively considered curse words? what is the demarcator for curse words
8
votes
6answers
295 views

Source of the Yiddish word Cholent

Does anyone know what is the source of the Yiddish word Cholent?
3
votes
2answers
135 views

Why did Sarah banish Hagar and Yishmael - Meaning of צחק

Genesis 21: ט וַתֵּרֶא שָׂרָה אֶת-בֶּן-הָגָר הַמִּצְרִית, אֲשֶׁר-יָלְדָה לְאַבְרָהָם--מְצַחֵק. 9 And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne unto Abraham, 'making ...
0
votes
1answer
48 views

Why does Koheleth 12:1 use בוראיך instead of בוראך?

Koheleth 12:1 says: וּזְכֹר, אֶת-בּוֹרְאֶיךָ, בִּימֵי, בְּחוּרֹתֶיךָ: עַד אֲשֶׁר לֹא-יָבֹאוּ, יְמֵי הָרָעָה, וְהִגִּיעוּ שָׁנִים, אֲשֶׁר תֹּאמַר אֵין-לִי בָהֶם חֵפֶץ. 1 Remember then ...
3
votes
1answer
79 views

Bamidbar: What makes Shimon different?

During krias haTorah, I noticed that while during the counting, most tribes were counted like this (taking Yehuda as an example): לבני יהודה תולדתם למשפחתם לבית אבותם במספר שמות מבן עשרים שנה ...
6
votes
3answers
327 views

What is the difference between the following words referring to commandments?

What is the difference between the following words? Commandments Law Testimonies Precepts Judgements Statutes Ordinances Deut 26:16 - 19 reads 16: This day, the ...
5
votes
2answers
95 views

Brevity of the Rishonim

I have heard about Rashi that he measured his words very meticulously and that consequently every word he chose to write in his commentary is important for understanding his view. There are even ...
1
vote
0answers
88 views

Why is the name of the first Hebrew letter also the word for 1000?

I find it interesting the first letter in the Hebrew alphabet is "Aleph", which shares the letters and is pronounced nearly identically to the word for one thousand - "Eleph". Why might this be? ...
4
votes
3answers
343 views

What is “Shabbes meat”?

I see stores advertising "Shabbes meat". I understand, somewhat, how to decipher meat cuts when listed that way (side steak, shoulder cut, etc.) But this term really baffles me. What makes this cut of ...
4
votes
3answers
140 views

What is the difference between a kofer and apicorsis

I always hear the terms "apicorsis" and "kofer״, along with "kefirah" and amaratzit. What is the definition of each?
6
votes
6answers
172 views

Al Hamichyah - Wide land?

In the Brocho after eating grains which are not bread we say: על ארץ חמדה טובה ורחבה Translated very loosely as: On the Land (ISRAEL) that is desirable good and WIDE. Now, anyone with a ...
1
vote
1answer
39 views

“Masekhtot Banayikh”: The Origins of an Expression

I recently found out that four of the masekhtot in the Bavli conclude with the same drosh by R' Elazar, and that those four masekhtot are known by a special name as a result. The drosh concerns the ...
1
vote
2answers
79 views

What is a Literal Translation of Asher Yatzar?

I have two similar English translations of Asher Yatzar. They both have something to the effect of "many orifices and cavities." However, the Hebrew for these two is ,נקבים נקבים חלולים חלולים. What ...
6
votes
1answer
95 views

First Use of the Phrase “Cheit HaMeraglim”

The negative report given by the people who are sent to scout the land of Cana'an before Bnei Yisrael go in, resulting in the punishment that they have to wander for another 38 years in the desert, is ...
1
vote
2answers
108 views

Sanhedrin 99a: אין להם משיח לישראל שכבר אכלוהו בימי חזקיה

In Sanhedrin 99a, we find the phrase אין להם משיח לישראל שכבר אכלוהו בימי חזקיה. ר' הילל אומר אין להם משיח לישראל שכבר אכלוהו בימי חזקיה אמר רב יוסף שרא ליה מריה לרבי הילל חזקיה אימת הוה בבית ...
5
votes
3answers
106 views

Etymology of מחילה

I am looking for a possible etymological root for the word מחילה as meaning forgiveness. The word מחל does not appear in Tanach1, and neither does מחילה, nor does מוחל, and I was unable to find any ...
2
votes
0answers
32 views

Difference Ga'al and Natzal

shemot 6:6-7 reads the famous quote for the Pesach cups. But what's the actual difference between deliver (natzal) and redeem (ga'al)? take away from a problem? and remove the problem? Please help ...
4
votes
1answer
89 views

Pronunciation of Yerushalayim

In the Tanach, the word Yerushalayim is almost always written without a yud between the lamed and mem, but pronounced as if there is a patach under the lamed and a yud following it. We find though ...
2
votes
1answer
83 views

What is an “Askan?”

What is an "Askan?" I have heard this phrase in relation to well-know Yeshivot and rabbis, but have no idea who an "Askan" is.
6
votes
4answers
281 views

Are there unnecessary words in torah?

I've been taught, often enough that I thought it was universal, that there are no unnecessary words in torah (chumash) — every word is there to teach us something. I've seen plenty of discussions in ...
3
votes
1answer
36 views

What's the difference between אֱדַיִן and בֵּאדַיִן?

I'm studying Daniyel, most of it for the first time, and keep coming across two (Aramaic) words that are troubling me: אֱדַיִן and בֵּאדַיִן. (The latter appears to be, morphologically, the former ...
5
votes
2answers
100 views

The meaning of the word חטא

The word chet is "sin" and is used as such (and in related ways -- sin offering, guilt from sinning, cause others to sin etc.) over 200 times according to my Even-Shoshan. It seems to be connected to ...
3
votes
3answers
63 views

Where is the first time that the splitting of the Red Sea is referred to as קריעת ים סוף?

The text of the Torah refers to the sea "splitting" (וַיִּבָּקְעוּ הַמָּיִם - Ex.14:21). Where is the first source where the Sages refer to this event as "tearing" (קריעה)?
4
votes
2answers
127 views

why does Ruth 1:8 use עמדי instead of עמי?

Ruth 1:8 says: ח וַתֹּאמֶר נָעֳמִי, לִשְׁתֵּי כַלֹּתֶיהָ, לֵכְנָה שֹּׁבְנָה, אִשָּׁה לְבֵית אִמָּהּ; יעשה (יַעַשׂ) יְהוָה עִמָּכֶם חֶסֶד, כַּאֲשֶׁר עֲשִׂיתֶם עִם-הַמֵּתִים וְעִמָּדִי. 8 And ...
1
vote
2answers
49 views

Is there a general name for the types of books which are to be treated with respect?

Is there a general name for the types of books which are to be treated with respect? For example: a siddur, a Tanach, a copy of the Hagaddah, Megilat Esther, or Talmud. Might we call these holy ...
7
votes
8answers
223 views

Wording in Torah when Moshe is commanded to appear before pharoh

This shabbos, the parasha, Bo, starts with Moshe being told to "Bo El Paroh", "Come to Pharaoh". I don't understand this wording, should it have said "Lech El Paroh", "go to Pharaoh"? Is there a ...
8
votes
3answers
102 views

Why isn't נִצָּבָה redundant?

In Bereshis 37:7 we read: וְהִנֵּה אֲנַחְנוּ מְאַלְּמִים אֲלֻמִּים בְּתוֹךְ הַשָּׂדֶה וְהִנֵּה קָמָה אֲלֻמָּתִי וְגַם נִצָּבָה - Behold, we were binding sheaves in the midst of the field, and ...
5
votes
1answer
76 views

Mitzva of Netilat Yadaim

Does anybody know what word Netilat exactly means and how it refers to the mitzva of Netilat Yadaim?
2
votes
1answer
125 views

Do the sages ever use the word “Jews” to describe the B'nai Israel before the Assyrian captivity?

This may be more a semantic question than anything else, but I'm wondering what the position is on using the word "Jew" to refer to Israelites before the Assyrian captivity. My impression is that the ...
2
votes
0answers
44 views

Earliest use of the word “gematria” to mean the value of words

What's the earliest use of the word "gematria" followed by the use of it to mean the value of the word? I'm aware that in Pirkei Avot the word itself is used, but that is not used in conjunction with ...
7
votes
4answers
180 views

The difference between שור and פר

In Mishpatim (and perhaps elsewhere), the Tora refers to an animal incurring or causing damage, and calls it a shor, שור, commonly translated ox. In Pin'chas (and Achare and perhaps elsewhere), the ...