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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6
votes
2answers
296 views

Israel Am v.s. Goy

Is Israël an Am or Goy or both? whats the Torah definition and best translation of both terms? Because it seems that Israël is being called both Am as a Goy. (Am Kadosh: Devarim 26:19 and Goy ...
1
vote
1answer
168 views

what Difference between Shamash and eved

Why is the servant-candle on the menorah called “shamash” (meaning servant) instead of “eved” which is the word for servant in Hebrew
4
votes
4answers
126 views

“And it was evening, and it was morning, *one* day”?

Gen. 1:5: וַיְהִי עֶרֶב וַיְהִי בֹקֶר יוֹם אֶחָד And it was evening, and it was morning, one day Gen. 1:8: וַיְהִי עֶרֶב וַיְהִי בֹקֶר יוֹם שֵׁנִי and it was evening, and it was ...
1
vote
1answer
36 views

In Beresheit what is the difference between the light in 1:3 and the light in 1:14

I notice that in 1.3, the word אוֺר ("ore") is used, but in 1.14, the word מְאֹרֹת (morot) is used. I see that both contain aleph and reish. Both have something to do with light and lighting up. ...
2
votes
1answer
124 views

Did Aaron's staff turned into a snake or a crocodile?

In exodus 7 it says on verses 8-12: ח וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה, אֶל-מֹשֶׁה וְאֶל-אַהֲרֹן לֵאמֹר. ט כִּי יְדַבֵּר אֲלֵכֶם פַּרְעֹה לֵאמֹר, תְּנוּ לָכֶם מוֹפֵת; וְאָמַרְתָּ אֶל-אַהֲרֹן, קַח אֶת-מַטְּךָ ...
1
vote
0answers
57 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 ...
12
votes
3answers
804 views

Meaning and pronunciation of יישר כחך

What is the exact meaning of the phrase "יישר כחך", and what is the gramatically-correct way to pronounce it?
4
votes
0answers
19 views

Wondering about a line in Hoshanot for Shabbat [duplicate]

The special Hoshanot for Shabbat mostly contain praises for B'nei Yisrael related to Shabbat. However, i don't get the י line: יושבת וממתנת עד כלות שבת She sits and waits until the end of ...
6
votes
1answer
56 views

Why is the wording of the beracha upon shaking the arba minim only on lulav?

The beracha upon shaking the arba minim is 'על נטילת לולב'? Why is the focus on the lulav specifically rather than a more general blessing like 'על נטילת ארבעה מינים'?
2
votes
0answers
22 views

What is the significance of the ten azharos of tshuva (in Yeshaya ch. 1)?

Rashi in Yeshayah chapter 1 vs. 16 tells us that the ten words in the next two psukim, רחצו, הזכו, הסירו, חדלו, למדו, דרשו, אשרו, שפטו, ריבו, are all אזהרות של לשון תשובה כנגד עשרת ימי תשובה, וכנגד ...
4
votes
2answers
163 views

What does having a Mehudar Etrog and Lulav mean over just having a kosher set?

I often hear the word 'Mehudar' used during this time of year to refer to special Lulav-and-Etrog sets. What does Mehudar mean?
3
votes
1answer
124 views

Why does Chazan (“seer”) mean prayer leader?

The leader of the Tefillah is referred to as a חַזַּן. The word חַזַּן, although translated as a cantor, actually comes from the word חֲזוֹן which means vision. Is there a source for this?
1
vote
3answers
60 views

Path of the Just - what does שיתברר ויתאמת mean?

The Mesilat Yesharim starts off: יסוד החסידות ושרש העבודה התמימה הוא שיתברר ויתאמת אצל האדם מה חובתו (Translation: The foundation of saintliness and the root of perfection in the service of ...
4
votes
1answer
105 views

Is there a negative connotation to Yair Mazolam - יאיר מזלם?

Yesterday The Yeshiva World posted a letter the Lubavitcher Rabbi Zatzal sent to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu upon the birth of his son Yair. In the letter the Rabbi handwrote the words V'Yair ...
2
votes
3answers
11k views

Gmar Chasima Tova - What does it mean?

When we wish one another during the Aseres Yemei Teshuva "Gmar Chasima Tova" what does it mean? Does it not depend on what is written in the document? What difference does it make if the seal is good ...
5
votes
3answers
69 views

Deut. 29:15 — why not “you passed” or “we passed”?

In this week's parsha, Moshe says to Bnei Yisrael (Devarim 29:15): כִּי אַתֶּם יְדַעְתֶּם אֵת אֲשֶׁר יָשַׁבְנוּ בְּאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם וְאֵת אֲשֶׁר עָבַרְנוּ בְּקֶרֶב הַגּוֹיִם אֲשֶׁר עֲבַרְתֶּם ...
3
votes
1answer
76 views

From whence do we learn that the Torah does not mince words? [duplicate]

I have oft heard it stated that "the Torah does not mince words" (example 1, example 2, example 3). While it seems natural/logical that the Creator of the World would use words precisely, from whence ...
7
votes
1answer
205 views

wording of the invitation to birkas hamazon

I know some Ashk'nazim say rabosay n'varech, some rabosay mir velen bentschen, and some hertzi rabosay mir velen bentschen. (Any other forms?) Is there any particular reason given for one or another?
3
votes
1answer
57 views

Is עליו השלום inappropriate to say about a living person?

The phrase "olov hashalom" is often appended to names of the deceased. I don't know very much about it's history or any deeper implications, but at face value it just means "peace be upon him." I ...
6
votes
2answers
63 views

What's the difference between אניה and ספינה in Jonah?

In יונה‎ 1:2–5, the boat Yona is on is referred to generally as an אניה. But in verse 5, Yona goes down to a side room of the ספינה. The commentaries seem to treat the words as synonymous: ...
2
votes
1answer
418 views

What is a Hava Amina Teretz?

B"H If "hava amina" means slightest notion, what is a hava amina teretz? I think teretz means an answer. So what is a slightest notion answer?
5
votes
0answers
183 views

Source for not referring to Chanuka lights as a “menora”

Following up on this question about the use of the words "menora" or "chanukiya" to refer to Chanuka lights: I find it interesting that the use of "chanukiya," popularized in 1897 through a secular ...
10
votes
2answers
195 views

“m'nora” on Chanuka

My kid came home from school one day insisting that the thing we light on Chanuka is not a m'nora but a chanukiya. I replied that that's the word most Israelis use now but that m'nora is a perfectly ...
3
votes
2answers
57 views

Genesis 2:7 vs 2:19

Genesis 2:7 And the Lord G-d formed man of the dust of the ground vs. :19 And out of the ground the Lord G-d formed every beast of the field I just want to know the difference between "the dust of ...
5
votes
1answer
86 views

Two types of forgetting?

Bereishis 41:51 כי נשני אלהים את כל עמלי ואת כל בית אבי God has caused me to forget all my toil and all my father's house Devarim 25:19 תמחה את זכר עמלק מתחת השמים לא תשכח Erase ...
0
votes
1answer
54 views

Are “Mitzva” and “Halacha” synonyms?

For the longest time, I've always treated them like synonym. Now, thinking back, I think I might actually be wrong. For a moment, I thought that a mitzva only referred to mitzvot d'oreita, but there ...
3
votes
1answer
90 views

“דָּם נָקִי” vs. “דַּם־נָקִי”

Parashas Shof'tim, 19:10: וְלֹא יִשָּׁפֵךְ דָּם נָקִי בְּקֶרֶב אַרְצְךָ And 21:8: וְאַל־תִּתֵּן דָּם נָקִי בְּקֶרֶב עַמְּךָ יִשְׂרָאֵל And then Ki Savo 27:25: לְהַכּוֹת נֶפֶשׁ דָּם ...
2
votes
1answer
69 views

Rashi's “בטל” w.r.t. r'shuyos

In the Bavli, Shabas 7, amud 1, Rashi twice uses the word "בטל" in contexts where I don't understand its meaning. I wonder whether anyone can help. The first time is: ברשות הרבים כי האי גוונא ...
-2
votes
1answer
127 views

curse words and the Torah [duplicate]

American defines d*mn, f-word and b-word (excuse my language) as curse words. However, what does the Torah define as curse words or dirty language?
3
votes
1answer
30 views

Compare Devarim 14:11 and Devarim 14:20- Is there a difference in meaning between “tzipor” and “of”?

The two verses Devarim 14:11 and 14:20 appear to say the same thing except that v 11 uses the word "tzipor" and v 20 uses the word "of". Aren't they the same thing? If yes, what is the second verse ...
1
vote
1answer
485 views

Heilige Hooleh?

What is this holy hooleh that 8th Day are singing about?
2
votes
1answer
1k views

How many words are there in Tanach?

How many letters are in the Torah? How many words are in the Torah? How many verses are in the Torah? How many chapters are in the Torah? How many letters, words, verses, and chapters are in every ...
10
votes
1answer
171 views

What is the first use of the word “Seder” (סדר) for the Pesach night proceedings?

The Pesach night proceedings are commonly called the "Seder" (סדר). This word more generally means "order." What is the first recorded use of the word סדר for this event?
3
votes
0answers
52 views

What is the significance of using shevet vs. mattot in Parshat Mattot?

In Parashat Mattot the word matteh is used in place of the more commonly found shevet? Why is that? They both mean tribes no?
6
votes
4answers
572 views

Why do we say hamotzi lechem min haaretz instead of min haadama?

The blessing for bread is hamotzi lechem min haaretz. The blessing for vegetables is boreh pri haadama. As far as I know aretz (land) and adama (soil or earth) are basically synonymous. I would like ...
6
votes
2answers
224 views

Changing the spelling of “G-d” and Halachic erasure

Is there a problem of "erasing the name of HaShem" if you erase the English word spelled G-o-d, and if so, is there then a problem of erasing it in order to spell it in a more acceptable way (such as ...
5
votes
2answers
94 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
33 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
47 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
56 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
6k 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
75 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
121 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
316 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
66 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
361 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
321 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
107 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?
7
votes
4answers
938 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
6k 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 ...