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
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 ...
2
votes
2answers
151 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
100 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
112 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 ...
3
votes
0answers
92 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
337 views

Source of the Yiddish word Cholent

Does anyone know what is the source of the Yiddish word Cholent?
0
votes
1answer
64 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
85 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
530 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
118 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
350 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
275 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
188 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
57 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
148 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
108 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
154 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
163 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
65 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
195 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
138 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.
3
votes
1answer
49 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
149 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
73 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
140 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
58 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
111 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
115 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
142 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
63 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
220 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
7k views

Meaning and Difference between baruch and bar'chu

I'm sorry, I don't know a word of Hebrew, and I really want to know what these sentences mean: Bar'chu et Adonai ham'vorach l'olam vaed Baruch atah Adonai If I didn't write them correctly, ...
2
votes
2answers
129 views

What does ודוק or ודו"ק mean? [duplicate]

ודוק or ודו"ק appears extensively in rabbinic literature, particularly in Ashkenazi Halachic writings since the 17th century. I was once told that it meant that the author thought the proposed ...
4
votes
2answers
310 views

Jewish responses to a sneeze

I have heard la'briut and gezuntheit, and a Sephardic (Lebanese) Jew recently taught me 'tai-shi'. What are other words or phrases which are used to respond when someone sneezes?
5
votes
2answers
104 views

What is an “iggeres”?

The Shulchan Aruch in Siman 690:17 brings down a minhag klal yisrael to fold the megillah like an iggeres (Esther 9:26,29) when reading from it. The Mishnah Berurah mentions that one should not pause ...
1
vote
2answers
127 views

What does “Adderabba” mean? [closed]

What is the definition or usual translation for the word "Adderabba"? I sometimes find it as an interjection in Jewish blogs and forums, so it is not easy to figure out the meaning from the context. ...
2
votes
2answers
116 views

Why Elohim is used far more in Tanach than El?

When referring to God? Does Hebrew have any word that exclusively means god or gods? says that Elohim does not always mean God. It can be judges and angels. ...
-4
votes
1answer
190 views

Does Hebrew have any word that exclusively means god or gods? [closed]

In English, a monotheist may say there is only one god, namely Hashem. The Hebrew would be something like, "There is only one elohim, Hashem". There is a problem with that statement. Many bible ...
7
votes
1answer
212 views

Tzom Gedalya vs. Taanis Esther

Why is Tzom Gedalya known as Tzom Gedalya and Taanis Esther as Taanis Esther. Why not Taanis Gedalya or Tzom Esther?
3
votes
0answers
71 views

בגד (Begged) and מלבוש (Malbush)

Sometimes the Torah uses the word בגד for clothing, for example Vayikra 11:32, and sometimes it uses מלבוש, for example Iyov 27:16, or לבוש, as in Ester 6:8. This answer discusses the difference ...
1
vote
2answers
84 views

What is “קוצר לשחת”?

The mishna, M'nachos 71 amud 1, says: קוצר לשחת ומאכיל לבהמה That is, under the circumstances described there (not important for this question), one is allowed to cut his grain לשחת and feed the ...
2
votes
2answers
54 views

Can someone explain this statement of Chazal that is brought in Yesod Ha'avoda?

In יסוד העבודה Helek Aleph Perek Aleph, it says ר' אלעזר בר' צדוק אומר, עשה דברים לשם פעולתם ודבר בהן לשמן Any good translation, or explanation? Even though I know these words, the sentence ...
0
votes
1answer
94 views

Yirah HaShem/Shamayim & Yarmulkah

It's a little bit of a difficult question to ask, but i will try to explain it: Yarmulkah seems to come from the Aramaic phrase Yarei Malka (Yirah Melech); fear of the King. I know the verses of the ...
1
vote
1answer
78 views

יוֹשְׁבֵי דְּבִיר

In Y'hoshua 15:15, and again in Shof'tim 1:11, going to the city of דְּבִיר is referred to as "going to יוֹשְׁבֵי דְּבִיר‎" (something if not unique then nearly so (in Y'hoshua, anyway; I haven't ...
3
votes
6answers
372 views

Argaman - What color is it?

In Parshas Teruma it mentions Argaman. The way it was translated in Yeshiva was purple. Is Argaman really purple? Shir Hashirim 7:6 says V'Dallas Roshech Ka'Argaman. Rashi, Rashbam, Even Ezra, ...
3
votes
3answers
809 views

Why “hayom yom rishon”, not “echad”?

Rabbi Menachem Greenblatt (St. Louis, Missouri) mentioned at s'uda sh'lishis (Shabas parashas "Ki Setze" 5772) that the correct name for Sunday is echad b(a?)shabas, as is written in k'suvos and ...
12
votes
3answers
257 views

What does the aramaic “pon” mean?

Once in a while, Onkelos will throw in the word pon (פּוֹן) that doesn't directly translate from the Hebrew. Avimelech to Yitzchak: k'z'eir pon shachiv d'm'yached b'ama (Toldos 26:10) Lavan to ...
-1
votes
1answer
2k views

In the beautiful language of hebrew what is Todah? [closed]

I went to a synagogue the other day and after presenting the chief rabbi with an apple he exclaimed 'TODAH!'. Anyone know what this means?
1
vote
2answers
162 views

HaGadol HaGibor veHaNora

In the beginning of the amida prayer, God is ascribed these three titles: HaGadol HaGibor veHaNora. (the source is from the torah) What does each one mean and how are they different?
5
votes
0answers
207 views

What does “p'ruath rosh” actually mean?

It says in the halakha that a married woman may not go out into the public market place with "p'ruath rosh." I have heard that this means "with uncovered head," but this does not seem to match up ...