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
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3answers
740 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 ...
2
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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
1answer
90 views

What does this Talmudic expression mean?

The גמרא in בבא קמא on דף סב עמוד א׳ discusses a case where someone ״דבטש בכספתא.״ What does that expression mean? What's the שורש of דבטש?
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 ...
2
votes
2answers
141 views

Why does the term Eretz Yisroel never appear in the Torah?

After anylyzing the term "Eretz Yisroel" I could only find it in 3 instances in Nach. http://mi.yodeya.com/questions/5681/does-the-term-ever-appear-in-tanach Why does the term Eretz Yisroel never ...
2
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2answers
347 views

Why is Eretz Yisrael called “Eretz Tzvi”?

Why is Eretz Yisrael called "Eretz Tzvi"? What does this mean exactly? Why? and Where does it say this?
2
votes
3answers
82 views

What was the main job duty of Sar Hatabahim?

The word Tabah means to cook. In modern Hebrew, a Mitbah is a kitchen. In Arabic, Tabaha means "he cooked". And yet, from what I can find, nearly all Biblical commentators, Jewish and gentile, by the ...
2
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3answers
180 views

Meaning of the a word in an magen david

I have a magen david with שוי writen inside and I want to know the meaning
2
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1answer
735 views

What does anger have to do with the nose?

Two expressions, among many, ארך אפים - "long (slow) to anger" when describing one of G-d's qualities, and חרון אף - "anger" contain the word אף - nose. Usually, when people get angry, they yell ...
2
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2answers
142 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 ...
2
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1answer
121 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.
2
votes
1answer
119 views

Paroh vs. Faroh in Parshat Bo

I am used to פרעה being pronounced as "Paroh" as it has been for the last few parshot, but I noticed today that in Parshat Bo (Shemot 10:11) it is to be pronounced "Faroh". What causes this change? ...
2
votes
1answer
223 views

Were the prophets and holy people who lived before Judah (Yehudah) also Jews?

The word "Jew" originates from the name of the eldest son of Jacob. The term "Jew" was introduced many generations and decades after him. I wonder whether Adam, Noah, Lot, Abraham and Moses were all ...
2
votes
1answer
731 views

Etymology of the word “Vasikin”

What is the etymology of the word "Vasikin", used for the Minyan that starts Shemona Esrei at sunrise? Also, is "Vasikin" Hebrew or Aramaic?
2
votes
1answer
231 views

What is the longest word in Tanach?

One of my students was filling out an application that requested the longest and shortest word in Tanach. I am assuming by the fact that this question was asked that there is a known answer and this ...
2
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2answers
141 views

Why does the book (Megillah) of Esther never use the Hebrew word “armon” for palace?

It talks about the capital and "the king's house", but never uses the Hebrew word for "palace", "armon", as appears in Psalms and elsewhere. (Or does it appear and I missed it?) Why not?
2
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2answers
57 views

Kedusha as pertains to G-d

Throughout our prayers we talk about G-d's Kedusha. For example, we say "Ata kadosh", "Nekadesh es shimcha", etc. Kedusha is generally translated as "holiness". Holiness, in turn, generally refers to ...
2
votes
2answers
113 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. ...
2
votes
2answers
10k views

What is the origin and meaning of mabrouk?

Instead of mazal tov, some sefardim use the term mabrouk(sp?). What does that term mean and what is its origin?
2
votes
2answers
30 views

Is bentching with a minyan considered a davar shebikdusha?

Closely related (particular example of): What is the meaning of Davar Shebakedusha? The Aruch Hashulchan notes that the wedding blessings require ten men, but are not a 'davar shebikdusha' (E.H. ...
2
votes
2answers
78 views

What means Akdama, Osafa and Yetama?

I go to a gemara shiurim about Ketoubot (72a and b and 73 a and b). and these three words are said often by the Rabbi. I do not know what they means but according to their use they seems related to ...
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 ...
2
votes
2answers
52 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
145 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
1answer
55 views

What does the saying “like a blind man in a sky light” (כסומא בארובה) indicate?

It seems to me that the Simla Hadasha uses the saying "כסומא בארובה" to mean that it happened by accident. I do not see what in the simple meaning (as a blind man in a sky light) of the words an ...
2
votes
2answers
99 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 ...
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 ...
2
votes
1answer
393 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?
2
votes
3answers
99 views

Rashi on Bereishis 37:12: Only their sheep, or also their father's?

Bereishis 37:12: וַיֵּלְכוּ אֶחָיו לִרְעוֹת אֶת צֹאן אֲבִיהֶם בִּשְׁכֶם.‏ Rashi there says (as I understand it) that we cut out the word es (אֶת) because they only went to to feed their own ...
2
votes
2answers
142 views

Why was Chanah called an “Ishah Kesheirah”?

The Gemoro says that when Chanah was caught by Eli davening and whispering, he asked the Urim Vetumim about her to see if she was ok. The letters ה ר ש כ appeared on the Urim Vetumim. Eli understood ...
2
votes
1answer
121 views

Does the word toad (קרפדה) appears in tanach?

Toad is קרפדה (karpada) in hebrew. Toad is crapaud in French. The two words have the same 4 consonants in the same order, which does not seem to be by mere accident. Looks like one language has ...
2
votes
1answer
32 views

In what way were David's descendants kohanim? (2 Samuel 8:18 וּבְנֵי דָוִד, כֹּהֲנִים הָיוּ) [duplicate]

In 2 Samuel 8:18 it says: VeBnei David kohanim hayu English translations translate the word kohanim as "chief ministers" or such titles. Any clarification? I'm confused since only Aaron's ...
2
votes
1answer
38 views

Where do the words sholom bayis come from?

I hear people speak of the need for sholom bayis. 1a) Where do the words come from? 1b) Where does the concept come from?
2
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2answers
144 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
1answer
141 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
1answer
110 views

Is the term/idea “inviolate” used in the old testament?

I was discussing the idea of privacy with my ethics professor, and he mentioned the concept of "inviolate personality". When it came up he was pretty sure the word inviolate either comes from or is ...
2
votes
1answer
523 views

What are the Hebrew titles for synagogue functionaries in various communities?

In every Ashkenazic synagogue I've seen, the fellow calling up people to the Bima is called a "gabbai." (Which was originally a Hebrew word for "collector", as in Tzedaka collector; I can see how the ...
2
votes
2answers
228 views

Variant vowelizations in Selichot

The repeated paragraph in Selichot that introduces the Thirteen Attributes includes the phrase "increasingly grants pardon to careless sinners and foregiveness to willful ones" (Artscroll Siddur ...
2
votes
2answers
39 views

Exodus 19:16- “that were in the camp”

Regarding Exodus 19, verse 16: Why is it necessary to state that all the people “that were in the camp” had trembled? In other words, is not the phrase “in the camp” superfluous here?
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 ...
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: ...
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 ...
2
votes
1answer
47 views

What is “חכמת לב”?

In this week's Torah portion (Vayakhel) we read about the Jews helping out in the building of the Tabernacle. When referring to the talent (or mastery) in doing so, the Torah uses the term "חכמת לב". ...
2
votes
1answer
72 views

What's the difference between לְמִינוֹ and לְמִינֵהוּ?

B'reshis 1:11–12, :25; Sh'mini 11:15–22; and R'e 14:14–15 seem to use "לְמִינוֹ" and "לְמִינֵהוּ" interchangeably, and both words are generally translated the same way (usually ...
2
votes
1answer
59 views

What “malchus” exists today in America?

The Gemara (Gittin 79b-80a) says that we need to write the date of the malchus (kindgom) of the place where a get (bill of divorce) was written, on the get, for שלום מלכות (so that we don't upset the ...
2
votes
1answer
461 views

לא (lamed-aleph) vs אל (aleph-lamed)

Hebrew beginner, here. I was asking why the prefix for "not" was usually לא but occasionally אל. Some kind Hebrew students told me אל was only used for future tense, saying not to do something. One ...
2
votes
1answer
72 views

Understanding the usage of וגומר and וכולו

Why are the terms וגומר and וכולו used instead of just writing out the rest of the sentence? When were these terms first instituted?
2
votes
1answer
62 views

Kindness and truth

The Posuk says (Gen 47:29): וְעָשִׂיתָ עִמָּדִי חֶסֶד וֶאֱמֶת Translated as do with me Kindness and truth Rashi is bothered that Chesed and Emes are two different things so Rashi says: חסד ...
2
votes
3answers
427 views

What does the term “sons of G-d” mean?

The term "sons of G-d" בני האלהים is found 3 times in the Hebrew Bible, once in Genesis (6:2), and twice in Job (1:6 and 2:1). What does it mean? Does it have the same meaning in both instances? What ...
2
votes
1answer
447 views

Issues with Wording, Honorifics, Symbols, Rashei Teivot on Tombstones

In my work on translating tombstones (Ashkenazic - Slovakian or what was once Austro-Hungarian) towns, I occasionally come across phrases or honorifics that are difficult for me to understand. I do ...