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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1answer
46 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
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2answers
95 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
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1answer
328 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
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1answer
327 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?
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3answers
97 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
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2answers
138 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
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1answer
112 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
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1answer
65 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 ...
2
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1answer
76 views

What is considered alone for shma? [duplicate]

When saying shma in davening without a minyan, the three words א-ל מלך נאמן are recited. It is done in order to make up 248 words total (with a minyan, the chazzan says ה' א-לוקיכם אמת to get the 3). ...
2
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2answers
138 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
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1answer
135 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
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1answer
109 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
479 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 ...
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2answers
224 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
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1answer
55 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
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1answer
45 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
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1answer
34 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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1answer
60 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
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1answer
55 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
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1answer
346 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
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1answer
71 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
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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
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3answers
404 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
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1answer
432 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
27 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
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1answer
85 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 ...
2
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1answer
78 views

Translating an amulet

I need help translating what is written on a charm. Here is what is written in it, along with my understanding of what it means. לשמירה, הצלחה, זיווג הגון, שלום בית, זרע בר קיימא, שמירה למעוברת, ...
2
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1answer
92 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 ...
2
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1answer
68 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
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1answer
38 views

What's the fore's heaven's heaven?

In the brief prayer we recite before the עקידה each morning, and in the זכרונות blessing on ראש השנה, we ask: ופקדנו בפקדת ישועה ורחמים משמי שמי קדם Roughly: and pay attention to us with an ...
2
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1answer
93 views

Why not list the 7 Minim in order with no second “Eretz”?

Devarim 8:8 ארץ חיטה ושעורה, וגפן ותאנה ורימון; ארץ-זית שמן, ודבש. The Gemara in Berachos 41: says in the name of either Rabbi Yosef or Rabbi Yitzchok that the order of the Brachos would depend on ...
2
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1answer
74 views

Kodesh Hee Shabbath HaMalkah

In a well known Shabbath song, there is a line that goes, "Kodesh Hee Lachem Shabbath HaMalkah." Roughly, this translates to, "Holy is she to you, the Sabbath Queen." Oddly, however, the modifier ...
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2answers
46 views

Definition of the term “Talmud” in the phrase “Talmud Torah”

What is the definition of the word "Talmud" used by Chazal in the expression talmud Torah? Does it mean learning Torah, or teaching Torah? I seem to remember this discussed in an article (perhaps on ...
2
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0answers
11 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
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1answer
55 views

Order of כִּי נֵר מִצְוָה וְתוֹרָה אוֹר

Mishlei 6:23 says כִּי נֵר מִצְוָה וְתוֹרָה אוֹר. By the Mitzva it first says Ner and then Mitzva, however by the Torah it first says Torah and then Or. Why is there a change in the order, why not ...
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0answers
38 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 ...
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0answers
47 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 ...
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1answer
26 views

how would you translate כמה דתימא

In Midrash Rabbah Bereshit we have היך מה דאת אמר first (as you read [verse]). But then Rabba HaOshaya uses this expression כמה דתימא and he quotes a verse. The last part דתימא i don't understand how ...
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0answers
56 views

What is a Drut’syla?

This link was sent to me by a friend, about a woman who is a Drut'syla (dertseyler in Yiddish), or storyteller. The article simply says it's a Jewish tradition, but doesn't place it within Judaism. ...
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2answers
52 views

When the terms “sasson” and “simcha” are mentioned together, is there meaning or reason to the order?

Compare two verses: Yirmiyahu (Jer.) 33:11 - "sasson" is mentioned before "simcha" Esther 8:16-17 - "simcha" is mentioned before "sasson" There are other such verses, as well, that we can compare, ...
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0answers
19 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 ...
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0answers
52 views

What's the difference between שמחה and חדוה?

The Gra was quoted to me (I think from the Aderes Eliyah, but I'm not sure) as saying that during the shofar blowing on Rosh HaShanna a person should be in a state of simcha and chedva. I would like ...
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0answers
79 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
2
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0answers
49 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 ...
2
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0answers
52 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 ...
2
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2answers
99 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 ...
2
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0answers
72 views

Why does Rashi translate שלולית differently from everyone else?

The beginning of chapter 2 of Pea says: These things divide a field [into two] for purposes of pea [requiring a separate pea from each subdivision]: …, a שלולית, …. The Bavli, Bava ...
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0answers
69 views

What is the origin of the title “rebbe”?

The title "rebbe" (as opposed to "rabbi") is often given to leaders of hasidic groups. It is also often used by both hasidim and non-hasidim to refer to one's personal teacher. What is the origin of ...
2
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0answers
131 views

Netzach, Selah, Vaed - what is the difference between these words?

Eruvin 54a says that it was taught by Rabbi Eliezer ben yaakov that wherever it says Netzach, Selah, or Vaed it means it will remain so forever. "כל מקום שנאמר 'נצח' 'סלה' 'ועד' – אין לו הפסק עולמית" ...
2
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0answers
45 views

Language of Mishneh Brurah - Sefiras HaOmer and counting before Aleinu

Shulchan Aruch 489:1 says that after Maariv of the second night of Pesach we begin to count Sefiras HaOmer. The Mishneh Brurah there in note 2 says that one should count before "Aleinu" because "col ...