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
2answers
43 views

What does the term “glatt kosher” mean, today?

A mashgiach explained to me that the term "glatt kosher" means that the lungs of cattle and sheep (the 2 main kosher animals sold in U.S.) are smooth and do not have air pockets. I hope that I have ...
3
votes
4answers
149 views

Source of the word “teva” for nature

I was told by someone who I consider to be very reliable that the word טבע, which means nature, does not have a source in Biblical or Talmudic literature, and it is a word that first emerges in ...
0
votes
1answer
32 views

Prayer Meditation; help understanding terms

Could someone explain the terms of kavanah, hitbodedut and hitbonenut in relation to Tefilah (prayer)? I know that these are all forms of meditation of some kind; but are they integrated in the way ...
2
votes
3answers
108 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
64 views

Explain differences in terms used for “prayer”

Please explain the differences in the types of "prayer" that is meant when these terms for "prayer" as found in Tanac"h are used. I have intentionally omitted English translation for these verses, as ...
9
votes
7answers
511 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 ...
-1
votes
2answers
66 views

What does the ramo mean by רוֹעֶה זוֹנוֹת (shepherding harlets)

I am having an argument with @user6591 here in the comments how to correctly understand it The ramo מִי שֶׁהוּא רוֹעֶה זוֹנוֹת וְאִשְׁתּוֹ קוֹבֶלֶת עָלָיו, אִם יֵשׁ עֵדוּת בַּדָּבָר, שֶׁרָאוּ ...
3
votes
2answers
42 views

How can Nefesh mean a dead person?

In Vayikra 21:1 it's stated that one should not defile himself for any (dead) 'nefesh' person... How can a word like Nefesh which seems to be the force that animated the body and gave it it's life, ...
5
votes
1answer
232 views

What is the definition of Zera Yisrael? Please read description

Shalom Aleichem, I am considering a halachic conversion to Judaism after having converted (along with several family members of mine) with a reform rabbi several years ago. In my research and studies, ...
0
votes
1answer
40 views

What's the difference between idol worship and star worship?

We translate עובדי עבודה זרה to mean serving an idol or idol worship. The word זר mean foreign, as in, לא יהיה אל זר, do not serve a foreign god. The word עובד כוכבים means serving the stars. What ...
-1
votes
0answers
15 views
20
votes
3answers
553 views

Why do we say Mazel Tov? Shouldn't we thank Hashem?

Why do we say "Mazel Tov" when something good happens to a person? Doesn't that mean "good luck?" Are we saying that what happened, happened because of luck?
0
votes
1answer
30 views

Usage of “Making Aaliyah”

I had heard that "Making Aaliyah" is informally used to mean anyone going to Israel (not necessarily moving there, and not necessarily Jewish) for religious reasons. I was more recently informed that ...
2
votes
0answers
26 views

When the Gemoro answers the question לאתויי מאי is the answer complete or an example?

BACKGROUND A Mishnah may list a number of items and then follow with a general statement. For example in Shabbos 12 (4) the Mishnah says הכותב שתי אותיות בהעלם אחד - חיב. כתב בדיו, בסם, בסקרא, ...
2
votes
1answer
49 views

What is מדין שני בתי דינים בעיר אחת? Regarding different minhagim in New york

What did Igros Moshe 1.158 mean by the words "מדין שני בתי דינים בעיר אחת" ("from the law of two courts in one city")? What is דין שני בתי דינים בעיר אחת?
6
votes
4answers
101 views

etymology of the word “Kittel”

What is the etymology of the word "Kittel"? (Kittel is a white garment worn by many at the Pesach Seder and on Yom Kippur by Davening)
-4
votes
1answer
26 views

About Va yehi in bereshit

We learn from Chazal that whenever the Torah uses the word 'vayehi', it means something significant and awful is about to happen. We find in Bereshit that when Hashem created the world and all ...
3
votes
1answer
47 views

HaShem's day, what is it refering to?

I would like to know what Yom HaShem is refering to and when it will have it's impact Isaiah 2:12 Yom L'HaShem Tzevaot Ezekiel 13:5 Yom HaShem, 30:3 Isaiah 13:6 & 9 Joel 1:15, 2:1, 2:11, 3:4, ...
0
votes
0answers
45 views

ordered list of prayers

The topic of this question is the building process of Geula We see in Hagada (Parshat Bikurim, Deuteronomy 24) a succession of verbs witch describe the preliminaries of the Geula, from prayer to ...
3
votes
2answers
101 views

Can you explain these Halachic terms please?

I'm new to this, can you please very briefly explain what these terms mean: Shinui, Makkeh Befatish, Besh'as Hadehaq, Shvut D'Shvut, Thanks in advance
3
votes
2answers
84 views

Shabbat, Shabbatot, Shabbaton?

Are there any halachic implications from the Torah's choice of the terms Shabbat, Shabbatot and Shabbaton? And to what are they referring? And what does the Torah mean when it calls the Shabbat a ...
4
votes
2answers
65 views

What is Chassidut meantioned by the Misilat Yeshorim?

The Misilat Yeshorim writes: There are many who deal with Halachic discussions, others with Midrash and others with legal decisions. There are few, however, who devote thought to true ...
1
vote
1answer
28 views

Makkot 7a: מעגילה

The Mishnah mentioned some sort of roller to spread plaster over rooftops. Why is this called מעגילה especially since it only called that way on the way down?
1
vote
0answers
74 views

Does anyone discuss the similarities between these?

I noticed that the משנה ברורה and בראשית both talk about רוח ,מים, clothing, and 'ה seeing all in the beginning. The משנה ברורה seems to be alluding to the חומש here. The first thing after the famous ...
4
votes
6answers
625 views

What is “chad gadya” really all about?

Why do we sing "chad gadya" at the pesach seder? What is it supposed to be about? Also, as a side question, is it "d'zabin aba" or "dizvan aba"?
2
votes
2answers
132 views

what talmudic manuscripts (if any) have jesus instead of balaam? (/ what Does MS.M. Jesus mean)

what manuscripts (if any) have jesus instead of balaam? I'm aware that some claim that balaam is a codeword for jesus. I know Rabbi Gil Student makes a good argument that it cannot be I have read ...
5
votes
2answers
149 views

What is Shalom Aleichem?

What does Shalom Aleichem mean? Is it a question (peace unto you) or a blessing or both? מסכת ברכות פרק ב ב,א היה קורא בתורה, והגיע זמן המקרא--אם כיוון את ליבו, יצא; ואם לאו, לא יצא. ובפרקים ...
3
votes
1answer
37 views

Pas (Pat) vs Lechem

In Tanach/Mishna/Gemara sometimes the word Pas is used, and sometimes Lechem. Do Chazal say anything about when and why one is used vs the other? Edit I was asked for an example: In Mishna Brachos ...
-1
votes
3answers
60 views

The word Torah in the Psalms.

I was wondering if the word for torah is used anywhere in the Psalms. If so, can you please tell me where exactly?
2
votes
3answers
108 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
217 views

Translation of lmino and lminaihu [duplicate]

In Parshat Shmini (Vayikro 11:22), the Torah uses two different words for "species" in listing species of kosher insects: "אֶת־הָֽאַרְבֶּה לְמִינוֹ וְאֶת־הַסָּלְעָם לְמִינֵהוּ" What is the difference ...
11
votes
4answers
402 views

What's “chelek Eloak mimaal”?

I have frequently heard the human (or only the Jewish?) soul referred to as "חלק אלוק ממעל", literally "portion/section/piece/allotment of God (from) above". What does this mean? Who's the first to ...
15
votes
7answers
15k views

What does Kadosh really mean?

What do the terms קדוש (Kadosh), קדושים, קדושה, and קדיש really mean?
1
vote
2answers
214 views
6
votes
5answers
260 views

Is it possible to be chasidish without wearing the garb and keeping all the minhagim?

Can someone be chasidish (or a chasid) if they don't dress in a distinctively "Jewish" way or don't keep all the minhagim such as "cholov yisrael", saying tehillim on rosh chodesh, etc? Does it ...
10
votes
2answers
106 views

Where is Shabbos called “the most precious of days”?

In our Shabbos tefillos, we say that חמדת הימים אותו קראת You (Hashem) called it (the Sabbath) the most precious of days. In the Shabbos poem "Baruch Keil Elyon" (composed by HaRav Barukh ...
3
votes
0answers
30 views

Difference between the words מיחייב and חייב

Rava in masheches megillah 7b famously said that one is obligated to drink until he cannot differentiate between Haman and Mordechai. My question is: Rava used the loshon of מיחייב instead of חייב. ...
4
votes
1answer
66 views

What's “צרה שלא תבא”?

There's an expression I've read many times in slightly variant forms: "איזה צרה שלא תבוא" or "על כל צרה שלא תבא" or the like. It means something like "any tragedy that should not happen" and it's used ...
9
votes
4answers
819 views

Where does “probeh” come from?

Every time recently that I've heard of an Orthodox congregation conducting a search for a rabbi, the stage at which the rabbi visits the community for a Shabbat and auditions for the position is ...
10
votes
8answers
306 views

What do people mean when they say “Kaballah”?

I recently spoke to someone who said she was interested in learning Kabbala but could not find any classes. I mentioned to her she may want to try learning Tanya because there is a lot of Kabbala in ...
0
votes
0answers
43 views

Are Jews allowed to use the expression “fingers crossed”?

Not to worship idols is one of the 10 commandments; according to a quick Google search "finger crossed" originates from either the Christian cross or other superstitious beliefs. Does this mean that ...
6
votes
0answers
56 views

What is the function of “Eloheinu” in blessings?

Many blessings open with the familiar formula: ברוך אתה יהוה אלהינו מלך העולם In additions, many blessings close with the familiar shorter formula: ברוך אתה יהוה Now, we know (Berakhot ...
2
votes
1answer
35 views

Has anyone found any reliable sources for tefilin meditation?

I recently began putting on tefilin, and I had heard of meditations that one can do when putting on the tefilin. Does anyone know of any good meditative practices surrounding tefilin? Or is their any ...
1
vote
2answers
46 views

Where is the land of Sinim?

In Isaiah Perek 49 Pasuk 12 it says: הִנֵּה-אֵלֶּה, מֵרָחוֹק יָבֹאוּ; וְהִנֵּה-אֵלֶּה מִצָּפוֹן וּמִיָּם, וְאֵלֶּה מֵאֶרֶץ סִינִים Behold, these shall come from far; and, lo, these from the ...
6
votes
2answers
398 views

What is meant by the term “midina”/“provinces” as in the 127 ruled by Ahasuerus?

Esther 1:1 says: Now it came to pass in the days of Ahasuerus -- he was the Ahasuerus who reigned from Hodu to Cush, one hundred twenty-seven provinces. For historical context, the period of the ...
9
votes
2answers
547 views

What is the difference between the words “tzur” and “selah” (which both mean rock)?

Beshalach (Shmot 17:6): ... you shall strike the rock (tzur) and water will come forth from it ... Chukat (Bamidbar 20:8): ... speak to the rock (selah) before their eyes and it shall give ...
3
votes
0answers
22 views

Gerah as a coin and cud (and more)

Is anyone familiar with any exposition on the connection between gerah גֵּרָה as cud (ma'aleh gerah) and as a measure of 1/20th of a shekel? Is there any connection drawn to the root for the word ...
3
votes
2answers
91 views

What word is in the middle of the Torah?

The Torah has 304,805 letters and different counts of words (such as 79,976 words). The first word is Bereshit and the last is Israel. I was just wondering (no real reason, just for curiosity): What ...
2
votes
2answers
79 views

What is the official name for the “additional readings” on special torah-reading days?

On certain special Shabboses, like the four parshiyot, there is a special torah reading that replaces Maftir after the weekly parsha is read. Is there a name for this extra not-from-the-weekly-parsha ...
5
votes
1answer
92 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 ...