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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1
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1answer
47 views

Avodah Melachah; work what is the difference

The roots לאך and עבד are the basis to form the words that could be translated as 'work' מלאכה and עבדה. But what is the difference? What distinguishing work from work? Some times its prohibited to ...
-2
votes
1answer
31 views

Disciplining one's mouth

Where do the words: כל רגע ורגע שאדם חוסם את פיו, זוכה לאור הגנוז שאין כל מלאך ובריה יכולים לשער, originate from?
8
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the original meaning of the word “hevel”?

I am not religious myself, but lately I have found myself somewhat attracted to Ecclesiastes. Reading about it, I am fascinated about what seems to be endless meanings and interpretations of the word ...
1
vote
1answer
26 views

What do the expressions AL CHET or VIDUI mean? [closed]

I would like to know what the expressions AL CHET or VIDUI mean, in English please.
4
votes
2answers
72 views

Difference between behema and chaya

What is the difference between the term behema and chaya used in the torah and mishna? Is it that one means domesticated animal while the other means wild animal?
8
votes
5answers
353 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
149 views

Rav vs. Rabbi in Talmudic Times

I was reading about the life of Rabbi Zera, and it said he was originally a Rav. The Rabbis of Eretz Yisrael offered to confer on him the title of Rabbi and at first he refused, until they told of ...
6
votes
2answers
87 views

Their altars…and *his* asheirah?

Shemot 34:13: כִּי אֶת מִזְבְּחֹתָם תִּתֹּצוּן וְאֶת מַצֵּבֹתָם תְּשַׁבֵּרוּן וְאֶת אֲשֵׁרָיו תִּכְרֹתוּן For you shall dismantle their altars, break their monuments, and cut down his ...
3
votes
1answer
58 views

What is the difference in definition for 3 terms used regarding “leavened” (chametz)?

The Torah uses 3 terms that all appear to mean "leavened food" (from English definitions that I could find): חמץ and שאור are mentioned in Exodus 12:15: שִׁבְעַ֤ת יָמִים֙ מַצּ֣וֹת תֹּאכֵ֔לוּ אַ֚ךְ ...
1
vote
1answer
64 views

Targum on Obadiah 1:3 a Reference to Rome?

The prophecy of Obadiah concerns the fate of Edom. Obadiah 1:3 reads, זְדוֹן לִבְּךָ הִשִּׁיאֶךָ, שֹׁכְנִי בְחַגְוֵי-סֶלַע מְרוֹם שִׁבְתּוֹ; אֹמֵר בְּלִבּוֹ, מִי יוֹרִדֵנִי אָרֶץ. The pride ...
6
votes
2answers
69 views

What is the tzror hachaim (bond of life)?

On tombstones one finds the acronym for t'hay nafsho/ah tzrurah b'tzror hachaim (may the soul be bound to the bond of life). What is this bond of life? Do we have any sources which explain what this ...
2
votes
2answers
123 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
0answers
35 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
69 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
69 views

What's a musar vaad and why is it called that?

I'm familiar with the term "ועד" (vaad) as meaning something like "congress" or "council" or "board": a legislative or similar body like the Vaad Arba Aratzos, the Vaad Harabonim of Queens, or the ...
1
vote
1answer
48 views

Is there a term for wine poured for a kosher libation?

Yayin nesach is the term used for libation wine poured for idol worship. Is there a term for wine offered on the Altar in a kosher sacrifice?
24
votes
5answers
668 views
2
votes
1answer
88 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 ...
12
votes
6answers
18k views

Nefesh, neshama and ruach as words for “soul”

All three words can mean something like "soul", e.g., neshama in גלגול נשמות, and ruach in וַתְּחִי רוּחַ יַעֲקֹב אֲבִיהֶם (Bereshit 45:27). So, what is the difference?
2
votes
0answers
46 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
120 views

What exactly does “Lord of Hosts” (צְבָאוֹת) mean?

When I think of the Judaism, I don't think of Angelic armies attacking the armies of evil directly. G-d usually works in far more subtle ways than this, e.g. appearing as a burning bush to motivate ...
0
votes
2answers
81 views

Saying ביצה versus ביה

1) Why do people refer to the hebrew word for egg, ביצה, as ביה? 2) When one says ביה isn't he also saying part of G-d's Name?
-2
votes
2answers
51 views

What is the upper limit to the age of Bagrus?

Nowadays, we say a girl becomes a naarah when she reaches age 12 and a bogeress, when she reaches age 12 1/2, at which point she is no longer called a naarah. At what age, or under what ...
3
votes
3answers
130 views

Source of the term בכתמים שומעין להקל

In the halachos of Niddah, there is a term which I have come across not infrequently. The term is בכתמים שומעין להקל, which roughly translated means "in [the halachos of blood] stains we listen to ...
1
vote
3answers
101 views

What Other Terms, Besides “Korban,” Mean Sacrifice in Some Form or Another?

As the title says, What Other Terms, Besides "Korban," Mean Sacrifice in Some Form or Another? I am trying to understand sacrifice better. In English, this one word has narrow and broader meanings, ...
6
votes
2answers
95 views

Meaning of the term “Amen Ve'Amen”?

Upon completing a lecture many rabbis end their blessings with the words "Amen Ve'Amen" (True and True). The source for this quote seems to be Tehillim 41:14. What is meant by the repetition of the ...
1
vote
0answers
35 views

Time, Place and Speak

I heard from someone that מזל stands for מקום זמן לשון, (there is a) place (and) time (to) speak. Do you where this idea comes from?
11
votes
4answers
298 views

What's “chelek Eloka 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
92 views

Why use language of לברוא in brachot?

The bracha over wine and grape juice says "בורא פרי העץ". The word בורא is also used in many of the other brachot over food and smells. My understanding is that the meaning of the verb-root ...
4
votes
0answers
89 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, ...
-2
votes
1answer
87 views

Halachic definition of “goy”? [closed]

We usually think of a goy defined to be a non-Jew. But there are other types of non-Jews, such as a ger toshav. Therefore, it seems to me that goy is a subset of non-Jew. The Rambam defines "goy" as ...
3
votes
2answers
145 views

What is the difference between the blessing of Ga'al Yisrael preceding Shemoneh Esrei and the blessing of Go'el Yisrael?

Before we begin the Shemoneh Esreh each morning, we say the blessing, "Blessed are You, Hashem, Who redeemed Israel (Ga'al Yisrael)." Then within the Shemoneh Esrei itself, in the "Re'eh va'ahneynu" ...
-1
votes
1answer
39 views

What is wrong if a wife rebukes her husband and(/or) does not watch over him

In this list אם מקללתו בחנם או מזלזלת אביו ואמו והוכיחה בדברים ואינו משגחת עליו (My translation "if she (the wife) curses him (the husband) without a reason, disrespects his parents, rebukes him ...
3
votes
1answer
87 views

Convert in Ketubah

In a ketubah, there are 3 different categories for the woman's status. Virgin, Convert, and woman. Usually one of those statuses is represented on the ketubah, with the appropriate amount in zuzim. ...
7
votes
1answer
61 views

What does the ל of לבעבור mean?

Shemos 20:17: ויֹּאמֶר משֶׁה אֶל הָעָם אַל תִּירָאוּ כִּי לְבַעֲבוּר נַסּוֹת אֶתְכֶם בָּא הָאֱלֹהִים וּבַעֲבוּר תִּהְיֶה יִרְאָתוֹ עַל פְּנֵיכֶם לְבִלְתִּי תֶחֱטָאוּ What does the 8th word in ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

In Genesis 22:8-14, is there a difference between a ram and a lamb?

Having taken a translation from this website, which I am told to have Orthodox Jewish credentials, I am referring to Genesis 22:8-14 'God will see to a lamb for an offering, my son,' replied ...
1
vote
1answer
33 views

Why choose the words Urchatz and Rachtza for the Sedder simanim?

Although technically a word based on Rechitza would be the best choice you or I would offer, the fact of the matter is our Rabbis in general chose a much less common word for hand washing which was ...
0
votes
1answer
33 views

the tzaddik decrees it and HaKadosh Baruch Hu fulfills it

Someone mentioned that the Gemara in Mo'ed Katan (16b) says: צדיק גוזר והקב"ה מקים, the tzaddik decrees it and HaKadosh Baruch Hu fulfills it. I looked in Mo'ed Katan and could not find צדיק גוזר ...
2
votes
1answer
75 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). ...
1
vote
1answer
122 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 ...
-1
votes
1answer
69 views

Rationalism in Judaism

what exactly is the difference between the rationalist approach and the non-rationalist approach in Judaism. I assume both believe in miracles.
2
votes
1answer
591 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 ...
4
votes
0answers
33 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
26 views

What does the word “אש” in Vayikra 1:7 refer to?

אש is generally translated as "fire." However, consider Vayikra 1:7: וְנָתְנוּ בְּנֵי אַהֲרֹן הַכֹּהֵן אֵשׁ עַל הַמִּזְבֵּחַ וְעָרְכוּ עֵצִים עַל הָאֵשׁ The sons of Aharon the Kohen shall ...
2
votes
1answer
43 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". ...
0
votes
1answer
66 views

Where does Rav Dessler mention that root word of אהבה is הב?

I read in one of Rav Dessler's books where he says that the root word of אהבה is הב, which means "give" in Aramaic. Does anyone know where he mentions this?
1
vote
1answer
41 views

How does אהבה mean love and give? [closed]

How does the same word אהבה, which means love, also mean give?
2
votes
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
votes
1answer
23 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 ...
-1
votes
1answer
38 views

What does אקים means?

Does אקים means "I will resurrect" or "I will raise up"? Are these terms synonyms? Consider this: וְעָבְדוּ, אֵת יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵיהֶם, וְאֵת דָּוִד מַלְכָּם, אֲשֶׁר אָקִים לָהֶם. But they shall ...