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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11
votes
2answers
1k views

חס ושלום! (whatever that means)

What on earth does חס ושלום mean literally, or what is its etymology? Why do people use that phrase in particular to "ward off" bad things? (That last part of the question is not asking whether saying ...
4
votes
2answers
256 views
16
votes
4answers
373 views

the aggadic concept of a finite number of words to speak

Is there any truth to the common claim that each person has a predetermined number of words that he can speak in his life? Source, please. If so, then how does it work? In particular (with sources or ...
0
votes
1answer
46 views

Amount of words to speak during one's lifetime [duplicate]

I read somewhere that, "Every person is granted a certain amount of words to speak during his lifetime, except for that which pertains to Torah and mitzvos. Thus, every person can add some years to ...
5
votes
2answers
277 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, ...
4
votes
1answer
72 views

Whence “בלי עין הרע”?

What is the source, or earliest reference, I guess, of using the phrase, "בלי עין הרע"?
11
votes
3answers
766 views

Why can't Ploni Almoni be a real name, in Ruth?

The verse states (Ruth 4:1): וּבֹעַז עָלָה הַשַּׁעַר, וַיֵּשֶׁב שָׁם, וְהִנֵּה הַגֹּאֵל עֹבֵר אֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר-בֹּעַז, וַיֹּאמֶר סוּרָה שְׁבָה-פֹּה פְּלֹנִי אַלְמֹנִי; וַיָּסַר, וַיֵּשֵׁב Now Boaz ...
2
votes
3answers
118 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
69 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
2answers
458 views

Is the title: “New” Testament offensive to Jews? Alternative neutral name?

Having lived in Israel during several periods of my life, I know that the words "Old" in the "Old Testament" and "New" in the "New Testament" are offensive to many Jews. From what I understand, it's ...
12
votes
7answers
26k 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?
3
votes
4answers
171 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
57 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, 3:...
17
votes
2answers
566 views

What was wrong with the word Talmud?

The Wikipedia article on The Talmud says: and Pope Pius IV commanded, in 1565, that the Talmud be deprived of its very name. The convention of referring to the work as "Shas" (shishah sidre ...
0
votes
1answer
40 views

Why is it always YHVH Elohim and not in the reverse order?

If I'm correct within the Tenach it's always the term Elohim following the term YHVH. You always read verses and phrases stating: 'YHVH Elohim' and never 'Elohim YHVH'. So why is this?
-1
votes
0answers
15 views

שפע what is it and how does it work

שפע Shefa: It is described in different commentaries that G'd created the world to bestow His divine abundance, goodness, light upon it. Now I read that we also can bring this shefa into this world ...
1
vote
1answer
34 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
1answer
67 views

Sources that it is also the husbands responsibility to make peace between a husband and wife (or examples where he does it)

Sources that it is also the husbands responsibility to make peace between a husband and wife (or examples where he does it) It seems that the Talmud only brings examples of the wife trying to make ...
1
vote
3answers
56 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
86 views

ברוך שם כבוד מלכותו לעולם ועד after a bracha with a false statement

If we make a bracha levatala or say Hashem's name by accident, we say ברוך שם כבוד מלכותו לעולם ועד. Is this true only if the original bracha is a valid praise of Hashem, or even if it contains false ...
2
votes
2answers
61 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 ...
-1
votes
0answers
32 views

What do we call the date of death of an Av?

I was under the impression that there was another word than "yahrzeit" to refer to the date of departure from this world of an Av or other major figure. It seems "yahrzeit" is also used in practice (q....
7
votes
3answers
830 views

What is the correct response to “Chazaq u'Baruch!”?

When a person gets an aliyah or other synagogue privilege the congregants of an Ashkenazic synagogue generally thanks him by saying "Shokyach!" or "Yasherkoach!" to which he responds "Baruch Tehiye!". ...
1
vote
1answer
53 views

Be a blessing; what does it mean

In Bereshit (Genesis) 12:2 HaShem tells Avraham that he should be a blessing: V'heyeh Bracha: וֶהְיֵה, בְּרָכָה But what does it mean that someone is a blessing? Isn't all blessing from HaShem, the ...
1
vote
3answers
243 views

Can the word “eitz” mean “a thought” in the Torah?

Is there support in the Talmud or later rabbinical literature to interpreting the Torah term "eitz," commonly translated as "tree," to also mean "thought". This of course, is a common usage in Yiddish,...
8
votes
1answer
226 views

Is 'A father and son sleeping with a betrothed young woman on yom kippur' an expression?

Bava metza 83b: Rabbi Elazar brebbi Shimon is afraid that he may have wrongfully caused someone to be hanged, but is reassured that the hanged and his son 'slept with a betrothed maiden on yom kippur'...
3
votes
0answers
76 views

what is the רציפי of perek shira?

I am curious as to the identity of the רציפי an animal identified in perek shira. From what I understand the translation of bat is erroneous and I'm wondering what the correct translation is.
9
votes
7answers
535 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
82 views

How many times in Na"Kh is the land called Eretz Cna'an?

The other side of the coin of this question (or, if you prefer, this question), might be, how often, or how many times, does the term Eretz Cna'an appear in Na"Kh after the land was given to Benei ...
10
votes
1answer
126 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
71 views

What does קרי mean in Parashat Bechukotai?

In Parashat Bechukotai, the word קרי comes up often to describe intransigence. What is this word? Is it ever still used?
1
vote
1answer
44 views

Arising in the morning and baal t'shaktzu

Im learning about getting up in the morning and learned that one must wash their hands before anything else otherwise they will violate the prohibition of baal t'shaktzu? What is baal t'shaktzu?
1
vote
1answer
59 views

Is there a word for this concept? [closed]

I recently learned the Korean word han, which, according to Wikipedia, "denotes a collective feeling of oppression and isolation in the face of insurmountable odds (the overcoming of which is beyond ...
3
votes
2answers
65 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 ...
-1
votes
2answers
69 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
46 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, ...
0
votes
1answer
44 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
559 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
36 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
27 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
51 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
106 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
27 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
48 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
109 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
91 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
66 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
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
632 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"?