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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0answers
7 views

What is the significance of using shevet vs. mattot in Parshat Mattot?

In Parashat Mattot the word matteh is used in place of the more commonly found shevet? Why is that? They both mean tribes no?
5
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4answers
128 views

Why do we say hamotzi lechem min haaretz instead of min haadama?

The blessing for bread is hamotzi lechem min haaretz. The blessing for vegetables is boreh pri haadama. As far as I know aretz (land) and adama (soil or earth) are basically synonymous. I would like ...
6
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2answers
773 views

What is the original meaning of the world “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 ...
5
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2answers
137 views

Changing the spelling of “G-d” and Halachic erasure

Is there a problem of "erasing the name of HaShem" if you erase the English word spelled G-o-d, and if so, is there then a problem of erasing it in order to spell it in a more acceptable way (such as ...
5
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2answers
63 views

How do different scholars define “aggadah”?

It is common to conceive of Shas (Bavli and Yerushalmi) as being an admixture of halakha and aggadah, and I've no doubt that people have differed from one another on the precise delineations of each. ...
-1
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1answer
26 views

What does “having עונות ידועים” mean?

What does "having עונות ידועים" mean in the language of the Mishnah Berurah? You can see it at the bottom of the right side of this page : ...
1
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1answer
32 views

Saying magein avraham versus magein avram

The chazzan is at the end of Avos (first bracha of Shmoneh Esrei) and he says, "...מגן אברם" (without the hei) instead of "...מגן אברהם," (with a hei). Would he be יוצא?
3
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1answer
40 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 ...
-1
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1answer
51 views

curse words and the Torah [duplicate]

American defines d*mn, fu*k, b*t*h (excuse my language) as curse words. However, what does the Torah define as curse words or dirty language?
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1answer
31 views

Oleh and chazak chazak

I've heard that, when receiving the last aliyah in a particular sefer, the oleh (one who received the aliyah) should not say “chazak, chazak…” because it is a berachah given to him by the congregation ...
5
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6answers
3k views

Online glossary of Talmudic terms

Is there an online glossary anywhere that explains important Talmudic terms, with similar scope to the Practical Talmud Dictionary? I'm more interested in an Aramaic-English resource, but ...
14
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3answers
1k views

What should I be aware of when using the term “Jew”?

As a gentile who finds himself writing about Judaism in the ancient world, I've found myself reluctant to use the word "Jew". I tend to use phrases like "Jewish people" and "Hebrew" when it makes ...
4
votes
1answer
44 views

Cognitive meaning of כפר

What is the cognitive meaning of the root כפר? It's applications (that I know of, feel free to add) are: כפיר - lion cub (Shoftim 14:5) כפר - village (Shmuel 1 6:18) כופר - Replacement (bamidbar ...
1
vote
2answers
58 views

What is the meaning and origin of the term “in the parsha” with regard to someone who is looking for a shidduch?

Recently, I spoke to a neighbor who had a 20 year old daughter. I asked the mother if she was dating anyone and she responded that she was "in the parsha". This is a new term to me. I assume the term ...
9
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5answers
271 views

What's a floor?

There are certain laws pertaining to a floor. For example, if a Sefer Torah is dropped on the floor, one is supposed to do some sort of atonement (eg., most famously, fasting for 40 days). What is ...
1
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0answers
51 views

The Chazon Ish pronunciation

The Chazon Ish would tell the Shatz to be careful pronouncing בַּֽעַל גְּבוּרוֹת so it didn't come out as בַּֽל. What is a source that the Chazon Ish would do this?
2
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1answer
76 views

Chazan and Tefillah

The leader of the Tefillah is referred to as a חַזַּן. The word חַזַּן, although translated as a cantor, actually comes from the word חֲזוֹן which means vision. Is there a source for this?
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0answers
38 views

What's “כי אתא פלוני אמר פלוני”?

The phrase "‫כי אתא [name] אמר [name],‏ [statement]‏‬‬" appears many times in the Bavli. For example, Rosh Hashana 35:1: כי אתא רבין אמר רבי יעקב בר אידי אמר רבי שמעון חסידא לא ...
4
votes
1answer
73 views

Is there a negative connotation to Yair Mazolam - יאיר מזלם?

Yesterday The Yeshiva World posted a letter the Lubavitcher Rabbi Zatzal sent to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu upon the birth of his son Yair. In the letter the Rabbi handwrote the words V'Yair ...
3
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2answers
75 views

דע לפני מי אתה עומד on the ark

In some shuls it says on the ark, "Da Lifnei Mi Atah Omeid." Is there any source from which that comes?
6
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2answers
277 views

Is there any contemporary posek who says you can deviate from the wording in the shmona esrei?

I am reading Kavvana: Directing the Heart in Jewish Prayer by Rabbi Dr. Avi (Seth) Kadish. There he makes the argument that the Anshei Kneset Hagedolah never established the exacting wording for the ...
1
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1answer
80 views

Jebediah​​​ (?)

Some claim that Jebediah is a Hebrew name. Is it a Jewish name? Either way; what does/would it mean, and how is it/would it be spelled and pronounced in Hebrew?
6
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4answers
398 views

What is the meaning of tehom?

Throughout the Tanach, and I've seen it in Midrashim as well, there is a concept of the "Tehom", translated as "Deep Waters". It appears in the creation story in Bereishis, and in the song at Yam Suf. ...
3
votes
4answers
131 views

what does baruch atah Hashem mean?

most times, the beginning of a beracha is Baruch Atah Adonai, etc. which is usually translated as Blessed are You God, etc. what does it mean to say that God is blessed? (on the surface it implies ...
2
votes
2answers
112 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
2answers
78 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
131 views

Is Goy meant to be a pejorative term?

I have never heard this word before, but the Wikipedia article insists: The word is also used to pejoratively describe those not of Jewish descent. It is commonly used to refer to Christians and ...
3
votes
1answer
53 views

Please explain the meaning of the word “Be'emunah” in the last paragraph of “Yekum Purkan”

The last paragraph of "Yekum Purkan" - the prayer recited on Shabbat before Musaf - has a paragraph that praises the people that supply the needs of the synagogue and community. There is a phrase that ...
2
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0answers
49 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
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6answers
279 views

Source of the Yiddish word Cholent

Does anyone know what is the source of the Yiddish word Cholent?
3
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2answers
77 views

Why did Sarah banish Hagar and Yishmael - Meaning of צחק

Genesis 21: ט וַתֵּרֶא שָׂרָה אֶת-בֶּן-הָגָר הַמִּצְרִית, אֲשֶׁר-יָלְדָה לְאַבְרָהָם--מְצַחֵק. 9 And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne unto Abraham, 'making ...
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1answer
36 views

Why does Koheleth 12:1 use בוראיך instead of בוראך?

Koheleth 12:1 says: וּזְכֹר, אֶת-בּוֹרְאֶיךָ, בִּימֵי, בְּחוּרֹתֶיךָ: עַד אֲשֶׁר לֹא-יָבֹאוּ, יְמֵי הָרָעָה, וְהִגִּיעוּ שָׁנִים, אֲשֶׁר תֹּאמַר אֵין-לִי בָהֶם חֵפֶץ. 1 Remember then ...
9
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4answers
178 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 ...
3
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1answer
76 views

Bamidbar: What makes Shimon different?

During krias haTorah, I noticed that while during the counting, most tribes were counted like this (taking Yehuda as an example): לבני יהודה תולדתם למשפחתם לבית אבותם במספר שמות מבן עשרים שנה ...
6
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3answers
274 views

What is the difference between the following words referring to commandments?

What is the difference between the following words? Commandments Law Testimonies Precepts Judgements Statutes Ordinances Deut 26:16 - 19 reads 16: This day, the ...
5
votes
2answers
92 views

Brevity of the Rishonim

I have heard about Rashi that he measured his words very meticulously and that consequently every word he chose to write in his commentary is important for understanding his view. There are even ...
1
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0answers
75 views

Why is the name of the first Hebrew letter also the word for 1000?

I find it interesting the first letter in the Hebrew alphabet is "Aleph", which shares the letters and is pronounced nearly identically to the word for one thousand - "Eleph". Why might this be? ...
3
votes
3answers
335 views

What is “Shabbes meat”?

I see stores advertising "Shabbes meat". I understand, somewhat, how to decipher meat cuts when listed that way (side steak, shoulder cut, etc.) But this term really baffles me. What makes this cut of ...
1
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2answers
40 views

Path of the Just - what does שיתברר ויתאמת mean?

The Mesilat Yesharim starts off: יסוד החסידות ושרש העבודה התמימה הוא שיתברר ויתאמת אצל האדם מה חובתו (Translation: The foundation of saintliness and the root of perfection in the service of ...
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3answers
114 views

What is the difference between a kofer and apicorsis

I always hear the terms "apicorsis" and "kofer״, along with "kefirah" and amaratzit. What is the definition of each?
6
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6answers
166 views

Al Hamichyah - Wide land?

In the Brocho after eating grains which are not bread we say: על ארץ חמדה טובה ורחבה Translated very loosely as: On the Land (ISRAEL) that is desirable good and WIDE. Now, anyone with a ...
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1answer
35 views

“Masekhtot Banayikh”: The Origins of an Expression

I recently found out that four of the masekhtot in the Bavli conclude with the same drosh by R' Elazar, and that those four masekhtot are known by a special name as a result. The drosh concerns the ...
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2answers
60 views

What is a Literal Translation of Asher Yatzar?

I have two similar English translations of Asher Yatzar. They both have something to the effect of "many orifices and cavities." However, the Hebrew for these two is ,נקבים נקבים חלולים חלולים. What ...
6
votes
1answer
90 views

First Use of the Phrase “Cheit HaMeraglim”

The negative report given by the people who are sent to scout the land of Cana'an before Bnei Yisrael go in, resulting in the punishment that they have to wander for another 38 years in the desert, is ...
1
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2answers
95 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 ...
5
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3answers
91 views

Etymology of מחילה

I am looking for a possible etymological root for the word מחילה as meaning forgiveness. The word מחל does not appear in Tanach1, and neither does מחילה, nor does מוחל, and I was unable to find any ...
2
votes
0answers
27 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
65 views

Pronunciation of Yerushalayim

In the Tanach, the word Yerushalayim is almost always written without a yud between the lamed and mem, but pronounced as if there is a patach under the lamed and a yud following it. We find though ...
2
votes
1answer
73 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.
6
votes
4answers
248 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 ...