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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7
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3answers
86 views
+100

Significance of “Shema Yisrael”

The verse Shema Yisrael (Devarim 6:4) is highly significant. It is Biblically required to be recited twice daily, it is to be said at the end of one's life, and appears in the liturgy at the end of ...
1
vote
1answer
44 views

Why is the kallah's home referred to as beit nashe?

In certain ketubot I've seen the home of the kallah is referred to as Beit nashe, meaning the house of forgetting. What is the reason for referring to the kallah's home that way?
10
votes
4answers
227 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 ...
9
votes
0answers
161 views

What game is the Rama in 338:5 (טשי"ך) referring to?

In the English Mishna Brurah they translate טשי"ך as chess. The Mishna Brurah brings the Marah Sasson who forbids it because there is no chachma. It is also mentioned in the Rama that it makes noise, ...
8
votes
2answers
76 views

What makes something a chag or not?

I have a friend who does not like it when people say 'chag sameach' on hanukah, claiming that hanukah is not a chag. What makes something a chag vs. not a chag?
-1
votes
4answers
129 views

Are there any authorities who hold that one must be a zionist?

There are some groups, like Naturei Karta or Satmar, which hold that a Jew may not be a Zionist, meaning one may not pursue the establishment or maintenance of a political entity for the Jewish people ...
3
votes
1answer
38 views

Berur halachah - what is this called in English?

I'm translating an article concerning the need for a "berur halachah" in order to determine the legal status of individuals with mental retardation. How would say "berur halachah" in English? ...
6
votes
1answer
90 views
+50

Is it OK to compose a song that breaks up a pasuk?

Jewish songs taking their lyrics from tanach or davening have become pretty popular over the past 60 years. (See here for an answer saying that this is permissible.) Many songs, however, will break ...
2
votes
2answers
134 views

Christmas and Ex-mas

Why do some Jews refer to Christmas as Ex-mas? Is there anything wrong in Jews saying Christmas?
-1
votes
2answers
40 views

What mean “peley” and “nava mina”? [closed]

At a gemara Shiur, I often heard the expression "it is peley" and the word "navamina". I do not know what these words mean. Navamina is not in the Melamed Dictionnary... Can you please tell me the ...
0
votes
1answer
35 views

What mean Cholek, Chozer, modey and Gozer?

When studying Masseret Ketubot with a Rabbi, he often says "He is Cholek", "He is Chozer", "He is Modey" or "He is Gozer". These four words seems related. It seems, according to the context, that they ...
1
vote
1answer
24 views

What mean the words Girsha and Mochel?

These two words seems related to each other. I often heard "he is mochel the tnay (the condition)" or " girsha stam". I think it means something like he abandoned his condition but I can't find the ...
2
votes
2answers
60 views

What means Akdama, Osafa and Yetama?

I go to a gemara shiurim about Ketoubot (72a and b and 73 a and b). and these three words are said often by the Rabbi. I do not know what they means but according to their use they seems related to ...
4
votes
2answers
237 views

What does the word Dochak mean?

When I study gemara with some people, I often heard the sentences "he is dochak", "he's not so dochak". What does this word mean exactly ? I do not find it in the dictionnary.
5
votes
1answer
184 views

What does “Aman deAmar” mean?

I go to a Gemara shiur, and the rabbi always says "the first aman deamar", "the second aman deamar"... What does it mean exactly? What is the meaning of the different words?
20
votes
3answers
557 views
4
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2answers
156 views

Why is the wording “הערים האל” used? (Deut 4:42)

Devarim 4:42: לָנֻס שָׁמָּה רוֹצֵחַ אֲשֶׁר יִרְצַח אֶת רֵעֵהוּ בִּבְלִי דַעַת וְהוּא לֹא שֹׂנֵא לוֹ מִתְּמוֹל שִׁלְשׁוֹם וְנָס אֶל אַחַת מִן הֶעָרִים הָאֵל וָחָי so that a murderer might ...
7
votes
0answers
90 views

*Asher Bamayim* (אשר במים) in kashrus halacha

To find the kashrus status of an organism, we first need to correctly classify it as plant, animal, bird, or asher bamayim*, as each group has its own distinct requirements. E.g., animals need to chew ...
0
votes
2answers
94 views

meaning of words and tefillah

The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (6:1) tells us, “When one makes a berachah he should have in mind the meaning of the words.” Is there any halachic source (i.e. Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, Shulchan Aruch or ...
2
votes
1answer
67 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
votes
3answers
71 views

What was the main job duty of Sar Hatabahim?

The word Tabah means to cook. In modern Hebrew, a Mitbah is a kitchen. In Arabic, Tabaha means "he cooked". And yet, from what I can find, nearly all Biblical commentators, Jewish and gentile, by the ...
7
votes
3answers
97 views

Why does kaftor vaferach mean “very nice”?

I have seen sefarim, and heard people giving derashos, use the expression "kaftor vaferach" to mean that an idea works out very nicely, or everything comes out very cleanly. The words kaftor vaferach ...
3
votes
1answer
40 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
22 views

Calling the Chatan Torah “רבי”

On Simchat Torah, a special formula is used to call up the Chatan Torah, the person who gets the final aliyah. In this formula, it says "עמוד רבי (פלוני) חתן התורה" a few times. The question: Why do ...
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votes
4answers
82 views

What does Mot Yumat mean?

In the chumash, any sources. What is the literal translation and does it mean, mot = this world, yumat = the next world?
4
votes
2answers
72 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
35 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
191 views

What did medieval rabbis like Maimonides write, generically? What do modern rabbis write?

OK, so - the Torah is the same as the Pentateuch/first five books of the Christian Old Testament; the Tanakh is roughly the same as the OT, but there are some differences in ordering, inclusion, etc. ...
5
votes
2answers
69 views

First use of the term “Taharat HaMischpacha ”

When and by whom (and why) was the phrase "טהרת המשפחה" ("family purity") first used to describe the halachot relating to niddah?
5
votes
2answers
100 views

Can songs use the words from pesukim?

I asked Is it OK to compose a song that breaks up a pasuk? and was told (in comments) that perhaps it would be good to first clarify whether songs can use pesukim at all. So, question: Can songs, ...
4
votes
1answer
30 views

Why is Yaakov later willing to say אלוהי יצחק?

In Bereishit 31:42, Yaakov says אֱלֹהֵ֣י אָבִי֩ אֱלֹהֵ֨י אַבְרָהָ֜ם וּפַ֤חַד יִצְחָק֙ Rashi there: ופחד יצחק. לא רצה לומר אלהי יצחק, שאין הקדוש ברוך הוא מיחד שמו על הצדיקים בחייהם, ואף על פי ...
13
votes
5answers
376 views

Meaning of the phrase “Tzur Chevli B'eit Tzarah” near the end of Adon Olam

Near the end of Adon Olam, there is the phrase "Tzur Chevli B'eit Tzarah". What exactly is the meaning of this phrase, and specifically the term "Tzur Chevli"? I have seen it translated rather ...
10
votes
0answers
219 views

What is the source of the expression המבין יבין?

The Forward writer Philologos in his most recent column claimed that the earliest uses of the expression והמבין יבין are found in the Ra'avad and in the Radak. Based on the fact that both these ...
0
votes
1answer
84 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?
1
vote
1answer
48 views

Praying Mantis (גְמָל שְׁלֹמֹה) and Ladybugs (פָּרַת מֹשֶׁה רַבֵּנוּ), roots in early sources?

Are the hebrew names of the praying mantis (גְמָל שְׁלֹמֹה) and ladybug (פָּרַת מֹשֶׁה רַבֵּנוּ) found in Tanach (or later, in chazal)? If so, what is the justification for these names?
2
votes
1answer
59 views

What is considered alone for shma?

When saying shma in davening without a minyan, the three words א-ל מלך נאמן are recited. I've heard one opinion that it is in order to make up a certain number of words (with a minyan, the chazzan ...
3
votes
2answers
134 views

Goy Versus Leum

The Posuk Says (Gen. 25,23): שְׁנֵי [גיים] גוֹיִם בְּבִטְנֵךְ וּשְׁנֵי לְאֻמִּים מִמֵּעַיִךְ יִפָּרֵדוּ Translated as: Two nations are in your womb, and two kingdoms will separate from your ...
2
votes
1answer
49 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 ...
-4
votes
1answer
53 views

Do axes have a symbolic meaning in Tanakh or Jewish mythology? [closed]

Do axes have a symbolic meaning in Tanakh or Jewish mythology? I was asked by someone i assume to be Jewish to "Axe him a question!" Now this sound like a joke, but i assure you it is NOT. It is of ...
2
votes
1answer
51 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, ...
5
votes
1answer
41 views

What does Rashi mean by לין שם דבר?

Rashi on bereshis 24:23 says "לין שם דבר." ie. "lin" is a noun. How does that fit in the context considering that Eliezer was asking for a place to "lodge". Even though lodge can be a noun, in this ...
3
votes
1answer
41 views

Yom Kippur - Soul or Body

The Torah (Vayikra 16:31) says "וְעִנִּיתֶ֖ם אֶת־נַפְשֹֽׁתֵיכֶ֑ם, You shall afflict yourselves." - this is a reference to Yom Kippur. Artscroll translates נַפְשֹֽׁתֵיכֶ֑ם to mean yourselves, but ...
5
votes
1answer
325 views

What is the origin of “shul”?

What is the origin of the word "shul", meaning "synagogue"? It seems derived from the German "Schule", meaning "school". Moreover, Italian Jews call synagogues "scuola", which also means "school" ...
5
votes
2answers
80 views

Prayer of Avraham Avinu at Mount Moriah

On Yom Kippur and in Selichos we pray "The One who answered Avraham Avinu's prayer on Mount Moriah, should answer us". "מי שענה לאברהם אבינו בהר המוריה הוא יעננו". What did Avraham pray for at Mount ...
7
votes
1answer
57 views

What is the precise difference between Kakatuv and Shene'emar and

The davening on the Yamim Nora'im references many verses and the machzor introduces those verses in a variety of ways. A quick glance at the davening for Yom Kippur shows v'ne'emar she'ne'emar ...
5
votes
6answers
339 views

Where is there a good online source to check how often a word appears in Tanach?

Where is there a good online source where you can check how often a word appears in Tanach?
0
votes
1answer
42 views

Bereshit 17:1 the age of Avram

Translations often translate this verse as 'When Avram was ninety-nine years old'; while more literally it reads: 'And Avram was son of nine year and ninety years.' Why is he called a son (Ben) of ...
10
votes
3answers
54 views

What is the difference between curses that would require changing lashon?

In parshat Lech Lecha, (Bereishit 12:3) Hashem promises Avram that וַאֲבָרְכָה, מְבָרְכֶיךָ, וּמְקַלֶּלְךָ, אָאֹר, And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. Why ...
13
votes
1answer
77 views

Why is there a dagesh in second camocha, but not in first?

In "Mi chamocha ba'elim H', Mi camocha nedar bakodesh" (from the Az Yashir song by the sea, but also between the shma and the amidah in the morning, and elsewhere): מִֽי-כָמֹ֤כָה בָּֽאֵלִם֙ ...
0
votes
1answer
58 views

Does wa tawrat (ותורת) in Jeremiah 8:8 means torah, namely the 5 books or Moshe?

Jeremiah said (I used KJV translation but the translations are about the same) How do ye say, We are wise, and the law of the LORD is with us? Lo, certainly in vain made he it; the pen of the ...