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25

"Mi yodeya" or מי יודע in Hebrew means "who knows," where "mi" means "who" and "yodeya" is the masculine singular participle for the verb "know." This phrase is featured in the popular Passover song "Echad Mi Yodeya" and on the Q&A site for Jewish life and learning Mi Yodeya.


22

From the archaeological evidence it is clear that the Hebrew srcipt being used during the First Temple Period was what's known as the Ivri script (a handy conversion chart can be found here) which is very similar to Phoenician, as opposed to our script nowadays which is called Ashuri script. In terms of what script was used at Mount Sinai, there is a 3 way ...


20

It's at least as old as the Sh'la (around 1600), according to Taame Haminhagim, kuntres acharon 94 to paragraph 396, which says in the Sh'la's name, via the Baer Hetev OC 307:2: "Someone visiting his friend on Shabas should not say, e.g., 'good morning' as on a weekday, but rather 'shabas shalom' or 'shabas tov', to fulfill 'zachor es yom hashabas'." It ...


17

The "Modim anachnu lach" in davening is a quotation from Divrei Hayamim I 29:13. "L'cha" becomes "lach" because of the etnachta, which is a pause in the pasuk.


16

"L'chatchila" means "from the outset", meaning that before one did action 'x' the halacha was that it was forbidden. However, if one was not familiar with that halacha and did action 'x' without knowing that there was a problem, then "b'di'eved" ("after the fact") the halacha might be different, meaning the consequences of what was done would change. In ...


15

I understood the term to mean designated, differentiated or set aside for a purpose. So Kiddush-קידוש would be the verbal declaration that designates the day of Shabbat and differentiates it from all the days that precede it (see the Rambam on the Mitzva of Kiddush). The קדושת היום would be the legal designation of the day. The בית המקדש is a place ...


14

This is a valid way of inserting missing words, as the Shulchan Aruch in Yoreh De'ah in סימן רעו - דין תלית הדלוג Paskens: א טָעָה וְדִלֵּג תֵּבָה אוֹ יוֹתֵר, יָכוֹל לִתְלוֹתָהּ בֵּין הַשִּׁיטִין אֲבָל לֹא בָּרֶוַח שֶׁבֵּין דַּף לְדַף. If he erred and missed a word or more, he can hang it between the lines, but he may not put it in the space between ...


13

Don't know the earliest attestation of menorah for what we light on Chanukah, but it is mentioned parenthetically in Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 671:7 (and from there in Aruch Hashulchan 671:25), where it's talking about how to set up the menorah in shul. All of the rest of their references to the Chanukah lights indeed use the term נר(ות) חנוכה. I'd guess ...


12

"I davka haven't seen that movie." I purposely haven't seen that movie. or I specifically have NOT seen that movie. "He doesn't eat peanut butter, b'shita" He doesn't eat peanut butter, on principle. (or "as a matter of principle"). "Mamash" in proper Hebrew usage should translate as "tangible"; that works sometimes. "He's mamash the ...


12

Minchas Shai (to Gen. 30:18, the first place where the name appears) cites Radak, who says that it this is an example of elision: the sound of the second letter is combined into that of the first. As another example, he gives מחצצרים (I Chron. 15:24 and in a few other places in Chronicles), where the second צ is silent. That said, as Yahu noted, there are ...


12

In Tanach there are only four: Aviv = first month = Nissan (Ex. 13:4, et al) Ziv = second month = Iyar (I Kings 6:1) Eisanim = seventh month = Tishrei (ibid. 8:2) Bul = eighth month = (Mar)cheshvan (ibid. 6:38) In a letter from the era of the first Beis Hamikdash found in Arad, there is mention (according to some reconstructions) of ירח צח, "the month ...


12

The Torah commands us regarding emotions all the time, e.g.: "Don't bear a grudge", "don't hate your fellow in your heart", "don't harbor resentment when you give [charity] to him", "because you didn't serve Hashem your Lord with happiness and a glad heart", "don't despise the Edomite, for he is your brother; don't despise the Egyptian, for you were a ...


12

The front is the seal of the State of Israel. The Hebrew on the back is a verse from Ruth (Ruth 3:10) which means "You are blessed to G-d, my daughter" which were words that Boaz said to Ruth when she asked him to marry her. It doesn't have an official name; it is a thoughtful trinket.


11

It is prescribed in שער הכוונות (Sha'ar Hakavanos, published in the sixteenth century) in the 7th paragraph here) to announce it loudly upon arriving home on Friday night for the reasons mentioned by msh210.


11

Leib (as well as Label, Leibush and Loeb) is the Yiddish version of the German Name Loeb which means Lion (from the German for lion, Löwe). The English equivalent of this name is often Leo or Leon which are root in the Latin word for lion, leo. [Source: Kolatch, Alfred J. 1984. The Complete Dictionary of English and Hebrew First Names. Middle Village: ...


11

A core belief of Judaism is that there is only one God. This is a bad translation. The Hebrew is: אֲנִי-אָמַרְתִּי, אֱלֹהִים אַתֶּם; וּבְנֵי עֶלְיוֹן כֻּלְּכֶם.‏ The word אֱלֹהִים can mean "God". It can also mean Judge, Idolatrous god/power (note the distinction between God and gods), Important Person. In this context, others translate it as ...


11

The following is adapted from Dovid Katz, "The Phonology of Ashkenazic," in Hebrew in Ashkenaz: A Language in Exile, ed. Lewis Glinert (Oxford University Press, 1993), pp. 61-65. Apparently, at least from the 16th century onwards, there was a distinction among (some) Ashkenazim between the sounds of kubbutz and shuruk, with the former being pronounced like ...


11

Another difference is that classical Hebrew generally uses a VSO word order (verb, subject, object), while modern Hebrew is generally SVO. As an example, the common phrase in the Torah, וידבר ה' אל משה, would literally translate as "and He spoke, G-d, to Moses"; a modern Hebrew speaker would probably say something like ה' דיבר אל משה.


10

Mishne Halachos, "a summary of halachos" like in Mishne Tora, "a summary of Torah". The root is shin-nun-he: it's related to shana, "repeated". I've heard that after he allowed certain eruvin that R' Moshe Feinstein did not, people jokingly (and with quite a lack of k'vod hatora) referred to his books as M'shane Halachos, "changer of halachos". The root is ...


10

Well you have to remember that in those days houses were not quite like they are today. The floors were earthen and they (the houses) were generally only 1 story high. So the simplest way to get into a house is to dig under the wall. Going through the front door is problematic: a) it's in a location where it's super-easy for the owner to notice (squeak) b) ...


10

There is a booklet called Minhagei Melech that purports to collect all of the Lubavitcher Rebbe's customs; it states (pp. 28 and 34) that he indeed repeated the word with both vocalizations. However: It's questionable how reliable these reports are (not just the ones in MM, but more generally, oral descriptions of what the Rebbe said or did); in some ...


10

Rashi, Radak, ibn Ezra and the M'tzudos all seem to say it means "you have caused me to hear" your command, i.e. informed me of it, though literally, yes, it means "you have dug me ears".


10

Rabbeinu Bachye on "lo sechanem" (Vaeschanan, 7:2) gives multiple ways of reading the prohibition based on fiddling with the vowels. He gives this flexibility for multiple versions as the reason for the Torah not including vowels. See R. Bachye also Behaalos'cha 11:15.


10

An academic reason would be that indeed Hebrew (and other related languages) don't need vowels for disambiguation as much as, say, English. Most Hebrew words are built out of triliteral consonantal roots, so that words with the same consonants are (usually) related, differing only in how they're inflected for different parts of speech, number, tense and so ...


10

Malbim (to Ps. 69:19) draws the following distinction: גאל means to redeem someone or something because of your relationship. (The cases in Lev. 25 where a person has to sell his property, or even himself into slavery, and is "redeemed" by himself or a close relative, are all described with this root.) פדה means to redeem someone or something because of ...


10

The original siddur did not include a version for women. Changes to the format for women began later on. R. Jacob Emden (in his siddur commentary) suggested emending the morning blessings for women, but didn't recommend it. Chid"a (Avodat haKodesh 2 5 22) allowed the changes, along with Eshel Avraham (the Buchacher, OC 46 4) and Rivvos Efraim (1 37 2) ...


10

No, it doesn't change the meaning. The letter bes that starts that word appears with a dot in it usually, but without one after a word (in the same phrase) that ends in an open syllable. (Usually.) The pronunciation changes between these two forms, but not the meaning. It's not unique to this word, either, but true of all words that start with a bes, gimel, ...


10

Matthew, perhaps you are not Jewish in which case tattoos are permitted for you (and tattoos related to one's child are certainly one of the nicer options and one which you are less likely to regret later). Nevertheless since receiving a tattoo is prohibited in Leviticus (chapter 19 as I recall), and there is strong traditional support for respectful ...


10

The Classical Hebrew is more compact than modern Hebrew. The are no redundant words in Torah, hence you can see usage of "ובלכתך" instead of "כאשר אתה תלך" and alike. A Jew (even not a religious one) can understand most parts of the Torah without special training. More problematic parts are description of offerings with much details of how and where each ...


10

This is the standard "Vav ha-hipuch" of Biblical grammar, which reverses the future tense to the past. "Yikra" == "he will call." "Ve-yikra" == "and he will call." "VA-yikra" == "[and] he called." (It's actually unclear whether the vav hahipuch also functions as an "and." Most translators include the "and", though Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan's Living Torah ...



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