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26

"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.


23

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 ...


22

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 ...


22

It certainly doesn't mean electricity! The truth is, we don't really know what it means. And whatever it is, studying it is dangerous! Some of you may recall the story in BT Hagiga 13a, where a child is studying Ezekiel, ponders over the meaning of hashmal, and was consumed by fire. You have been warned... From the context, it appears to be some kind of ...


19

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.


17

"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 ...


15

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 ...


15

Likely, it is an acronym for קְהִילָה קְדוֹשָה k'hila k'dosha (lit: holy congregation), a title for Jewish communities whose use dates back to the Talmud (Tamid 27b).


14

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 ...


14

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: ...


13

"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 ...


13

הבוכ"ע is an acronym for הבורא כל עולמים, meaning "the Creator of all worlds." To verify this, note the correlation of the acronym and the expression in this Google search.


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

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.


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

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) ...


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

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".


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

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) ...


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.


11

Hebrew is the language of the Torah. The holy language. Translation inevitably creates a certain perspective on the text, as a Hebrew word can have multiple meanings or interpretations. A word for word translation would not make sense. The meaning often gets simplified, if not lost, in translation.


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

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

I don't know the origin, but in one form or another it goes back at least to the Rambam: he began each section of his major works with the phrase בשם ה' א-ל עולם (though this has been omitted in most later printings). There are halachic opinions that the letter ה has kedushah when it is used to represent Hashem's name (since it is one of its letters), and ...


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 ...



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