Why does Judaism have such an emphasis on Hebrew phrases in their religion and seems reluctant to translate them to English or another language?


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.


Hebrew is called "leshon hakodesh" ("the holy language"). The Rambam (Moreh Nevuchim 3:8) explains that the Hebrew language has no "bad words"; there are only euphemisms (to give one example, urine is called "the water of the legs"). Ramban (Shemos 30:13) writes that it is called holy because the Torah was written in that language, G-d is called by names in that language (vs. other languages — e.g. in English, "God" — in which the names don't have inherent holiness).


for the same reason tha Muslims chose to pray in Arabic. And the same reason that the Roman Church has preserved the Latin Liturgy.

  • 4
    And what reason is that? – Double AA Oct 3 '12 at 0:54

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