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Questions tagged [aleph-bet-letters]

Questions about the Hebrew letters, or aleph-bet.

23
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3answers
1k views

Is the winding פ in this sefer torah kosher?

Leaving aside all other issues with the text as displayed, are the pehs acceptable, or do they actually need an inverted vav on the inside (instead of these whirls)?
6
votes
4answers
10k views

Complete list of verses corresponding to people's names?

There is a custom to say a verse corresponding to ones name at the end of the Amidah, as a Segulah not to forget his name on the day of Judgement. There are several sources for this practice, ...
38
votes
5answers
7k views

Which alphabet were the original Torah scrolls in?

I've assumed that the Torah scrolls we read today as the same that Moses wrote. I always assumed it's been the same alphabet. However lately I came across documents explaining the evolution of the ...
10
votes
6answers
1k views

Different Size Letters in the Torah

I've often wondered if someone has compiled anything about the "special letters" in the Torah: All the letters that are either big or small. Together, do they read as something special? One or more ...
9
votes
2answers
371 views

How could the numerals יה and יו be used irreverently?

I was told that in the sequence of numerals with Hebrew letters, the numbers 15 and 16 are rendered with טו and טז instead of יה and יו to prevent the tetragrammaton from being formed irreverently. ...
9
votes
2answers
8k views

How many words are there in Tanach?

How many letters are in the Torah? How many words are in the Torah? How many verses are in the Torah? How many chapters are in the Torah? How many letters, words, verses, and chapters are in every ...
6
votes
1answer
196 views

Psalm 145: Which Person?

Psalm 145 makes up the bulk of the oft recited prayer known as Ashrei. It is an alphabetic acrostic (missing the letter nun) about the greatness of God. The verses beginning with Alef, Bet, Dalet, ...
12
votes
9answers
813 views

How do you extend the sound of a daleth in Shema?

How does one extend the sound of the daleth in the echod of the shema as prescribed in OC 61 (6)?. The letter as we say it does not seem to allow extension. See Dalet (Wikipedia) which defines it as a ...
9
votes
1answer
195 views

Why is the hey in Elo-* replaced with a kuf?

As we know when we write Hashem's name, we replace the hey with a kuf. Why davka a kuf? For example: Elokai, Elokeinu, Elokah, or "Yud-Key-Vav-Key". And in "Yud-key-vav-key", why is it pronounced ...
4
votes
2answers
225 views

Are there any letters that do not have a distinct pronunciation?

Are there any two letters which do not have a distinction between their pronunciation in any tradition of pronunciation? To ask the inverse, is there at least one tradition of pronunciation for each ...
21
votes
4answers
3k views

Relationship between Samekh and Sin

What is the relationship between the letters samekh and sin? Did they ever have distinct sounds? Why do they exist as separate letters?
4
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2answers
489 views

The almost-alphabetic acrostic Al Chet

The Al Chet that we say four times on Yom Kippur - the long list of sins that we list and ask to be forgiven for - is a double-acrostic (in nusach Ashkenaz). Each letter is represented twice in a row ...
3
votes
1answer
96 views

posuk for the name “Pearl” to say in shemone esre [duplicate]

I am searching for a possuk beginning with a pei and ending with a lamed, to say in Shemona Esre, for name Pearl. I have found one in tehillim perek 7, but would love a different one if at all ...
22
votes
2answers
3k views

Why does the Hebrew alphabet not have letters representing vowels?

The Hebrew alphabet is actually an abjad rather than a "true" Western-style alphabet, in that every letter represents a consonant, and vowels, if they're indicated at all, require diacritics. This ...
16
votes
2answers
658 views

Aleph with a Dagesh

In four places in Tanakh, our text has an aleph with a dagesh: Gen 43:26, Lev 23:17, Job 33:21, and Ezra 8:18. What is the significance of this, and for the first two examples, how would you indicate ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

What is the significance of the two letter shins (ש) on tefillin?

What is the significance of the two letter shins (ש) on tefillin? One side of tefillin has a regular shin (ש) and the second has four-prongs.
8
votes
2answers
245 views

What's the significance of בי״ה שמ״ו סימן, espcially on Dt. 31:28?

In most sifre Tora (Torah scrolls), 240 columns of text each start with the letter vav (ו), and five do not. The first of those five exceptional columns, of course, is the first column of the Torah, ...
6
votes
1answer
294 views

Why is it “Beiz”?

I understand the Ashkenazi pronunciation of Hebrew is that the letter 'ת' with no דגש is an 's' sound. So why do (many) Ashkenazim pronounce the name of the letter 'ב', which is normally spelled ב-י-...
3
votes
1answer
328 views

Was the Hebrew Alphabet also given with the Tablets and Law?

My research for my answer to Which alphabet were the original Torah scrolls in? gave me an idea--Since the Early Alphabetic alphabet is also called Sinaitic, and the timing seems about right, maybe ...
12
votes
1answer
722 views

Does one choose one or two pesukim for names?

What posuk does one choose at the end of shmonei esrei if one has two names? do you use two pesukim? or take the posuk that starts with the first initial of the first name and ends with the last ...
6
votes
2answers
3k views

Tehilim HaChida - in the order of the Aleph Bais

I recently came across the Tehilim HaChida which is the entire Tehilim with the Pesukim rearranged in the order of the Aleph Bais by first letter. From the introduction it seems like it is a special ...
5
votes
2answers
120 views

Why does ולירושלים start with a Vav?

This extra Vav seems to be the adopted Nusach of choice for all Ashkenazim (Edot Mizrach and Aram Sova do not; their beracha begins differently). I can only imagine there are earlier girsaot without ...
5
votes
2answers
690 views

how do you pronounce the soft reish?

from the sefer yetzirah it seems that there is both a hard and soft letter reish (see 4th perek, aryeh kaplan edition). How do you pronounce the soft reish?
5
votes
4answers
1k views

Is there a Possuk in Tanach that starts with a Samech ס and ends with a Aleph א? [duplicate]

I have a relative with the name סימא and she has been unable to find a Possuk in Tanach that starts with a Samech ס and ends with a Aleph א. Is there such a Possuk? The lists that are elsewhere do not ...
3
votes
1answer
380 views

What letter is not found in Bentching [closed]

Which letter of the alef-beis isn't found in bentching and what is its significance?
7
votes
1answer
266 views

Learning the shapes of the letters as a Baal Koreh

I would have thought that the shapes of the letters would be a good thing for Baal Koreh to know, but I was told that since Sefrie Torah are not invalidated until they are declared as such, this would ...
5
votes
2answers
221 views

I am looking for a resource that finds words with a certain root in Tanakh

I am a beginner in Hebrew and so please forgive me if my question shows profound ignorance. I would like to pull up or list verses in the Tanakh based on them having a particular vocabulary word in ...
8
votes
5answers
827 views

Have any of you ever heard anyone pronouncing ayin as “ng”?

I have read historically the letter ayin was pronounced by some Dutch, Portuguese, and Italian Jews as a velar nasal consonant (ng as in sing). Reference to this can be found here, here, and here. I ...
8
votes
2answers
318 views

What is the reason for “stretched” letters in the Torah?

I noticed that in many Sifrei Torah, Sofrim prefer to "stretch" certain letters. It seems that these letters are stretched to end a line if there wouldn't be enough space to start a new word. That's ...
8
votes
1answer
508 views

How to pronounce the name of the last letter in the Hebrew alphabet?

I have heard mixed answers as to how to pronounce the letter תּ Is it taf or tav? (I'm referring to the halachic pronunciation not the common street way.) Is there a difference between Ashkenazi or ...
7
votes
3answers
191 views

Why are Chazal asking if words are spelled with א or ע?

In Shabbos 77a-77b, Chazal ask about the spelling of a series of words, questioning whether the words are spelled with an alef - as in גראינין - or with an ayin - as in גרעינין. Wasn't ayin vocalized ...
6
votes
2answers
450 views

Why is one permutation of the name of God backwards?

If you spell out each letter that makes up the name of God, then add up the gematria (numerical value) of each letter of each fully spelled out letter you get various values. The value depends on how ...
6
votes
2answers
687 views

Spouses in Tanach whose names start with the same letter? [closed]

This is one of those parsha sheet trivia questions: There are six couples in Tanach where the names of the spouses start with the same letter. Who are they? I've got five of them, but I can't think ...
3
votes
1answer
396 views

Three letters at the end of the parasha

What are the three letters either samechs or pe's which are at the end of the parasha in the Chumash?
2
votes
1answer
439 views

Which letters can be exchanged in a gematria/notarikon?

So, for instance, the rabbis would sometimes count hei (ה) as if it were chet (ח) (as in, yShabbat 7:2). Are there other letters that you are allowed to switch when computing a gematria or deriving a ...
1
vote
1answer
171 views

What do the letters of Teshuvah stand for?

I found online that Teshuvah stands for: תמים תהיה עם ה' אלקיך שויתי ה' לנגדי תמיד ואהבת לרעך כמוך בכל דרכיך דעהו הצנע לכת עם אלוהיך Is there any source for this?
13
votes
1answer
1k views

What does the /shin/ marker (like Petucha/Setuma) at the end of Torah books mean?

I've been reading about details of Torah sofrut, and after learning about the paragraph markers peh / פ (petucha) and samekh / ס (setuma), I noticed some similarly placed shin markers (mostly at the ...
9
votes
1answer
246 views

If the “Nun” preceding Bamidbar (Num) 10:35 is not upside down, is the Torah still kosher?

While reading last week's parsha, I noticed that the letter "nun" immediately preceding the verse Vayehi B'nso'ah ha'aron Bamidbar 10:35 was written as regular nun (tagin on top) rather than upside ...
8
votes
2answers
383 views

Eicha - why are the Pesukim with the פ before the Pesukim with the ע?

The first 4 Perakim of Eicha are written in the order of the Aleph Bais. However in Perek 2, 3, & 4 the Pesukim for פ are written before the Pesukim with the ע. Why? And then why in Perek 1 is it ...
7
votes
3answers
464 views

Resources for learning Hebrew from scratch?

I was raised as a Jewish identifying secular child, and it's only in my adolescence/adulthood I've really become at all observant. One of the problems is, of course, I've never had a Hebrew class! I'...
6
votes
2answers
214 views

Is a Torah that does NOT have the (rabbati) large and small letters (keti'ah) still kosher?

I have a Torah in my shul that does not have any large or small letters where required (e.g. - the 1st letter in the Torah, "Breishit", is written larger than the rest.) Is this Torah still considered ...
6
votes
1answer
177 views

Why do older Anglo Ashkenaz texts transliterate ת as “th” and how was it pronounced?

Many older (19th and 20th century) Anglo Ashkenaz seforim translate ת (without a dagesh) as "th" - resulting in transliterations like "Sukkoth", "haftaroth", "mishnayoth" - when the general Ashkenazi ...
5
votes
2answers
229 views

What happens if a sefer torah might have a mistake?

If a sefer torah has a definite mistake, it cannot be used, and the reading must be done again from a kosher torah. (SA OC 143:4) But what if it only might have a mistake? For example, if it's ...
4
votes
2answers
499 views

Correcting tav/sav

If someone who usually pronounces the letter "ת" without a dagesh as "sav" is leining Torah, and he accidentally says "tav" in a place where he would normally say "sav", should the gabbai correct him? ...
4
votes
1answer
374 views

Meaning of Mappik in יה

One more question about mappik (I don't know what happened to me, but this topic somewhat disturbs me lately :)) What is the meaning of the mappik in the following Hebrew words: יָהּ הַלְלוּיָהּ I ...
3
votes
2answers
594 views

Why do we use yud, yud? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Double Yud as G-ds Name In the siddur we often do not write out the four letter name of God (yud,kay, vav, kay) but instead write yud, yud. Why do we do this? Is this a ...
3
votes
1answer
92 views

Why does the Machzor Rabba sometimes have an א at the bottom of the page?

My Machzor Rabba, nusach Ashkenaz, sometimes prints a dot, and sometimes an א at the bottom of the page. Anyone know why? I've included pictures of a double page with two dots, one with two alephs, ...
3
votes
1answer
233 views

פ in German Sta"M Script

Does anyone know the German custom for the letter pey in Sta"m sofer? I know that the shape in Litvisch Bet Yosef is influenced by the Mekubalim of Tzfat (The Ari in particular) who said that the ...
3
votes
1answer
58 views

Midrash Genesis Rabbah 1.11 — clarification to the answer the children recieved about the two forms for mem, nun, zade, peh, & kaf?

I'm currently reading Midrash Rabbah (Bereshis), and I'm intrigued by the story in 1:11, where the children attend the House of the Assembly on a stormy day and ask why there are two forms to the ...
3
votes
0answers
198 views

Unexpected Dagesh in Reish

I learned that a rule of Dageshim is that gutteral letters (אהחע''ר) reject dageshim. My question is why do we find 17 reishs (1 Samuel 1:6, 1 Samuel 10:24, 1 Samuel 17:25, 2 Kings 6:32, Jeremiah 39:...