Questions tagged [grammar-dikduk]

Questions about Hebrew grammar as related to Judaism.

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17
votes
3answers
914 views

Were our symbols for trope and nekudos created by the Masoretes, or transmitted by them?

It is commonly said in secular sources that the shapes of the trope and nekudos we use today were invented by the Masoretes (7th to 11th Century CE), but I cannot find any source in our mesorah to ...
12
votes
3answers
303 views

verb + its infinitive

Many, many times in Tanach, including Chumash, a verb has its infinitive nearby. Examples include B'reshis 2:16 מִכֹּל עֵץ הַגָּן אָכֹל תֹּאכֵל (I think that's the first example in Chumash) and ...
15
votes
7answers
628 views

Plural of “Nafka Minah”

(Inspired by HodofHod's commment here: Four Holy Cities) What is the proper plural for the common Aramaic phrase Nafka Minah נפקא מינה which means something along the line of "practical differences"? ...
16
votes
3answers
796 views

Yisgadal or Yisgadel?

I've noticed that some people, when reciting kaddish, pronounce the first words as "yisgadal v'yiskadash" with a patach under the dalet of both words, while others say "yisgadel v'yisgadesh" with a ...
9
votes
5answers
1k views

Chassidic Rebbes don't use Hebrew Grammar?

I have not witnessed enough test cases to statistically verify anything, but I have heard various Chassidic Rebbes make b'rachos and daven out loud, and without fail, they mispronounce a majority of ...
17
votes
5answers
1k views

Which books help one acquire a systematic understanding of Biblical Hebrew grammar?

A question for the grammar experts. How can I learn Hebrew grammar in a systematic way? Especially a book that would help me understand how to layn properly. Something that covers rules of nikkud, ...
11
votes
3answers
309 views

“־הם” versus “־מו”

Usually, the suffix "־הם" is used to mean "them" as an object, as is "להם" or "אליהם". Or it is used to mean "their" in possessive form, as in "כליהם" or "אבותיהם". But sometimes, the very same usage ...
6
votes
1answer
199 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, ...
5
votes
2answers
289 views

Why does the book of Esther use the present tense so often?

I noticed that the book of Esther uses, often very awkwardly, the present tense to describe things that usually are written in the past tense (I didn't notice this much use of the present tense in ...
10
votes
4answers
484 views

Ashkenazic vs. Sefardic grammar tendencies

I notice that when referring to God in the second person in a possessive form, Sefardim often use the female form where Ashkenazim use the male form. For example, where Ashkenazim say in kedusha, "...
7
votes
5answers
412 views

רָקִיאַע or רָקִיַע

The Minchas Shay at the beginning of B'reshis cites a dispute whether the word 'רָקִיעַ' (and likewise for other words with a furtive patach) is pronounced as רָקִיאַע or as רָקִיַע, that is, with a ...
19
votes
1answer
1k views

Why so many vocalized shvas in Siddur Tehillat Hashem?

I prayed using a Siddur Tehillat Hashem the other day, and I noticed that many more shvas were marked with an asterisk above, indicating that they should be vocalized, than I'd expect. In particular, ...
5
votes
2answers
294 views

Titkabbel vs. Titkabbal

In קדיש תתקבל, most Ashkenazi siddurim I've seen say "תִּתְקַבַּל." ArtScroll, however, has "תִּתְקַבֵּל." Why did this difference arise?
14
votes
1answer
904 views

הוא is he? Or is it?

The third-person feminine pronoun in Hebrew is היא, "hee." But in most instances in the Torah, the word is spelled הוא, with a vav rather than a yud as the middle letter. How does this make sense ...
11
votes
2answers
281 views

Is there a reason or pattern as to when the Torah uses אֵת instead of אֶת?

I noticed a mix of the two forms of the Hebrew objective marker commonly pronounced אֶת. in the Torah. (There is no English translation of this word. It is used only to notify that an object follows ...
8
votes
2answers
502 views

Good Talmudic Grammar resource for one unfamiliar with grammar in general?

Inspired by: How to say Adonainu Moreinu VeRabeinu in Aramaic I'd like to understand Talmudic/Aramaic Grammar a little better and am looking for a good resource that will break it down for me. ...
17
votes
3answers
548 views

Why are there two different forms of the mitzvah brachot (“l-” and “al”)?

Some mitzvah brachot are of the form ...vitzivanu "l'X" ("to X", infinitive verb), and others are of the form "al X" ("upon X", gerundive verb). I particularly noticed this during Sukkot with two ...
8
votes
7answers
389 views

Ḥaser form of writing “Jerusalem” in the Bible

It seems that Jerusalem is always written "ḥaser" (defective) in the Bible: that is, as ירושלם, without the י/yud, as opposed "malei" (full), as ירושלים. See, for example, Isaiah 62:6. This presents a ...
4
votes
1answer
96 views

How to define yetzer

The word yetzer is often translated as impulse, inclination Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch's reading of yetzer in Bereshit 6:5 is not that of instinct or impulse, but rather that which the person, qua ...
13
votes
4answers
2k views

Why “Lach” not “Lecha” in “Modim Anachnu Lach”

Could someone please explain why the "Lach" in Modim Anachnu Lach is not "Lecha"... I guess this is some grammatical point rather than the use of the feminime "you"?
10
votes
3answers
1k views

Does the vav hahipuch also mean “and”? Do all those extra “ands” belong in the Bible?

I know that in Biblical Hebrew, take a word like "Vaydaber." "Yedaber" = "He will speak"; the "v" flips the word from future tense to past, so it's "he spoke." Most translations understand the "v" ...
9
votes
3answers
624 views

גמר חתימה טובה gender

During the nine and a half days ending with Yom Kipur, we wish each other "גמר חתימה טובה" (an end to the good signing). This seems very strange. Shouldn't it be "גמר חתימה טוב" (a good end to the ...
8
votes
2answers
413 views

Why does the Torah sometimes refer to Shabbat as a masculine noun and other times as a feminine noun?

There are times when the Torah refers to Shabat in feminine as in Shmot (Ex.) 31:13 "...But you shall observe my Shabbats, for SHE is a sign". Other times the masculine voice is used as in Shmot (Ex.) ...
28
votes
4answers
577 views

Female praying in masculine language

When women daven (pray), even by ourselves, it is convention to daven with male-gendered words ("modeh" vs "moda" as one of many examples). Why is this; are there sources that say we should be doing ...
20
votes
5answers
639 views

Zeraim Moed Nashim Nezikim Kodshim Taharos - why not Moadim?

The names of the Shisha Sidrei Mishna (Six Orders of Mishnah) are: Zeraim, Moed, Nashim, Nezikim, Kodshim, Taharos. All of them besides Moed are in plural form. However Moed is in singular form. Why ...
16
votes
2answers
712 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 ...
14
votes
4answers
335 views

Why does Yitzchak's blessing of Yaakov refer to Yaakov's mother's *sons*?

B'reishit 27:29 reads: Let peoples serve thee, and nations bow down to thee. Be lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother's sons bow down to thee. Cursed be every one that curseth thee, and ...
9
votes
0answers
469 views

What are the rules for sh'va na?

What is the full list of rules for when to pronounce a sh'va (i.e. na) during tefillah and keriat hatorah? When I was in school, I remember being taught that a sh'va was na in the following 5 cases (...
5
votes
1answer
91 views

Same phrase in two places, one uses dageish and one doesn't — why?

In the seventh aliyah of Parshat Noach, the passage about the tower of Bavel contains the phrase עַל-פְּנֵי כָל-הָאָרֶץ three times. Twice it is written כָל and once כָּל and I would like to ...
1
vote
1answer
399 views

Is the rule of “Nasog Achor” specific to the Bible?

In Torah reading, there is a rule of "Nasog Achor". The rule is as follows: Usually, Hebrew words get the accent (and trope note) on the last syllable. However, if the word following it has its ...
12
votes
2answers
445 views

Is the bracha pronounced “ha-MO-tzee” or “ha-mo-TZEE”?

The blessing we say on bread, "hamotzee lechem min ha'aretz" -- on what syllable is the stress in the word "hamotzee"? Is the bracha pronounced "ha-MO-tzee" or "ha-mo-TZEE"? In Psalms 104:14 we find ...
8
votes
3answers
267 views

Why is there a ה in “מוהל”? [closed]

The Hebrew word for the act performed at a circumcision is "לימול". The root appears to be נ.מ.ל. Following the exceptional rules for roots whose first letter is נ, the causative participle and ...
8
votes
2answers
306 views

Stress of הושיעה and הצליחה in Hallel

Why is הושיעה Mileel (penultimately stressed) whereas הצליחה is Milra (ultimately stressed) in Psalms 118:25?
8
votes
1answer
145 views

כּרְעוּתֵהּ (with a dagesh in the כּ) or כרְעוּתֵהּ (without the dagesh) in Kaddish?

Kaddish starts: יִתְגַּדַּל וְיִתְקַדַּשׁ שְׁמֵהּ רַבָּא. אמן:  בְּעָלְמָא דִּי בְרָא כִרְעוּתֵהּ The siddur HaGr”a has כּרְעוּתֵהּ (with a dagesh in the כּ) and all my other siddurim have כרְעוּתֵהּ ...
8
votes
2answers
246 views

הקדוש ברוך הוא אנחנו אוהבים אותך ‎— or אותו?

There is a popular song some of whose lyrics are "הקדוש ברוך הוא אנחנו אוהבים אותך". Does anyone have a source — besides some recent lyricist — for these words precisely, or a source for any instance ...
5
votes
2answers
186 views

Yumatu and the plural in Dev 24

Devarim 24:16 makes a statement which is central to Jewish theology. The posuk makes clear that a father will not be put to death for the sins of his son and that a son will not be put to death for ...
5
votes
2answers
725 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
1answer
205 views

Why is Sefer Tehillim called Tehillim and not Tehillos?

Tehillim is plural of Tehilla (תהלה). Tehilla looks like a feminine noun, which is why there's a word called תהלות. So why is the sefer called Sefer Tehillim?
4
votes
1answer
174 views

Why does the Gemara sometimes use the word Ben and sometimes use the word Bar?

Why does the Talmud sometimes refer to someone as Ploni ben Ploni, and other times as Ploni bar Ploni? Classic example: In Bava Batra 14b the gemara says Rabbi Shimon ben Yochai In Bar Ilan's ...
3
votes
2answers
163 views

Why don't we use plural “TOVOT” in New Years greeting for ketivah ve-hatimah TOVOT?

Why don't we use plural "TOVOT" in New Years greeting for ketivah ve-hatimah (writing and sealing) tovot?
2
votes
2answers
172 views

Difference in Nikkud for לא כי in Torah and Mishna

The phrase "Lo Ki" occurs in Tanach (Genesis 18, 15): וַיֹּ֥אמֶר ׀ לֹ֖א כִּ֥י צָחָֽקְתְּ׃ and in Mishna: רַבִּי יְהוּדָה אוֹמֵר, לֹא כִי, אֶלָּא חֲצִי בָצָל גָּדוֹל (Trumot 2, 5) אָמַר לוֹ ...
2
votes
1answer
183 views

Dagesh on Hatslicha nna

I see a machloket sidurim and Tanachim about the Na of Hasem Hatlicha Na in the hallel. Many sidurim was with dagesh on Hoshianna and not on hatslicha na. I searched an explanation. The explanation ...
2
votes
1answer
167 views

Zechuto Yagen/Tagen Alenu?

Why is it that many people say זכותו יגן עלינו - according to grammar, shouldn't it be תגן עלינו since זכות is feminine? I guess I am just looking for a justification of the general practice.
1
vote
0answers
65 views

Practical suggestions for choosing between different nuschaot in the Torah

Unfortunately, it's not hard to find places in the Torah, and even more so in Nach, where we have a doubt about either the trop or the nekudot. (Or, more rarely, letters, but those are generally the ...
0
votes
0answers
53 views

Why do we vary the form of the attributes of HaShem in the selicho “Kail Rachum shmecho”?

In the selicho "Kail Rachum shmecho" we ask HaShem to do things because of ("lema'an") - a list of things. Some are in the masculine form eg shemecho and some in the feminine form eg amitoch, brisoch. ...
5
votes
2answers
236 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 ...
17
votes
4answers
27k views

Proper recitation of Hamakom Yenachem

Is the proper phrase to console a mourner always the plural המקום ינחם אתכם בתוך שאר אבלי ציון וירושלים or should it be changed depending on whom it is said to (singluar, feminine, etc.)?
13
votes
3answers
10k views

Two words for “redeem”: what's the difference?

When we talk about "redeeming" a first-born son or a captive, we use "pidyon" (root פדה). When we talk about what God does for us we use "goel" (גאל). My dictionary translates both of these roots as ...
9
votes
5answers
391 views

Where can one learn the grammatical functions of the te'amim

I can chant the melodies of the te'amim but I'm having a hard time learning their grammatical functions and structure. Many websites that talk about the te'amim are quick to jump into the ideas of "...
8
votes
4answers
986 views

Okay to address a rabbi with “you”?

I find it awkward to constantly say "Rabbi" instead of "you" while in a conversation. For example: "Hello Rabbi. I once spoke with the Rabbi regarding X. The Rabbi said Y. I think that the Rabbi ...