Questions tagged [language]

Questions pertaining to language.

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39 views

Is Historical (or narrative) Present Used in Tanakh?

In the beginning of ויצא, the first couple of verses are written in past tense but Yaakov's dream is in present tense. I assumed that a possible explanation for this is that the Torah is using the ...
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When, how and why did עשרת הדברים turn into עשרת הדברות?

God clearly spoke of עשרת הדברים in the Torah (Exodus.34.28, see also Deut.4.13) or 10.4): וַיְהִי־שָׁם עִם־ה'אַרְבָּעִים יוֹם וְאַרְבָּעִים לַיְלָה... וַיִּכְתֹּב עַל־הַלֻּחֹת אֵת דִּבְרֵי הַבְּרִית ...
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יחד one, sole, only, set apart?

Genesis 22:2 says: Take now thy son, thine ben yachid (only son) Yitzchak, whom thou lovest. Literally it says your son, your ‘individual, only, sole’, whom you love, Yitzchak (אֶת־בִּנְךָ֨ אֶת־...
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120 views

Father Son what do these terms imply?

I'm not so much interested to who or what these words refer to in these verses, but what I would like to know, however, is what the terms 'father' and 'son' mean when used in the Tenach when it’s not ...
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1answer
64 views

Can the definitive article, הַ וְ, be used in demonyms found in the Talmud?

Does the Talmud use the definitive article, הַ וְ, in demonyms? For example, in English we can say both, "David the New Yorker" and "David of New York", the first form using the ...
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1answer
37 views

Bar Enash a designation of an authoritative representative of another?

Daniel 7:13. In that prophetic verse, Daniel declares that he sees one like a son of (mortal) man coming with clouds to the Ancient of Days to be presented before Him. The expression ‘like a son of ...
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38 views

Are the words אנש and איש related?

Could someone help me out: Rabbi Shlomo Aharon Wertheimer (1866-1935) writes that the root of enosh is ish, with the additional NUN to serve as a diminutive. Now I would like to know if the Hebrew ...
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85 views

What does the word 'Fakhert' mean in yiddish? [closed]

It pops up in a bunch of shiurim but I can't seem to find a definition online.
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1answer
199 views

What do the words בֶּאֱמֶת אָמְרוּ teach us in the Mishna?

Mishna Shabbat 1:3: לֹא יֵצֵא הַחַיָּט בְּמַחְטוֹ סָמוּךְ לַחֲשֵׁכָה, שֶׁמָּא יִשְׁכַּח וְיֵצֵא. וְלֹא הַלַּבְלָר בְּקֻלְמוֹסוֹ. וְלֹא יְפַלֶּה אֶת כֵּלָיו, וְלֹא יִקְרָא לְאוֹר הַנֵּר. בֶּאֱמֶת ...
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What is the difference between "גזרה רעה" "גזרה קשה"

Is there a difference between the concept of the Hebrew words of "גזרה רעה" an evil decree versus a "גזרה קשה" a difficult decree? See Machzor Rosh HaShana on the annulment of ...
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149 views

English prayers, mix in hebrew?

Some prayers can be said in any language, and many people use the English translation in siddurim to daven directly, the question is is one allowed to mix in both hebrew and English when first ...
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60 views

Why is Aramaic "tlasah" used for wine in ketoret, where spices are counted in Hebrew "shlasha"?

In Talmud Keritot 6a, read in the siddur, it states, קילופה שלשה וקנמון תשעה בורית כרשינה תשעה קבין יין קפריסין סאין תלתא קבין תלתא Why is the Hebrew שלשה used for "three" (hin) in ...
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197 views

Why Hebrew wasn't the spoken language in the Gemara times?

Why was Hebrew NOT the spoken language of the Jewish people after the Mishna? And why was a scholarly text, which was created for individuals who also obviously understood Hebrew, written in Aramaic? ...
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94 views

Why this common greeting: Tzom kal?

Tzom kal (easy fast) is a common greeting before the 9th of Av, but why? It runs counter to the adage, "No pain, no gain". The no pain adage seems similar to L'fum tzaara agra – according ...
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What is the difference between 'a minori ad majus' and 'a majori ad minus'

Good afternoon, I'm attempting to understand the "Thirty-Two Rules of Elezer B. Jose Ha-Gelili" and have come to the 5th rule and have a question; 1. Summary of Problem In reading the ...
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1answer
122 views

How can we say the Torah uses words of later-day languages? [duplicate]

My friend told me how the word das, which we use to mean halacha or religion, like k'das Moshe veYisroel, is actually a Persian word. If this is true, then how can commentators explain the word ...
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100 views

How many taamim/cantillation/trop marks are there?

I know there are different nusachot, but is there a maximal amount?
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326 views

Aramaic in a baraisa

I always understood a major difference between a mishna/baraisa and the text of the gemarra is the former is in Rabbinic Hebrew and the latter is in Aramaic. The other day I chanced upon a gemarra in ...
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111 views

Sacred vs Holy: why the same word in Hebrew?

English and other languages (e.g., Russian & Greek) distinguish between "holy" ("святой", "άγιος") and "sacred" ("священный", "ιερός"). ...
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48 views

Does אנא ever connote thanking?

Does anyone know of an instance where אנא is interpreted as thanking as opposed to a plea or request?
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3answers
71 views

How often does the word "truth" appear n the Torah? [closed]

I am interested in knowing how often the word "truth" or "emet appears in the Torah
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84 views

Evolution of the Term "Ger"

According to Plaut ("The Torah a Modern Commentary", Revised Edition, p. 530) the term "ger" has changed over time. Ger was the term applied to resident non-Israelites who could ...
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79 views

Origin of the use of "G-d"

I'm wondering about the earliest uses of the abbreviation "G-d". Obviously, it's used as an extension to avoiding saying Hashem's name in vain, but was this practice common from the ...
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132 views

Is there any particular halachic reason why the Maccabean Martyrs would insist on speaking Hebrew?

I was reading 2 Maccabees chapter 7, 7 After the first brother died in this manner, they led forward the second one with mockery. They ripped off the skin of his head along with the hair and demanded,...
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44 views

What is the root/deeper meaning of ממילא? [closed]

I am trying to understand what the word means and what its root is. How it comes to translate into "automatically" or "by itself", etc. What words is it related to? What is the ...
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1answer
57 views

How do you spell maila? [closed]

I've looked in the Jewish Languages dictionary and other places but I can't find anyone who gives a Hebrew spelling of the word maila,‎ meaning positive quality,‎ opposite of חסרון.‎ I'm guessing that ...
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75 views

What is this text over the door?

I'm adding this post for Albert, who posted this in Biblical Hermeneutics. His question: Hi i got some people rent a house, and they put this signs which i think is hebrew on the top of the entry ...
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112 views

Is there any evidence of a Jewish demon named Khoyzek?

The Yiddish term khoyzek refers a "mockery" of something else. According to Dov Sadan (cited here) this word derives from Khoyzek a demon in Jewish folklore. I looked high and low and could ...
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1answer
63 views

What are the sources that the soul possesses the knowledge of a language?

@AvrohomYitzchok asked me this question to support the assertions for another question: "why-dont-newborns-speak-outright. What are the sources that the knowledge of a language is a quality of ...
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1answer
250 views

Does the Hebrew word "Torah" originate from BOTH the words “Hora’ah” (meaning, Teaching) and “Orah” (meaning, Light)?

Does the Hebrew word "Torah" originate from BOTH the words “Hora’ah” (meaning, Teaching) and “Orah” (meaning, Light)? The accurate meaning of “Torah” is twofold. Firstly it comes from the ...
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1answer
79 views

Are there targums in other languages besides Aramaic?

There are various definitions of Targum. I'm interested in editions, translations, paraphrases, or retellings of the Tanakh in languages besides Aramaic which incorporate commentary and other ...
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134 views

inscription on Chagall's "White Crucifixion"? [closed]

What does the inscription on Chagall's painting White Crucifixion say? Isn't John 19:19 ("Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews") written ישוע הנצרי ומלך היהודים in Hebrew?
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599 views

Looking for the Lost tribes : Are Bantus speaking Ancient Hebrew? [closed]

On YouTube many videos link the Bantu languages to the ancient Hebrew. Would you know if any scholar ever studied the link between both languages do understand how they influence each other? Could the ...
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91 views

Foreign language words similar to Hebrew words [closed]

I started compiling a list about a year ago of all of the times I noticed that an English word was very linguistically similar to a Hebrew word phonetically and semantically (i.e. in meaning). Many ...
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Is there a list of non-Hebrew words and names in the Torah?

Not all words in the Torah are in Hebrew. A famous example is Lavan calling the Gal-Ed "Yigar Sahadutah" which is the Aramaic version of Gal-Ed. Another example is what the gemara says about ...
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83 views

The panav of HaShem [duplicate]

Exodus 33:28 and 23: לֹא תוּכַל לִרְאֹת אֶת-פָּנָי:  כִּי לֹא-יִרְאַנִי הָאָדָם, וָחָי. וְרָאִיתָ, אֶת-אֲחֹרָי; וּפָנַי, לֹא יֵרָאוּ. Looking at these verses G-d clearly says that no one can see ...
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90 views

How does one say Pesach in a foreign language? [closed]

It is debatable whether Pesach means Passover, as it is called in English, or "hover over" like in Isaiah 31:5. I am wondering if other languages besides for English use the term Pesach (in their ...
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55 views

Tzitzit an appearance in visible form

Rabbi Hirsch seems to have written something like: “tzitzit; indeed it is called tzitzit from the Hebrew root meaning “to appear in physical form.” Which root is that? And what does this mean in ...
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349 views

What is the origin of the "divine name" of דיקרנוסא

I noticed this kabbalistic holy name "דיקרנוסא" mentioned in the Amidah of a Edot haMizrach siddur in the extra supplications, and apparently it is not allowed to be pronounced. It sounds like it is ...
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59 views

Overly broad definition of Chametz in sale contract

I was reviewing the language of a mechirat chametz contract I had been sent and noticed some unusual specific language defining the parameters of the sale: ...The term 'Chometz' shall refer to any ...
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Where can I find how many roots the author needs to compose for each book of the Tenach

For example: I am reading now the book of Joshua in Hebrew. It looks to me quite simple language. The author uses often the same terms. Poetry and wisdom-litterature is much more complex. My ...
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203 views

Genesis 18:21 then I will know?

I find it strange that Genesis/Bereshit 18:21 seems to imply that G-d has limited knowledge of what's going on in Sodom and Amorah, so I wondered if the word eda'ah (אֵדָעָה) could be translated as: ...
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34 views

May you live until one hundred and twenty [duplicate]

The phrase: May you live until one hundred and twenty (עד מאה ועשרים) is a famous one derived from different verses of the Tenach. But I would like to know if there is any deeper (gematrial) meaning ...
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53 views

Does Avraham invite one of his visitors inside?

I've a question regards the following phrase from Genesis 18:10: "וְשָׂרָה שֹׁמַעַת פֶּתַח הָאֹהֶל וְהוּא אַחֲרָיו". "And Sarah was listening at the opening of the tent, and it was behind him." "And ...
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61 views

Awesome or aweful - נורא

Looking at verses such as Devarim (Deuteronomy) 7:21 and 10:17 those seem to talk about a awe-inspiring and awesome G-d. Yet the word נורא also means aweful or terrible or dreadful. So how should I ...
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326 views

To find favor in one’s eye?

What does the idiom: מצא חן בעיני (to find favor/grace in one’s eyes) express, what does it really mean and when is it used in the Tenach? I noticed it’s almost always connected to a request of some ...
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231 views

Were the Jews aware of their fate?

When Haman hatches his plot to kill the Jews, and get Achashverosh to sign on, a message is sent out to all people, (Esther 3:12) מְדִינָ֤ה וּמְדִינָה֙ כִּכְתָבָ֔הּ וְעַ֥ם וָעָ֖ם כִּלְשׁוֹנ֑וֹ In ...
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63 views

Why is a side of a Talmudic page called "amud"?

On some occasions, I have heard one side of a Talmudic page called tzad meaning "side". The more common term I have heard is amud meaning "pillar". Why is that term used, and when did this term first ...
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82 views

Old French in commentaries

Why are there references to "Old French" in some commentaries? I don't have any examples to show but if that is required I could research.
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104 views

How should Rashi's comment about Noah's belief be parsed?

Rashi in his commentary to Genesis 7:7 writes: אף נח מקטני אמנה היה מאמין ואינו מאמין שיבא המבול ולא נכנס לתיבה עד שדחקוהו המים I see (at least) two ways to read this: Noah believed in general (in ...

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