Questions tagged [language]

Questions pertaining to language.

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1 answer
148 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"). ...
3 votes
2 answers
434 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 ...
0 votes
2 answers
263 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: ...
2 votes
2 answers
76 views

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־...
2 votes
0 answers
75 views

Is טיית a language?

Rav Hai Ga'on's commentary to Keilim 14:3 reads: הקנטר של בנאי. פי' כמין מטה ושבט של ברזל שהוא לבנאים לחתור בו הכותל ושמו בטיית בורסין What do the last three words mean? I assume it's a reference to ...
6 votes
3 answers
279 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 ...
4 votes
3 answers
257 views

Why is the colour כחול ('blue') not mentioned in Tanach?

The colour כחול is not mentioned in Tanach. Given it's wide usage in later hebrew texts, why does it never feature in Tanach? Do any sources pick up on this? (There is a different debate about what ...
4 votes
1 answer
143 views

English Words in Tosfot?

Posting for someone else: Rashi occasionally provides Old French words in his commentary to help understand certain terms or concepts. Who is the earliest author to have done the same with (Old) ...
0 votes
1 answer
87 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 ...
0 votes
1 answer
58 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 ...
9 votes
2 answers
213 views

Why doesn't the Torah use more efficient ways to say "both" or "each" when describing the Mishkan utensils?

In Parshas Terumah, in the description of many of the utensils of the Temple, the Torah seems to be very repetitive in its description of parts that are meant to be the same. For example, chapter 25 ...
11 votes
1 answer
475 views

Who translated the Torah into each of the 70 languages?

In Devarim 27:8, the Torah says to "write all the words of the Torah explained well" (- "Ba'aer Hetev". Rash"i, citing Sotah 35b, says that this was translated into 70 ...
0 votes
0 answers
41 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 ...
4 votes
0 answers
40 views

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 ...
1 vote
2 answers
123 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 ...
0 votes
0 answers
40 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 ...
5 votes
2 answers
144 views

Common language and the language of the Scripture used in 1st century BCE?

I read from the internet where most articles say: A. The common language used by the Jews around 1st century BCE to (at least) the beginning of 1st century CE was Greek and the Scripture they use is ...
0 votes
1 answer
104 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.
4 votes
1 answer
210 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 ...
2 votes
0 answers
46 views

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 ...
6 votes
2 answers
161 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 ...
4 votes
1 answer
67 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 ...
2 votes
3 answers
217 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? ...
0 votes
1 answer
101 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 ...
1 vote
0 answers
254 views

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 ...
7 votes
3 answers
647 views

Source of appellation "Shimshon HaGibor"

I've heard it claimed that the expression "Shimshon HaGibor" (Samson the Mighty) [as a descriptive of Shimshon in Tanach] was invented by the Zionists, to promote their "strong Jew" narrative. Is this ...
11 votes
5 answers
469 views

The meaning of aishdas

I have read that aishdas (Deut. 33:2) means "fiery law" or something of the sort. However, doesn't the word das with the meaning of law/religion come from Persian (i.e. did not have the ...
0 votes
1 answer
127 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 ...
2 votes
2 answers
118 views

How many taamim/cantillation/trop marks are there?

I know there are different nusachot, but is there a maximal amount?
15 votes
3 answers
677 views

Why is Hebrew Called "Jewish" in the Bible?

We see that in most of the Bible, the Jews are called "בני ישראל/Israelites"; only in later books are they called "יהודים/Jews" (e.g. Esther 2:5, Zechariah 8:23), after the loss of the 10 tribes. ...
8 votes
1 answer
344 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 ...
3 votes
1 answer
258 views

Hebrew being Lashon HaKodesh, is the inclusion and exclusion of certain phonemes and sounds in the language significant?

For instance, the English sounds of "J", "W","Th", and "Ch" are for the most part unused in Hebrew. Although as an exception, I've seen a Yemenite Chazan use some of these sounds while reading the ...
6 votes
0 answers
1k views

Saying "Elokim" when not referring to Hashem

People often say "Elokim" instead of "Elohim" when speaking in order to avoid taking God's name in vain. I have observed, however, that some people always substitute the word "...
0 votes
1 answer
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?
16 votes
5 answers
6k views

Is Hebrew the mother of all languages spoken today in the world?

I often wonder what language Adam, Seth, Noah and Abraham (may peace and blessings be upon them) used to speak. What was their native tongue? Was it classical Hebrew? If yes, then would it be right to ...
7 votes
1 answer
431 views

Would a Greek sefer Torah be read from in Greek?

If a sefer Torah was written in Greek, would it have been publicly read from in the Greek translation only, or would they also use a Hebrew scroll?
16 votes
4 answers
618 views

Why the Sanhedrin has a Greek name?

This bothers me since a long time. The biggest Jewish halachic authority, arguably, the peak of the Torah world which can be ever imagined, which has its most basic definitions in the Chumash (70 ...
0 votes
3 answers
73 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
2 votes
0 answers
87 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 ...
13 votes
1 answer
663 views

Are the seventy distinct languages and nations listed?

It's a well known concept that there were 70 nations and 70 original languages. Is there any agreement about which ones they were/are? I found this which lists the nations, but I'm interested in ...
2 votes
1 answer
134 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,...
9 votes
5 answers
3k views

Why does the Torah use the non-Hebrew word 'Totafot'

Related to this question. Rashi, on Shemot (13:16): "...וְהָיָה לְאוֹת עַל יָדְכָה וּלְטוֹטָפֹת בֵּין עֵינֶיךָ " writes: and for ornaments between your eyes: Heb. וּלְטוֹטָפֹת, tefillin. Since ...
2 votes
0 answers
85 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 ...
10 votes
7 answers
895 views

Why should Bochurim learn Gemara in Aramaic?

Why is there so much emphasis in the Yeshivish world to learn Gemara in Aramaic? Why can't you find an English artscroll shas in most charedi yeshiva? It is not Lashon Hakodesh and it was written in ...
3 votes
2 answers
435 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 ...
-1 votes
2 answers
108 views

what does the hebrew word chavivus - חביבות - mean

The Gemoro mentions the concept of chavivus - חביבות - in numerous places. what would be the most acurate english translation / explanation of chavivus?
4 votes
0 answers
142 views

What is Ashdudis?

This Artscroll sidur mentions "Ashdudis" in its introduction. This language being spoken by a portion of the Jewish population at the time of Ezra is apparently attested by Nechemya 13:24, ...
0 votes
1 answer
170 views

How do the Rabbis rationalize Hebrew as being a divine language given from Hashem when we also believe Aramaic to be a sister language?

This is one of those issues that has always bugged me. Hebrew and Aramaic are both languages found within the Torah/Tanakh. If Hebrew is a divine language and given to us from Hashem as his word, why ...
15 votes
4 answers
382 views

Why did Yosef's brothers speak freely in the presence of the interpreter?

In Parashat Miketz, Yosef's brothers encounter him disguised as the viceroy of Egypt, and he accuses them of espionage, jails them for three days, and makes a demand that they know their father would ...
2 votes
0 answers
50 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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