Questions tagged [language]

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7
votes
6answers
775 views

Is there a Mitzva to speak Loshon Kodesh?

Is it a Mitzva to speak Loshon Kodesh? (sources)
19
votes
2answers
1k views

Different traditions in Hebrew pronunciation [closed]

The theme of Hebrew pronunciation is one that facinates me and, as such, I want to get some feedback on some issues I've been thinking about for years. I have already discussed some of these issues ...
11
votes
7answers
6k views

Hard Yeshivish phrases to translate [closed]

Does anyone ever have trouble finding good English translations of certain yeshivish phrases, especially when in conversation with someone who would not understand the original? Post your favorite ...
18
votes
2answers
1k views

Was a sefer torah ever actually written in Greek?

This answer to a different question states that the only other language a sefer torah can be written in and be kosher is Greek. (Rambam, Hilchot Sefer Torah 1:19 says that this Greek no longer exists ...
14
votes
5answers
5k 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
497 views

Kubutz and shuruk in Polish/Hungarian pronunciation

What is the origin or basis of the Polish and Hungarian prevalence for pronouncing "oo" vowels as "ee"? The variants of other vowels are easier to understand in the context of phonological shifting, ...
6
votes
1answer
551 views

Writing HaShem's actual name in English

Is it permissible to write out HaShem's actual name (the "Tetragrammaton") in English (or any other, non-Semitic, language)? Does it make a difference how you spell it, ie., whether you write it in ...
8
votes
2answers
714 views

Is the ketuba enforceable in American law?

The Ketuba is written in Aramaic, so it might not be easily understood by an English-speaking judge; however, it is still a contract. On the other hand, the ketuba is not (necessarily?) signed by ...
6
votes
2answers
359 views

What effect did Migdal Bavel have on world languages?

In 1764 BCE (or about 1930 BCE adjusting for the missing years (Wikipedia link), everyone (perhaps under Nimrod's command?) had built the Migdal Bavel, and that Hashem caused a dispersion and ...
3
votes
0answers
87 views

Why does Echad mi Yodeia switch languages in middle?

Why does echad mi yodeia switch from hebrew (eg. אֶחָד מִי יוֹדֵעַ? אֶחָד אֲנִי יוֹדֵעַ: אֶחָד אֱלֹהֵינוּ שֶׁבַּשָּׁמַיִם וּבָאָרֶץ.) to arameic (eg. שִׁבְעָה יְמֵי שַׁבָּתָא), back to hebrew (eg. ...
6
votes
1answer
221 views

Does G-d only hear one language?

I'm a little confused by Rambam Hil. Tefilla 1:4. Consequently, when someone would pray, he would be limited in his ability to request his needs or to praise the Holy One, blessed be He, in Hebrew, ...
13
votes
1answer
320 views

Where Rashi uses a Russian word in Nach?

I heard that Rashi uses a Russian word where he deals with the building of the Beis Hamikdash by King Shlomo. I also heard that he uses a Polish word. Does anyone know where it is?
6
votes
4answers
852 views

What are your suggestions for learning Yiddish?

I would like to learn Yiddish in order to further my understanding of Chassidus and other Torah topics that are presented in Yiddish. What are your suggestions for sources to use that would focus on ...
3
votes
1answer
391 views

Why is Chad Gadya a mix of Hebrew and Aramaic?

Chad Gadya (recited at the end of the Passover seder) is written in a mix of Hebrew and Aramaic. Specifically, most of the verbs are in Hebrew, except for זבין (bought) and אתא (came), and most of the ...
14
votes
4answers
589 views

Is pharisaical - or any similar allusion to the Pharisees - offensive to modern Jews?

This question is inspired from an English Stack Exchange question: https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/182014/what-is-the-word-for-a-pious-person-who-never-helps-others In short, is the term ...
8
votes
2answers
309 views

Are there any studies that compare Biblical Hebrew to modern Hebrew? [closed]

(I am a Hebrew speaker) When reading the Bible, one encounters sometimes words whose meaning in modern Hebrew clearly does not correspond to what was meant in the text (in Kohelet for example, "מסכן" ...
6
votes
1answer
121 views

What Egyptian/Greek text was Ibn Ezra consulting for his commentary on the name “Moshe”?

Ibn Ezra suggests that Pharaoh's daughter, who spoke Egyptian, most likely called the baby Monios, the Egyptian word for drawn; the Torah translated into Hebrew as "Moshe." He then writes that he ...
-1
votes
1answer
187 views

What allowed Jews to change the way they pronounced words?

The way we pronounce words has changed over many years and we now have many different customs. Many of the changes derive from Jews moving to different geographic locations and adopting similar ...
7
votes
1answer
557 views

Does texting count as speech?

For instance, say that I text someone "I promise I'll do X." Does that have the same status as if I said out loud the same thing? The same question can be asked with respect to Shevuos (as in oaths, ...
12
votes
4answers
407 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
308 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?
6
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2answers
4k views

Akum, Nochri, and Goy

I see a lot of Halachic and Aggadic texts where the words גוי, נכרי, עכו"ם are all used interchangeably. Usually I notice it in places where two people are using different versions of a text (one from ...
5
votes
0answers
780 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 "elokim" for "elohim" ...
4
votes
5answers
954 views

Arabic and Angels

The angels in Heaven are said to not be able to understand Aramaic because it represents a deviation from the Hebrew language. My question is: Do they understand the Arabic language (as is very close ...
13
votes
1answer
909 views

What is the source of the expression המבין יבין?

The Forward writer Philologos in his most recent column claimed that the earliest uses of the expression והמבין יבין are found in the Ra'avad and in the Radak. Based on the fact that both these ...
10
votes
3answers
337 views

Why do many (most?) people call the upcoming holiday “Peysach”? [closed]

In some Ashkenazic dialects, lots of words in which the first syllable is accented and the vowel is segol are pronounced as though they had a tzeirei. Examples include "meylech," "tzeydek," and "...
10
votes
3answers
985 views

What is Rashi proving with words in different languages

There are many places in Rashi's commentary where he uses a foreign language to translate a word used in the Torah. For example, Bereshit 6:14: בכפר: זפת בלשון ארמי. ומצינו בתלמוד כופרא With ...
7
votes
1answer
574 views

Keeping in mind the meaning of every word of prayer, vs. being mindful of general concepts

If I were to sit down with my prayer book, I could translate it. I know what the words mean, and I know what they are saying conceptually. However, when I'm praying, if I try to translate in my head ...
7
votes
4answers
758 views

Why was the Gemara written in Aramaic?

The Gemara (the Bavli and Yerushalmi) are the fundamental texts that we possess of the Oral law. Why were they written in Aramaic? At first glance, Ravina and R' Ashi probably knew that this will be ...
5
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4answers
746 views

What is the difference between a takana and a gezera?

What is the difference between a takana and a gezera in both definition and application?
5
votes
1answer
432 views

Is the letter Aleph (א) also a word that means “to teach, inculcate”?

This Aish article about the meaning of the word "Adam" states the following: The letter aleph is also a word which means to teach or inculcate. It similarly indicates leadership, as implied by ...
5
votes
6answers
195 views

Prominent Spanish Language Rabbinic Works

Does anyone know of any Jewish religious works written in Spanish or Ladino by a prominent Jewish scholar (eg, Ibn Ezra, etc.)?
2
votes
1answer
119 views

“Ben Ha'arbayim” vs. “Ben Hashmashot”

There seem to be two terms used to mean "twilight". The Torah uses the term בן הערבים as in the time for the Mincha and Pesach offerings. Talmudic literature uses the term בן השמשות I know that ...
12
votes
4answers
297 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
808 views

Is there a rule for Rashi's French transliterations (Laaz)?

Rashi frequently uses French words in his explanation to Chumash or the Gemara. However, he doesn't write it in the original language, but he writes it in a "transliteration" of French in Hebrew ...
8
votes
1answer
246 views

What are some good resources for finding the meaning of unfamiliar Hebrew and Aramaic words in Acharonim?

I have no trouble using Jastrow for Tanach and Shas but I find it difficult to apply to Acharonim. How might I use it more effectively? Are there peculiarities of grammar I'm missing? For a few ...
6
votes
1answer
207 views

How holy is Aramaic?

I've always thought that Hebrew is the Lashon HaKodesh, the language G-d speaks, and the language of Judaism. And that Aramaic is also important but somewhat secondary. But based on this answer, it ...
5
votes
4answers
456 views

Is there a feminine equivalent of Zt"l? [duplicate]

Inspired by this question, I am wondering: Is zt"l -- זצ“ל, zatzal = zecher tzadik livracha "May the memory of this tzaddik be a blessing" -- ever used for tzadkaniyot, righteous females? Or else is ...
5
votes
3answers
313 views

How is there Torah about Hebrew letters if the letters are not original?

Occasionally I hear Torah that relates to the iconography of Hebrew letters, like the significance around the fact that the yud is a small point, and how the hey has two openings, allowing repentants ...
4
votes
3answers
155 views

“Ashkenazim” and “Sephardim,” for example

Please excuse the crossword-puzzle-clue style of the title... What is a or the technical name for the distinction between Ashkenazim and Sephardim, and/or the class or category that both of these ...
3
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1answer
89 views

How is it “well-known” that Esav hates Ya'akov?

Rash"i in Breishit 33:4 cites Sifrei, by stating: הֲלָכָה הִיא בְּיָדוּעַ שֶׁעֵשָׂו שׂוֹנֵא לְיַעֲקֹב It is a well-known halacha that Esav hates Ya'akov How is this "well-known"? Based on ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

Different words for clothing

Whats the difference between kasah (covering) and labash (covering)? And when we look to clothes then what's the difference between kesut and lebush? And what about beged (cloths) ? Please show me ...
3
votes
2answers
73 views

'Alcoholic drinks' and 'reward' are both “שכר”

Alcoholic drinks (and drunkenness) and reward seem like rather disparate ideas! Is there a reason why they might imply one another and do any commentaries interchange between the two to bring some ...
2
votes
1answer
76 views

Where does the word תורתי and different aplliable roots learn us?

(From the pealim.com website) The word להורות comes from ירה and gives הורה (past tense, 3rd person, masculine singular; "he/it taught", or as a imperative 2nd person, masculine, singular: "[to a ...
2
votes
1answer
123 views

Meaning of abbreviation tblch“t / tblch”a

What do these abbreviations stand for? I have seen them beside the names of righteous females. Does it mean that she should have long life? What is the equivalent for males?
2
votes
1answer
347 views

Why is twilight called “Bein Hashmashot”?

Inspired by this question, I'm curious why halachic literature calls twilight בין השמשות, which means, literally, "between the two suns"? The sun has set, and there is just one sun, anyway. What do ...
1
vote
0answers
19 views

How did Adam got his intellect?

The tradition says that Adam was created grown up and extremely intelligent. We know that his body was formed from the earth and his soul was blown into the body and then he became a living (talking) ...
1
vote
0answers
75 views

Rashi, Tosfot - Dialects

Is there a name for the dialect of Hebrew/Aramaic that Rashi and Tosfot use? Have there been any articles and/or books published on how to systematically approach Rashi and the Baalei Tosfot's ...
1
vote
1answer
56 views

Two roots applied to the same verses

I was looking up the word להורות on the pealim.com website, from the root ירה. And it gave all kinds of conjugations. But it also gave some related words one of those was: הוראה. Both seem to have to ...
1
vote
0answers
56 views

What is the most effective way to translate non-Hebrew translations found in Rabbinic literature?

Non-Hebrew translations are often included by our Sages when attempting to clarify words or concepts. There are myriad examples in RaSh"I (Shemot 5:7) and Hizquni (Wayiqra 11:16). For relatively ...