Questions tagged [language]

Questions pertaining to language.

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Counting Sefirah in a made up language

Can one fulfill the mitzvah of counting the Omer by counting in a language that only he/she understands? What if a few people understand? An entire goup?
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7 votes
1 answer
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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?
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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 ...
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6 votes
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Unknown La'az in Teshuvot Rashi

In the Elfenbein (1943) edition of Teshuvot Rashi, in the teshuvot from Rashi to the rabbis of Auxerre ('סימן ג), Rashi writes "לשון דמות צלם" is "אאמיינדליי" in la'az. Elfenbein writes in his ...
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6 votes
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What is a "royal language"?

In explaining the gemara (Avoda Zarah 10a) and Rashi, Tosfos write (sv שאין להם לא כתב ולא לשון): לכך פירש ר"י כתב לשון חשוב שהמלכים משתמשין בו כעין חכמת יונית....לשון מלכות קאמר‏ .......
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6 votes
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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 "...
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4 votes
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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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4 votes
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Source for galuta d'galuta גלותא דגלותא?

I so clearly remember from my days of Talmud study the phrase גלותא דגלותא, meaning a place that was REALLY far away, seriously in exile, "deep diaspora", totally removed from eretz yisrael. Maybe it ...
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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. ...
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4 votes
0 answers
369 views

Must all parts of Hatarat Nedarim be said in a language which we understand, or only some parts?

Introduction Before Rosh Hashanah, it's customary to do the "annulment of vows" ceremony. There are good reasons for this ceremony. Though the ArtScroll Siddur commentary warns: Annulment is ...
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4 votes
0 answers
89 views

Is it forbidden to learn Hebrew/Aramaic during Tisha B Av?

Hebrew and Aramaic are languages of Jewish sefarim (religious books) and it is forbidden to learn/read sefarim during Tisha B Av because it gives joy to man to do so. Is it then likewise forbidden to ...
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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, ...
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3 votes
0 answers
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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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3 votes
0 answers
32 views

Does language change affect what hyssop is valid for the ḥatat ritual?

In Parah 11:7, we learn that hyssop that is called simply "hyssop" (אזוב) is valid for use in sprinkling mei ḥatat, but hyssop that has an accompanying name (such as "blue hyssop", etc.) is unfit. Is ...
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3 votes
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What's the basis for "דברה התורה כלשון בני"א" (Torah used common language)?

The Sages used the "דברה התורה כלשון בני אדם" excuse (acc. to the WIKI page) in two ways - in the Gemmorah to resolve [the problem of] repeating languages in the Torah (like עלה נעלה or פדה תפדה) and ...
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3 votes
0 answers
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Shamor and Zachor beyond Shabbat

Much is written about the relationship of Shamor and Zachor in relation to Shabbat but Shamor and Zachor are also used for Pesach (at least the first day) - Shmot 13:3 Moses said to the people, "...
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2 votes
0 answers
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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 ...
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2 votes
2 answers
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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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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 ...
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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 ...
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2 votes
0 answers
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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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2 votes
0 answers
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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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2 votes
0 answers
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Question about the comma in Psalm 82:1

I've a short question about Psalm 82, verse 1. The hebrew reads: מִזְמוֹר לְאָסָף אֱלֹהִים נִצָּב בַּעֲדַת־אֵל בְּקֶרֶב אֱלֹהִים יִשְׁפֹּט So how should one read these verse? 1. Is it that G-d will ...
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2 votes
0 answers
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Where does HaShem stands and in which council?

Psalm 82 teaches that Elohim (אלהים) stands (נצב to position oneself) within the council/congregation (עדת-אל) of El, among/amidst (בקרב) elohiem (אלהים) He judge (ישפט). Someone told me to look at ...
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2 votes
0 answers
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Megilat Ester linguistics - why inline translations?

M"E is full with "inline" translations or clarifications from Hebrew to Parsi and vice verse, for example: פור הוא הגורל הֲדַסָּה הִיא אֶסְתֵּר בחודש השנים עשר הוא חודש אדר This is pretty unusual I ...
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2 votes
0 answers
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מלא יד - full hand, meaning?

I've a question about the combination of words מלא יד as shown in verses like Shemot 29:35, 32:29, Vayikra 8:33, Bamidbar 3:3, 1 Divrei HaYamim 29:5, 2 Divrei HaYamim 6:4, 6:15, 13:9, 29:31 etc... ...
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2 votes
0 answers
115 views

Usage of final nun with kamatz

Frequently, in Tanac"h, the 3rd person female plural uses an end nun with a kamatz ןָ rather than nun-heh נָה. Is there any reasoning of preference of one usage vs. the other?
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2 votes
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How come Torah does not have a distinctive word for "wife"?

[Edited] In Bereshit, Torah says the woman will be called Isha, that comes from Ish and is parallel to Ish. Later, Torah says Adam gave to אשתו a new name Chava. Now אשתו appears (out of nowhere) as "...
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2 votes
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234 views

Moadim a time to witness?

The word Moadim (מועדים), Moadei (מועדי) or singular Mo'ed (מועד) is most often translated as a appointed (fixed) time (or season). From the visual look of it these words seem to have a connection ...
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2 votes
0 answers
47 views

Would anyone know of good places in the NYC area which teach Biblical Hebrew?

I was not raised with any foundational Hebrew education. Most of the places that I've researched which teach Hebrew are all "Modern Hebrew" (spoken in Israel) courses and not Torah Hebrew (The ...
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2 votes
0 answers
113 views

"Bli neder" and shevuot

As far as I understand from the discussion here, a "neder" is a vow forbidding or consecrating objects, whereas a "shevua" governs personal actions. For example, one would make a neder to declare wine ...
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1 vote
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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 ...
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1 vote
0 answers
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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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1 vote
0 answers
87 views

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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1 vote
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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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1 vote
0 answers
32 views

Does the verse וארשתיך... count as the language of Kiddushin?

Following the discussion about different formulations of non-Orthodox Ketubahs on this site. A couple wishes to find a milder non-Orthodox formulation of the Kiddushin. So they chose that the groom ...
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1 vote
0 answers
22 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) ...
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1 vote
0 answers
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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 ...
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  • 171
1 vote
0 answers
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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 ...
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1 vote
0 answers
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Different roots applied to the same verse of 2 Samuel 11:24

2 Samuel 11:24 (Westminster Leningrad Codex) reads: [וַיֹּרְאוּ כ] (וַיֹּר֨וּ ק) [הַמֹּורְאִים כ] (הַמֹּורִ֤ים ק) Two of these come from the root (ק) ירה while the other two come from the root (...
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1 vote
0 answers
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כְּהַיּוֹם vs. כַּיּוֹם

Why does the word sometimes appear as כַּיּוֹם and sometimes as כְּהַיּוֹם? As a general grammatical rule, a heh with a patach gets subsumed into the preceding kaf, so why are these cases different? ...
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0 answers
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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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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 ...
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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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Differences and similarities between פרס and פרש

I wondered what the differences and similarities of the roots פרס and פרש are? I noticed that both roots are used in Jeremiah 16:7 and Lamentations 4:4 for the 'deviding or sharing' of bread. Any ...
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Orah, Or and Torah

I found this on the Aish website: The accurate meaning of “Torah” is twofold. Firstly it comes from the word “הוֹרָה,” which means teaching. More precisely it means “teaching with direction,” i.e. ...
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0 votes
0 answers
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אלי and עלי what's the difference?

Could someone explain the difference between (2 Samuel 15:4 for example) עלי and אלי (Ezra 9:4 for example)? what's the difference They both refer to 'my' or 'me' because of the yod suffix right? ...
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To form, different roots

Are the roots צור (to form, shape, fashion) יצר (to create) and צר (to shape, form, model) related or do they just share similar meanings? Are there any commentaries, scriptures, that connect these ...
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Why does the gemara sometimes use a mashal to explain a statement?

Sometimes the gemara (or a braysa) will say something and then give a mashal (parable) to explain the true intent of what was previously said. Why does the gemara do this? Why not simply make the ...
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-1 votes
1 answer
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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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