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8
votes
1answer
128 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
181 views

How did names of foreign gods find their way into the Torah and Hebrew language? [closed]

After having found one explanation that the origin of the Hebrew word "Shachar" שחר which is used in the context of "Alos HaShachar" is the name of a foreign god. As well that "Shemesh" שמש which we ...
9
votes
1answer
567 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
114 views

How many languages were used by Shem's descendants?

Parshat Noach, 10:31: These are the sons of Shem, after their families, after their languages, in their lands, after their nations. אֵלֶּה בְנֵי-שֵׁם, לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָם לִלְשֹׁנֹתָם, ...
6
votes
2answers
358 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
2answers
1k views

Do English-speaking Jews read the Bible in English?

Do English-speaking Jews read the Bible in English, or is that too Christian for them? Maybe they like to get the gist of the Torah or Tanakh by reading in the vernacular English and then they may ...
13
votes
1answer
891 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
411 views

Shema in any language - Kel Melech Ne'eman?

I have heard that it is permissible to recite the Shema in any language, if one does not know Hebrew. Rama quotes one opinion that reciting the words Kel Melech Ne'eman when praying without a minyan ...
5
votes
0answers
773 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" ...
-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 ...
3
votes
1answer
205 views

Will all Jews speak Hebrew when Mashiach comes?

This question just kind of popped into my head, so I'm not sure whether it is really a good question for this site, but I wonder if anybody has written about it. I would imagine that since when ...
6
votes
2answers
732 views

Why is the Haggadah written in Hebrew?

The Haggadah was written during the Talmudic period, so I would expect it to be written in Aramaic. Especially since the entire purpose of the Haggadah is the telling over of the story of yetziat-...
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 ...
8
votes
2answers
158 views

Is there a difference between “להלן” and “לקמן”?

There are many times when Sefarim and commentaries reference something that is brought later on. Sometimes the word "לקמן" is used (example) and sometimes the word "להלן" is used (example). Is there ...
0
votes
2answers
2k views

What is a good bilingual (English-Hebrew) concordance of the Tanakh and Talmud?

Are there free online concordances of the Tanakh and the Talmud with hyperlinked text in English and Hebrew? I find such resources extremely helpful in the study of a language. Here is an example: ...
7
votes
1answer
117 views

Why is the kesuba not written in a native language?

The kesuba (marriage contract) is written in a smattering of Hebrew with Aramaic thrown in. It is possible that onr or both parties may not know what all the words in the kesuba mean. Furthermore it ...
6
votes
1answer
544 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
155 views

May one make obscene gestures?

I was told that sign language does not qualify as actual speech (ergo one cannot make a beracha via sign language) as such would obscene gestures be permissible (since they would ostensibly not ...
3
votes
0answers
100 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, although ...
3
votes
4answers
263 views

Why G-d had to confuse people's languages in the land of Shinar?

Why G-d had to confuse people's languages in the land of Shinar and scatter them across the Earth with diverse languages? What moral does Genesis 11:5–8 coveny to mankind execept the fact that "in ...
1
vote
2answers
195 views

Source for abrah kadabrah

I remember seeing a passuk that has the phrase "abrah kadabrah," or maybe a Rishon. Does anyone know a source?
8
votes
2answers
708 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
348 views

Amalekim's disguise as Canaanites in Chukas

Rashi (in parshas Chukas perek 21 pasuk 1) says that Amalek attacked the Jews, and that the pasuk calls them Canaanites because the Amaleikim had learned the Canaanite language (so the Jews would pray ...
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, ...
7
votes
1answer
198 views

Language of a ketubah for marriage

Can I write a ketubah in English or possibly in Hebrew? Or must it be in Aramaic? The problem is that my friends and I do not speak Aramaic any longer. Our Babylonian-Jewish ancestors did, but we ...
-3
votes
1answer
237 views

Permissibility of speaking foreign languages?

(Inspired by this comment). Does halacha permit Jews to speak languages other than Hebrew? Bedieved? Lechatchilah?
8
votes
2answers
282 views

Speaking Yiddish vs. the host language at home [closed]

I understand that, before World War Ⅱ, the Jews of Hungary and Germany mostly spoke Hungarian and German, respectively, amongst themselves (at home), whereas the Jews of Poland mostly spoke Yiddish ...
4
votes
5answers
950 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 ...
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
805 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 ...
13
votes
1answer
319 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?
3
votes
3answers
382 views

Word for “bageling” someone as an Orthodox Jew? [closed]

I've heard the slang "he bageled me" meaning "he identified me as a fellow Jew (even though it wasn't obviously apparent)." There are the times I pass someone in the street who's wearing a baseball ...
7
votes
6answers
769 views

Is there a Mitzva to speak Loshon Kodesh?

Is it a Mitzva to speak Loshon Kodesh? (sources)
7
votes
4answers
757 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
votes
2answers
347 views

When did the use of Rashei Tevot, Heh Kuf, הק׳ in writings, books, letters, etc., begin?

Perhaps I'm among the last to have found this out, but it took me quite a while to understand why, in a signature, the name was preceded by a הק׳. The Ozar Rashei Tevot book has 31 different ...
1
vote
5answers
2k views

Looking for a good English-to-Hebrew translation software [closed]

I'm looking for a translation software, or website, that accurately translates entire sentences and paragraphs from English to Hebrew, without grammar mistakes or funny language usage. Anyone know of ...
10
votes
3answers
981 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
178 views

Is there a law against saying obscenities?

Is there a law against saying obscenities? If yes, what is considered obscene? Does it apply to any language or only to Hebrew?
7
votes
1answer
366 views

How and when did the word “Kollel” come to mean “an institution for paying scholars to study Torah”?

How and when did the word "Kollel" come to mean "an institution for paying scholars to study Torah"? If I'm not mistaken, the Hebrew word "kollel" means "includes." But today we've all heard of the ...
12
votes
1answer
496 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, ...
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 ...
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
3answers
456 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
333 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 "...
11
votes
2answers
493 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. ...
2
votes
2answers
90 views

Research Project on How the Revival of the Hebrew Language Led to Jewish Nationalism [closed]

Can someone help me with finding sources (ie, things to read) about my research topic of "How the Revival of the Hebrew Language Led to Jewish Nationalism"
2
votes
2answers
239 views

What is the Morph-Phonological Split in Hebrew that makes it so Unique? [closed]

Can some one explain this to me? In a mixed language par excellence, large and monolithic blocks of material are imported wholesale from each of the ancestral languages. Thus, while the verbal ...
9
votes
3answers
319 views

Did any Achronim Write Books Comparing Arabic to Hebrew?

Did any achronim write books comparing Arabic to Hebrew?
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.)?
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 ...