Questions tagged [language]

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6
votes
1answer
185 views

Can sign language be used for public Torah reading?

We would like to perform a minyan for the deaf. All the participants can speak verbally, but cannot hear, including the Torah reader. Can he sign the words that he is reading during Kri'at Hatorah, or ...
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 ...
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, ...
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 ...
6
votes
1answer
218 views

What is the relationship between the Tzitz and Tzitzit?

My friend and I were pondering the connections between the kohen gadol's tzitz and the tzitzit fringes of the average Yid. Aside from the obvious linguistic relationship (that we don't understand) ...
6
votes
1answer
59 views

Why list קונם and קונס explicitly in Kol Nidrei but not other Kinuyim?

Nedarim 1:2 lists several kinnuyim, alternate expressions you can use for making a neder. In the Ashkenazi version of Kol Nidrei that I'm familiar with as well as the Nusach Sefarad one I found on ...
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 ...
6
votes
1answer
119 views

Why are the names of some mitzvos changed to from “al” or “lo” to “bal”

For example, אַל תְּשַׁקְּצוּ אֶת נַפְשֹׁתֵיכֶם בְּכָל הַשֶּׁרֶץ הַשֹּׁרֵץ וְלֹא תִטַּמְּאוּ בָּהֶם וְנִטְמֵתֶם בָּם (al t'shaq'tzu...) is commonly called בל תשקצו (bal t'shaq'tzu), אֵת כָּל־...
6
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0answers
91 views

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 ...
6
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0answers
312 views

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 .......
6
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4answers
2k 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 ...
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
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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.)?
5
votes
2answers
682 views

What is “okinta”?

A friend of mine, a professional translator and interpreter, was stymied in her work by a word that some rabbis keep using when quoting Talmud, baraitot, Rambam, even Rav Kook. To her ear (she is a ...
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
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4answers
349 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 ...
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
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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 ...
5
votes
1answer
115 views

Counting sefirah in Welsh?

The Welsh word for "week" is wythnos, which means eight nights. This is because they count seven days, plus the six nights between them, and the one before and the one after. Can someone who speaks ...
5
votes
1answer
245 views

Satan meaning Tempter?

I found a great story online from which I would like to quote a part: The word satan in the Bible seems to mean merely “opponent”. For instance, the angel who obstructs Bilaam’s progress is ...
5
votes
2answers
638 views

What language did Pharaoh speak?

Specifically, I am looking for sources that address this issue/topic. Namely, if he spoke fluent Hebrew, as the Torah records his words, how did he know the language? If, on the other hand, he spoke ...
5
votes
1answer
47 views

Are there any different implications from the three ways Achashverosh speaks to Esther?

In Megillat Esther, Achashverosh asks Esther what he can do for her three times (text and translation from chabad.org): 5:3 And the king said to her, "What concerns you, Queen Esther, and what is ...
5
votes
1answer
156 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 ...
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 ...
5
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0answers
61 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 (...
5
votes
2answers
400 views

“The Sea of Talmud”: Origin of a Metaphor

There's a very widespread metaphor applied to the Talmud, through which it is likened to a vast body of water, which means that the person "navigating" the Talmud is being likened to a sailor, a ...
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
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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 ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

Meaning of the (Hebrew?) abbreviation Ka"H

I saw this on a frum forum: It bothers me when my daughters keep hearing about their (ka"h) appearance,and no one talks about character. I had never seen this abbreviation before. Does anyone ...
4
votes
1answer
255 views

Origin of the word “pushka” [closed]

European Jews tend to use the word “pushka” for ‘charity box’. What is the origin of the word? As far as I can tell, Slavic languages use somewhat similar sounding words for ‘container’. In ...
4
votes
3answers
197 views

What does “Esav soneh l'Ya'akov” mean?

There is this famous statement (B"R 78:9): "Esav Soneh l'Ya'akov." Although the Torah tells us that Esav bore a grudge (Genesis 27:41) in his heart and showed great animosity in wanting to kill Ya'...
4
votes
2answers
134 views

'עם' & 'את' based words in the story of Lot and Avram

I don't know the exact sources but I remembered some commentaries from the Malbim and Vilna Gaon which point out a difference between 'את'-based words and 'עם'-based words (both translated to mean '...
4
votes
1answer
89 views

Are we allowed to work on a world language?

I am thinking on this because it seems God wants us to speak in many languages, to not understand each other. As I know, it is the punishment for the Tower of Babel. Trying to make world languages (...
4
votes
2answers
273 views

Studying the Written Torah in English

In terms of fulfilling the Mitzvah of Talmud Torah, when studying the Written Torah, must one learn the translation in tandem with the Hebrew words? Or is it sufficient to understand the meaning, ...
4
votes
2answers
79 views

What is the difference between the roots א-מ-ן and ב-ט-ח? Between Emunah and Bitachon?

Both of the א-מ-ן and ב-ט-ח roots are used to imply some level of trust in G-d; i.e., faith in Him. Bereshit 15:6 opens: "And he believed (aman) in the LORD" 2 Melachim 18:5: "He trusted (...
4
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3answers
285 views

Is the Hebrew vocabulary used in the Tanakh/(other recognized Hebrew books) the same as the what is considered Hebrew today? [closed]

There are many Hebrew resources available in the mainstream world, i.e. Webster's, Google, etc. Is the Hebrew used in the Tanakh/(other recognized Hebrew books, i.e. the Mishna, Rambam, etc.) ...
4
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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 ...
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, ...
4
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0answers
57 views

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 ...
4
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0answers
283 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 ...
4
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0answers
81 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 ...
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 ...
3
votes
2answers
508 views

In what language did Adam name the animals?

I wonder what language Adam used when he named the animals: Hebrew, Aramaic, or some Sacred Language. Obviously the names reflect the "true nature" of the animal, so it must be a special language, ...
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 ...
3
votes
2answers
542 views

Is there a Jewish midrash that parallels Christian tradition regarding Shavuot

I've read from a number of Christian sources that there is a Midrash pertaining to Shavuot that parallels the Christian tradition. However, I have not been able to find Jewish sources which support ...
3
votes
3answers
384 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
154 views

ראש וראשון לכל דבר שבקדושה

The phrase "ראש וראשון לכל דבר שבקדושה" is used quite often in haskamos and introductions to describe people who devote their life to Torah study or supporting Torah study or other important Jewish ...
3
votes
1answer
156 views

How is כֹּרֵת בְּרִית interpreted as “make” instead of “cut”?

וַיֹּאמֶר הִנֵּה אָנֹכִי כֹּרֵת בְּרִית נֶגֶד (Exodus 34:10) And Targum translates similarly: "וַאֲמַר הָא אֲנָא גְזַר קְיַם" Why כֹּרֵת relatively to the covenant end up being interpreted as "...
3
votes
1answer
208 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
132 views

You shall not have any other gods

In Exodus 20:3 the words lo yihyeh ( לֹא יִהְיֶה־לְךָ) are often translated as: 'you shall not have'. The base word is היה (hayah) meaning "to exist." Which reminded me of the Adon Olam phrase: 'V'hu ...