Questions tagged [translation]

Questions about translation in general, or about translation of specific words in Jewish texts.

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Hebrew document found in grandfather's attic—what does it state?

I found this document in my grandfather's attic and would be thankful if someone could tell me (a) what this document is, (b) whether there are any names written, and (c) which, if any, religious ...
Jonah's user avatar
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Where did "shabat shalom" come from?

What is the source for the greeting "שבת שלום"? Where is it earliest attested in print? What does it mean?
WAF's user avatar
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Why was the translation considered a tragedy if it was already translated into 70 languages?

I just read in Parashat ki tavo that the Torah was translated into 70 languages and written on giant stones, yet the Talmud says the translation of the Torah to Greek many years later was considered a ...
ray's user avatar
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19 votes
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"Anyone who saves a life is as if he saved an entire world": Jewish life or any life?

I am puzzled by the Mishnah's original text of the famous Jewish idea that "whoever saves one life [...] saves an entire world" (Sanhedrin 4:5). The English from sefaria.org reads thus: "It was for ...
SAH's user avatar
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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 ...
Scimonster's user avatar
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18 votes
2 answers
3k views

What was the Arov?

The fourth plague is Arov commonly translated as wild beasts. The word I think most literally translates to "a collection" or in this case, maybe along the lines of "a swarm" (consider the word "...
Double AA's user avatar
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17 votes
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Do Jews today consider the King James translation of the Tanakh to be acceptably accurate?

It is my understanding that Jewish tradition holds considerable reverence for accurate translations of its scripture. Do Jews today consider the King James translation known as the Old Testament to ...
JBH's user avatar
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Why don't we use a translator during Torah reading?

Outside of the Teimanim I am not aware of any other segments of Judaism that still employ a meturgamen (translator) during kriat ha'torah. Why has this practice fallen into disuse?
none's user avatar
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15 votes
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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 ...
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Why does it seem like Jewish texts are never translated?

I'm a Stack Exchange user on many other sites and every once in a while I will see a question on this site that sparks my interest in the hot questions. The only two things I know about Judaism ...
Sidney's user avatar
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Nefesh, neshama and ruach as words for "soul"

All three words can mean something like "soul", e.g., neshama in גלגול נשמות, and ruach in וַתְּחִי רוּחַ יַעֲקֹב אֲבִיהֶם (Bereshit 45:27). So, what is the difference?
Lev's user avatar
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14 votes
5 answers
771 views

Meaning of the phrase "Tzur Chevli B'eit Tzarah" near the end of Adon Olam

Near the end of Adon Olam, there is the phrase "Tzur Chevli B'eit Tzarah". What exactly is the meaning of this phrase, and specifically the term "Tzur Chevli"? I have seen it translated rather ...
Avi Ray's user avatar
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2 answers
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What does "prohibited l’chatchila" mean?

To me the phrase prohibited l’chatchila seems a bit confusing. Can someone explain what this means in plain and simple english? (context: someone says "action X is prohibited l’chatchila")
yydl's user avatar
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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 ...
Am Haaretz Gamur Mideoraysa's user avatar
12 votes
4 answers
526 views

All you need is love?

I once had a Hebrew professor state with absolute determination that "Ahavah" (the Hebrew word for "love") does not, in fact, mean love. His proof was twofold: 1. G-d could not have commanded us to "...
Seth J's user avatar
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12 votes
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Difference in meaning of Zeicher / Zecher

In this question it discusses the background of saying both Zeicher & Zecher in Devarim 25:19, however I was wondering what is the difference in translation between Zeicher & Zecher?
Gershon Gold's user avatar
12 votes
3 answers
386 views

verb + its infinitive

Many, many times in Tanach, including Chumash, a verb has its infinitive nearby. Examples include B'reshis 2:16 מִכֹּל עֵץ הַגָּן אָכֹל תֹּאכֵל (I think that's the first example in Chumash) and ...
msh210's user avatar
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11 votes
3 answers
526 views

Sefaria and Rabbinic Endorsements

Sefaria is a popular Web site with various translations of holy texts. Are any rabbinic authorities on record as endorsing or forbidding it? Translations can be subjective. It is inevitable that one's ...
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11 votes
2 answers
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Is the term Cushite used to refer to people of African descent?

While reading the book of Numbers (I am a Christian, I don't know if it is referred to something else in Judaism), I came across the passage (Numbers 12:1-15) where Miriam and Aaron were speaking ...
MDMoore313's user avatar
11 votes
1 answer
395 views

Is the Targum Neofiti a valid source of translation?

Targum Neofiti is believed by scholars to be an ancient translation of the torah. Does the average orthodox rabbi consider it as a valid and reliable resource to translate or explain a word, the way ...
not-allowedtochangemyname's user avatar
11 votes
4 answers
3k views

What parts of the Septuagint are and are not reliable?

As noted in this Mi Yodeya discussion, the Greek translation of the Torah was done by 70 rabbis who each separately took identical precautions to avoid giving idolators and minim a chance to misuse ...
Bruce James's user avatar
11 votes
1 answer
692 views

Can one make a siyum mesechta if it was learned in English translation?

If someone has some trouble with Aramaic and learned parts of a mesechta in English translation (for example with an Artscroll Gemara), can he still make a siyum?
Shraga's user avatar
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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 tar. ...
Menachem's user avatar
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11 votes
1 answer
578 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 ...
DanF's user avatar
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10 votes
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What's the meaning of "Hashmal" (electricity in modern Hebrew) in the bible? (Ezekiel 1:4)

Ezekiel 1:4: I saw, and behold, there was a stormy wind coming from the north, a great cloud with flashing fire and a brilliance surrounding it; and from its midst, like the color of the Hashmal ...
Roy's user avatar
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10 votes
4 answers
619 views

Was Potiphor a Eunuch?

I ask because on the one hand he and some of Pharoh's other servants are described in the Hebrew as סריס, but the translations I've seen are usually in the vein of Lord Servant. For instance, my IDF ...
Robert S. Barnes's user avatar
10 votes
6 answers
3k views

Why is the word for G-d in Genesis plural? [duplicate]

The word for G-d in Genesis 1:1 is plural in all the manuscripts, there's no debating that it's plural. So really it should read "In the Beginning Gods created the heavens and the earth." Why is ...
android.nick's user avatar
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What is the exact definition of Shituf (vis a vis 'Avodah Zarah)?

"Shituf" is the heretical idea of some sort of co-mingling of something with G-d (Has VeShalom). According to many rabbinic opinions, Christianity is Shituf (cf., Is Christianity Avodah Zara?), and ...
Seth J's user avatar
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10 votes
2 answers
1k views

Published Ladino version of Meam Lo'ez?

The Me'am Lo'ez (מעם לועז‎), begun by Rabbi Yaakov Culi in 1730, is a commentary to Tanakh written in Ladino. It was subsequently translated to Hebrew and translated from the Hebrew to English in a ...
minhag's user avatar
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3 answers
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"Baruch shekivanti..."

There is a phrase of self-compliment people use when they find that they have independently arrived at the same conclusion as someone great. It begins with the words "ברוך שכיוונתי", translated ...
WAF's user avatar
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10 votes
1 answer
382 views

Dr. Bronner's soap

If you read the label of a bottle of Dr. Bronner's soap you will find--as I was flabbergasted to find--that the very last words are a whimsical English translation of "Shema Yisroel." Dr. Bronner ...
SAH's user avatar
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10 votes
1 answer
475 views

Shochtim who learned from translated materials

The Maharil in his Tshusvos Chadashos ("New Responsa," mentioned here), writes (Siman 93) that the custom is not to give kabblah to shochtim who learned the laws shechita in German (translated ...
sam's user avatar
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10 votes
1 answer
220 views

Traditionalist evaluation of the "New American Haggadah"?

One of the hot new offerings in the Haggada market this year is the New American Haggadah by novelists Jonathan Safran Foer and Nathan Englander. It features a new translation by Englander as well as ...
Isaac Moses's user avatar
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9 votes
2 answers
249 views

What does בהאנרעלזשולע mean?

In Shu"t Melamid L'hoil OC 61 (written by Rav Hoffman in Germany circa 1900) below it is asked about a child who is told to write something (with something?) בהאנרעלזשולע on shabbas and if he doesn't ...
sam's user avatar
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9 votes
2 answers
500 views

The Rabbis of the Septuagint

I’m familiar with the Talmudic account of the Septuagint, but I would like to know if there are any sources/Midrashim that allude to who the 70 rabbis/scholars were and why THEY were chosen to ...
Jmill388's user avatar
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2 answers
860 views

What does נְחשֶׁת mean?

In Teruma (25:3), the verse says "וְזֹאת הַתְּרוּמָה אֲשֶׁר תִּקְחוּ מֵאִתָּם זָהָב וָכֶסֶף וּנְחשֶׁת". Chabad (as well as Artscroll) translates it as "And this is the offering that you shall take ...
ertert3terte's user avatar
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9 votes
2 answers
649 views

On what basis do we understand references to Orion and the Pleiades in Iyov?

Iyov 38:31-32 reads: הַתְקַשֵּׁר מַעֲדַנּוֹת כִּימָה אוֹ מוֹשְׁכוֹת כְּסִיל תְּפַתֵּחַ: . הֲתֹצִיא מַזָּרוֹת בְּעִתּוֹ וְעַיִשׁ עַל בָּנֶיהָ תַנְחֵם: Can you tie the chains of the Pleiades or loose ...
Monica Cellio's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
2k views

Is this chart of the mesorah of Torah available in English?

Does anyone know if this chart of the mesora of Torah is available in English? or if there is anything like it in English?
aryeh's user avatar
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8 votes
3 answers
2k views

Why translate Torah to 70 languages?

Midrash Tanchuma, brought in Rashi to Devarim 1:5 says: בְּעֵבֶר הַיַּרְדֵּן בְּאֶרֶץ מוֹאָב הוֹאִיל מֹשֶׁה בֵּאֵר אֶת־הַתּוֹרָה הַזֹּאת לֵאמֹר׃ (Moses commenced [and] explained this Law, saying...) ...
SimchasTorah's user avatar
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8 votes
3 answers
21k views

What is the best English translation of the Tanakh (hard copy, not online)?

I'm looking for the best available English translation of the Tanakh, and because I prefer to hold an actual book in my hands, I'd rather have a hard copy as opposed to an online version. Some ...
Wad Cheber's user avatar
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8 votes
1 answer
584 views

Any known translations of the Talmudim et al into classical languages, prior to the 19th century?

Through the 19th and 20th centuries, the Bavli and Yerushalmi were fully or partially translated into English, French, German, Arabic and Italian. Are there any extant translations of the Talmudim and/...
Meir Illumination's user avatar
8 votes
5 answers
13k views

What is the firmament?

In Genesis 1:6-8 the firmament and its creation are mentioned for the first time: And God said: 'Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.' ...
Gabriel12's user avatar
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8 votes
3 answers
612 views

Meaning of ח-ל-צ

Words of the root חלצ seem to have contradictory meanings. On the one hand it is used in the sense of "removing," as in בית חלוץ הנעל and כי חלצת נפשי ממות. On the other hand, warriors are called ...
Dave's user avatar
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8 votes
2 answers
6k views

Is there a site where I can see several different jewish translations at the same time?

The christians have that http://bible.cc/psalms/82-6.htm Is there something like that for jews? If there isn't, then perhaps lists of several good online jewish translation would be nice too. It ...
user4951's user avatar
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8 votes
5 answers
3k views

What is the correct translation of הֵילֵ֣ל?

Shalom everyone, new visitor here. The term הֵילֵ֣ל may be found in Isaiah 14:12, but I have not been able to find it in any Hebrew dictionaries. English translations range from "morning," to "...
ahnnyoung's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
209 views

How do we translate חַטָּאִים?

Isaiah 1 (28): And destruction shall come over rebels and sinners together, and those who forsake the Lord shall perish. כח. וְשֶׁבֶר פֹּשְׁעִים וְחַטָּאִים יַחְדָּו וְעֹזְבֵי יְהֹוָה ...
Avrohom Yitzchok's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
353 views

A question about King Ptolemy and his wife Arnevet

In connection with the production of the Septuagint at the request of King Ptolemy, the Talmud says: And [in listing unclean animals], instead of writing “And the hare [אַרְנֶבֶת -- arnevet]”, [the ...
Maurice Mizrahi's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
1k views

What is the best online English translation of Tanach?

I am aware of a number of partial or complete English translations of Tana"ch online, but I am wondering if there are any I am unaware of, especially that fulfill the following criteria: Precision of ...
WAF's user avatar
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8 votes
1 answer
167 views

What does it mean that "his face became blackened" in the Gemara?

Throughout the Gemara we see times when someone's face is described as becoming blackened, due to fasts or other things like intense learning. (Example: Sotah 12a) What does this mean?
ezra's user avatar
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8 votes
1 answer
201 views

Is signing G-d's Holy name in casual conversation a violation of mentioning His name in vain?

Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (6:3) writes: אסור להוציא שם שמים לבטלה וכל המוציא שם שמים לבטלה עובר על מצות עשה דכתיב את ה' אלהיך תירא ... ולא לבד בלשון הקודש אסור אלא אפילו בכל לשון אסור It is ...
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