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 ...
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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?
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Translation to Greek

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 ...
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2answers
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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 ...
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2answers
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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 "...
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5answers
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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 ...
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4answers
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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 ...
16
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2answers
371 views

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?
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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 ...
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2answers
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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")
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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?
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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 ...
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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 "...
12
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3answers
445 views

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?
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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 ...
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2answers
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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 ...
12
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3answers
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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 ...
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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 ...
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1answer
507 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?
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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 ...
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986 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 ...
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3answers
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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 ...
10
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1answer
319 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 ...
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1answer
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Who translated the original version of 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 languages. Sifsei Chachamim ...
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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 ...
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4answers
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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 ...
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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 ...
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448 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 ...
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1answer
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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 ...
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840 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?
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6answers
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Why is the word for G-d in Genesis plural?

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 ...
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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.' ...
8
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3answers
536 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 ...
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2answers
283 views

Sefaria and Rabbinic Endorsements

Sefaria is a popular and novel 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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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1answer
318 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 ...
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1answer
147 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?
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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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What does the ל of לבעבור mean?

Shemos 20:17: ויֹּאמֶר משֶׁה אֶל הָעָם אַל תִּירָאוּ כִּי לְבַעֲבוּר נַסּוֹת אֶתְכֶם בָּא הָאֱלֹהִים וּבַעֲבוּר תִּהְיֶה יִרְאָתוֹ עַל פְּנֵיכֶם לְבִלְתִּי תֶחֱטָאוּ What does the 8th word in the ...
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Where can I find an online Talmud with interlinear text?

I would like to examine the Babylonian Talmud interlinearly. That is, it has both the original language and English near one another. The biblical interlinears that I have seen are usually line-by-...
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2answers
344 views

Obfuscation of Mei Raglayim in translation

I have noticed that many siddurim and machzorim render the term מי רגלים (in the recitation of the k'tores recipe) as "mei raglayim" rather than translating it to its actual definition, urine. ...
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Hebrew for ice - and other “new” words

After reading MB OC 301:17:65 (thanks, YDK!) I am baffled by a nagging question regarding Modern Hebrew and Biblical Hebrew. Eliezer Ben-Yehudah is known to have revitalized Hebrew, in part by taking ...
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862 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...)...
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313 views

Why the emphasis on Hebrew in Judaism?

Why does Judaism have such an emphasis on Hebrew phrases in their religion and seems reluctant to translate them to English or another language?
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2answers
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 ...
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1answer
150 views

Can the chazzan use the vernacular quietly?

When saying a private portion of the service, such as pesukei de-zimra, may the shaliach tzibur (aka chazzan, or the person leading services) use English, and switch to Hebrew for the portions said ...
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2answers
741 views

A good beginner study Talmud for a student

I am looking to begin studying the Talmud. I have grown up a reform Jew and know most of the basic principles of Judaism, but I am looking to go deeper into the religion, ultimately with the goal of ...
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1answer
267 views

On Deuteronomy 28:23, Rashi says copper is “mazi'a”. What does this mean?

I have this question on Rashi every year in Ki Savo. Deuteronomy 28:23 says: "And the heavens above your head will be like copper and the earth that is beneath you, iron." Rashi says that the heavens ...
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1answer
190 views

Is there still a mesora on how to write the Torah in Greek?

Do we still have a mesora for the translation of the Torah into Greek, and if so, is this the LXX/Septuagint commonly used by Gentiles? Do we still have a mesorah for any other seforim into Greek?