Questions tagged [words]

Questions about the definitions, meaning and use of words specific to Judaism or words that carry unique meaning in Jewish law.

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What is the earliest use of Ein Sof as a marker of Hashem?

I was looking at the modern Hebrew word אינסוף (infinite, overwhelming) and wondered about how it was used in earlier times. The gemara has many instances of the words אין סוף but they all seem to be ...
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Is there a difference in commands, statues & rules?

In Deuteronomy there is a repeated triad that appears in its full form first in Deut 5:28: ‏וַאֲדַבְּרָה אֵלֶיךָ אֵת כָּל־הַמִּצְוָה וְהַחֻקִּים וְהַמִּשְׁפָּטִים And I will tell you the whole ...
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What's the source for the deeper meaning of the word Yavan?

BH The Hebrew word for Greek is יון. I heard from a rabbi, but don't remember the source he mentioned, the deeper meaning of the word. That when Greeks first begin to deny, chos vishalom, the Torah, ...
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What does it mean קנאה, Jealousy?

שמות לג:יד. Rashi explains the verse that says G-d is a Jealous G-d. My understanding of how Rashi explains: the root of the word Jealousy means is "my way goes, and every other way suffers"....
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Unknown abbreviations in תפארת ישראל commentary on the Mishnah

A סאה of תרומה that fell into 100 סאה of חולין becomes בטל. If two סאה of תרומה fall into 100 סאה of חולין it does not become בטל. If one סאה falls in and afterwards another סאה falls in. If the owner ...
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Why are אוכלי חולין בטהרה called "בני הכנסת"?

Zavim, chapter 3, mishna 2, lists a bunch of cases in which someone is deemed tame (ritually impure) by decree of the rabbis. However, it concludes, וְכֻלָּן טְהוֹרִין לִבְנֵי הַכְּנֶסֶת וּטְמֵאִין ...
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Why are the forefathers called רועי צאן and not רועי בקר?

In my poor townsman's understanding, confirmed by the scriptures, both sheep (צאן) and cattle (בקר) need shepherding, as it says (Exodus.34.3): "וְאִישׁ לֹא־יַעֲלֶה עִמָּךְ וְגַם־אִישׁ אַל־יֵרָא ...
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Jewish Babylonian Aramaic - Flashcards

Does anyone know if vocabulary flashcards are available for students of the Aramaic of the Bavli?
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What crime was committed by one who touched the mountain?

From what I have learned, different sins which are punished via the court system deserve different types of death penalties. In Parshat Yitro (19:12-13), the text indicates that one who touches the ...
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What is the term that the gemara and halakha use for a person for whom the fulfillment of a mitzvah is particularly difficult? [duplicate]

I don't remember specifically where I read this term (maybe in Mishneh Torah, maybe somewhere in Yoma or Sukka, maybe somewhere else). This term, probably in Greek (or Hebrew or Aramaic) denotes a ...
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Why does Jeremiah 27.9 speak of a city instead of kingdom?

On the DD"M wave, Jeremiah writes (29:7): "וְדִרְשׁ֞וּ אֶת־שְׁל֣וֹם הָעִ֗יר אֲשֶׁ֨ר הִגְלֵ֤יתִי אֶתְכֶם֙ שָׁ֔מָּה וְהִתְפַּֽלְל֥וּ בַעֲדָ֖הּ אֶל־ה' כִּ֣י בִשְׁלוֹמָ֔הּ יִהְיֶ֥ה לָכֶ֖ם ...
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טירטוריו"ש in Rashi

In his commentary to Nazir 49b (heading קנטרנין), Rashi gives one word: טירטוריו"ש What does this word mean please?
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Different language with regards to establishing Bris

Throughout Chumash, there are a few different terms that are used to describe, broadly, the "establishing" of a Bris. Those words are כורת, והקמותי, and והיה. What are the different ...
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How is the vav extra?

In Ketubot, 103a the text discusses what the "et" words include in the phrase כַּבֵּ֥ד אֶת־אָבִ֖יךָ וְאֶת־אִמֶּ֑ךָ Each et refers to another spouse of the parent so the non-biological step ...
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Seeking the definition of לופפת

What would the translation of לופפת be? As in השאיפה להכרת האמת לופפת את לב האדם ואת מוחו Thank you so much.
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Why use different adjectives in Devarim 9:1 and Devarim 9:14?

א שְׁמַע יִשְׂרָאֵל, אַתָּה עֹבֵר הַיּוֹם אֶת-הַיַּרְדֵּן, לָבֹא לָרֶשֶׁת גּוֹיִם גְּדֹלִים וַעֲצֻמִים מִמֶּךָּ--עָרִים גְּדֹלֹת וּבְצֻרֹת, בַּשָּׁמָיִם Deutoronomy 9:1 Hear, O Israel: thou art to ...
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P'garim Meitim -- Dead Corpses

The root p-g-r is used 22 times in tanach (as per Even Shoshan), and the dictionary explains them all as corpse (a dead body). In 2 of those cases, one in Yeshayahu and one in M'lachim II, the phrase ...
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The difference between Reisheet and T'chilat

I am trying to understand the difference between the initial words in the following p'sukim: Mishlei 9:10 תְּחִלַּ֣ת חׇ֭כְמָה יִרְאַ֣ת יְהֹוָ֑ה וְדַ֖עַת קְדֹשִׁ֣ים בִּינָֽה and Tehillim 111:10 ...
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3 votes
4 answers
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How is there "peace" bimromav?

At the end of a full(er) Kaddish, and at the end of shmoneh esrei there is a line "oseh shalom bimromav". The meaning seems to be an invocation of Hashem as the one who makes peace in his ...
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-1 votes
1 answer
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What does the word s'chach סכך have to do with anointing or pouring?

What does the word s'chach סכך (the roof of a sukkah or succah) have to do with anointing or pouring? The word s'chach סכך appears to come from the verb to anoint or to pour, as in the following ...
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What do the words בֶּאֱמֶת אָמְרוּ teach us in the Mishna?

Mishna Shabbat 1:3: לֹא יֵצֵא הַחַיָּט בְּמַחְטוֹ סָמוּךְ לַחֲשֵׁכָה, שֶׁמָּא יִשְׁכַּח וְיֵצֵא. וְלֹא הַלַּבְלָר בְּקֻלְמוֹסוֹ. וְלֹא יְפַלֶּה אֶת כֵּלָיו, וְלֹא יִקְרָא לְאוֹר הַנֵּר. בֶּאֱמֶת ...
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1 answer
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Why idolaters are called "own brothers" and "own fellow Jews"?

I was taught that all positive interpersonal Mitzvos are phrased in the Torah with "אחיך" or "רעך" (brother of fellow Jew) to signify that they only apply to Kosher pious Jews, for ...
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2 votes
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The origin of the word Teffilin

We know that the word תפילין appears nowhere in the Tanach. On the other hand, the only meaning of "תפילה" in Tanach is "a prayer" (see Sefaria search תפילה"). Seemingly, ...
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2 votes
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The difference between "hu" and "zeh"

In Yeshayahu, 42:8, the text reads אֲנִ֥י יְהֹוָ֖ה ה֣וּא שְׁמִ֑י This is translated in most English version I can find as "I am God, THAT is my name." The targum doesn't translate it at ...
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2 votes
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Why does "mene" appear twice in Daniel 5?

In the famous phrase from Belshatzar's feast in Daniel 5, "mene mene tekal u'farsin", the word "mene" is explained by Daniel to refer to Hashem having numbered Belshatzar's days as ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Which Perek in mishnayos has the fewest words?

I'm looking for perokim of mishnayos that have the fewest words. (I've been able to find, via this helpful forum!, which perokim have the fewest mishnayos, but I'm looking for the perokim with the ...
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5 votes
1 answer
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Question about Shmuel 1:11:11 and Tehillim 83:8

From what I can tell, whenever the word "Amon" - "עמון" appears in Tanach (not עמוני/ת, etc), it's always preceded by the word "bnei" - "בני", except for two ...
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1 vote
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What is "going" in terms of head covering?

related: Kippa in Torah? The talmud in Kiddush 31a relates that רב הונא בריה דרב יהושע לא מסגי ארבע אמות בגילוי הראש "Rav Huna, son of Rav Yehoshua, would not walk four cubits with an uncovered ...
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2 votes
2 answers
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Why וַעֲלָמ֖וֹת and not בְּתוּל֖וֹת to be used in Song of Solomon 6:8?

According to Heiser, Michael S. and many Christians, outside of Isaiah 7:14, the word almah occurs only six times in the Old Testament. In all but one of those occurrences, the context provides no ...
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Which species does or do בקר refer to in the Torah?

Are only cows and bulls included? Or perhaps other related species as well? Is this subject to disagreement? And does context make a difference?
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Why the change in phrase with the morning blessings?

In the morning blessings, there is a small but seemingly important variation in word usage across three blessings. In the blessing about the distinction between day and night, G-d is described by the ...
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1 vote
3 answers
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What does 'כו stand for?

One of the most famous abbreviations in Jewish Hebrew texts is the word 'כו, meaning et cetera. However, I have heard and seen different forms of this abbreviation, and I want to know what does it ...
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2 votes
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What is the connection between the natural world and sinking? (טבע)

Do any commentators explain a connection between the shared root of the word "טבע" for sinking (as in Shemos 15:4 - טֻבְּעוּ בְיַם) and the natural world of טבע?
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2 votes
1 answer
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What is the difference between simcha and oneg?

The Mishna Berura (529:16) notes there is a difference between "simcha" and "oneg" regarding Chol HaMoed and Yom Tov, but doesn't seem to elaborate. I always assumed they were ...
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Mitqaddešet mean "Engagement"?

Does the term mitqaddešet (consecrated) mean "Engagement"? Seems to have this meaning in rabbinic literature bu not in the bible. According to Maimonides, Mishneh Torah, Sefer Nashim, Ishut ...
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1 vote
2 answers
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What is the difference between קדד, כרע, and שׁחה?

The DCH and BDB lexicons list these words as all meaning the same thing - "to bow down." Is there some finer nuance between these words?
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Can the word Cushi be used for non-blacks?

I came across an argument that the word Cushi can be used for both non-blacks and gentiles. They argued that Moses married a Cushi, yet Moses' wife, according to Rashi, was not actually black. ...
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6 votes
3 answers
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Meaning of the word "Devash"

Sometimes, when Devash is mentioned in scriptural passages, Rashi observes that the Hebrew word is general and included many sweet fluids. For example, Leviticus 2:11 commands “For you shall not cause ...
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Yosef or Yose? Which is the correct name?

Why does Mishnah Chagigah 2 say "Yosef" in the translation, rather than "Yose"? Is this a mistake? For both Yose's, this word, "יוֹסֵי", is used. Why did the translator ...
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Shmot 24:3, why is there no preposition?

In Shmot 24:3 the second half of the pasuk reads, "וַיַּ֨עַן כָּל־הָעָ֜ם ק֤וֹל אֶחָד֙ וַיֹּ֣אמְר֔וּ כָּל־הַדְּבָרִ֛ים אֲשֶׁר־דִּבֶּ֥ר יְק֤וָ֖ק֤ נַֽעֲשֶֽׂה" "and all the people answered ...
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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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Original meaning of the word Segulah - סְגֻלָּה / and its current connotation

Shemos 19:5 - the verse reads ועתה אם שמוע תשמעו בקלי ושמרתם את בריתי והייתם לי סגלה מכל העמים כי לי כל הארץ. Targum translates Segula as beloved - חביבין Rashi translates Segula as a beloved treasure ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Why is גוי a preferred word than נוכרי to describe a non Jew?

It might be a cultural question rather than a religious one: but גוי is used to describe a nation (including the nation of Israel), גר is used to describe a Non Jew living is Israel and נכרי is used ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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Asher Yatzar Text

I have a question on the Asher Yatzar text which is either really stupid or really smart. So the text goes וברא בו נקבים נקבים חלולים חלילים and we interpret Nekavim to mean holes of some sort, and ...
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2 votes
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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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What does "Bechozek Yad Hotzianu" mean?

At the end of Parshas Bo, we see the concept of "BeChozek Yad Hotzianu" 4 times, twice in connection with mitzvas t'fillin. What does "Bechozek Yad Hotzianu" really mean and what ...
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Why is the word "youth" בְּחֽוּרֹתֶ֑יךָ in the plural?

Why is the word "youth" בְּחֽוּרֹתֶ֑יךָ in Kohelet 12:1 in the plural, when the first word, the first verb in the sentence, indicates that the speaker is speaking to one person? וּזְכֹר֙ ...
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Is there discussion of a connection between מצוין and צִּיּוֹן?

I haven't worked through all the etymological dictionaries yet so the connection might be obvious, (Jastrow and Klein don't seem to make it explicitly) but I am looking for discussion which connects ...
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2 votes
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Is it halachically problematic to call something "Karma"? [closed]

Is the idea behind karma avodah zarah amd therefore prohibited to be used?
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What is the term in Judaism for the "fence laws"? (rabbinical laws to guard against G-d's laws)?

What is the term in Judaism for the "fence laws"? (rabbinical laws to guard against G-d's laws)? For example the Muktzeh.. Distinguishing it from for example the 7 rabbinical mitzvot / ...
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