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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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Greeting on Yom Hashoah

What is the proper greeting on Yom hashoah? I am not Jewish but do have some Jewish friends and would like to know how to greet them on this day of remembrance.
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2answers
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What is the difference between חוכמה and חָכְמָה?

Previously I heard יקר מחוכמה מכבוד סכלות מעט but in the book קֹהֶלֶת I read יָקָר מֵחָכְמָה מִכָּבוֹד, סִכְלוּת מְעָט What is the difference between חוכמה and חָכְמָה ? Are they just two different ...
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1answer
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What is an Inyan? Is it different to a Minhag?

Is there a difference between an ענין and a מנהג? If so, what is it? Examples differentiating the concepts would be useful.
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0answers
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Who is a boor בור? [closed]

The Talmud frequently calls an individual a "boor". Two examples: It has been reported: If one has learned Tanach and Mishnah but not Talmud, Rabbi Eleazar says he is an ignoramus [am ha-aretz]; ...
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1answer
61 views

Within Judaism is there a tradition of interpreting individual letters such as with YHVH

Two recent questions on Christianity Stack have got me thinking about the way some people interpret the divine name. One answer gave this interpretation: Yod - י Hand Hey - ה Open Window, to reveal ...
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2answers
54 views

Is there a difference between מכות and מלקות?

The two terms seem to mean the same thing, both referring to lashes. Even in Mishnayos, they seem to be used interchangeably. For instance, in Makkos 1:2: מְעִידִין אָנוּ בְאִישׁ פְּלוֹנִי ...
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Significance of Torah Midpoint

What is the significance of the middle of the Torah in letters being the vav in גָּחוֹן (Vayika 11:42)? (source: Kiddushin 30a) What is special about the vav in גָּחוֹן that the Almighty chose to ...
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1answer
17 views

Meaning of Purim

What is the origin/meaning of the word Purim? I always assumed it meant the multiple lots of Haman, but I just heard a shiur saying the word Purim comes from "pirurin" - little things - of the ...
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1answer
54 views

Mishloach Manos or Shalach Manos?

What is the proper grammar of giving/receiving mishloach manos/shalach manos? I've heard people use both terms as in, "I'm preparing mishloach manos for tomorrow" and "I hope to bring the shalach ...
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1answer
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Rav or Rebbi Acha Sar HaBirah?

R' Acha Sar HaBirah is mentioned in a few places in shas. Rashi tells us that 'Sar HaBirah' was his nickname. However, in some places his title is רב, while in other places he is mentioned as רבי. ...
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2answers
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Meaning of Zekher Livracha (ז"ל - Of blessed memory)

The literal translation of ז"ל is "of blessed memory" What does it mean to bless memory? How does it help the soul?
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1answer
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What are the differences between Limmud and Chinuch?

In Kiddushin 29b it says "a father is obligated... to teach his son Torah" (האב חייב בבנו... וללמדו תורה) and in Nazir 29a it says "a father is obligated to educate his son" (איש חייב לחנך בנו). What ...
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1answer
42 views

Corner of a garment vs. corner of a field vs. corner of a face

Related to this question. Regarding the obligation to affix fringes, the Torah commands them to be attached to the corners (kanfei) of the clothing. But when it comes to our fields and our faces, the ...
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1answer
242 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 ...
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3answers
98 views

Gemara word for QED

I'm trying to remember the Gemara word for the equivalent of QED, when an argument would be settled between competing opinions and nothing more would be said about the issue.
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0answers
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Is there a Jewish race? [closed]

I've never been comfortable with the term "race" when applied to people, as people are all part of the "human race". But, according to thefreedictionary.com, the word "race" is defined as: A ...
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2answers
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Why is the colour כחול ('blue') not mentioned in Tanach?

The colour כחול is not mentioned in Tanach. Given it's wide usage in later hebrew texts, why does it never feature in Tanach? Do any sources pick up on this? (There is a different debate about what ...
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1answer
43 views

Where is there a rabbinic recipe for milk and honey?

Where is there a rabbinic recipe for milk and honey? Shir HaShirim 4:11 "honey and milk are under your tongue" דְּבַ֤שׁ וְחָלָב֙ תַּ֣חַת לְשׁוֹנֵ֔ךְ From this passage, which to me seems to suggest a ...
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2answers
75 views

Root of the word פרעה

The Hebrew word פרעה (Pharaoh) is probably directly derived from (a phonetic way to pronounce) the Egyptian word. But it reminded me of the Hebrew root פרע as seen in Exodus 32:25 which is actually ...
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1answer
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The difference between ארון and תיבה in the Torah

I'm a little confused here: in contemporary Hebrew the difference is simple - a box that opens on the side [and has a door] is called a cabinet (ארון) while a box that opens on the top is called a box ...
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Why don't we say “please” (that often)?

The week day Shmoneh Esrei prayer has a series of requests during which we ask Hashem for many of our needs. In my siddur (Tefilla Hashalem) there is a subtle change made in the texts of 1 of the ...
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1answer
42 views

Different kinds of Moshav Leitzim clowns

On Gemore Avoda Zara 18b, there's a list of multiple Moshav Leitzim examples: תנו רבנן ההולך לאיצטדינין ולכרקום וראה שם את הנחשים ואת החברין בוקיון ומוקיון ומוליון ולוליון בלורין סלגורין הרי זה ...
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1answer
99 views

What does it mean “vus iz de nafke meene” [closed]

What is the exact definition of "Vus iz di nafke meene"?
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0answers
25 views

Moreh Makom or Mar'eh Makom

A Torah source is often referred to as a M"M, which I have heard read as both מורה מקום, Moreh Makom and מראה מקום, Mar'eh Makom, (see here for example) which have similar meanings, and mean something ...
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3answers
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Why is it called Seder Nashim?

Why is Seder Nashim called Seder Nashim? The mitzvos discussed do apply to women (except for some tangents like the 7th chapter of Sotah), but so do: The overwhelming majority of Zeraim (everything ...
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1answer
60 views

What does כסיה mean?

The Gemara in Pesachim 117a brings a disagreement whether כס יה, in the last pasuk of Beshalach, is one word or two. As far as I know all modern Sifrei Torah (Ashkenazi, Sefardi, Teimoni) have two ...
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1answer
71 views

Why 1/6th - שתות in the Mishna is in Aramaic?

It appears suspicious to me, that an Aramaic word Shtut is used everywhere in the Hebrew text of the Mishnah, like in: "שׁוּם הַדַּיָּנִין שֶׁפִּחֲתוּ שְׁתוּת אוֹ הוֹסִיפוּ שְׁתוּת..." (Ksubos 11) ...
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1answer
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Different words for “a corner” in Tanach

There appear to be three different words in Tanach that are translated as "a corner": Pinah (shmot 26:2) Kanaf (Shmu'el 1 24:4) Keren (I haven't found one yet, but this site says that its use as "...
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Why does ויאמר almost never use לאמר, and why does וידבר almost always use לאמר?

It seems that whenever Tanach says ויאמר, "and he said," it almost never uses the word לאמר, "saying."1 Conversely, whenever Tanach says וידבר, "and he spoke," it almost always uses the word לאמר, "...
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Since when “Gdol Hador” refers to a scholar as opposed to a Tzadik?

Gemmorah Psochim 49b: "תנו רבנן לעולם ימכור אדם כל מה שיש לו וישא בת תלמיד חכם; לא מצא בת תלמיד חכם ישא בת גדולי הדור, לא מצא בת גדולי הדור ישא בת ראשי כנסיות וכו'" Rashi: "גדולי הדור - ...
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3answers
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What does it mean “someone knows Kol Torah Kulah”?

What constitutes as Kol Torah Kulah? I hear people saying this all the time, that this Rabbi knows "Kol Torah Kulah".
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The usage of the title HaShem instead of other titles [duplicate]

One doesn’t pronounce יהוה, but with so many titles to be found in the Tenach for referring to יהוה, why would we refer to Him as ‘HaShem’ then? Why not stick with Adonai, Anochi, El Shadai etc. like ...
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1answer
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Why is Benjamin referred to as a youth?

In several places, parsha vayigash refers to Benjamin as a youth (na-ar). But he must have been close to 30 years old since Joseph was at that time already in Egypt for about 20 years. Why is ...
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2answers
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A few questions on the meaning of טל

What do the words "מוריד הטל" mean? Dew does not "fall" or "come down". Also what do the words "ותן טל...לברכה" mean? What is an example of טל not לברכה?
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Avraham's knife was called Ma'achelet. Why?

What is the reason behind the word Ma'achelet used for the knife used by Avraham in the binding of Yitzchok? Is it an indication of specific function? Is this name used elsewhere? Does it indicate any ...
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Is there any basis for reserving the term “menorah” to the one in the Beis Hamikdash? [duplicate]

I was taught in kindergarten that "menorah" refers specifically to the menorah in the Beis Hamikdash, and the proper term for the thing used to hold Chanuka candles is "Chanukiyah". But in all the ...
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0answers
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Origin and meaning of the honorific Shlita

It seems to me that for a long time, the word Shlita was popularly associated with the Lubavitcher Rebbe. And in those days when I was first encountering the term and asking about it, I was told that ...
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1answer
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Why use “Kiddushin” instead of biblical “Erusin”?

Why did the Sages see a need of inventing a new word "Kiddushin" e.g Masechet Kiddushin 46a - שצריכה הימנו קידושין , instead of the biblical Hebrew word "Erusin" used everywhere in the Torah, as in: ...
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2answers
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First usage of golem to refer to a man-made humanoid

There's a famous folk tale that the Maharal created a golem, some sort of human shaped creature. The tale has it that he created it using practical Kabbalah. The gemarra even describes amoraim ...
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1answer
122 views

Why does the verb PaGA (פגע) mean both to intercede and to arrive?

What is the explanation why the Hebrew verb PaGA ( = פגע ) means both to intercede and to arrive? We see this, for example, in the Chabad Rashi translation and commentary of both Genesis 28:11 "And ...
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1answer
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Why the principal (money) is called Keren?

In all kinds of monetary transactions, the main part is called Keren or for the reward for Mitzvot as in Kesubos 3,9: "הָאוֹמֵר גָּנַבְתִּי וְטָבַחְתִּי וּמָכָרְתִּי, מְשַׁלֵּם אֶת הַקֶּרֶן עַל ...
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1answer
64 views

Shepherd and Evil Connected?

Rav Samson Rafael Hirsch often finds connections between similar words in the Torah. What is the connection between evil - רעה - and shepherd - רועה - (especially in the same verse Bereishis 37:2 - ...
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387 views

Why does the word milah mean both circumcision and word?

What is the rabbinic explanation why the word milah means both circumcision and word? To translate this into Hebrew is quite interesting, it would read like, Why does the milah milah mean both ...
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1answer
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Definition of “Tinok” for the status of “Melamdei Tinokos”

Looking for sources that describe what ages the word "tinok" or "tinokes" refers to for the halachic ramifications that related to "Melamdei Tinokos", teachers of tinokos (who have rules that relate ...
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2answers
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Pirkei Avos- how does a sieve retain the fine flour?

Regarding the following mishna in Pirkei Avos: משנה אבות ה׳:ט״ו ארבע מדות ביושבים לפני חכמים: ספוג , ומשפך, משמרת, ונפה. ספוג, שהוא סופג את הכל. משפך, שמכניס בזו ומוציא בזו. משמרת, שמוציאה ...
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1answer
66 views

Small Dalet in Mishlei (Proverbs) 28:17

In Mishlei (Proverbs) 28:17, the letter dalet is small in the word "adam". Why is this?
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2answers
45 views

Is there a difference between ירחים and חדשים?

As a word meaning "months," the word חדשים is used in Ber. 38:24 and then multiple locations after Sh'mot 12:2. יְרָחִים appears in Sh'mot 2:2, then (possibly) in Dev 33:14 and twice in Iyov. When ...
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1answer
37 views

Why are Avraham (and Sarah), Yehoshua and David set apart?

Avraham's advanced age is referred to as "zaken ba bayamim" in Ber. 24:1. His age (along with Sarah) is similarly labeled in Ber. 18:11. Yehoshua is called the same way in Yeh. 13:1 and 23:1, while ...
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0answers
47 views

Difference Between Shamayim and Rakia

In parshas Berashis, the words Shamayim and Rakia keep on coming up. someone asked me what is the difference between the 2, and I had no idea.
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32 views

Understanding the cantillation of Bereshit 5:29 [duplicate]

In Bereshit 5:29 it states וַיִּקְרָ֧א אֶת־שְׁמ֛וֹ נֹ֖חַ לֵאמֹ֑ר זֶ֠ה יְנַחֲמֵ֤נוּ In every chumash I have seen the word זה has 2 cantillation marks on it a telisha and a gershayim (according to the ...