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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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Is “Yehud” a proper term for the Hebrews (ancient or otherwise)?

Reading an article about trauma in Jewish history I found the term "Yehud" (in addition to other terms) indicating the society, culture or community, for instance [1]: Jeremiah W. Cataldo "Memory ,...
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1answer
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Gav vs. Gabei (ha)Mizbei'ach

In morning davening, we say "שֶׁנֶּעֱקַד עַל גַּבֵּי הַמִּזְבֵּחַ" (the only English I could find online, at Chabad.org, translates as "bound on the altar"). There are, though, 2 formulations of the ...
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1answer
24 views

Where is an introduction to the concept of “מתיר” (regarding offerings)?

Mishnayot Menachot 2:5 introduces (as far as this tractate is concerned) the term "מתיר", which I take to mean, in the context of offerings, something like "condition which permits something" or maybe ...
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4answers
520 views

What does the word “Karpas” mean?

That which by the Seder on Pesach we eat "karpas", what does this word actually mean and where does it come from?
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3answers
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In Leviticus 1:2, the Torah specifies beheimah, shor, tzon for korbonos. What is beheimah?

The passuk in Leviticus 1:2 says: דַּבֵּר אֶל-בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, וְאָמַרְתָּ אֲלֵהֶם, אָדָם כִּי-יַקְרִיב מִכֶּם קָרְבָּן, לַיהוָה--מִן-הַבְּהֵמָה, מִן-הַבָּקָר וּמִן-הַצֹּאן, תַּקְרִיבוּ, אֶת-...
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1answer
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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
165 views

Levana or Yareach?

In the entire Tanach the moon is generally called Yareach. There are 3 instances where it is called Levana: 1) ישעיהו: כד. כג. וחפרה הלבנה ובושה החמה 2) ישעיהו: ל. כו. והיה אור הלבנה כאור ...
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3answers
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Nachalah vs. Morasha

On a biblical level, what is the difference (if any) between נחלה and מורשה? We find both שרשים being used in various forms, for example: (Deut. 32:8-9) בהנחל עליון גוים...יעקב חבל נחלתו. (Deut. 33:...
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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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3answers
459 views

Difference between behema and chaya

What is the difference between the term behema and chaya used in the torah and mishna? Is it that one means domesticated animal while the other means wild animal?
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2answers
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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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3answers
500 views

Difference between חֵטְא and עֲבֵרָה

Is there a difference between a חֵטְא (cheit) and an עֲבֵרָה (aveira)? I translate both of those words as "sin." Maybe they signify a different level of magnitude? Or maybe one word is simply ...
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3answers
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Explain the difference between “מונה” and “סופר”

There are two Hebrew words used regarding counting: מונה as a form, the 10 people minimum needed to say Kaddish, etc. is called a מנין. סופר as a form as in ספירת העומר . This past Shabbat, my rav ...
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1answer
57 views

Difference between שֵׁבֶט and מַטֶּה

I wondered if there is a difference between the words שֵׁבֶט (rod, stick, staff) and מַטֶּה (rod, stick, staff) in matter of function, symbolism, and 'spiritual meaning'? A mateh seems almost like a ...
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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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2answers
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Difference Ga'al and Natzal

shemot 6:6-7 reads the famous quote for the Pesach cups. But what's the actual difference between deliver (natzal) and redeem (ga'al)? take away from a problem? and remove the problem? Please help ...
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0answers
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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 significance of using shevet vs. mattot in Parshat Mattot?

In Parashat Mattot the word matteh is used in place of the more commonly found shevet? Why is that? They both mean tribes no?
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1answer
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Mil'al vs. Milra on “Lamah”

In a few places in the Torah, the word למה is pronounced מלעיל (accent on 1st syllable) and in other places מלרע (accent on 2nd syllable.) I viewed Bemidbar 11:11 which has both in the same verse. ...
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1answer
45 views

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
63 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
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What does anger have to do with the nose?

Two expressions, among many, ארך אפים - "long (slow) to anger" when describing one of G-d's qualities, and חרון אף - "anger" contain the word אף - nose. Usually, when people get angry, they yell (...
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2answers
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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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1answer
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*Asher Bamayim* (אשר במים) in kashrus halacha

To find the kashrus status of an organism, we first need to correctly classify it as plant, animal, bird, or asher bamayim*, as each group has its own distinct requirements. E.g., animals need to chew ...
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2answers
97 views

How can Nefesh mean a dead person?

In Vayikra 21:1 it's stated that one should not defile himself for any (dead) nefesh (person). How can a word like nefesh which seems to be the force that animated the body and gave it it's life, ...
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1answer
895 views

Avodah Melachah; work what is the difference

The roots לאך and עבד are the basis to form the words that could be translated as 'work' מלאכה and עבדה. But what is the difference? What distinguishing work from work? Some times its prohibited to ...
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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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0answers
47 views

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
18 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
77 views

Shemot 7:28 vs 12:34

In Shemot 12:34 we are told that Bnei Yisrael left Mitzrayim מִשְׁאֲרֹתָ֛ם צְרֻרֹ֥ת בְּשִׂמְלֹתָ֖ם עַל־שִׁכְמָֽם Older translations followed Ibn Ezra and Targum, that they left Mitzrayim with their '...
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1answer
25 views

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
85 views

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
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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The Biblical Hebrew Word 'Almah

According to the Hertz Chumash, The Pentateuch and Haftorahs, page 202, the word 'almah in the Tanakh means a young woman of marriageable age, unmarried or married. In modern Hebrew 'almah means '...
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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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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
8k views

How many words are there in Tanach?

How many letters are in the Torah? How many words are in the Torah? How many verses are in the Torah? How many chapters are in the Torah? How many letters, words, verses, and chapters are in every ...
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2answers
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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
306 views

How to translate Olam in the Torah?

Bereshit 3:22: ‏…וְלָקַח גַּם מֵעֵץ הַחַיִּים וְאָכַל וָחַי לְעֹלָם In search for a definition of the word עֹלָם (Olam), as in this verse, I found different translations: 'Universe', '...
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4answers
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Why “Lach” not “Lecha” in “Modim Anachnu Lach”

Could someone please explain why the "Lach" in Modim Anachnu Lach is not "Lecha"... I guess this is some grammatical point rather than the use of the feminime "you"?
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Whence “בחזקת בשרי”?

Besides the main categories of meat, dairy, and pareve (non-meat, non-dairy) foods, two special subcategories of pareve foods are relevant to halacha (e.g. Yore Dea 93): pareve food cooked using clean ...
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1answer
157 views

Is Rabbeinu Tam correct about unique phraseology for specific amoraim?

In Kesubos 2b there is a discussion in which an answer is introduced with the phrase פשיט רב אחאי – R. Achai answered. There is a discussion in Tosafos as to the identity of R. Achai. Rashbam claims ...
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4answers
552 views

What does “the Talmud” mean in the Talmud?

The G'mara Bavli says in Shabas 63: אמר רב כהנא, "כד הוינא בר תמני סרי שנין, והוה גמירנא ליה לכוליה תלמודא, ולא הוה ידענא דאין מקרא יוצא מידי פשוטו..." Rav Kahana said, "When I was 18 years ...
4
votes
1answer
52 views

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 ...
5
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1answer
56 views

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 ...