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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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What is the phrase “sin of youth” (חטאת נעורים) referring to, as used in the Tanya?

"Sin of youth" (Heb. חטאת נעורים) is a phrase found in various places in the Tanach. (For example, Tehillim 25:7 and Shmuel I 2:17.) I was told that in Tanya, Chapter 42, "sin of youth" is a ...
2
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0answers
42 views

כְּהַיּוֹם vs. כַּיּוֹם

Why does the word sometimes appear as כַּיּוֹם and sometimes as כְּהַיּוֹם? As a general grammatical rule, a heh with a patach gets subsumed into the preceding kaf, so why are these cases different? ...
3
votes
1answer
697 views

Meaning of the Word “Lechem”

One might think that the word “lechem” was a fairly general term. It seems to refer sometimes to animals' feed (Psalms 147:09), mannah (Ex 16:22), or sacrificial meat (Lev 03:16, Num 28:02). Rashi ...
4
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3answers
119 views

Is there a difference between a קֻּבָּ֗ה and an אהל?

In Bamidbar 25:8, Pinchas follows the Israelite אֶל־הַקֻּבָּ֗ה. According to Rashi, a Kubah is a tent ( and the Rashbam sort of agrees, saying "inyan ohel" which Sefaria translates as "A kind of tent."...
3
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3answers
167 views

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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0answers
41 views

Why is 'לִבִּי' treated as a separate entity in Kohelet?

Kohelet is a chronicle of King Solomon's life journey to understand the 'meaning of it all'. In this short klaf the phrase לִבִּי (and variants on the word for 'heart') is used some 30 times (mainly ...
2
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2answers
117 views

What's the link between prostitution and one who “one who sells Mezonot”

In a Rashi commentary (p.2) on Joshua 2:1 אִשָּׁה זוֹנָה refers to Rachav "one who sells Mezonot". Is this an euphemism for Rachav's prostitution and if so, what's the connection besides a word root ...
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0answers
76 views

How to write לע''נ when the father is alive

I understand that usually you write: לע''נ Joe בן Shmo ז''ל when you dedicate something in honer of someone who passed away But if the father is alive would you do still the same? Sources please
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1answer
597 views

When to say Baruch Dayan Emes

This link suggests it is appropriate to say "Baruch Dayan Emes" (presumably without H''s name) even if you didn't know the person. But what if the person passed away a long time ago, and it is only ...
4
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0answers
37 views

Where does the phrase בס"ד come from? [duplicate]

People will sometimes mark their papers with the phrase בס"ד or ב"ה, I know what they mean but where does the idea of putting them on comes from. Is there and basis in the Torah or do any Rabbis have ...
3
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2answers
599 views

What does hedyotot mean?

I was recently discussing the prohibition of studying "shitrei hedyotot" (loosely translated as secular studies). But when looking at a debate of the Rabbis in Talmud Bavli Sanhedrin 21:b-22:a the ...
4
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1answer
48 views

Why do we refer to HaShem as a Rofei Chinam?

Shulchan Aruch (OC 230:4, as explained by Magen Avraham ibid. :6) paskens that when one undergoes a medical procedure he should say the following prayer: יהי רצון מלפניך ה׳ אלקי שיהא עסק זה לי ...
5
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1answer
205 views

Wishing someone Mazel Tov may turn out to be problematic

I am a member of a Chabad-Lubavitch shul with its wonderfully diverse community here in Southeast Asia though I am not a Chasid. I may have caused some discomfort to our much loved Rabbi & ...
2
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1answer
171 views

Does anyone know what the Tefillin Cover says?

(Image source) I'm just curious and I want to know what it means.
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1answer
36 views

Is the title הזקנה only used in reference to an old woman? Or out of respect? [closed]

I am asking this question in reference to placing a title on a tombstone for a special lady (unfortunately did not live long, 40s): What title is most appropriate or respectful? Is the title הזקנה ...
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1answer
80 views

In references to dates on tombstones, יום שבת קודש or יום שבת?

Which is better, more correct, or necessary? In references to dates on tombstones, יום שבת קודש or יום שבת? Thanks very much!
1
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1answer
55 views

Difference of term to mean “remembrance”

In Vayikra (Lev. 24:7) , the term אזכרה is used. It seems to mean "remembrance" (gleaning that from Rash"i's translation.) However, another word used to mean remembrance is זכרון . I ran a word ...
1
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1answer
98 views

Parameters of “Mehudar”

What are the parameters of hiddurim? To me, it seems as if the term is used somewhat arbitrarily.
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3answers
1k views

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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0answers
83 views

Use of the Word “Shoah” Before the Holocaust [closed]

Are there any Hebrew texts that employ the word "Shoah" to refer to calamities that befell the Jewish people prior to the 20th century? Or is the use of "Shoah" to refer to the assault against Jews as ...
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0answers
37 views

Limping צלע and פסח

צלע (Genesis/Bereshit 32:32) וַיִּֽזְרַֽח־ל֣וֹ הַשֶּׁ֔מֶשׁ כַּאֲשֶׁ֥ר עָבַ֖ר אֶת־פְּנוּאֵ֑ל וְה֥וּא צֹלֵ֖עַ עַל־יְרֵכֽוֹ׃ and פסח (Leviticus/Vayikra 21:18 for example) כִּ֥י כׇל־אִ֛ישׁ אֲשֶׁר־...
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0answers
73 views

Tzerei vs. Sh'va vs. Segol

Are there examples of words where pronouncing a sh'va as a tzeirei or a segol (or pronouncing a tzeirei as a sh'va or a segol or a segol as a sh'va or a tzeire) creates a different meaning? I'm ...
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0answers
41 views

Beith Habechira Vs. Beit Hamikdash

In the Haggadah, in Dayeinu we say the final lines about Hashem's building for us (itself a curious idea) the temple. But different texts have different wording. One haggadah reads "vlo vana lanu et ...
2
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0answers
34 views

Zissin Pesach - Where does this phrase come from?

What is the history of wishing a zissin - sweet Pesach? Was this purposely created, as someone once told me, in contrast to wishing a Chag kosher vesameach?
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1answer
161 views

Proper translation of עכו''ם

The term עכו''ם appears frequently in halachic literature, and it is an acronym of עובדי כוכבים ומזלות, which literally means "worshippers of stars and omens." However, it seems that in most contexts ...
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Why is washing one's hands called “netilas yadayim”?

The brachah made on washing one's hands is "al netilas yadayim." Why do we call it "taking the hands" instead of "washing the hands" (rechitzas yadayim)? Notice that at the Seder we call the washing "...
3
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3answers
143 views

korat ruach versus nachat ruach in the “Path of the Just”?

In The Path of the Just (Mesilat Yesharim) by Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzato (ch.19), I noticed he sometimes uses the term "nachat ruach" and other times "korat ruach." What is the meaning of both ...
2
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1answer
69 views

Why use “nadedah”?

"On that night the king's sleep stayed away from him" (Esther 6:1 - translation follows Radak). Why does the passuk use a lashon of nadedah, "stay away," instead of the more simple wording, "On that ...
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1answer
50 views

Isaiah 57:15 The Dakah and Shaphal

Isaiah 57:15 reads: ואת-דכא ושפל-רוח להחיות רוח שפלים ולהחיות לב נדכאים Regards this part of the verse: What do the terms דכא and שפל literally and figuratively mean? - There are so many different ...
1
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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 '...
2
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1answer
274 views

Why do we say bar mitzvah instead of ben mitzvah?

I've heard somewhere that there is a source explaning why do we say "bar mitzvah" instead of "ben mitzvah". I assume that this source it's not dealing with common knowledge on this (such as the ...
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2answers
1k views

What is the meaning behind the word “House” when we call the Jews “The House of Israel”?

The House of Israel is a phrase which gets repeated often but I never get many people explaining the small details behind the name. The Jewish people are called the "House" of Israel. Is there a ...
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1answer
136 views

The word for Heart

Is there any difference in meaning between lev and levav? In the Shema a person is commanded to love "b'chol levavcha" with all his heart. But in Shemot 9:14 Hashem says he is sending plagues "el lib'...
6
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1answer
136 views

Why is אותו מקום referred to as the מקום התורף? What does תורף mean?

In Bavli Berachot 24a (and Shabbat 64b), the Gemara records that: כל המסתכל באצבע קטנה של אשה כאילו מסתכל במקום התורף -- Anyone who gazes upon a woman’s little finger is considered as if he gazed ...
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1answer
75 views

Why is this phrase flipped between Avinu Malkeinu and Tachanun?

In Avinu Malkeinu, we read, "חָנֵּנוּ וַעֲנֵנוּ כִּי אֵין בָּנוּ מַעֲשִׂים עֲשֵׂה עִמָּנוּ צְדָקָה וָחֶסֶד וְהוֹשִׁיעֵנוּ" be gracious with us and answer us, though we have no worthy deeds; treat us ...
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3answers
77 views

Who was Miriam responding to?

Shemos 15:21: וַתַּעַן לָהֶם מִרְיָם שִׁירוּ לַיהֹוָה כִּי גָאֹה גָּאָה סוּס וְרֹכְבוֹ רָמָה בַיָּם And Miriam called out to them, Sing to the Lord, for very exalted is He; a horse and its ...
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Common mistakes in the Tefillah [duplicate]

For obvious reasons, one has to be careful to pronounce every word properly in the Tefillah. But I was once taught by a teacher some common mistakes in the pronunciation of some words in the Amidah ...
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1answer
52 views

Why is there a number switch in the names of the plagues?

In the makkot, there seems to be inconsistency in terms of the number-title of the plagues. One of the words is in the singular (tz'farde'a, frog) while the one after it is in the plural, kinim, lice. ...
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2answers
139 views

Why use an esoteric, foreign word which leads to different understandings?

In Shemot 12:9, the text reads, "אַל תֹּאכְלוּ מִמֶּנּוּ נָא " which is translated at chabad.org as "You shall not eat it rare ". The meforshim (as taken from sefaria.org) look at the word "Na" as ...
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32 views

Paroh Doesn't Listen in Different Words

(All Pesukim cited are in Shemos.) 7:4: "Paroh will not listen to you." 7:13 (after the staffs turning into snakes): "He did not listen to them." 7:22 (Dam): "He did not listen to them." 8:11 (...
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1answer
55 views

Paroh Refuses in Different Words

(All Pesukim cited are in Shemos.) 7:3: "I will 'kasheh' Paroh's heart." 7:13 (after the staffs turning into snakes): "Paroh's heart was 'yechazeik'." 7:22 (Dam): "Paroh's heart was 'yechazeik'." 8:...
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1answer
53 views

Aiyn Hara vs. Eiyn Hara [closed]

The expression עין הרע is a case of סמיכות. It seems we often tend to (if not always) pronounce the noun עין with a patach beneath the ע and chirik beneath the י. Shouldn't it be pronounced as eiyn ...
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2answers
99 views

Why is “bor” the jail?

Yosef was taken by his brothers and thrown into habor [הַבּוֹר] (Bereishit 37:22), the pit: 22And Reuben said to them, "Do not shed blood! Cast him into this pit, which is in the desert, but do not ...
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3answers
80 views

why is food in parashat miketz called shever

In mikez 42,2 it is written: וַיֹּאמֶר--הִנֵּה שָׁמַעְתִּי, כִּי יֶשׁ-שֶׁבֶר בְּמִצְרָיִם; רְדוּ-שָׁמָּה וְשִׁבְרוּ-לָנוּ מִשָּׁם, וְנִחְיֶה וְלֹא נָמוּת The translation accoding to machon mamre ...
4
votes
3answers
112 views

שקר and שוא The difference between

What's the difference between these 'falses' (שקר and שוא?), how does one distinguish them from one another? Exodus 20:16 עד שקר Exodus 23:1 שמע שוא Exodus 23:7 שקר Deuteronomium 5:20 עד שוא Or ...
2
votes
2answers
91 views

Where do we learn that honey of the 7 species is from dates?

The Torah tells us Israel is "a land of olive oil and honey" (Deut. 8:8). This is interpreted as date honey, not bee honey. Where in the sources is it taught that this is date honey?
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17 views

Impure Korban and ketoires that started to burn become completely pure

I was just in a shiur where they said that a korbon and kitoires which where tomai become tohor after part of them starts burning Where can I find this(in the gemoro and the rambam)? What is this ...
3
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1answer
89 views

What does 1/2 tefachs in the front 2/1 tefachs in the back mean

Similar Halachos of the bathroom In the 3rd siman of the Shulchan Aruch is understood (by me) you should keep your body covered as much as possible, for example when a man goes to the bathroom (for ...
3
votes
1answer
88 views

What is פורגן? Why should there be a chashash?

This website discusses the hiddurim of the tzitzit it sells. One of the hiddurim it discusses is that the strings are "ללא חשש "פורגן, without a chashash (fear) of "פורגן." I have consulted my ...
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vote
0answers
82 views

What is the source and meaning of the word מהול?

I am trying to get to the bottom of what the word מהול means in the context of being circumcised. I can't find it used in Mishna or Talmud, but by the Rishonim and Medrashim it is commonly used to ...