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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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69 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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38 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 ...
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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
150 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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2answers
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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
139 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 ...
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1answer
65 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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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 ...
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1answer
66 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
258 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
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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
124 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'...
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1answer
129 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
73 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
76 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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29 views

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
50 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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136 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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31 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
53 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
52 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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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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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 ...
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106 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 ...
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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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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 ...
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1answer
87 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 ...
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1answer
87 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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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 ...
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53 views

Hinei - Bereishit 25:24 [duplicate]

When Rivka feels something amiss inside her, she goes to ask. In Bereishit 25:22-23 she is told that there are 2 nations in her belly and the elder will serve the younger. Then, in verse 24, when the ...
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2answers
92 views

What does נמר in Tanach mean

What does נמר quoted in this Passuk mean: ירמיהו יג, כג: היהפוך כושי עורו ונמר חברבורותיו I see it translated as a leopard e.g. in mishna avot 5.20 and in "What's the point of Jeremiah 13:18–...
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1answer
123 views

How does the 19th brocho of the shmona esrai open?

I see nusach taiman has it starting with למשומדים אל תהי תקוה  I see the rambam has that too Rambam (mechon mamre) לַמְּשֻׁמָּדִים אַל תְּהִי תִקְוָה, כָּל הַמִּינִים כְּרֶגַע יֹאבֵדוּ, ...
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1answer
144 views

Why can't we say the word “hell”?

It seems to me that in many Orthodox communities it is considered improper to say the word "hell". Why is this so? Why is it any worse than saying "Gehenim" or "Purgatory"?
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196 views

Satan meaning Tempter?

I found a great story online from which I would like to quote a part: The word satan in the Bible seems to mean merely “opponent”. For instance, the angel who obstructs Bilaam’s progress is ...
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La'asot meaning “to prepare food”

In parshat Vayera, Bereishit 18:7, the text relates that וְאֶל הַבָּקָר רָץ אַבְרָהָם וַיִּקַּח בֶּן בָּקָר רַךְ וָטוֹב וַיִּתֵּן אֶל הַנַּעַר וַיְמַהֵר לַעֲשׂוֹת אֹתוֹ Avraham ran, chose an animal, ...
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What is Avadon in the Mesilat Yesharim?

In the Mesilat Yesharim ch.2 "contemplating and watching over his deeds and ways whether they are good or evil; not abandoning his soul to the danger of Avadon" מתבונן ומפקח על מעשיו ודרכיו, הטובים ...
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299 views

Ma'ariv vs. Arvit - when did these terms first appear?

I have seen two terms used to refer to the evening prayer Ma'ariv and Arvit. If I recall correctly, Arvit seems to be the more common Talmudic term esp. in Talmud Brachot. Ma'ariv is used near the ...
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2answers
546 views

Birkat Hamazon: Chaverai vs Rabotai

When chanting Birkat Hamazon, I always thought it started Chaverai n'varech, but I have recently attended a Conservadox Bar Mitzvah, where they used Rabotai n'varech. Here are some images; I found the ...
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3answers
93 views

תְּחִלָה vs. בְּרֵאשִׁית

Why is בְּרֵאשִׁית used in Bereshit 1:1 but תְּחִלָה used in Shoftim 1:1? Both words mean beginning/first as far as I can tell. I am just wondering why one is used in one location and the other ...
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1answer
188 views

Rashi's explanation of B'etzem Hayom Hazeh

In Devarim, 32:48, the pasuk uses the phrase בְּעֶצֶם הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה (on that very day). Rashi there comments בשלשה מקומות נאמר בעצם היום הזה, (: Heb. בְּעֶצֶם הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה. In three places ...
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652 views

What is the difference between a Ger Toshav, a Ben Noach, an Akum and a Nochri?

These terms get used a lot in referring to gentiles. What are the precise differences, if any, between these different categories? Just for clarity, Akum is an abbreviation of the phrase 'Eved ...
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0answers
58 views

Was there nothing Tov about Shabbat?

During creation, many of the days have the phrase "vayar Elokim ki tov" after some aspect of the creation on that day. The second day does not -- the Stone edition mentions a Rashi that the term ...
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36 views

To form, different roots

Are the roots צור (to form, shape, fashion) יצר (to create) and צר (to shape, form, model) related or do they just share similar meanings? Are there any commentaries, scriptures, that connect these ...
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0answers
134 views

How did the word Yetzer begot it's meaning of inclination?

Looking for the connection of Yetzer and the translation as inclanation, I was surprised that almost every Hebrew word derived from the same root had to do with creating. So how did a word (from a ...
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0answers
38 views

Spelling ירושלים as ירושלם [duplicate]

In almost all cases, I have seen the word "Yerushalayim" spelled like this: יְרוּשָׁלַיִם. However, sometimes I have seen it spelled like this: יְרוּשָׁלִַם, missing a י between the ל and the ם. Is ...
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1answer
65 views

What's the difference in the terms עָוֺן פֶּשַׁע חַטָּאָה in Exodus 34:6-7

Exodus 34:6-7 says, וַיַּעֲבֹ֨ר יְהוָ֥ה ׀ עַל־פָּנָיו֮ וַיִּקְרָא֒ יְהוָ֣ה ׀ יְהוָ֔ה אֵ֥ל רַח֖וּם וְחַנּ֑וּן אֶ֥רֶךְ אַפַּ֖יִם וְרַב־חֶ֥סֶד וֶאֱמֶֽת ׀ נֹצֵ֥ר חֶ֙סֶד֙ לָאֲלָפִ֔ים נֹשֵׂ֥א עָוֺ֛ן ...
2
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0answers
101 views

Source for not saying Mazel Tov when pregnant

There seems to be a custom of not saying Mazel Tov on hearing news or observing that someone is pregnant (there are even those that correct others that say Mazel Tov). Instead they say Beshaah Tovah, ...
0
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1answer
81 views

Hell or something else: גהנום/ גהנם and שאול what are these?

'Hell' as described in most dictionaries doesn't seem to be the right translation. Yet a lot of translations of the Tanakh uses this word to translate words such as Sheol and Gehinom ( גהנום/ גהנם and ...
2
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1answer
59 views

The afflicted, poor and humble a reference to the command to afflict oneself on Yom Kippur

How do we know that 'v'initem' (Leviticus 16:31) includes fasting in the context of Yom Kippur? How does this usage relate to usage of the word, or related words, in other contexts? Some food for ...
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1answer
48 views

Does the term “G-d” (i.e Elokim) include the concept of ruler?

Often times Hashem is referred to as Elokim or Elokecha and the like, (10 commandments etc.) does this term include the terms/concepts of manhig or reshuiot? In other words, could someone ...