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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2
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0answers
27 views

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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3answers
99 views

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 ...
2
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3answers
231 views

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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1answer
64 views

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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4answers
411 views

Source of the word “teva” for nature

I was told by someone who I consider to be very reliable that the word טבע, which means nature, does not have a source in Biblical or Talmudic literature, and it is a word that first emerges in ...
2
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3answers
588 views

Is there math in Torah?

I have watched a nice movie back in the day that deals with numbers. In one of the scenes. A Jewish man comes to The Mathematician and tells about how the Hebrew uses the same "letters" as letters ...
8
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4answers
298 views

Translate the beginning of the blessing “Asher Yatzar”

The blessing said after leaving the rest room begins: אשר יצר את האדם בחכמה Who created man with wisdom Does "with wisdom" mean: 1 - G-d used His wisdom when creating man? or 2 - G-d ...
7
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1answer
163 views

Meaning of komemiyyut (קוֹמְמִיּוּת)

The word "komemiyyut" (קוֹמְמִיּוּת) appears only once in the Torah: אֲנִ֞י יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹֽהֵיכֶ֗ם אֲשֶׁ֨ר הוֹצֵ֤אתִי אֶתְכֶם֙ מֵאֶ֣רֶץ מִצְרַ֔יִם מִֽהְיֹ֥ת לָהֶ֖ם עֲבָדִ֑ים וָאֶשְׁבֹּר֙ ...
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1answer
152 views

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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976 views

Saying “Elokim” when not referring to Hashem

People often say "Elokim" instead of "Elohim" when speaking in order to avoid taking God's name in vain. I have observed, however, that some people always substitute the word "...
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116 views

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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1answer
46 views

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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2answers
125 views

Mitqaddešet mean “sexual intercourse”?

The term mitqaddešet mean "sexual intercourse"? Apart from the Bible, it seems to have this meaning in rabbinic literature. According to Maimonides, Mishneh Torah, Sefer Nashim, Ishut 3,11 ...
2
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3answers
131 views

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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3answers
1k views

What is the difference between the words “tzur” and “selah” (which both mean rock)?

Beshalach (Shmot 17:6): ... you shall strike the rock (tzur) and water will come forth from it ... Chukat (Bamidbar 20:8): ... speak to the rock (selah) before their eyes and it shall give its ...
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2answers
168 views

Connection Between Liver & Honor?

Seeing that lashon hakodesh allows for analyzing the connection between similar rooted words, what is the connection between liver (כבד) and honor (כבוד)?
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3answers
928 views

What Talmudic manuscripts (if any) have Jesus instead of Balaam? / What Does 'MS.M. Jesus' mean?

What manuscripts (if any) have Jesus instead of Balaam? I'm aware that some claim that Balaam is a code-word for Jesus. I know Rabbi Gil Student makes a good argument that it cannot be I have read ...
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5answers
650 views

What does it mean to qualify Judaism with the term “Orthodox”?

I notice that quite a few questions include "Orthodox" in the title. I wonder if people could clarify what it means to be an "Orthodox" Jew relative to another Jew that is not considered "Orthodox". (...
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3answers
99 views

Why is food in Parashat Miketz called shever

In Miketz 42,2 it is written: וַיֹּאמֶר--הִנֵּה שָׁמַעְתִּי, כִּי יֶשׁ-שֶׁבֶר בְּמִצְרָיִם; רְדוּ-שָׁמָּה וְשִׁבְרוּ-לָנוּ מִשָּׁם, וְנִחְיֶה וְלֹא נָמוּת The translation according to Machon Mamre ...
3
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1answer
95 views

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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35 views

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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2answers
117 views

Why is Shabbos called shabbos bereishis?

I have found in multiple sources that Rishonim refer to Shabbos as shabbos bereishis, and it is clear from context that they are referring to the weekly Shabbos as opposed to Shabbos of Creation. For ...
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2answers
176 views

Why did the Dor Hamabul earn a painless death?

There are, apparently, 903 levels of death, and the term vayigva is one of them. According to some, it refers to the simple act of expiration -- the creation of a corpse. Others, like the Rashi ...
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1answer
61 views

Why was Sodom & Gomorrah considered to have sinned ( Khet) instead of (Avon or Pasha)?

From Parashah Lech Lekha we see that Sodom people were mentioned as wicked and sinners against the Lord Gen 13-[13] & In parashat Vayera we are again told they were sinners. Gen 18 [20] If sin (...
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1answer
52 views

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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3answers
3k views

What is the difference between a kofer and apicorsis

I always hear the terms "apicorsis" and "kofer״, along with "kefirah" and amaratzit. What is the definition of each?
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2answers
95 views

Is there a distinction between משתה and משתה יין?

Throughout the Megillah, the term משתה is consistently used to refer to feasts (ex. 1:3,5,9; 2:18). Rashi on Esther 5:4 writes: אֶל הַמִּשְׁתֶּה. כָּל סְעוּדָה נִקְרֵאת עַל שֵׁם הַיַּיִן שֶׁהוּא ...
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4answers
5k views

What is the meaning of יוֹם (yowm) in Bereshit?

I've heard conflicting reports of how the creation days , יוֹם (yowm), in Bereshit are interpreted in the Jewish community. How do actual Hebrew scholars define day in Bereshit? six 24 hour periods or ...
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0answers
80 views

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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1answer
54 views

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 ...
2
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1answer
110 views

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 ...
7
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1answer
98 views

Difference between רבון and אדון

In the Beracha of Elohai, we refer to God using a number of different descriptives. Towards the end, we give thanks to God as: רִבּוֹן כָּל הַמַּעֲשִׂים, אֲדוֹן כָּל הַנְּשָׁמוֹת. What are some ...
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1answer
77 views

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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1answer
110 views

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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2answers
407 views

“שליט״א” only for certain people

Living people sometimes have "שליט״א" added after their respective names. This means, roughly, "may he live a good, long life". That seems like a nice blessing for anyone; yet, in my experience, only ...
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2answers
136 views

Genesis 18:21 then I will know?

I find it strange that Genesis/Bereshit 18:21 seems to imply that G-d has limited knowledge of what's going on in Sodom and Amorah, so I wondered if the word eda'ah (אֵדָעָה) could be translated as: ...
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5answers
2k views

Why does the Torah use the non-Hebrew word 'Totafot'

Related to this question. Rashi, on Shemot (13:16): "...וְהָיָה לְאוֹת עַל יָדְכָה וּלְטוֹטָפֹת בֵּין עֵינֶיךָ " writes: and for ornaments between your eyes: Heb. וּלְטוֹטָפֹת, tefillin. Since ...
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1answer
47 views

What is the definition of a city עיר regarding sieges?

Sifrei Devarim 203. כי תצור אל עיר. במלחמת הרשות הכתוב מדבר. (Devarim 20:19) "If you besiege a city many days": Scripture here speaks of an optional war. I אל עיר. ולא לכרך. "a city&...
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0answers
77 views

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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1answer
597 views

Why is sleep spelled with an aleph in Tehillim 127?

In Tehillim 127:2, the author spells the word for sleep as שנא: Source: Wikisource I found this unusual, as the word is usually spelled שנה in Tanach (Tehillim 90:5, Mishlei 6:4, and Mishlei 20:13). ...
3
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1answer
102 views

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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2answers
122 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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0answers
66 views

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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2answers
187 views

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 ...
4
votes
4answers
780 views

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 ...
0
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1answer
44 views

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 / ...
1
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1answer
130 views

Why are the words for “heavens” and “waters” so similar?

Genesis 1:9 mentions waters and heavens: "הַמַּ֜יִם מִתַּ֤חַת הַשָּׁמַ֨יִם֙". The words "mayim" (waters) and "shamayim" (heavens) are very similar. Is this a coincidence, ...
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0answers
24 views

Spelling of בארי in the Rambam

I noticed in several places in the text of the Rambam presented in Rav Nachum Rabinovitch's Yad Peshuta (e.g. in hilchoth nachaloth) that instead of the expected spelling/word "בריא" (a ...
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6answers
345 views

Connection between עָרוּם and עֲרוּמִּים

In the story of Adam, Eve and the snake the word 'עָרוּם' is used in two completely different contexts, yet they feature one pasuk after the other: Bereishit 2:25 : וַיִּהְיוּ שְׁנֵיהֶם עֲרוּמִּים,...
6
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2answers
305 views

why does Ruth 1:8 use עמדי instead of עמי?

Ruth 1:8 says: ח וַתֹּאמֶר נָעֳמִי, לִשְׁתֵּי כַלֹּתֶיהָ, לֵכְנָה שֹּׁבְנָה, אִשָּׁה לְבֵית אִמָּהּ; יעשה (יַעַשׂ) יְהוָה עִמָּכֶם חֶסֶד, כַּאֲשֶׁר עֲשִׂיתֶם עִם-הַמֵּתִים וְעִמָּדִי. 8 And Naomi ...

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