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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7
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1answer
163 views

Why do books say “ספר” on them?

Why do Jewish books often say "ספר" on the spine, cover, or cover page? The word is synonymous with "book" in modern Hebrew, and some closely related concept like "document" or "scroll" in Tana"ch. ...
6
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87 views

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 ...
6
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242 views

Source for not referring to Chanuka lights as a “menora”

Following up on this question about the use of the words "menora" or "chanukiya" to refer to Chanuka lights: I find it interesting that the use of "chanukiya," popularized in 1897 through a secular ...
5
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1answer
37 views

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 ...
5
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84 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 ...
5
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244 views

What does “p'ruath rosh” actually mean?

It says in the halakha that a married woman may not go out into the public market place with "p'ruath rosh." I have heard that this means "with uncovered head," but this does not seem to match up ...
5
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150 views

What is the Hebrew term for the drawing of the hands inward during lighting of Shabbos candles?

Someone elsewhere asked what is the Hebrew term for the drawing of the hands inward during lighting of Shabbos candle. For example, Chabad.org describes the custom, Extend your hands over the ...
5
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744 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 "elokim" for "elohim" ...
4
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51 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.
4
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1answer
78 views

Why introduce holidays with the word “yom”?

In Ya'aleh V'yavo, in tefilla for the 3 regalim and in Kiddush for the regalim, we have options for the particular Yom Tov. The specific day is listed, and is always introduced with the word "b'yom" (...
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55 views

Source for galuta d'galuta גלותא דגלותא?

I so clearly remember from my days of Talmud study the phrase גלותא דגלותא, meaning a place that was REALLY far away, seriously in exile, "deep diaspora", totally removed from eretz yisrael. Maybe it ...
4
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1answer
75 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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62 views

How Did Aharon Change Moshe's Words to Par'oh?

Moshe's message to Par'oh was to be communicated through Aharon, as per Sh'mot, 7:2 אַתָּ֣ה תְדַבֵּ֔ר אֵ֖ת כָּל־אֲשֶׁ֣ר אֲצַוֶּ֑ךָּ וְאַהֲרֹ֤ן אָחִ֙יךָ֙ יְדַבֵּ֣ר אֶל־פַּרְעֹ֔ה וְשִׁלַּ֥ח אֶת־...
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82 views

What is the history of the terms Posek and Psak Halacha?

From my searches, the Tanach does not have the term Psak or Posek in it. Many questions here related to questions on psak quote the Rambam, but those sections refer to Horyaot, or Divrei Halacha, or ...
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39 views

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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27 views

What is meant by using the term “B'nei Brit” in “U'Chtov Lechayim”?

During the Ten Days of Repentance, we add a phrase in the 2nd to last blessing of Amidah: וכתוב לחיים טובים כל בני בריתיך "May all the children of your covenant be inscribed for good life." ...
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56 views

Why are non-Jews referred to as עובדי כוכבים in the גמרא?

When the גמרא refers to עובדי כוכבים, it is usually (eg. Artscroll) translated as "non-Jews". Is this supposed to exclude monotheistic non-idolatrous non-Jews or is it inaccurate translation? If ...
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41 views

Ivri and Israeli

In many parts of the torah, When it talks about a jew it says, בני ישראל or עברי etc. However in Parashat Emor when talking about the son of Shlomit the daughter of divri from the tribe of Dan who ...
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71 views

Origin of the term “pilpul” as a method of Talmudic study

What is the source for referring to the known method of Talmudic study a "pilpul"? When did this usage begin?
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212 views

Yehi Ratzon Milfanecha or L'fanecha?

At certain points we say a "Yehi Ratzon." In my siddur Tefillat Hashalem, the construction is almost always "Yehi Ratzon Milfanecha." However, at the end of the Shmoneh Esrei for the end of Shabbat, ...
3
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75 views

Difference between the words מיחייב and חייב

Rava in masheches megillah 7b famously said that one is obligated to drink until he cannot differentiate between Haman and Mordechai. My question is: Rava used the loshon of מיחייב instead of חייב. ...
3
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34 views

Gerah as a coin and cud (and more)

Is anyone familiar with any exposition on the connection between gerah גֵּרָה as cud (ma'aleh gerah) and as a measure of 1/20th of a shekel? Is there any connection drawn to the root for the word ...
3
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0answers
53 views

Is there a difference between Sarnu and Sararnu?

In the vidui, we list our sins alphabetically, and for the samech, the word in my machzor is "sararnu" -- this is translated as "we have turned away." After the list there is a paragraph which ...
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92 views

Rav Moshe's Chanuka additions to Baruch Hashem Yom Yom

This morning in Shul I saw a pamphlet that said as follows. The song Boruch Hashem Yom Yom, the sixth stanza is referring to Chanuka. It said in this pamphlet that Rabbi Moshe Feinstein Zatzal would ...
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43 views

First Rights for Kohanim

The Gemara Gittin 59b states that there's a Biblical command to respect Kohanim by giving them 'first rights': תנא דבי רבי ישמעאל וקדשתו לכל דבר שבקדושה לפתוח ראשון ולברך ראשון וליטול מנה יפה ראשון ...
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100 views

Earliest use of the word “gematria” to mean the value of words

What's the earliest use of the word "gematria" followed by the use of it to mean the value of the word? I'm aware that in Pirkei Avot the word itself is used, but that is not used in conjunction with ...
3
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116 views

בגד (Begged) and מלבוש (Malbush)

Sometimes the Torah uses the word בגד for clothing, for example Vayikra 11:32, and sometimes it uses מלבוש, for example Iyov 27:16, or לבוש, as in Ester 6:8. This answer discusses the difference ...
3
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0answers
75 views

Language of Mishneh Brurah - Sefiras HaOmer and counting before Aleinu

Shulchan Aruch 489:1 says that after Maariv of the second night of Pesach we begin to count Sefiras HaOmer. The Mishneh Brurah there in note 2 says that one should count before "Aleinu" because "col ...
3
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0answers
128 views

Difference between 'rafa' and 'ripa'

The root רפא, "heal", is used in various places in Tanach, sometimes in binyan paal and sometimes in binyan piel. I wonder what the difference is between these. Does any Tanach commentator, or the ...
3
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1answer
81 views

Berur halachah - what is this called in English?

I'm translating an article concerning the need for a "berur halachah" in order to determine the legal status of individuals with mental retardation. How would say "berur halachah" in English? "...
3
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1answer
54 views

וכל מאמינים - essentially the same for both כ lines

The piyut Vechol Maaminim for Rosh Hashanah follows a pattern - two lines for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet, each one describing God in some way. However, the two lines for the letter Kaf seem to ...
2
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0answers
50 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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0answers
117 views

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 ...
2
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1answer
79 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
24 views

Torah definition of אזרח, גר and תושב?

The Gemmorah in Succah (and Kiddushin) learns that the women are exempt from sitting in a Succah from the word האזרח. The Torah uses this word a couple of times, many times together with the words גר ...
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43 views

What does “chotim” mean?

In Shmuel Aleph, 14:33 the word חֹטִאים is used (chotim). I always had thought that the word was chot'im with the vowel under the aleph (as it is in the title to this book) but that isn't the case. ...
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0answers
38 views

Is there any practical implication to having to “read” Hallel?

Before we (Ashkenazim) recite the Hallel we make a blessing which concludes "likro et hahallel" (to read the Hallel). Is there any law which is derived from this? Does it invalidate reciting/saying ...
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0answers
43 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
35 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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122 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, ...
2
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0answers
53 views

When the Gemoro answers the question לאתויי מאי is the answer complete or an example?

BACKGROUND A Mishnah may list a number of items and then follow with a general statement. For example in Shabbos 12 (4) the Mishnah says הכותב שתי אותיות בהעלם אחד - חיב. כתב בדיו, בסם, בסקרא, ...
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0answers
34 views

Explanation of Gemara's Interpretation of מצא

The Gemara Bava Kamma (113b) states that the term ומצאתה implies physical acquisition (rather than mere finding as the word would seem to imply): אמר רבינא {דברים כב-ג} ומצאתה דאתאי לידיה משמע The ...
2
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1answer
54 views

Assist with Rash“i's explanation of verb usage - ”N-CH-L" in describing the tribal heads who will inherit the land

Numbers 34:18: וְנָשִׂ֥יא אֶחָ֛ד נָשִׂ֥יא אֶחָ֖ד מִמַּטֶּ֑ה תִּקְח֖וּ לִנְחֹ֥ל אֶת־הָאָֽרֶץ׃ Numbers 34:29 אֵ֕לֶּה אֲשֶׁ֖ר צִוָּ֣ה יְהוָ֑ה לְנַחֵ֥ל אֶת־בְּנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל בְּאֶ֥רֶץ ...
2
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0answers
133 views

Claim for number of times the Tetragrammaton (and 'distinct words') appear in the Chumash

This article makes the following claim: And now to our correspondence: one of the most important contributions to Jewish scholarship in the recent past has been the work of Rabbi Zalman Pinhas ...
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29 views

What is the significance of the ten azharos of tshuva (in Yeshaya ch. 1)?

Rashi in Yeshayah chapter 1 vs. 16 tells us that the ten words in the next two psukim, רחצו, הזכו, הסירו, חדלו, למדו, דרשו, אשרו, שפטו, ריבו, are all אזהרות של לשון תשובה כנגד עשרת ימי תשובה, וכנגד ...
2
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0answers
88 views

Why does Rashi translate שלולית differently from everyone else?

The beginning of chapter 2 of Pea says: These things divide a field [into two] for purposes of pea [requiring a separate pea from each subdivision]: …, a שלולית, …. The Bavli, Bava ...
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0answers
100 views

Difference in Tehillim 82:7 quoted in Avodah Zarah 5a

This is Tehillim 82:7 in Masoretic: אֲנִי-אָמַרְתִּי, אֱלֹהִים אַתֶּם; וּבְנֵי עֶלְיוֹן כֻּלְּכֶם Yet, see the following passage in Avodah Zarah 5a where Tehillim 82:6-7 is quoted by Rabbi Yose,...
2
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1answer
77 views

Is the word “Nischazeik” or “Nischazak”?

When completing an entire book of the Torah (ex. Bereishis), it is customary in some communities to recite the words חזק חזק ונתחזק which is translated out to "be strong, be strong, and let us be ...
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29 views

Two beginnings related to heavens and earth

IIRC, there is a medrash conecting the first letter of torah (beit) + the word reshit by saying that with 2 beginnings (meaning the heavens and earth) the world came into existence. Does anyone happen ...
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19 views

What type of cedar wood was used to build the Bais Hamikdash?

Related Acacia wood or Cedar We see that ארז (cedar) was used for the Bais Hamikdash Melachim 1 9:11 And we see that there are many types of ארז (cedar) Bava Basra 80b and Midrash Tanchuma Teruma ...