According to Rabeinu Manoach (a 13th century Rishon) in his Sefer Menucha on Suka 4:2:2 it's because the letters of the Alef-Bet are too holy to be used to describe mundane things such as shapes.
כתב הרב היו לה שתי דפנות זו בצד זו כמין גאם כלומר גימ"ל יונית שהיא עשויה כדל"ת שלנו. ומה שאמרו רבותינו כמין גאם ולא אמרו כמין דל"ת שלא רצו לתאר ...
The discussion is in the Talmud Sanhedrin 22a. The background is the disagreement among the Rabbis if the Torah was originally in Ivri or Ashuri. The Talmud says that according to the view that it was in Ivri, Ashuri script was first seen when the Angel wrote it on the wall, thus the Jews were not familiar with it - this is why they couldn't read it.
In biblical Hebrew:
When preceding an imperfect (future-form) verb to make it past tense, the vav has a patach.
However, that patach becomes a kamatz before an alef.
Otherwise, when the word is the last in a phrase and has its stress on the syllable after the prefixed vav, that vav has a kamatz.
If none of the above apply, the prefix has a sh'va, except ...
From what I understand, your second question is based on the assumption that every column begins what a Vav.
While this seems to be common practice, it is frowned upon by the Poskim who seem to claim that it has no basis in halacha.
See for example the Keseth HaSofer at the end of Ch. 4 - and the footnote there. He claims that the ווי העמודים - as it's ...
Rabbi Moshe Isserlis writes (YD 275:6) about various scribal traditions including large/small letters that אם שינה לא פסל - if [the scribe] deviated, he did not invalidate [the scroll].
Obviously if they can be fixed, one should do so to conform with the tradition.
There are 304,805 letters in the Torah.
There are 79,976 words in the Torah.
There are 5,888 or 5,845 verses in the Torah.
Indeed it does!
One source in Tanach that illustrates this is Iyov 33:33:
אִם־אַ֭יִן אַתָּ֥ה שְֽׁמַֽע־לִ֑י הַ֝חֲרֵ֗שׁ וַאֲאַלֶּפְךָ֥ חׇכְמָֽה׃
If not, hearken thou unto me; Hold thy peace, and I will teach thee wisdom. (JPS translation)
Metzudos and Ralbag translate it this way here, and and I see no dissenters. Metzudos references Iyov 15:5 and Mishlei ...
The Samaritan alphabet, closely related to Ketav Ivri, was still in use by the Samaritans in the Middle Ages. The Ramban writes in a letter that when he arrived in Israel, the leaders of the Jewish community had an ancient shekel in ketav ivri. They showed it to the Samaritans, who still used the script, and they read the coin for them as שקל השקלים on one ...
The Yalkut Shimoni (Ruth, 608) makes the same observation: (translation mine)
Rabbi Chiyya says "All the starts of verses in Ruth have "Vav"s except
for 8, since she cleaved to the Covenant that was given on the eighth
day (circumcision). The justifcation for the "vav"s is : Woe ("Vai")
to the generation that judges their judges. Woe to the ...
Indeed, the Beit Yosef (OC 36) cites the Gemara you reference and claims that the ש should have a pointed base. The Peri Megadim (EA end of 32) is unsure if this is a necessary component of the letter. The Keset HaSofer (5:2:ש) implies it would be Kosher Bedieved, but one should be very careful to avoid a flat base. The Mishna Berura (Mishnat Sofrim ש) is ...
I believe that @YeZ is correct. When I lived in Washington Heights (upper Manhattan, NYC), I occasionally attended Cong. Sha'arei Hatikvah, which, I understand, still exists in the same location - across the street from the G.W. Bridge Bus terminal. They were "staunchly" Yekke. All 'ayins were pronounced as you describe, and the Chazan would say &...
There is more than one answer to this question. But here's one, albeit a long one.
According to the Sefer Yetzirah (02:03), the letters of the Hebrew alphabet can be grouped in five categories according to the part of the mouth used to form them. Rashi often seems to support a theory something like this one, as do the sages and other commentators, frequently ...
(1) No, the Masoretes did not add this י in the way you suggest. It is simply part of the base consonantal text.
(2) You are confusing the pronominal suffix ("my") with the masculine plural construct ending. Instead of the ~im plural ending, when there is a "bound" or genitive relationship with the following word (Ezr 7:24, "...servants of..."; Lev 9:1, "......
Ofer's answer mentions that the Bar Ilan program has the complete list.
However, this program is costly, and I don't think that most people have it.
This functionality is also found in the free Torat Emet program, under the tab "שונות" ("shonot", "Miscellaneous"), as shown below.
Torat Emet's entire list is presented online here.
If the Nun's were not inverted but were left as regular letters, it is kosher bdieved.
Source: Sefer Keses Hasofer (Mahadura Tinyana), Chakira 17 (s.v. v'hinei hageonum) citing Noda Beyhudah and others
(Sefer Keses Hasofer is the classic source for Hilchos Stam by Rav Shlomo Ganzfried, the author of the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch and is probably the standard ...
Yod, like most other letters, can only get a dot in it called a "dagesh chazak." This indicates that the affected consonant should be geminated, or doubled the way you would double, e.g. the 'b' sound in "subbasement."
So, for the word in your example, שִיֵּץ, you would say "shiy-yatz" rather than "shiyatz," and your name would be pronounced "Chay-ya" ...
It's very common in some of the manuscripts - for example, the codex of the Prophets from the Qaraite synagogue in Cairo, which was written by Moshe ben Asher. There, it features in every the occasional consonantal aleph (and might therefore be understood to be a mappiq). This is generally considered to have been a feature of the Palestinian vocalisation ...
I discovered that the מגילת אסתר of the תורה שלֵמה has some answers:
For פרמשתא, citing מדרש רבי עקיבא בן יוסף על אותיות קטנות:
פרמשתא, ש׳ ת׳ של פרמשתא קטנה, הסר פ׳ ור׳ וישאר שמתא.
This one is hard to translate and explain. So I'll leave it as is.
The Gemara in Megila (16b) says in the name of Rav Yochanan - the Vav of ויזתא needs to be ...
Bavli, Shabas 104, is such a source. Plus, there are a number of chapters of Tanach written as alphabetical acrostics (albeit with omissions or a slightly different order in some cases): specifically, Pslams 25, 34, 37, 111, 112, 119, and 145; Proverbs 31; and most of Lamentations.
The addition of a nun is referred to in some grammars as "nunation"; this particular type of nun is the "paragogic nun", and its usage is controversial. It appears over 300 times throughout Tanakh (mostly in Deuteronomy, incidentally - 56 times), primarily on the ends of 3rd person and 2nd person plurals, but sometimes also on the end of a 2nd person ...
R' Yaakov Kamenetsky in Emes L'Yaakov refers to a concept that many letters are made up of other letters, for example an aleph is a vov and two yuds. He suggests that if we were adept enough in counting this way, we would be able to reach the correct total of 600k.
I saw that Rabbi Leff (in his book on Shemoneh Esrei) wanted to reinterpret the Talmudic ...
The founder of Chabad Lubavitch suggested that the vowels would be added to the count of 304,800-plus letters to reach 600,000 total.
Others state that the spaces between the letters for "white letters" that add to the count
Where Are the 600,000 Letters of the Torah?
600,000 Letters in the Torah?
Firstly, there are several non-standard methods of ...
Yerushalmi Chagigah 2:1,
דבר אחר ולמה בבי"ת שהוא בלשון ברכה ולא באל"ף שהוא לשון ארירה אמר הקדוש ברוך הוא איני בורא את עולמי אלא בבי"ת שלא יהו כל באי העולם אומרין היאך העולם יכול לעמוד ונברא בלשון ארירה אלא הריני בורא אותו בבי"ת בלשון ברכה ואולי יעמוד.
Tanchuma Bereishis 5,
למה פתח בברייתו של עולם בבי"ת ולא באל"ף והלא א' ראש לכל האותיות אלא לפי ...
According to the general psak it is not a psul, although not mehudar,
See מ'ב סימן לב ס'ק קיב
אם בתחלת הכתיבה ממשיך רגל התחתון של הנו”ן והצד”י וכותב האות הסמוכה לתוכה כגון פני או ארצי כשר כיון דבתיבה אחת נכתבו ומ”מ לכתחלה אין נכון לעשות כן להבליע אות בתוך אות כי יש מחמירין בזה:
עירוב אותיות according to the רמב"ן is the case you are describing, ...
There is no online tool that I know of (See aBochur's answer) but you can download an Ashuri font and produce the word yourself in a word processor. See here for a collection of great fonts, some of which are Ashuri. I personally have downloaded all of these fonts and use them regularly; it's a great font pack.
The Beis Yosef attributes this to the Orchos Chayim in Orach Chayim 32 (2/3 down here) without mentioning a midrash.
כתב בארחות חיים: לפיכך עושין שי"ן יותר משאר אותיות, כדי לרמוז הימים שאדם מניחם בשנה שהם ש׳.
Thanks to @YaacovDeane for the superior citation from Orchos Chayim (T'filin 27), which brings this idea (that the Shin hints to the number of ...
This forum discussion adds one possible answer:
The Mishnah in Shekalim 3:2 brings the opinion of Rabbi Yishmael that some things in the Beit Hamikdash had Greek letters written on them. Tiferet Yisrael explains that at that time, the Jews may have been more familiar with Greek than with Hebrew. Thus, if the original sources listed above were from a time ...