22 votes
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Is there an online list of Perakim of Mishnayos arranged alphabetically?

My code to generate this list in python from the Sefaria API: import collections, requests, json masechtos = ['Berakhot', 'Peah', 'Demai', 'Kilayim', 'Sheviit', 'Terumot', 'Maasrot', 'Maaser Sheni', '...
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  • 8,764
17 votes
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Why does the Gemara use gamma to compare shapes and not reish or chaf sofit?

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 ...
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14 votes
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Did Rembrandt really get the 'mene, mene' inscription in his painting of Belshazzar's Feast wrong?

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 ...
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  • 31.3k
12 votes

How many words are there in Tanach?

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. Bereishit (Genesis) 12 Sidrot 50 Chapters 1,534 Verses Shmot (Exodus)...
12 votes

Reason for different punctuation of the prefix vav?

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 ...
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  • 73.4k
11 votes
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Is a Torah that does NOT have the (rabbati) large and small letters (keti'ah) still kosher?

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 ...
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  • 95.1k
11 votes

What's the significance of בי״ה שמ״ו סימן, espcially on Dt. 31:28?

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 ...
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11 votes
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Is the letter Aleph (א) also a word that means "to teach, inculcate"?

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 ...
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10 votes
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Why does almost every pasuk in Megillat Ruth start with a vav?

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 ...
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  • 7,410
10 votes
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Is a Sfardi ש incorrect according to this Gemara?

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....
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10 votes
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Ktav Ivri in the Middle Ages

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 ...
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  • 23.8k
9 votes
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Have any of you ever heard anyone pronouncing ayin as "ng"?

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 - ...
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  • 68.7k
9 votes

Interchangeable usage of Hebrew letters (such as Beis and Vav, etc.)

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 ...
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  • 2,039
9 votes

Did the Masoretes add the yud symbols?

(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 ...
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  • 350
8 votes

Complete list of verses corresponding to people's names?

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 ...
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8 votes
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If the "Nun" preceding Bamidbar (Num) 10:35 is not upside down, is the Torah still kosher?

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 ...
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  • 7,410
8 votes
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Is there any single verse in Chumash that contains all 22 letters of the aleph-beis?

Shemos 16:16 זֶ֤ה הַדָּבָר֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר צִוָּ֣ה יְהֹוָ֔ה לִקְט֣וּ מִמֶּ֔נּוּ אִ֖ישׁ לְפִ֣י אָכְל֑וֹ עֹ֣מֶר לַגֻּלְגֹּ֗לֶת מִסְפַּר֙ נַפְשֹׁ֣תֵיכֶ֔ם אִ֛ישׁ לַֽאֲשֶׁ֥ר בְּאָֽהֳל֖וֹ תִּקָּֽחוּ Devarim 4:34 ...
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8 votes
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What is this Ktav?

That's a screenshot from the 10th-century Damascus Pentateuch. See the full page here. The writing is fairly typical for that era.
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7 votes

Why are some letters in the names of Haman's sons little?

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 ...
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7 votes
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Aleph with a Dagesh

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 ...
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  • 18.4k
7 votes

Why does almost every pasuk in Megillat Ruth start with a vav?

Chida: every single Passuk begins with a vov aside for 8 pesukim, the eight verses begin with 8 letters YUD SHIN AYIN YUD BEIS ALEPH HEH LAMED. His students explained that the letters can be read as ...
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  • 71
7 votes

Source for the order of the aleph-beis?

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, ...
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  • 73.4k
7 votes

What is the reason that the Torah uses a ן (final "Nun") at the end of 2nd person plural verbs?

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 (...
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  • 18.4k
7 votes

What sources try to rectify the difference in the actual vs 600K letters in the Torah?

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 ...
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7 votes
Accepted

What sources try to rectify the difference in the actual vs 600K letters in the Torah?

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 ...
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  • 41.8k
7 votes

Source Midrash - why the first letter of the Tenach is a Bet

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 ...
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  • 1,693
7 votes
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May one place letters under one another as long as there is a space between them?

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 ...
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  • 234
7 votes

Online Hebrew Letter Maker

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 ...
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  • 17.5k
7 votes

Where is the midrash of "300 days of Tefillin?"

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 ...
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  • 23.3k
7 votes

Why does the Gemara use gamma to compare shapes and not reish or chaf sofit?

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 ...
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