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33 votes
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Hebrew document found in grandfather's attic—what does it state?

As Danny Schoemann says, it's a ketubah. A Ketubah is a Jewish marriage contract. The text in this form matches the standard text presented and translated on this Chabad.org page. People Groom: ...
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24 votes
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Is this a mistake in a Torah scroll or intended decoration?

This is a valid way of inserting missing words, as the Shulchan Aruch in Yoreh De'ah in סימן רעו - דין תלית הדלוג Paskens: א: טָעָה וְדִלֵּג תֵּבָה אוֹ יוֹתֵר, יָכוֹל לִתְלוֹתָהּ בֵּין הַשִּׁיטִין ...
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21 votes
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"Qof, Qof" What does this mean?

Likely, it is an acronym for קְהִילָה קְדוֹשָה k'hila k'dosha (lit: holy congregation), a title for Jewish communities whose use dates back to the Talmud (Tamid 27b).
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21 votes
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"Anyone who saves a life is as if he saved an entire world": Jewish life or any life?

In the manuscript Parma 3173 there is no "מישראל"; In the manuscript Budapest Kaufman A50 no more; The Mishna of Mechon Mamre, Mishna Sanhedrin 4:5 based on Rambam manuscript idem; לפיכך נברא ...
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20 votes
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Is there a reason or pattern as to when the Torah uses אֵת instead of אֶת?

When the word stands on its own, with its own trup-mark, it's אֵת, with a tzeireh. When it's attached to the next word with a dash and therefore does not have its own trup-mark, it's אֶת, with a segol....
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15 votes

Is there a reason or pattern as to when the Torah uses אֵת instead of אֶת?

The word is אֵת. When the word is "joined" with the next word with a makaf "־" then they become treated as one long word, and there is no longer an accent on that syllable. Unaccented closed syllables ...
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15 votes
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Source and etymology of כפירה kefirah ‘heresy’

Edits in italics: Balashon blog discusses it at length here, and provides many sources, as well as a look at one example of it by various Rishonim. I have added some content from there during this ...
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14 votes
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What is the prayer uttered by Michael Ginberg's dad in Mad Men?

He is reciting Numbers 6:24-26 (he only gets through half of the last verse in that clip): The LORD bless thee, and keep thee; The LORD make His face to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee; ...
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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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13 votes

Hebrew document found in grandfather's attic—what does it state?

The religious implication of this ketubah is that it may be possible to use it to establish, in a Jewish court, certain facts about the listed bride and groom: That they were Jewish. On this basis, ...
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13 votes
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Source that hearing the Megillah does not require Hebrew understanding?

The Mishna in Megillah (2:1) states: והלועז ששמע אשורית יצא A foreigner who heard [it] in Hebrew fulfills his obligation. The Talmud (18a) elaborates: והלועז ששמע אשורית יצא וכו', - והא ...
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  • 34.8k
13 votes

What ancient prayer contains the term "Osem" (אֹסֶם)?

In the Prayer which the Cohen Gadol (high priest) said on Yom kippur after he exited the קודש הקדשים (Holy of Holies), (Found in the Machzor of Yom-kippur toward the end of the Avodah prayers], we ...
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13 votes

Why is sleep spelled with an aleph in Tehillim 127?

Note: As Michlol Yofi points out, there are a few other words in Tanach spelled with an Alef instead of a Heh or a Vav. For example: זרא, מרא, כלא. As @Double AA wrote, Minchat Shai on the pasuk ...
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12 votes
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How does a Braille siddur work?

Being blind myself, I can more specifically address Hebrew Braille and how siddurim work. As the first answer says, a person who knows English Grade 2 braille does not need to start from scratch, ...
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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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12 votes
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Are these vowels?

Based off your comments, I have concluded that the symbols you are seeing are helpful aids that have been put in the Sefaria Siddur, apparently based on the Metsuda Siddur. The three dots are to ...
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  • 18.4k
11 votes
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What are these marks with the numbers designating the Jewish years on this calendar?

They are a Gershayim, a Hebrew diacritic used in a number of ways, but generally to indicate that a certain set of letters does not spell a word in the ordinary sense. In this case, it is used to ...
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11 votes
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Why is a patach chet at the end of the word pronounced "sdrawkcab" (backwards)?

Essentially there should be no vowel, but for certain guttural consonants (specifically, Hei, Chet, and Ayin) it's hard to end a word like that ("NoH"?), so an extra half-vowel is placed before the ...
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11 votes

Moses' Hebrew name was given to him in Egyptian?

You had a number of very good suggestions. Ibn Ezra to Exodus 2:10 suggests 2 possibilities, namely, that Pharaoh's daughter had learned the Hebrew language, or that she asked someone how to say this ...
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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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Understanding a Hebrew expression: בטלה דעתו אצל כל אדם

This is a rather common expression (it appears eight times in Shas according to my search, but I know that it's very commonly found among the commentators). As you thought, בטלה refers to the ...
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10 votes

Is the shiur called a "k'beiah" or a "k'beitzah"?

Yam Shel Shlomo in chapter 4 of Bava Kamma says to pronounce it beya as the other word is not nice. This is subsequently brought in the Magen Avraham in siman 156 which is probably where it picked up ...
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9 votes

what does baruch atah Hashem mean?

Pathways to Prayer understands ברוך (Baruch) to be an adjective similar to רחום (Rachum - source of mercy), meaning that HaShem is the source of all blessing.
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9 votes

Theological Aspects of Hebrew Grammar

There is discussion in Kabbalistic thought (as well as other sources) about the letter used to make a word feminine being a ה, that the ה is the feminine letter, and is also often related to birth - ...
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9 votes
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Etymology of the word "trope"

From Webster Dictionary Latin tropus, from Greek tropos turn, way, manner, style, trope, from trepein to turn First Known Use: 1533 The most common Hebrew term I have heard for this is טעמי ...
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9 votes

Why does kaftor vaferach mean "very nice"?

The source of this phrase in the context you've seen it is found in the Medrash Rabba in parshas Mikeitz parsha 91 ois 9. When someone said something proper before Rabi Tarphon he would say 'Kaphtor ...
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9 votes
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What mean Cholek, Chozer, modey and Gozer?

Cholek comes from the same word as machloket. "He is cholek" means "he argues". Chozer means to retract, so "he is chozer" means "he retracts [his opinion]". Modeh means, in this context, to agree. "...
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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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9 votes
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Meaning of the (Hebrew?) abbreviation Ka"H

It's a Yiddish abbreviation for Kein Ayin Hora - or in Hebrew Bli Ayin Hara. Simply stated without the evil eye; we're not discussing [something] in order to get [it] punished due to our jealousy.
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9 votes

And it was so? Perhaps mistranslated?

See here for more. Biblical Hebrew employs a rule called the "vav ha-hipuch." The preceding "v'" flips the tense from past to future, or vice versa. Thus "yehi chen", it will be so; "vayhi chen", it ...
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