Biblical Hebrew

Hebrew In Israel | Understanding The Verb Shalach – Learn Torah

Yoel Halevi 3 comments

The verb שלח is most commonly used to indicate the idea of sending away.  Such is the case of Parashat Beshalch where Pharaoh sends away the Israelites from Egypt.  This is also the common use when someone sends a message or a messenger to someone, and this is the common use in modern Hebrew.  However, like most words in Hebrew there are many more meanings which stem from the basic semantic meaning.

bo definition, bo meaning, what does bo mean, exodus 10, bo,

Hebrew In Israel | Bo: A Misunderstood Verb – Learn Torah

Yoel Halevi No Comments

Very commonly we find that words carry a very different meaning than most of us would assume.  In many cases a commentator will give an incorrect meaning to a word based on their own understanding of the language used at their time.  It is always important to look into the often used format for a word in a text, together with the overall meaning we find in the Bible.  I saw an interesting anecdote about the name of this week’s parasha Bo based on a very common Midrash used in Jewish circles.

hebrew midwives, puah, shifra and puah, midwives in the bible, shiphrah, shemot, parashat shemot,

Hebrew In Israel | Houses: Exodus 1:21 – Learn Torah

Yoel Halevi No Comments

In many cases when studying the Hebrew bible, we find words which do not fit into the regular interpretation of dictionary value.  It is not uncommon that we find ourselves looking up a word, but are unable to interpret it correctly.  Even when we try to use grammar and context, we find ourselves looking at a partial meaning of what is actually being said.

Masoretic text, masoretes,

Hebrew In Israel | Masoretic Text – Learn Torah

Yoel Halevi 5 comments

It is not uncommon for people to go round and make arguments about different topics. This is a good practice which enables everyone to study well and understand better. The problem begins when people develop an agenda which obscures the research and confuses facts with speculation.  I like textual criticism but here are some points about the article called “Masoretic Text vs. Original Hebrew” found here:

http://theorthodoxlife.wordpress.com/2012/03/12/masoretic-text-vs-original-hebrew/

Toldot, jacob and esau, jacob clothing, esau in the bible, esau, Genesis 27,

Hebrew In Israel | Esav’s Clothing – Learn Torah

Yoel Halevi No Comments

In this week’s Parashah we are told the following:

וַתִּקַּח רִבְקָה אֶת בִּגְדֵי עֵשָׂו בְּנָהּ הַגָּדֹל  הַחֲמֻדֹת  אֲשֶׁר אִתָּהּ בַּבָּיִת

“Then Rebecca took the best clothes of Esau her older son, which she had in the house”  Gen 27:15

The Hebrew calls Esau’s clothing חמדת which is translated as best/favorite.

Olam, World, Universe, forever

Hebrew In Israel | The World – Learn Torah

Yoel Halevi No Comments
The word Olam עולם is one of those words that keeps on showing up.  Most commonly it is known from the blessings used in Judaism “אלהינו מלך העולם”-Elohenu Melekh HaOlam (Our God, King of the Universe).  However, Olam in Biblical Hebrew actually has a temporal meaning.  Originally, it actually meant “eternal”, such as the combination of לעולם ועד-LeOlam Va’ed (forever).  It can be used to indicate the past such as כל ימי עולם-all the days of the past, or future as the example given above.  In Ugaritic we find combinations such as “mlk ‘lm-eternal king” or ” ‘m ‘lm-to eternity”.
Sources:  Kedari.M, BH Dictionary pp.782-783Gordon.C, UT 1858, pp.456-457

 

Originally Published:  1 August 2016

Hebrew In Israel | Kerem – Learn Hebrew Online

Yoel Halevi No Comments
The prophet Yisha’ayahu tells the story of a vineyard:

אָשִׁירָה נָּא לִידִידִי, שִׁירַת דּוֹדִי לְכַרְמוֹ:  כֶּרֶם הָיָה לִידִידִי, בְּקֶרֶן בֶּן-שָׁמֶן
I want to sing a song for someone I love, a song about my loved one and his vineyard.  My loved one had a vineyard on a very fertile hill.”  Isaiah 5:1

The section in question is a parable where the prophet compares Israel to a vineyard with a high potential for growth.  The owner, who is very devoted to his field, does every action possible to help his investment to grow.  This investment is one of the most important plants in the Mediterranean, and functioned as a catalyst in generating surplus and wealth.  However, the translation “vineyard” can be incorrect, and we might be looking at a late interpretation of the word כֶּרֶם-Kerem.
peace of jerusalem, pray for the peace of jerusalem, psalm 122,

Hebrew In Israel | Peace of Jerusalem – Learn Torah

Yoel Halevi No Comments

One of the most common verses on FB is the following from Psalms 122:6:

שאלו שלום ירושלם, ישליו אהביך
“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, those who love you shall be at peace”
Like many of the discussions I have about verses, there are several questions about the correct translation of individual words.  Besides the questionable translations I see for the second part of the verse, we also have a case of contextual translation in the first word of the verse.

Hebrew In Israel | Ink – Learn Hebrew Online

Yoel Halevi No Comments
The Hebrew word for Ink-דיו-Dyo is a common word which appears in several Semitic languages.  One opinion (Lambedin) argues that it is actually derived from an Egyptian word “rith” which is argued to be the original for of Dyo which should be Ryo.  This is argued based on the physical resemblance between the Hebrew letters ד-ר which many do confuse.

Hebrew In Israel | Be A Real Man-Gever and Gibor – Learn Torah

Yoel Halevi No Comments
There is an old saying in Jewish sources:
איזהו גיבור? הכובש את יצרו
Eyzhe Hu Gibor? Hakovesh Et Ytsro
Who is a hero? He who overcomes his will.
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