Biblical Hebrew

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Hebrew In Israel | Mashiach – Learn Torah

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The word משיח-Mashiach-Messiah is derived from the root משח which is mostly associated with the idea of placing oil on something or someone.  The act of anointing was performed as an act of dedication of a person or an item to a service (mostly to God).  In this article, I will be looking into the background of this act, and the meaning of the title Mashiach.

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Hebrew In Israel | Love YHWH – Learn Torah

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One of the basic stipulations of any covenant in the world is the principle of trust and loyalty between the two or more parties.  Many books and papers have been written on the subject of covenants and treaties, but in this short paper I will examine one of the most important words used in covenant language–Love. 

Hebrew In Israel | Sukkot and the Documentary Hypothesis – Learn Torah

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One of the common arguments in Documentary Hypothesis (DH) is that the Torah is built from many documents (E, J, JE, P, H and D) which were written by different authors, and were placed together by someone later in time to create the whole Torah we have today.  This division has driven most of the Biblical Studies world, and is taught in many schools with some to little criticism.  However, new documentation from the Ancient Near East (ANE) has shown that at least some of the assumptions of the system are incorrect, and in some cases detached from historical discourse.

Hebrew In Israel | Understanding The Verb Shalach – Learn Torah


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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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Hebrew In Israel | Masoretic Text – Learn Torah


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:

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Hebrew In Israel | Esav’s Clothing – Learn Torah

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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

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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

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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.

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