Jewish Journal

Tag: Hebrew Word Of The Week

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  • Hebrew word of the week: Haddarat nashim

    2 days ago

    People ask me whether there is any connection between haddarat nashim (a very common concept in Israel in recent years, mostly among the Orthodox), and the biblical ve-hadarta pne zaqen, “show respect to the elderly” (Leviticus 19:32), implying that secluding women is out of...

  • Hebrew word of the week: Nitsevet

    1 week ago

    Recently A.B. Yehoshua, a well-known Israeli writer, published a novel titled “Nitsevet,” translated as “The Extra” in English. The word nitsevet seems somewhat obscure to many Hebrew speakers because it is not commonly used (hence the correct pronunciation is given on the book’s...

  • Hebrew word of the week: Hazzay (weather) forecaster

    2 weeks ago

    The Bible includes names of male and female prophets, some of whom had visions of the Divine Presence and prophesied events in the future, including the end of history, aHarit ha-yamim. But probably none of them forecast the next day’s weather. So, the word Hazzay cannot be found...

  • Hebrew word of the week: Elul

    3 weeks ago

    The Hebrew exiles in Babylonia remained loyal to Judaism but were also influenced by the Babylonian culture, including borrowing the names of the months from the Babylonians.* Indeed, the names don’t have any Hebrew etymology. The rabbis tried to Hebraize Elul by interpreting it as...

  • Hebrew word of the week: Yod, yud

    August 5, 2015 | 4:58 pm

    Although yod is the smallest Hebrew letter (similar to the  Greek iota ı),** its ancient form was much larger, looking more like yad “hand” (from shoulder to middle finger). It is the most frequent letter in modern Hebrew spelling (about 11 percent of words), representing the...

  • Hebrew word of the week: Hekhal

    July 29, 2015 | 2:17 pm

    It is amazing how a word that signifies “holy of holies of the temple or tabernacle” is actually a loan word from a “pagan” language: the Sumerian word akkadian, which became e-kal or “big house, palace” (Isaiah 29:7; Daniel 1:4; 4:1).* 

    In the Bible, hekhal Adonai, “the palace...

  • Hebrew word of the week: Kavod

    July 27, 2015 | 10:06 am

    The term meaning honor and respect is very important in any society, but even more so in Middle Eastern societies. The English word “respect” means “look back (again), regard”; honor means “regard with great respect, dignity.” The Hebrew kavod is related to kaved, meaning “heavy.”*...

  • Hebrew word of the week: Tefillin

    July 9, 2015 | 12:11 pm


    The form is an Aramaic plural (the Hebrew plural would be tefillim), whose singular would be tefillah, “prayer,” similar to tehillim “Psalms, ” plural of tehillah “psalter.”* However, the plural tefillin is used for both, as in tefillin shel yad “tefillin of hand,”...

  • Hebrew word of the week: Artsot ha-brit (The United States)

    July 2, 2015 | 2:52 pm

    Students ask me: “What does artsot ha-brit, “the United States” have to do with brit, brit (milah), a “circumcision ceremony”? Then they add, jokingly: “Not everybody here is Jewish or circumcised.” 

    English often prefers adjectives as qualifiers, as with the United Nations, the...

  • Hebrew word of the week: Bne-Horin

    April 9, 2015 | 11:11 am

    In the haggadah, bne-Horin, literally “sons of freeborn, noblemen” (Nehemiah 2:16), are contrasted with avadim “slaves.” The mishnah recognizes cases of half-slave, half-freeman — for instances when a slave who had two masters is freed by one but not by the other (Gittin 4:5).

  • Hebrew word of the week: Tapuz

    March 26, 2015 | 11:00 am

    Tapuz, the word for the orange fruit, is an acronym of tapuah zahav “apple of gold,” as is done in English when we say “SAT” for Scholastic Aptitude Test, or “AIDS” for acquired immune deficiency syndrome. Tapuz contrasts with similar “apples”: tapuah(-ets) for “tree-apple,”...

  • Hebrew word of the week: Pardes

    March 18, 2015 | 4:13 pm

    Pardes: garden, orchard, orange grove

    Talmudic literature has many words taken from Persian, but they are usually rare in the Hebrew Bible (except in the later books of Esther and Daniel). However, pardes is well known, as in Song of Songs 4:13, pardes rimmonin, “orchard of...

  • Letters to the editor: Charedi draft, Israeli-Palestinian peace, Rav Jonathan Sacks and Germany

    March 19, 2014 | 10:01 am

    Thoughts From a ZOA Elite 

    Rob Eshman contends that a peace agreement with the Palestinians would bring huge benefits for Israel. Unfortunately, his argument does not stack up (“The Bright Side,” March 7).

    Mr. Eshman says that a peace will protect Israel as a Jewish and...