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Shofar

A Glossary of Unfamiliar Terms
Compiled from numerous source documents
by
Ari Levitt
ThM, ThD, DMin, MA, MBA, ND, CNHP

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Abbreviations Used In This Glossary

abbr. = abbreviated

alt. = alternate

Ar. = Aramaic

esp. = especially

Gr. = Greek

Heb. = Hebrew

lit. = literally

n. = noun

pl. = plural

pron. = pronounced

prop. = properly

sg. = singular

usu. = usually

v. = verb

Yid. = Yiddish

Transliteration/Pronunciation GuideBooks of the Bible
Proper NamesTribes of IsraelThe Mishnah

For more Hebrew words and phrases, you might
enjoy John Parsons’ Hebrew4Christians.com

Use this “Jump Bar” to directly to any letter of the AlephBet
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Appendix   Liturgy & Worship   Pronunciation   [More]

 

 
This document is “a work in progress” and will probably be so for quite some time. I have included words and phrases from Hebrew, Aramaic (Ar.), Yiddish (Yid.), and even some Greek (Gk.), and English terms that are common to Jewish writing. I have also included some terms that are familiar to those within Messianic Judaism, but which might be unfamiliar to others.

Some Interesting Thoughts
About the Hebrew Language

Spelling Variations

You will doubtless note that there are sometimes several different English spellings (transliterations) for the same Hebrew word. That is because there is no one-to-one relationship between the Hebrew and English alphabets. The transliterator is therefore free to use whatever spelling best represents the way that he/she hears the Hebrew word in his/her primary language. The letters “b” and “v” are often used interchangeably for the Hebrew letter beit [b], as are the letters “w” and “v” for the Hebrew letter “vav” or “waw” [w].

Plurals

All Hebrew nouns are either masculine or feminine. Hebrew plurals are usually formed by adding a “t” or “ot” [tw] (or sometimes “os” or “osh”) sound to feminine nouns, and by ending an “im” sound [~y] to masculine nouns. The difference in pronunciation and transliteration results from the fact there are two main groups of European ethnic Jews — the Sephardic Jews from south-western Europe (primarily Spain and Portugal, and the Ashkenazi (from northern and eastern Europe—and each group approaches the transliteration from the starting point of their own national language. Yiddish is an ethnic language with a very strong German influence.

 

Capitalization

Although important in most Western languages, capitalization is unimportant in Hebrew because Hebrew has no capital letters. Interestingly enough, there are no vowels in early Hebrew (though there are “vowel points” in Masoretic and Modern Hebrew), and all Hebrew verbs have a three-consonant root. At this particular point in the evolution of this document, I have not “standardized” capitalization of terms. Though most proper names are capitalized, not all capitalized terms are proper names. I will take care of this later as the document progresses.

Verb Tenses

Hebrew thought, and therefore the Hebrew language, is significantly different from Western thought. Hebrew thought is very “picture oriented” as demonstrated by the rich visual images presented in the Psalms. Additionally, for all practical purposes there are no “tenses” in Hebrew to correspond to the tenses of Western languages. One must determine from the context whether the events being described are past, present, or future. Therefore, the Hebrew language presents the hearer (or reader) with a series of images much like watching a slide show presentation, as compared to the “motion picture” images presented by Western languages. My personal opinion is that Hebrew was the original language that HaShem taught Adam and Eve in Eden. Since HaShem is timeless, it seems appropriate that the language he gave to man should reflect that timelessness. (Note: The Hebrew language does actually have “tenses” but there is no clear equivalent to the English “tenses” of past, present, and future. That topic is far beyond the scope of this website.)

The Sacred Name

Please refer to my article “Thoughts on the Sacred Name.”


Why is it important for a Believer in Yeshua
to learn to use Hebraic terms?

Because Hebrew is the set-apart [holy] language of our God. We, as His children, need to learn the language of Yeshua. You will often notice some variation in spelling of these terms. This is because the Hebrew language has no direct equivalent of English vowels (though it does have a system of vowel points), and so when the writer transliterates Hebrew words into the English alphabet, there is some freedom to use the vowels which produce the sound most appropriate to the writer’s own ear.

In ancient Hebrew, the leter w (vav) may have been pronounced as a “w” and is sometimes transliterated as “w” — however, in modern Hebrew vav is pronounced as “v” in victory.

A brief note concerning the English letter “J”, as in “Jehovah” and “Jesus.” There is no letter “J” in the Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek languages, nor do those languages contain the “jay” sound in any form. Therefore, it is grammatically impossible to say either the word “Jehovah” or the word “Jesus” in the Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek languages. So the question must be asked, why does the Gentile Church insist on clinging so tenaciously to these two words, when they could not possibly be spoken in the original languages of Scripture?

See also Why Study Hebrew?

Use this “Jump Bar” to directly to any letter of the AlephBet
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z
Appendix   Liturgy & Worship   Pronunciation   [More]

Page last updated on Tuesday, 09 February 2021 02:38 PM
(Updates are generally minor formatting or editorial changes.
Major content changes are identified as "Revisions”)