Articles

How to Hallow the Name of God

How to Hallow the Name of God

We can gain much insight from hearing rabbinic wisdom about what it means to “hallow the name” (Kiddush Hashem) and to “profane the name” (Hillul Hashem). These two phrases are rich with significance in Jewish tradition, having been used from the first century until today.

Learning to Think in Hebrew

Learning to Think in Hebrew

I recently told you about some of the interesting Norwegian words I grew up saying, like “uff-da” and “vasakope.” As my immigrant ancestors were learning English, they hung on to words in their mother tongue that did a better job of expressing what they meant to say. My relatives weren’t the only ones doing this. […]

Uff-da, Sputten & Vasakope: Words without Equal

Uff-da, Sputten & Vasakope: Words without Equal

I’ve been thinking about Hebrew words and language lately, and analyzing the words that I use. I’ve noticed that my vocabulary is peppered with words from other languages. Many of my unusual words come from my Norwegian ancestors. For instance, I grew up saying uff-da. Many have seen “uff-da” on bumper-stickers and refrigerator magnets, but I […]

The Wisdom of Hebrew Words

The Wisdom of Hebrew Words

I love Hebrew words. I can’t count the number of times that learning a definition has deepened my understanding of not just one Bible passage, but many. Recently I’ve posted a couple examples to show you what I mean. In the article “Does God Forget Sins?” I explain how the words for “remember” and “forget” […]

Shema: To Hear is to Obey

Shema: To Hear is to Obey

Biblical Hebrew includes only about 8,000 words, far fewer than the 100,000 or more we have in English. Because Hebrew has so few words, each is like an over-stuffed suitcase, bulging with extra meanings that it must carry in order for the language to fully describe reality. Unpacking each word is a delightful exercise in […]

How Can God Forget Sins?

How Can God Forget Sins?

You have to admit, some Bible passages are real head- scratchers. For instance, in several places God says, “I will not remember your sins.” But how can God, in his infinite intellect, forget something? And what does he expect of us, since we pray, “forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against […]

Hesed: Enduring, Eternal, Undeserved Love

Hesed: Enduring, Eternal, Undeserved Love

Hebrew has a word for life-long love that is richer and deeper than English has ever conceived of—hesed (HEH-sed). Based in a covenantal relationship, hesed is a steadfast, rock-solid faithfulness that endures to eternity: “Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love (hesed) for you will not be shaken” […]

Translation Debates - A Jewish View

Translation Debates – A Jewish View

Few issues stir up Christian passions more than Bible translation, but you never hear debates like this in Jewish circles. Issues over translation don’t come up, because everyone knows that God’s words were not revealed in English. The Jewish approach reveres the original Hebrew text, rather than any particular translation.

Hesed: Love in the Long Term

Hesed: Love in the Long Term

Hebrew has a word for love that is richer and deeper than any English has ever conceived. Based in a covenantal relationship, hesed is a steadfast, rock-solid faithfulness that endures to eternity.