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I. Particular Hebrew Words and Phrases

  1. אהב: What is the Meaning of Love?
  2. אילת: What is the Meaning of Ayelet HaShachar (Ps. 22:1)?
  3. אמר: Insights into the Root א־מ־ר (=To Say)
  4. אמרי שפר: The Blessing to Naftali
  5. גזר: Insights into the Root ג־ז־ר
  6. הלל: The Multiple Meanings of the Rot ה–ל–ל
  7. הסתכל: What is the Meaning of הסתכל? (forthcoming)
  8. ויחל: What is the Meaning of “Va-Yechal Moshe et Pnei…” (Ex. 32:11)
  9. חידה: The Riddle of the Word Riddle
  10. חמד: What is the Difference Between Lo Tachmod and Lo Titaveh?
  11. כהן: Insights Into the Word כהן
  12. מורת רוח: What is the Meaning of מורת רוח (Gen. 26:35)? 
  13. מכתם: What is the Meaning of מכתם?
  14. מנחה: What is the Meaning of מנחה?
  15. מסכנות and מס: What are the Meanings of מסכנות and מס?
  16. מצרים: What is the Meaning of מצרים?
  17. מקלט: What is the Meaning of מקלט? 
  18. משׁפחה: Is There a Connection Between משׁפחה and שׁפחה?
  19. מת: What is the Meaning of Death? (forthcoming)
  20. נס: Insights into the Word נס (Sign, Miracle)
  21. נער: The Meanings of נער ,כרך and מסקנה (forthcoming)
  22. נפשׁ: What is the Meaning of וינפשׁ?
  23. נצח: The Meaning of נצח
  24. נשׁק: The Two Meanings of נשׁק 
  25. סלה: What is the Meaning of סלה? 
  26. סנורים: What is the Meaning of סנורים? 
  27. עבר: Insights into the Biblical Root ע–ב–ר
  28. פוג: What Happened to Jacob’s Heart? (Gen: 45:26: לבו ויפג)
  29. פלל: What is the Meaning of התפלל? 
  30. קדשׁ: What is the Meaning of kadosh and kedushah? 
  31. קדשׁה: What is the Meaning of kedeshah? 
  32. קרע: Kriyat Yam Suf: Why Not Bekiyat Yam Suf?
  33. שׁבט and מטה: The Words for “Stick” in Tanach 
  34. שׁוטרים: The Meanings of שׁוטרים ,פרס and ככר
  35. תירושׁ: The Origin of the Words Tirosh and Yayin

II. Other Word-Related Articles

  1. Interesting Words in Hallel
  2. Interesting Words in the Megillah, Part I
  3. Interesting Words in the Megillah, Part II
  4. Interesting Words in the Megillah, Part III 
  5. Words with the Same Root Letters: Must They Be Related?
  6. Guide to Writing a Biblical Concordance 
  7. Foreign Words in Tanakh

III. Liturgy Articles

  1. What is the Meaning of Sekhvi in the First Morning Blessing? 
  2. Arami Oved Avi: The Interpretation Hidden in the Mishnah
  3. Who Authored U-Netanneh Tokef? 
  4. Aleinu: A Rosh Ha-Shanah Prayer That Migrated into the Daily Service
  5. Two Siddur Manuscripts With Daily Aleinu from the Early and Late 12th century
  6. “If I Forget You Jerusalem…” (Psalms 137:5) 
  7. What is the Meaning of Ashrei Ha-Am Yodei Teruah (Ps. 89:16)?

IV. History Articles

  1. The Order of the Letters in the Hebrew Alphabet
  2. Why Was Moses Commanded to Remove His Shoes at the Burning Bush? 
  3. The Meaning of the Cryptic Verse at Ex. 2:23 (The king of Egypt died…)
  4. Did the Israelites Borrow from the Egyptians at the Time of the Exodus?
  5. Insights into the Plague of Dever
  6. History of Acco
  7. The Distinction between Neviim and Ketuvim, and Insights into the Canon
  8. The Story of the Initial Dead Sea Scroll Finds – Part I
  9. The Story of the Initial Dead Sea Scroll Finds – Part II
  10. When Did We First Use Gematria?
  11. The Story of Masada: A Reevaluation (forthcoming)
  12. The Earliest Surviving Texts of the Torah
  13. Rashi: Insights Into His Life and Works
  14. Was Rashi Motivated by Non-Exegetical Factors in his Torah Commentary?
  15. A Letter by Rambam About the Death of his Brother David
  16. A Letter by Rambam to the Rabbis of Lunel
  17. Two Interesting Letters by Rambam
  18. A Letter by Rambam to a Simple Jew
  19. The Biblical Commentary of S.D. Luzzatto (19th century, Italy)
  20. The “Language Conflict” in Israel in 1914 
  21. Nehama Leibowitz: The Early Years
  22. Kurdish Jewry 
  23. Bukharan Jewry
  24. Hebraization of Names in Modern Israel
  25. The Original Logo of the Israel Postal Company and Gen. 49:21 (“Ayalah Sheluchah”)
  26. Biography of Yigael Yadin

Articles Available in Books

Esther Unmasked by Mitchell FirstEsther Unmasked

(2015, Kodesh Press, eleven long and detailed articles)

  1. לתכן עולם: Establishing the Correct Text in Aleinu*
  2. What is the Origin of the Word מחילה?**
  3. אני והו: What is the Meaning of this Cryptic Mishnaic Statement?
  4. What is the Meaning of “Maccabee”?*
  5. What is the Meaning of Ḥashmonai?*
  6. What Motivated Antiochus to Issue His Decrees against the Jews?
  7. The Origin of Taanit Esther*
  8. Achashverosh and Esther in Secular Sources
  9. Mah Nishtannah: The Three Questions*
  10. Arami Oved Avi: Uncovering the Interpretation Hidden in the Mishnah**
  11.  The Pe/Ayin Order in Ancient Israel and its Implications for the book of Tehillim
* Earlier versions of these articles are also available on seforim.blogspot.com (L’taken Olam: Sept. 2013;  Maccabee: Dec. 2011; Hashmonai: Nov. 2013; Taanit Esther: Mar. 2011; Mah Nishtannah: Mar. 2010)
 
** Also available at Hakirah.org  (Mechilah: Vol. 18; Arami Oved Avi: Vol. 13 – earlier version).

Roots and Rituals by Mitchell First

Roots and Rituals

(2018, Kodesh Press, sixty-two short articles)

Part I: Jewish Liturgy

  1. Insights into the History of the Haftarah
  2. The Blessing “Who Has Not Made Me A Woman”
  3. The Origin of the Recital of Shema in the Kedushah of Musaf
  4. Aleinu: A Rosh Hashanah Prayer that Migrated into the Daily Service
  5. An Insight into Kri’at Shema Al Ha-Mitah
  6. The Origin of Our Prayer for the Government (Ha-Noten Teshuah)
  7. An Insight into the Text of Birkat Ha-Mazon: הקדושה or הגדושה?
  8. When Did Mizmor Shir Chanukkat Ha-Bayit Le-David Enter the Daily Shacharit?

Part II: Jewish History

  1. The Longevity of the Ancients Recorded in Genesis
  2. Did Moses Have a Speech Impediment?
  3. Fifty-Three Biblical Personalities Confirmed by Archaeology
  4. Nevuchadnezzar or Nevuchadrezzar?
  5. Archaeology Sheds Light on King Darius
  6. The Most Important Dead Sea Text: A Lost Paragraph from the Book of Samuel!
  7. A Decree by the Roman Emperor Justinian Interfering with the Synagogue Service
  8. The Fast Days of Megillat Taanit Batra
  9. Abraham Ibn Ezra: His Unique Life and Some Lessons We Can Learn
  10. The Story of the Pentateuch of Rabbi Dr. J. H. Hertz 

Part III: Hebrew Language

(A) Particular Hebrew Words and Phrases

  1. ברית: What is the Origin of the Word ברית (=Covenant)?
  2. הפקר: A Column About Nothing: What is the Origin of the Word הפקר?
  3. זכר: Males and Memory: The Meanings of the Root זכר
  4. חבל :חבלי מות Have Encircled Me (Psalms 116:3)
  5. חלום: What is the Origin of the Word חלום (=Dream)?
  6. חלץ: The Root חלץ and the Meaning of החליצנו in the Birkat Ha-Mazon of Shabbat
  7. חתן: What is the Origin of the Words חתן and כלה? 
  8. יובל: What is the Meaning of the Word יובל? 
  9. כסף: What is the Meaning of the Word כסף? 
  10. לחם: לחם and מלחמה: Is There a Connection?
  11. מדבר: What is the Origin of the Word מדבר (=Desert)? 
  12. משׁתאה: What is the Meaning of the Word משׁתאה (Genesis 24:21)?
  13. נביא: What is the Origin of the Word נביא? 
  14. עולם: What is the Meaning of the Word עולם?
  15. על–מות: What is the Meaning of על–מות (Psalms 48:15)?
  16. ערב (erev): What is the Origin of the Words ערב and בקר?
  17. ערב (arov): John Lennon and the Plague of ערב (Arov)
  18. ק-ל-ס : A Root with Two Opposite Meanings?
  19. רכב בערבות: What is the Meaning of רכב בערבות (Psalms 68:5)?
  20. שׁאול: What is the Origin of the Word שׁאול (=Netherworld)?
  21. שׁנה: The Multiple Meanings of the Word שׁנה 
  22. שׁנן: The Various Possible Meanings of ושננתם לבנך 
  23. שׂרף: What are the שׂרפים of Isaiah Chapter 6?

(B) General Articles About the Language of Tanakh

  1. Words that Appear Only One Time in Tanakh
  2. Original Shin and Original Sin
  3. Some Interesting Words in Parashat Miketz
  4. Some Interesting Words in Oz Yashir
  5. Some Interesting Words in the Daily Amidah
  6. Searching for Omitted Nuns 
  7. Wordplay in Tanakh
  8. Akkadian Words in Tanakh
  9. Egyptian Words in Tanakh

Part IV: Jewish Holidays and the Calendar

  1. The Origin of the Jewish Count from Creation
  2. What is the Meaning of Yom Teruah?
  3. Some Interesting High Holiday Words 
  4. Hanukkah: A Survey of the Ancient Sources
  5. The Meaning of the Name “Maccabee”
  6. Dec. 4 and Tein Tal U-Matar: Some Insights into the Calendar
  7. Yes, We Can Identify Achashverosh and Esther in Secular Sources!
  8. Two Books to Read for Purim
  9. והגדת לבנך (Exodus 13:8): What is the Meaning of והגדת?
  10. Some Interesting Words of the Seder (Seder, Cherut, Karpas, Matzah, Maror, Chasal, Sippur, and Hesebah)
  11. Mah Nishtanah: The Three Questions
  12. ארמי אבד אבי: Uncovering the Interpretation Hidden in the Mishnah

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