LASHON HAKODESH (Hebrew : לָשׁוֹן הַקֹּדֶשׁ; lit.
"the tongue holiness" or "the Holy Tongue"), also spelled L\'SHON
HAKODESH or LESHON HAKODESH (Hebrew : לְשׁוֹן
הַקֹּדֶשׁ), is a Jewish term and appellation
attributed to the
Hebrew language , or sometimes to a mix of Hebrew
* 1 Origins in the Classical texts * 2 See also * 3 References * 4 Further reading
ORIGINS IN THE CLASSICAL TEXTS
The phrase's first appearance is already in the Mishnah :
"The following may be recited in any language: The Torah-portion of 'Sotah ', the confession made at the presentation of the tithe , the 'Shema ', and the 'Prayer ' …
The following are recited in the Holy Tongue: The declaration made at
In its narrow sense,
Lashon Hakodesh refers not to the Hebrew
language in its entirety, but rather to the
Biblical Hebrew only. In
its broader sense, it was used for combining Hebrew and
The exact meaning of the phrase "Lashon Hakodesh" becomes clear due to its contrary term. In the Mishnah and the Gemara the term was aimed to take out the foreign languages that were commonly spoken among the Jewish communities:
"For Rabbi said: Why use the Syrian language in the land of Israel? Either use the Holy Tongue or Greek! And R. Joseph said: Why use the Syrian language in Babylon? Either use the Holy Tongue or Persian!" — Talmud, Tractate Sotah, 49b
"Rabbi Hanina said: Because language is akin to the Lashon Hakodesh" — Talmud Tractate Pesachim , 87b
Rishonim sages perceived only Biblical Hebrew, and not the
Mishnaic Hebrew , as "Lashon Hakodesh". In Yiddish, the term "Loshn
Koydesh" serves to describe its own Hebrew -
Jewish philosophers have offered various reasonings for Hebrew being the "Sacred Language".
" I have also a reason and cause for calling our language the holy
language-do not think it is exaggeration or error on my part, it is
Hebrew language has no special name for the
organ of generation in females or in males, nor for the act of
generation itself, nor for semen, nor for secretion. The Hebrew has no
original expressions for these things, and only describes them in
figurative language and by way of hints, as if to indicate thereby
that these things should not be mentioned, and should therefore have
no names; we ought to be silent about them, and when we are compelled
to mention them, we must manage to employ for that purpose some
suitable expressions, although these are generally used in a different
The Guide for the Perplexed
"As I see it, the reason for the Rabbis calling the language of the
Torah the Holy Tongue is that the words of the
Torah and of the
prophecies and all sacred utterances were all spoken in that language;
it is the language that the Holy One, blessed be He, speaks with His
prophets and with His people, saying, "I am ...," "Thou shalt not have
..." and the remaining commandments and prophecies; it is the language
by which He is called in His sacred names... and in which He created
His universe, gave names to heaven and earth and all therein, giving
his angels and his host names — Michael, Gabriel, etc. — all in
that language, and in that language naming the saintly people in the
Land, such as Abraham, Isaac, and Solomon." —
* ^ A B Sotah 7:2 with vowelized commentary (in Hebrew). New York.
1979. Retrieved Jul 26, 2017.
* ^ A B Vowelized
Mishnah Sotah 7:2 (in Hebrew). New York: The
Hebraica Press. 1966.
OCLC 233369863 . Retrieved Jul 26, 2017;
Mishnah Sotah 7:2 (in Hebrew). Jerusalem. 1999. Retrieved
Jul 26, 2017.
* ^ M. Friedlander (1904). The Guide for the Perplexed
(Friedlander), Part III, Chapter 8.