Tehillim or Tehillos?
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February 27, 2011 11:44 am at 11:44 am #595349
The word “tehillim” is a plural, not occurring in Biblical Hebrew, and comes from the singular “tehillah” = “song of praise.” It is thus a fitting title for the collection of songs found in nach in the “Kesubim” and more fully described as “Sefer Tehillim,” or the “Book of Psalms.” “Tehillim” is also contracted to “tillim” (Aramaic, “tillin”).
But Tehillah is feminine. So why isnt it called Sefer Tehillos?
Come on all you dikdukniks out there!February 27, 2011 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm #747576
Amazingly on the day that I posted the above question (and have been overwhelmed by the number of responses), I came across a set of nach with pirush malbim by hotzaos hatalmud printed in yerushalayim in 1978. Chelek hey has printed on the spine ‘Tehillos’!
I opened it and there it is… Sefer Tehillos, starting ashrei ha’ish asher lo halach ba’atzas reshaim and ending with kapital 150 haleluka! The top of each page says Tehillos with the perek. However, interestingly, right at the very end it says s’chum pesukei shel sefer tehillim heim alpayim vechamesh meios… And this is under the page header Tehillos kuf nun.February 28, 2011 12:01 am at 12:01 am #747577observanteenMember
Shticky: you’re your best friend…
Oh, and I find your question and answer quite interesting!February 28, 2011 12:32 am at 12:32 am #747578ItcheSrulikMember
Off the top of my head I would guess that tehillos was contracted to the gender-neutral (daykanim, check me on that?) tillin and then retranslated to the incorrect Hebrew “tehillim”.March 1, 2011 12:26 am at 12:26 am #747580
I’ve asked a couple of knowledgeable ppl about this. One told me that no, tehilla is not gender neutral but is strictly feminine, and really it should be tehillos cos tehillim is gramatically wrong, but something that has been used and said by generations of yiden is not abandoned but kept even if it is subsequently found to be inaccurate. The second person told me that a story is brought down that when the Malbim went to Frankfurt, Reb Shimshon Refoel Hirsch refused to meet him even though both were at the forefront of the fight against the Reform. He said that because the Malbim changed the name from Tehillim, as it had been known for many doros, to Tehillos, he wouldnt see him!
I’m still trying to find out why it was called tehillim in the 1st place and by whom!March 1, 2011 1:23 am at 1:23 am #747581snapplegrlMember
almost the same- with shabbosim and shabbasos!March 1, 2011 2:56 am at 2:56 am #747582
stop the speculation
see the gemara in ????? ??”? The gemara says Tehilim. Those who are lazy to walk over to the book case go to http://kodesh.snunit.k12.il/b/l/l2310_117a.htm
According to a ?? scholar ???”? & ??? ???? refer to Tehilos I don’t know where in order to verify
snapplegrl almost the same ???-
and shabbasos ??”?!March 1, 2011 4:01 am at 4:01 am #747583ItcheSrulikMember
Shticky guy: Who said tehillos was gender neutral? I said the aramaic “tillin” might be.March 7, 2011 11:25 am at 11:25 am #747584Ken ZaynMember
wellmeaning busybody: There are actually several references to Tehillim for example in :??? ???? ??? it says ?????? ?? ?????? ??? ???? ?????… Even in ?????? in ???? ???? ??? ?? ???? ?? it says ??? ???? ???? ????? ?? ??? ??? ??? ?????
Rav Dunner ztz”l of London was a bokee in these things. He was asked regarding the name yerucham which a couple wanted to use when the true name as it appears in nach is yerocham. He told them that although that was strictly true, but because through the years generations had used the name as yerucham, it should not be changed but kept that way!March 7, 2011 7:14 pm at 7:14 pm #747585
in a coupla days they usually answer in a day or soMarch 7, 2011 8:20 pm at 8:20 pm #747586Ken ZaynMember
Well meaning busy body, I see that you really live up to your name. This time i, or really I, (otherwise some posters will shout at me) dont mind, for who doesnt like a yenta! I dont even mind that you misspelt my name when you submitted my mishnaic source! Please post back when you see a reply from the rabbi. Cheers! Thanks!March 7, 2011 8:34 pm at 8:34 pm #747587
from Rabbi Zvi Frank @ revach.net
In Avos 9 6 & in other places we find Chazal referring to Sefer Tehillim.
But Tehillah is feminine. So why isn’t it called Sefer Tehillos?
Actually, the Ibn Ezra in many places does indeed call it Sefer Tehilos!!!!
See his perush on Chumash bereshis many times as well as on Tehillim itself.
However, although the common understanding is that the word tehillim stems from the word tehillah, this may not be set in stone.
In Yerushalmi and sometimes in medrash it appears as sefer Tillim. Without the letter “heh”.
Additionally, in Medrash Tehillim it says that Rav used to call it sefer hallelu-ka.
Apparently Tehillim may come from the word hillulim. A lashon of hallel rather than tehilah. This would explain the Yerushalmi word Tillim as well.
Alternatively, perhaps it is a combination of both concepts Tehillos and Hillulim which formed the word Tehillim.
The Noam Elimelech says it comes from the word Tahel which means shine light, see (Iyov 41, 10).
Finally, we do find similar parallels in Hebrew such as Tefillin where the singular is feminine tefilla, and should have been called Tefillos.
As an abundant amount of gematrios, remazim, roshei teves, shemos hakedoshim etc. have been handed down throughout the generations based on the lettering of the word tehillim, these various hidden concepts may have influenced the
decision as well.
Rabbi Tzvi Frank, grew up in Boro Park, NY and learned in Yeshivos Chasan Sofer, Philadelphia, Brisk -R’ Avrohom Yehoshua, Kollel Halichos Yerushalayim, Kollel Ner Moshe in Givat Shaul and Lakewood, NJ. He currently resides in LakewoodMarch 8, 2011 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm #747588
Thanx very much wmbb wdlay. That’s interesting. Very interesting. A great answer.March 8, 2011 3:18 pm at 3:18 pm #747590
check my previous link to ask the Rabbi
I got an answer ???? ??? ??? ??? ????: ‘?? ?????’March 8, 2011 5:54 pm at 5:54 pm #747591
I sent Rav Frank’s answer to Rabbi Laufer @ Ask the Rabbi & received this
March 8, 2011 11:39AM
Submitted by: Rabbi Reuven Lauffer
I saw the excellent and well researched answer of Rabbi Frank. Interestingly enough, until today, the Yemenites still refer to it as Sefer Tillim (without the ‘heh’). The only thing that is missing is a definitive reason (not theories) as to why it is called Sefer Tehillim and not Tehillos which would seem to be grammatically correct.March 8, 2011 6:35 pm at 6:35 pm #747592
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