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10:24 Mar 12, 2001
Hebrew to English translations [Non-PRO] Art/Literary
Hebrew term or phrase:breath
I want to know what the Hebrew term for "breath" is in English. Like if you were meditating or praying, and were breathing in and out. What would the Hebrew word for this "breath" be?
Explanation: The first comes from the root N-Sh-M, which simply means "to breathe".
She'ifah (w/o the final -t if it stands alone) means more "inhale", rather than breathe in general. THe root is Sh-'-p. I included "ruach" after it, because this is how it is given in the Bantam-Megiddo Heb & Eng Dict. But beware that "ruach" does not mean "breath" primarily, but "wind". It only means "breath" in a derived sense.
Gen. 2:7b reads "weyippakh be'appayw nishmat khayyim" "And (God) blew into his nostrils a breath of life." The first word is a form of the root n-p-kh, which doesn't mean "breathe", but rather blow. (Even though many Eng. translations do in fact render it "breathe".) "Nishmat" is a form of "neshamah" which in turn is related to "neshimah". This latter refers more to the act of breathing, while "neshamah" means more the air which is breathed.
For the record, I was a professional Bible translator for 10 yrs.
Bantam-Megiddo Hebrew & English Dictionary Hebrew-English Lexicon (Zondervan)