דָּת

 

 
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You might think that the Hebrew word for religion would be among the most common in the Bible. But although worship can be found all over the Bible, the word for religion rarely appears – and even when it does, it means something a bit different from religion as we know it.
 
The word is דָּת listen and repeatIn the Bible (most commonly in the Book of Esther), the word means law or sentence in the legal sense. And since religion can be described as a set of laws, over time, the word דת came to refer to religion itself.
 
An example:
 
הַיַּהֲדוּת הִיא דָּת עַתִּיקָה מְאֹד.
Judaism is a very ancient religion.
 
You may recognize the word דת in the term for a religious person – דָּתִי listen and repeat in the masculine and דָתִיָּה listen and repeat in the feminine.
 
For example, an Israeli man rushing to get home on Friday before sundown might be asked:
 
לָמָּה, אַתָּה דָּתִי?
Why, are you religious?

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