Hebrew Words & Definitions

-Glossary -

| A |

AB:
Name of a Partzuf


AB SAG:
Name of a special Light
 

ABYA:
Atzilut, Beria, Yetzira, Asiya

 

Abraham:

(1813-1638 BCE) The first of the three Patriarchs; the first Jew. He discovered G-d on his own and rejected the idolatry of his contemporaries. G-d commanded him to travel from his Mesopotamian homeland to Canaan, where He bequeathed the land to his descendants in the Covenant between the Parts. He successfully withstood ten tests with which G-d challenged him, including the Binding of Isaac incident. Husband of Sarah and Hagar, father of Ishmael and Isaac --his heir.

Acharon shel Pesach:

The final day of Passover

Adam:
(3760-2830 BCE) The first man, created by G-d. Married Eve, and together they are the progenitors of the human race.
They were placed in the Garden of Eden, but were banished from there after eating from the forbidden Tree of Knowledge.

Adam Ha Rishon:

The First Man

Adam Kadmon:
The Primodial Man

Adar, Month of:
Twelfth month in the Jewish calendar; the month in which
Purim is celebrated

Afikoman:

Meaning dessert; from the Aramaic fiku man, the piece of matzah that is hidden and then eaten at the conclusion of the Seder meal to recall the Paschal sacrifice

Ahavah:

Love, affection

Akedah:

Meaning the binding; Abraham’s preparation of Isaac as a sacrifice

Aleph-Beit, The:

The Hebrew alphabet

Aliyah:

(lit. “ascent”); immigration to the Land of Israel

Aliyah:

The honor of being called up to recite one of the blessings over the Torah


Al Menat Lehashpia:

In order to bestow

Al Menat Lekabel:

In order to receive


Amidah, The:

Referred to as Shemonah Esrei (Eighteen Benedictions); the main section of prayer, recited standing

Arvit:

The evening prayer services


Arich:

Long
 

Arich Anpin:

Long Face


Asseret HaDibrot:

The Ten Commandments

Assiah; World of Action, The:

In Kabbalistic terminology, this refers to the lowest of the four spiritual worlds, the final level in the creative process which includes the physical universe


Atara (Atarot):

Crown

Atik Yomin:

The inner dimension of Keter, a level which transcends the entire scheme of the ten Sefirot; an elevated spiritual level that is in absolute oneness with G-d’s essence


Atonement:

repentance, return to a Jew’s true essence


Atzilut; World of Emanation, The:

In Kabbalistic terminology, the highest of the four spiritual worlds, the realm of spiritual existence which, although encompassing attributes which have a specific definition, is in a state of infinity and at one with the Infinite Divine Light

Avinu:

Often used in reference to the Patriarchs, as in “Avraham (Abraham) Avinu”, our father


Avodah:

The Holy Temple service


Avodah SheBeleiv:

service of the heart; prayer
 

Avot:

Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, from whom the entire Jewish nation descended; the husbands of the Matriarchs

Avraham Avinu:

"Abraham our Father." (1813-1638 BCE) The first of the three Patriarchs; the first Jew. He discovered G-d on his own and rejected the idolatry of his contemporaries. G-d commanded him to travel from his Mesopotamian homeland to Canaan, where He bequeathed the land to his descendants in the Covenant between the Parts. He successfully withstood ten tests with which G-d challenged him


Awe of G-d:

The fear or awe of Heaven, which compels us to refrain from sin. Divided into lower and higher levels: Yirah Ila'ah (supernal fear) is the awe one feels when contemplating G-d's greatness, Yirah Tata'ah is fear of the negative consequences that result from sin


Ayin Hara:

Evil Eye

| B |


 

Beinoni, The:

An individual whose spiritual labours have brought him to a level of perfection in thought, word and deed, despite his still-active evil inclination, literarily “Intermediate one”


Beit Din:

(lit. "house of law"); rabbinical court
Beit HaMidrash: (lit. "house of study"); study hall

Beit HaMidrash:

(lit. "house of study"); study hall


Beit Hamikdash:

the Holy Temple in Jerusalem

Beriah; World of Creation, The:

More specifically creation ex nihilo; in Kabbalistic terminology, the second of the four spiritual worlds, the realm of spiritual
existence which represents the first beginnings of a consciousness of self


BeSimchah:

in a state of joy
 

B'ezrat Hashem:

"with G-d's help"

Bikurim (first fruits):

the first fruits which the Jews would bring to the Temple
in Jerusalem


Bimah:

Raised platform at which the Torah is publicly read in the synagogue, and from which a sermon is often delivered


Bina:

Intelligence


Binah (Understanding; Analysis):

The second of the ten Sefirot, in Chassidic thought, the second stage of the intellectual process of Chab”ad, the power that
develops abstract conception of chochmah, giving it breadth and depth

Birkat Hamazon:

Grace after meals, the blessings of thanksgiving after a meal
that included bread


Bnei Noach:

Descendants of Noah; non-Jews, individuals not obligated to
observe the Torah’s laws


Bnei Noah:

Sons of Noah. The halachic term for non-Jews Bracha: (a) ritual blessing recited before eating, the performance of certain mitzvot, and at certain other occasions; (b) a blessing shared with another for good health, etc


Brit Bein HaBetarim:

Covenant between the Parts


Brit Milah; Circumcision:

The ritual circumcision of a Jewish boy, generally at eight days old


BYA:

Beria, Yetzira, Asiya

| C |

Canaan:

the land which G-d promised to Abraham's descendants through his son Isaac and grandson Jacob. Later called the Land of Israel, at the time of G-d's promise it was inhabited by the descendants of Canaan, son of Ham and grandson of Noah, who took the land by force from the children of Shem
 

Cantor:

One who leads the congregation in prayer


Cave of Machpelah:

The cave in Hebron, Israel, wherein are buried Adam, Eve,
Abraham, Sara, Isaac, Rebecca, Jacob and Leah


Chag:

Festival. Usually a reference to one of the three biblical
festivals: Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot


Chag HaMatzot:

(lit. “festival of Matzot"); another name for the festival of
Passover Challah: Bread loaf;

(a) a tithe of dough for the Kohen;

(b) a braided loaf baked in honor of Shabbat
Chametz: Leavened products derived from wheat, barley, oat, spelt or rye. Chametz is forbidden throughout the holiday of Passover


Chamin:

Casserole-like dish prepared before the start of Shabbat and kept warm, usually for Shabbat lunch, developed to avoid the prohibitions against cooking on Shabbat

Chanukah (Hanukkah):

Eight-day festival beginning on 25 Kislev, celebrating
the Maccabees’ recapture of the second Temple from the Syrian Greeks, and its re-dedication, marked by the kindling of lights on a menorah or chanukiah
 

Chanukah Menorah:

The eight-branched menorah (candelabra) kindled on
Chanukah commemorating the miracle of Chanukah


Charoset:

A paste similar to clay reminiscent of the clay the Jews used while enslaved in Egypt, made of apples, nuts and wine, into which the maror is dipped at the Passover seder


Chassidism:

(a) The movement within Judaism founded by Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov (1698-1760), stressing service of G-d through the mystical in addition to the legalistic dimension of Judaism, the power of joy, love of G-d and one's fellow, emotional involvement in prayer, finding G-dliness in every aspect of one's existence, and the elevation of the material universe;

(b) the teachings and philosophy of this movement


Chayah:

The fourth (in ascending order) of the five levels of the soul


Chazan:

Cantor; one who leads the congregation in prayer
 

Chazeret:

(lit. "bitter vegetable"); the vegetable used for maror (bitter herbs) at the Passover seder

Chesed (Benevolence; Love, kindness, grace):

Used to refer to the Divine attribute (sefira) which parallels the abovementioned human qualities and thus is associated
with the dispersion of G-dly light and energy to lower levels of existence


Cheshbon HaNefesh:

A process of stocktaking and introspection with regard
to one’s Divine service Chinuch, The Mitzvah of: The obligation to teach one's child Torah and mitzvah observance


Chochmah:

In Kabbalistic-Chassidic terminology, refers to the first of the ten sefirot, or divine emanations and the first of the intellectual powers of the soul; (wisdom, conceptual knowledge)
chok: A mitzvah that transcends rational reason.
Plural: chukim


Choshen (the breastplate):

the breastplate worn by the High Priest containing twelve precious stones inscribed with the names of the twelve tribes of Israel

Choshen Mishpat:

The breastplate of judgment; the fourth section of the legal
codes, the Tur and Shulchan Aruch, dealing with laws of judicial procedure, monetary affairs, real and personal property, property damages and personal injuries, etc


Chukim: "Decrees."

These are the mitzvot that transcend rational reason, unlike both mishpatim and edot. The quintessential chok (singular for chukim) is the mitzvah of the red heifer


Chumash:

The Pentateuch, the Five Books of Moses


Chupah:

Canopy;

(a) the canopy under which a wedding ceremony is solemnized;
(b) the wedding ceremony

 

Chutzpah:

Insolence


Counting of the Omer:

The formal counting of the 49 days from the second day of Passover to the eve of Shavuot, signifying our preparation for the receiving of the Torah on the holiday of Shavuot

 

Creation, The World of:

More specifically creation ex nihilo; in Kabbalistic terminology, the second of the four spiritual worlds, the realm of spiritual existence which represents the first beginnings of a consciousness of self

| D |
 

Daat (Knowledge; Awareness; Connection):

The third of the ten sefirot, or divine emanations; the third stage of the intellectual process at which concepts, having proceeded from seminal intuition (Chochmah) through meditative gestation (Binah), now mature into their corresponding dispositions or attributes of character (middot)


DAM:

Blood


Daven:

To pray
 

Derush:

Exposition; the non-literal, homiletic interpretation of Scripture, as in the Midrash or Talmudic aggadot
 

DHGT:

Daat, Chesed, Gevura, Tifferet Din, judgement: (judgement), the attribute of Divine judgment Din, law: A particular Torah law or ruling

Divine Providence:

the concept that every event in the universe and every
experience in a person's life, and their every aspect, is specifically guided and determined by the Divine will

Dor Haflagah:

The generation of the division, i.e., the generation who
constructed the Tower of Babel and as punishment were divided and dispersed throughout the world

 

Drashah:

sermon; exegetical rabbinical teaching

 

| E |

Echad:

G-d’s oneness which permeates all existence, One


Edut:

Testimony


Eglah Arufah:

The calf decapitated as penitence for an unsolved murder


Ein Sof:

The Infinite; used to refer to the infinite dimension of G-dliness
 

Elul, Month of:

the Hebrew month devoted to repentance and soul-searching in preparation for the High Holy Days; occurs in late summer

 

Emanation, The World of:

In Kabbalistic terminology, the highest of the four spiritual worlds, the realm of spiritual existence which, although encompassing attributes which have a specific definition, is in a state of infinity and at one with the Infinite Divine Light

Emunah:

faith
 

Erev:

(lit. “evening” or “eve of”); the day or evening preceding Shabbat or the festivals; Friday is often referred to as “Erev Shabbat”


Ethics of the Fathers:

Pirkei Avot in Hebrew; The Ethics of our Fathers, the
tractate of the Mishnah which contains the ethical teachings of our Sages

 

Etrog:

Citron, used during the festival of Sukkot for the mitzvah of the Four Species

| F |

Formation, The World of:

The third of the four spiritual worlds, the realm of spiritual existence in which the limited nature of the created beings takes on form and definition; the abode of the lower classes of angelic beings and of the souls of ordinary Jews

 

Four Exiles:

The Midrash speaks of four exiles in advance of Mashiach's arrival and the Final Redemption: Babylonian, Median, Greek, and Roman
 

Four Kinds, The:

the lulav, etrog, hadassim and aravot over which a blessing is
recited on each of the days of Sukkot

 

Four Kingdoms:

Inanimate, vegetation, animal kingdom, and human life
 

Four Worlds, The:

The main stages in the creative process resulting from the progressive self-screening of the Divine light known as tzimtzum; in descending order: Atzilut, Beriah, Yetzirah and Asiyah, often referred to by their acronym Abiya

| G |

Galut (Exile):

exile; diaspora


Gan Eden (Spiritual Heaven):

The Garden of Eden; the spiritual realm of souls in the afterlife


Gehinnom:

Purgatory, the spiritual realm in which the souls are cleansed from the blemishes brought about by their conduct while on Earth
 

Geirah:

one-twentieth of a shekel, currency used in biblical times
 

Gemara:

Learning, a reference to the Babylonian Talmud
 

Gematria:

Hebrew numerolog: a tradition of interpreting biblical verses on the basis of the numerical equivalents of Hebrew letters
 

Gemilut Chassadim:

deeds of kindness, extending charity and kindness by
word and deed Generation of the Flood, The: The generation destroyed by the Flood

 

Get:

Jewish bill of divorce


Gevurah (Might; Restraint):

The second of the seven Divine middot, or attributes, associated with the holding back of Divine revelation and restricting the dispersion of Divine light to lower levels of existence


Gilui:

the revelation of light


Gimatria:

Calculations with Hebrew letters numerical values


Giving of the Torah:

Giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai

| H |

Haftarah:

The concluding portion; reading from the Prophets at the conclusion of the weekly Torah reading


Hagbah (Raising the Torah):

The ritual of lifting the Torah scroll and displaying it to the congregation after the Torah reading
 

HaMelech:

The king


HaMotzi:

Blessing recited over bread


Hashpa’a:

Bestowal


Hassadim:

Mercy


Hesed:

Mercy, Kindness


Hochma:

Wisdom


Hod:

Splendor; the fifth of the seven Divine middot, or attributes, and of their corresponding mortal middot, or spiritual emotions


Holy of Holies:

the inner chamber of the Temple where the Divine Presence was most revealed; contained the Holy Ark, was only entered by the High Priest on Yom Kippur

| I |

Ibur:

gestation; in a spiritual sense, the interrelationship of souls
 

Ikvot Meshicha:

The heels of Moshiach (Aramaic), refering to the period
immediately before the coming of Moshiach, which so to speak, hears the approaching “footsteps of Moshiach”

 

Im Yirtzeh Hashem:

"G-d willing."


Israel:

Means "prince of G-d"; Israel is

(a) another name for the patriarch Jacob

(b) the Jewish people

(c) an Israelite - a Jew who is neither a Kohen nor a Levite

(d) a common given name

(e) the Land of Israel

| J |

Jerusalem Talmud:

the edition of the Talmud compiled in the Land of Israel at
the end of the fourth century

Jubilee:

the Jubilee year, the fiftieth year of the Shemittah cycle, during which allproperties return to their original owners and all slaves are freed

 

Judah Maccabee:

Judah Maccabee was one of the leaders of the Jewish guerilla
freedom fighters who drove the Seleucid Greek occupiers out of Judea in 139 BCE. Judah was the eldest son of Mattathias (Matisyahu), the High Priest, who instigated the revolt

| K |

Kabbalah:

Received tradition, the body of Jewish mystical teachings, the central text of which is the Zohar
 

Kabbalat Shabbat:

the Friday evening service that welcomes the incoming
Shabbat

 

Karet:

The cutting of the soul, causing premature death on the earthly plane and a
severing of the soul’s connection with G-d on the spiritual plane


Karpas:

(lit. "greens") the vegetable on the Passover seder plate that is dipped in saltwater and eaten at the beginning of the seder


Kashrut:

The laws of kosher


Kavanot:

Intentions, concentration; mystical themes for devout meditation during prayer and the observance of the mitzvoth


Kedushah:

Holiness


Kehunah:

Priesthood; G-d's sanctification of Aaron and his descendants to serve Him in the Holy Temple as the emissaries of the people of Israel


Keilim:

(a) Vessels; the powers which enclothe Divine light and express it in a limited form; the relationship between the keilim and the orot (“lights”, the Divine energy) is compared to that between the body and the soul

(b) the name of a tractate of the Mishnah


Kein Ayin Hara:

An evil eye should not be cast upon him.,


Keitz:

End; a particularly auspicious time for Moshiach to bring the exile to an end


Keli:

a vessel or utensil
 

Kelipah: Shell; the outer covering which conceals the G-dly light within all creation; hence, the unholy side of the universe

 

Kelipat Nogah:

The shining kelipah; dimension of kelipah in which the light is
intermingled with the shell; differs from the other kelipot in that its spiritual potential (the “brightness” within it) can be redeemed by man’s constructive intent while making use of the physicality in which it is vested

 

Keruvim (Cherubs):

angels resembling young children; relief images of two winged cherubim were part of the cover of the holy Ark in the temple
 

Kesher:

Connection or knot
 

Keter:

Crown; the sublime level of divine emanation which transcends the set of the ten Sefirot; in man’s spiritual personality it is the source of the corresponding “superconscious” faculties of pleasure and will


Ketubah:

Marriage contract
 

Kiddush:

Sanctification;

(a) blessing recited over a cup of wine expressing the sanctity of the Sabbath or of a festival;

(b) refreshments served in the synagogue after the recital of Kiddush
 

Kilayim:

a forbidden mixture; e.g.: the forbidden interbreeding of plant or animal species


Kipah (Head Covering), The:

Yarmulkeh or Skullcap. The head covering worn by Jewish men symbolizing recognition of G-d above


Kitrug:

an accusatory voice in the Heavenly Court
 

Kli:

Vessel
 

Klipot:

Shells
 

Kochot Makkifim:

the transcendent faculties of the soul
 

Kochot Pnimiyim:

he internalized, conscious faculties of the soul
 

Kohen:

priest, descendant of Aaron, responsible for the service in the Holy Temple
 

Kohen Gadol:

the “high priest,” or chief of the Kohanim; only he may enter the
Holy of Holies

 

Korban Pesach:

The sacrifice of the Paschal Lamb brought before Passover

 

Korban Tamid:

the daily sacrifice, offered in the Temple in the morning and
before nightfall


Kos Shel Brachah:

The cup of blessing; the cup of wine over which the Grace
after Meals has been recited

 

Kosher:

Fit; (a) complying with the dietary laws;

(b) fit to be used for ritual purposes


Kosher L'Pesach:

Kosher for Passover use

| L |

Lag BaOmer:

the 33rd day of the Omer, a minor festival falling between
Passover and Shavuot, commemorating the end of a plague which killed thousands of Rabbi Akiva’s students; also the yahrzeit of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, author of the Zohar


Lashon HaKodesh:

The Holy Tongue; Biblical Hebrew


Lashon Hara:

Slander or libel


Latke:

Fried potato pancake, traditionally served on Chanukah


Levite:

A member of the priestly tribe of Levi


Loshon Horo:

The evil tongue; gossip and slander


Lulav:

the palm branch used during the festival of Sukkot for the mitzvah of the Four Species

| M |

Maariv (evening prayer):

The evening prayer services


Maccabees, The:

The Jewish army that revolted against the Syrian-Greek
occupation in 139 BCE, whose miraculous victory culminated in the festival of Chanukah. Their name is an acronym of their battle cry, whose Hebrew words mean “who is likened unto You amongst all powers, O, G-d.”


Mah Nishtanah:

What Is Different?; the "Four Questions" asked by the children
at the Passover seder

Maimonides:

Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon, known by the acronym the “Rambam”, 1135-1204; Cordoba (Spain), Fez (Morocco) and Fostat (old Cairo, Egypt); codifier, philosopher, communal leader, and court physician to Sultan Saladin of Egypt; author of a commentary on the Mishnah, the Book of Mitzvot, Mishneh Torah, the Guide to the Perplexed and many other work


Mala’achim:

Angels


Malchut (kingship):

Sovereignty, the last of the ten Divine sefirot and their
corresponding mortal middot; acts as a transitionary link to a lower world


Mamzer:

A child born from an incestuous or adulterous relationship--specifically, a relationship between a man and a woman who halachically cannot be bonded in marriage

 

Manna, The:

the food from heaven provided to the Jews in the desert after the exodus from Egypt


Maror:

The bitter herbs eaten at the Passover seder
 

Masach:

Screen
 

Matan Torah:

Giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai

 

Matriarchs, The:

Sarah, Rebecca, Leah and Rachel, from whom the Jewish
nation descended; the wives of the Patriarchs

 

Matzah:

unleavened bread eaten on Passover
 

Mayim:

Water


Mazal:

a) A medium that conveys spiritual influence to worldly beings; in its Talmudic usage, the celestial constellations that serve this purpose.

b) The root or main part of the soul, which is not experienced consciously


Mazal Tov:

A good mazal; traditional congratulatory wish for happy lifecycle events such as births, weddings, circumcisions, and bar or bat mitzvahs
 

Megillat Esther:

The Biblical book of Esther


Melaveh Malkah:

Accompany the queen; festive meal held on Saturday night to
escort the departing Sabbath Queen

 

Men of the Great Assembly:

A panel of 120 prophets and sages-- including Ezra, Nehemiah, Mordecai, Daniel, Simeon the Righteous and the prophets Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi--which constituted the ultimate religious authority at the onset of the Second Temple Era (4th century BCE). Among their accomplishments was the composition of the text of our standard prayers and blessings
 

Metzora:

a person afflicted with tzaraat

 

Mezuzah:

Doorpost; parchment scroll affixed to the doorposts of a Jewish home or business, containing portions of the Shema
 

Midbar:

Desert

Middot:

(a) Attributes of character; spiritual emotions (e.g., the love or awe of G-d); mental states.

(b) The seven lower sefirot, the Divine emotive attributes.

(c) Tractate of the Talmud that concerns itself with the structure of the Holy Temple


Midrash:

(a) the classical collection of the Sages’ homiletic teachings on the Torah, on the non-literal level of derush;

(b) any one such teaching


Mikdash:

Sanctuary; generally synonymous with Mishkan, though also with Beit HaMikdash


Mikveh, the:

Collection or gathering of water; ritual bathing pool in which a
person immerses himself as part of the transition to ritual purity


Minchah (afternoon prayer):

The offering; afternoon prayer service


Minyan, The:

Number; the quorum of ten necessary for communal prayer
 

Mishkan, The (Tabernacle):

a) the tabernacle or temporary Sanctuary in which the Divine Presence dwelled during the Jews’ journeys through the desert;

b) the portion of the tabernacle and the Temple building before the Holy of Holies which contained the inner altar, the table for the show-bread, and the menorah


Mishnah:

The first compilation of the oral law, authored by Rabbi Yehudah HaNasi (approx. 200 C.E.); the germinal statements of law elucidated by the Gemara, together with which they constitute the Talmud; also, a single statement of law from
this work


Mishpatim:

(a) Judgments; rational commandments, one of the three categories
of mitzvot.

(b) One of the 53 Torah portions (in the Book of Exodus).

(c) The 13th book of Maimonides' Code of Law

Mitzrayim:

The biblical name for Egypt


Mitzvah; Mitzvot:

Commandment; one of the Torah’s 613 Divine commandments; a good deed or religious precept; according to Chassidut, the word mitzvah stems from the root tzavta, attachment, the mitzvah creating a bond between G-d who commands and man who performs


Mochin:

Brains; the three intellectual sefirot, chochmah, binah and daat, also referred to as immot (‘mothers’) because they are the source of the middot, the emotional attributes


Mohel:

The trained expert who performs ritual circumcisions
Moshiach: The anointed one; the Messiah. One of the 13 principles of the Jewish faith is that G-d will send the Messiah to return the Jews to the land of Israel, rebuild the Holy Temple and usher in the utopian Messianic Era


Mount Moriah:

he Temple Mount


Mussar:

(a) words of censure or admonishment;

(b) Jewish philosophic works dealing with personal conduct and character, and methods for self improvement in these areas

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

| N |

Nasi:

(a) in Biblical times, the head of any one of the twelve tribes; (b) in later generations, the civil and/or spiritual head of the Jewish community at large
 

Nazirite:

One who sets himself apart for Divine service by undertaking certain ascetic restrictions
 

Nedarim (Vows):

(a) Vows;

(b) A tractate of the Talmud that discusses the laws of vows


Nefesh:

(a) soul;

(b) the lowest of the five levels of the soul


Neshama:

(a) soul;

(b) the third (in ascending order) of the five levels of the soul
 

Nesi'im:

The presidents of the Sanhedrin in Roman-occupied Israel
 

Netzach:

Eternity; conquest; victory; the fourth of the seven Divine middot, or emotional attributes, and of their corresponding mortal middot, or spiritual emotions

Niddah:

(a) The state women enter with the onset of menstrual bleeding; a woman in this state. Physical contact between husband and wife is suspended during this period, until the woman immerses in a mikvah.

(b) A tractate of the Talmud that discusses the laws of niddah
 

Noah:

(a) (2704-1754 BCE) Tenth generation descendent of Adam, he and his immediate family were the only ones to remain righteous when all of humankind descended into a state of anarchy and lawlessness. He and his family survived the Flood that wiped out the rest of the human race by taking shelter in the Ark he constructed.

According to the Midrash, he invented the plow.

(b) A common Jewish name


Noahide Laws, The Seven:

Seven universal laws -- a morality code -- which form the basis of civilization. All descendants of Noah, i.e. all of humanity, are required to follow these laws

| O |

Ohel Moed:

Tent of meeting; the Sanctuary


Ohr:

Divine light


Ohr Ein Sof:

G-d’s infinite light


Olam:

World; Universe


Olam Haba:

The world to come; the spiritual realm of the souls in the afterlife; also used to refer to the Era of the Resurrection


Olam Ha Zeh:

This World
 

Olamot Elyonim:

The supernal worlds; in Kabbalistic works there is generally
reference made to four spiritual worlds: Atzilut - Emanation, Briyah - Creation, Yetzirah - Formation, and Asiyah - Action. In each one of these worlds, the Divine energy becomes progressively more disconnected from its source, thus beginning to feel itself as a separate entity. Our physical world is the lower half of the world of Asiyah, sometimes known as Asiyah HaGashmit


Omer Offering, The:

A biblical measure of approx. 43 oz; the formal counting
of the 49 days from the second day of Passover; when the Omer offering was brought in the Holy Temple; to the eve of Shavuot, signifying our preparation for the receiving of the Torah on the holiday of Shavuot


Oneg:

Pleasure; delight, spiritual delight

Onkelos:

Nephew of the Roman Emperor Titus, converted to Judaism during the Mishnaic era. His Aramaic translation of the Torah was universally accepted and is printed in most editions of the Chumash
 

Or Chozer:

Rebounding light; light which reflects the input of a recipient


Or Yashar:

Direct light; light as it is revealed from its source

| P |

Panim:

Face


Pardes:

The metaphorical term used to refer to the four levels of Torah
interpretation: pshat (the literal meaning of the text), remez (its allusions), derush (the homilies that can be derived from it), and sod (its mystical secrets)


Parshah:

The weekly Torah portion


Partzufim:

Faces; the sefirot as they are joined together in various ways, as taught in Kabbalah
 

Passover:

(a) The seven-day festival (eight in the Diaspora) beginning on 15 Nissan, commemorating the Exodus from Egypt;

(b) the sacrifice offered on the eve of that holiday during Temple times
 

Pashut:

Simple
 

Pasuk:

The Hebrew term for a verse in the Torah
 

Penimi:

(a) inner aspect;

(b), a person of inner integrity
 

Pesach:

(a) Passover, the seven-day festival (eight in the Diaspora) beginning on 15 Nissan, commemorating the Exodus from Egypt;

(b) the sacrifice offered on the eve of that holiday during Temple times


Pesach Sheni:

The second Passover; opportunity given to certain persons who were unable to offer the Passover sacrifice to do so one month later


Phylacteries:

Tefillin; small black leather cubes containing parchment scrolls
inscribed with the Shema and other biblical passages, wrapped on the arm and head of adult men during weekday morning prayers

 

Pirkei Avot:

The Ethics of our Fathers, the tractate of the Mishnah which contains the ethical teachings of our Sages

Pnimiyut HaTorah:

the innermost, mystical dimension of the Torah
 

Poskim:

(a) the halachic authorities following the Talmudic era;

(b) the works of applied Jewish law authored by these authorities


Pshat:

the plain meaning of a scriptural passage


Pur:

Lots that Haman cast to determine the date of his proposed annihilation of the Jews


Purim:

The holiday that commemorates the Jews' salvation from Haman's plot to annihilate them

| Q |

| R |

Rabbeinu:

Our teacher; the title appended to the name of Moses and subsequently other Jewish leaders in history
 

Rasha:

a wicked individual; according to Chassidut, anyone who still succumbs to his evil inclination
 

Rav:

Rabbi; the halachic authority and spiritual guide of a community
 

Reb:

(a) a short form of “Rebbe,” used as a title prefacing a name; (b) colloq., used with the name of any adult male, approx. equivalent to the English “Mister”


Remez:

Allusion; Torah interpretation at the level of allusive implication
Rosh Chodesh: The head of the month; one or two semi-festive days marking the beginning of each month


Rosh Hashanah:

The head of the year; the solemn New Year holiday, falling on
1 and 2 Tishrei, and beginning the ten Days of Repentance

 

Ruach:

Spirit; one of the five levels of the soul


Ruach Hakodesh:

Divine inspiration

| S |

Sages, the:

Refers to the great body of teachers who taught and expounded the traditional laws and traditions of Israel from the time of Ezra to the completion of the Talmudic/Midrashic literature (approx. 450 BCE-500 CE)

 

Sanhedrin:

the central rabbinical supreme court of ancient Israel, composed of 71 sages, which emerged as an especially crucial source of leadership following the destruction of the Second Temple; also, the tractate of the Talmud of that name


Scroll of Esther, The:

The book of Tanach describing Haman's plot to annihilate the Jews, Mordecai and Esther's successful foiling thereof, and the institution of the holiday of Purim. It is read every year on Purim


Sechach:

the vegetative covering of a sukkah


Sedarim:

The order of service observed at home on the first night (first two nights in the Diaspora) of Passover. Plural: Sedarim
 

Sedarim of the Mishnah:

The Mishnah is divided into six general sections, called sedarim

 

Seder, the:

The order of service observed at home on the first night (first two nights in the Diaspora) of Passover. Plural: Sedarim


Sedra:

The weekly Torah portion


Sefarim:

Sacred books


Sefer HaMitzvot:

Book of the commandments; text authored by the Rambam
for the purpose of defining the 613 mitzvot


Sefer HaPardes:

Book of the orchard; principal written work on Kabbalah by
Ramak

 

Sefer Torah:

Torah scroll


Sefirah:

(a) One of the Divine attributes or emanations which are manifested in each of the Four Worlds, and are the source of the corresponding ten faculties (kochot) of the soul;

(b) A reference to the Counting of the Omer

 

Sefirat HaOmer:

The formal counting of the 49 days from the second day of
Passover to the eve of Shavuot, signifying our preparation for the receiving of the Torah on the holiday of Shavuot


Sefirot, The:

Divine attributes or emanations which are manifested in each of the Four Worlds, and are the source of the corresponding ten faculties (kochot) of the soul
 

Semichah:

Rabbinic ordination


Sephardi:

Jews of South European or North African origin; pertaining to such Jew

 

Shabbat:

The Sabbath, the divinely-ordained day of rest on the seventh day of the week
 

Shabbat HaGadol:

The Shabbat preceding Passover
 

Shabbat Shuvah:

The Sabbath of Repentance; the Shabbat between Rosh
HaShanah and Yom Kippur; also known as Shabbat Shuvah (from the first word of the Haftorah read on that day, beginning Hoshea 14:2)

 

Shacharit:

The morning prayer service


Shamash, The:

The candle from which the Chanukah lamps are lit Shammai & Hillel, Houses of: The Torah academies founded by Hillel and Shammai were known as the “Houses of Hillel and Shammai.”
The Mishnah records 316 disagreements between the schools, with the House of Hillel generally taking the lenient view and the House of Shammai, the more stringent one. In all but 18 cases, the halachah is accordance with the House of Hillel
Shankbone: Shankbone used on the Passover seder plate; represents the Paschal sacrifice


Shavuot:

The one-day holiday (two in the Diaspora) commemorating the Giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai. This late-spring holiday commences on the fiftieth day (the morrow of seven “weeks”) following the second day of Passover
 

Shechinah:

Feminine aspect of the Divine; the manifestation of the divine
presence in this world; G-d's feminine manifestation


Shechitah:

Ritual slaughtering


Shekel:

A silver coin of the Biblical era; the standard monetary unit of the State of Israel


Shema, The:

The daily declaration of faith, recited in the morning and evening prayers and before retiring for the night Shemittah

(Sabbatical Year): The seventh year in the seven-year agricultural cycle, when the land is left to lie fallow


Sheva Mitzvos B'nei Noach:

Seven Noahide laws; seven universal laws; a morality code; which form the basis of civilization. All descendants of Noah, i.e. all of humanity, are required to follow these laws


Shevarim:

The three Shofar blasts of intermediate length

Shevirat Ha Kelim:

The breaking of vessels


Shevirat Ha Neshamot:

The breaking of souls


Shichachah:

The obligation to abandon produce which one forgot to reap so that the poor may harvest it


Shirah:

Song
 

Shiur:

Study session; class; lesson, Torah lesson

Shmurah Matzah:

Matzah that has been watched; matzah prepared under
exacting supervision from the time the wheat is harvested through the end of the baking to guard against the minutest moisture


Shochet:

One who slaughters and inspects cattle and fowl in the ritually-prescribed manner, for kosher consumption


Shofar:

Ram’s horn sounded during the month of Elul, on Rosh HaShanah and at the close of Yom Kippur; reminiscent of the ram “tangled in the bush by its horns” during the Binding of Isaac (Genesis 22), the shofar sounded at Sinai (Exodus 19) and
the shofar of Moshiach


Shoftim:

(a) Succession of Torah authorities and leaders who ruled Israel from the year 2533 from creation (1228 BCE, 17 years after the death of Joshua) to the anointing of Saul as king in 2882 (879 BCE).

(b) A section of the Torah in Deuteronomy.

(c) The thirteenth book of Maimonide's Mishne Torah
 

Show Bread:

The bread offered on the sacred table in the Sanctuary each week, described in Leviticus 24:5-9.


Siddur:

Order; traditional prayer book


Simchah:

A happy occasion or Jewish life-cycle celebration, e.g., bar mitzvah


Simchat Torah:

Festival immediately following Sukkot, on which the public
reading of the Torah is annually concluded and recommenced; observed with great joy, singing and the Hakafot procession with the Torah scrolls


Sitra Achara:

The other side; the opposite of holiness; the forces of evil
Skullcap: The head covering worn by Jewish men symbolizing recognition of G-d above


Sod:

The mystical dimension of Torah study

Sotah:

(a) A woman suspected by her husband of adultery. Despite his circumstantial evidence, she proclaims her innocence. She would submit to the test of drinking the “bitter waters.” If she had been unfaithful, both she and the adulterer
would die.

(b) The Talmudic tractate that discusses the laws of the Sotah
 

Succot:

Festival of seven days (eight in the Diaspora) beginning on 15 Tishrei, taking its name from the temporary dwelling (sukkah) in which one lives during this period; this festival is marked for its special joy (“zeman simchateinu”—“time of our rejoicing”) and by the mitzvah of the four species


Sukkah:

A hut or booth roofed with vegetation in which the autumn festival of Sukkot is observed

| T |

Taamim:

The musical cantillation signs that accompany the printed text of the Torah, known in Yiddish as trop
 

Tabernacle:

The temporary Sanctuary in which the Divine Presence dwelled
during the Jews’ journeys through the desert


Tagim:

The “crowns” which adorn the upper edges of certain letters in the ritualscript of Torah scrolls, etc


Taharah:

Ritual purity


Tallit:

A Prayer Shawl; Prayer shawl fringed with ritual fringes at four corners, worn by men during certain prayer services

 

Tallit Katan:

Four-cornered poncho-like fringed cloak worn by Jewish men and boys beneath their shirts
 

Talmid Chacham:

Torah scholar
 

Tameh (Tme’im):

Impure, Tainted, profaned


Tanach:

The bible; The Five Books of Moses, Torah, Nevi’im (Prophets), and Ketuvim the “Writings”


Targum Onkelos:

A classic Aramaic translation and paraphrase of the bible by
the second-century proselyte, Onkelo


Taryag: The number of Biblical precepts, consisting of 248 positive commandments and 365 negative commandments
 

Tefillah:

Prayer

Tefillin:

Phylacteries; small black leather cubes containing parchment scrolls inscribed with the Shema and other biblical passages, wrapped on the arm and head of adult men during weekday morning prayers


Tehillim:

The Book of Psalms


Tekiah:

The protracted Shofar blast


Tekiah Shevarim Teruah Tekiah:

The traditional order of the sounds of the shofar: a long steady blast, a series of short wailing blasts, a series of very short
sounds in rapid succession, and another long steady blast
Ten Days of Repentance: The first ten days of the Hebrew month of Tishrei, beginning on Rosh Hashanah and culminating on Yom Kippur

 

Teruah:

The short staccato Shofar blast


Terumah:

The elevated portion; a portion of the agricultural produce given to the priests; this portion must be guarded from ritual impurity and eaten in a state of purity
 

Teshuvah:

Repentance, return to a Jew’s true essence
 

Tevel:

is the produce which has not had the Terumah and Maaser tithes separated from it, hence the food is deemed forbidden to eat until these required tithes are taken from it
 

The Temple Menorah:

The seven-branched gold candelabra in the Temple Thirteen Attributes of Mercy: G-d’s boundless capacity for compassion, especially as expressed in the granting of atonement

Tiferet:

Harmony; Beauty; Compassion; the third of the ten Middot, or Divine attributes, and their corresponding emotional attributes in the human soul; fuses the influence of Chessed and Gevurah and reveals a light that transcends them both; often
identified with Mercy


Tikkun Olam:

Repairing or fixing the world

Tohu & Tikkun:

Kabbalistic terms meaning chaos and rectification; Kabbalah
explains that at the beginning of creation, the world was in a spiritual condition called Tohu (chaos), an elevated realm of spiritual existence which lacked the balance and order that characterizes our frame of reference and which therefore “collapsed.” in an event called shevirat hakeilim – the breaking of the vessels, when the light departed from them. This “break” was planned by G-d in the first place, for it was a “destruction for the purpose of building,” since only then could there exist the orderly world we are familiar with, the world of tikkun ("rectification" or "order"). 
This world possesses lesser lights, but the vessels are plentiful. The sparks of holiness that “fell”
when the vessels were broken are hidden within various parts of our world, and awaiting their “correction” through man’s Divine service

 

Torah, The:

(a) The Five Books of Moses (The Bible);

(b) the overall body of Jewish religious teachings encompassing the whole body of Jewish law, practice and
tradition

 

Tumah:

Ritual impurity


Tzaddik, The:

A wholly righteous person. In the context of Chabad lliterature,
one who has conquered his animal impulses and is filled entirely with love and reverence for G-d


Tzafun:

The twelfth step of the Passover seder--eating the afikoman which has been hidden away since the beginning of the seder


Tzaraat:

A supra-natural bodily affliction often mistranslated as leprosy
 

Tzedakah:

Charity


Tzedakah Pushka:

Charity box

 

Tzimtzum:

Means contraction; the process of Divine self-contraction and self-limitation which makes possible the concept of limited, worldly existence

Tziruf:

An analogy for the spiritual task of refining the world 

 

Tzitz:

One of the eight articles worn by the High Priest, was a golden band worn on the forehead, which was engraved with the words "Holy to G d."


Tzitzit:

(a) Fringed four-cornered garment.

(b) The fringes of said garment


Tzniut:

Modesty in dress and behaviour

| U |

Urchatz:

The second step of the Passover seder--washing one's hands before eating the karpas


Urim VeTumim:

The stones embedded in the High Priest’s breastplate, which
served as oracles

| V |

Vidduy:

Confession of sins

| W |

Western Wall, The:

The western retaining wall of the Temple Mount, the last
remnant of the Temple in Jerusalem

 

World To Come, The:

a) The afterlife;

b) The Era of the Resurrection of the Dead

 

Writings (Section of the Tanach):

Ketuvim; Writings; is the third and final section of the Bible (Tanach)

| X |

| Y |

Yachatz:

Divide; the fourth step of the Passover seder--breaking the middle matzah in two


Yachid:

Unique; G-d’s singular oneness which transcends all existence
Yarmulkeh: Kipah in Hebrew, skullcap. The head covering worn by Jewish men symbolizing recognition of G-d above

 

Yechidah:

The highest or innermost of the five levels of the soul


Yechidut:

Private audience with a Rebbe
 

Yesh Me’ayin:

Meaning something from nothing; creation ex nihilo


Yeshivah:

Academies of Torah learning


Yeshut:

Meaning existence; awareness of self; ego


Yesod:

Meaning foundation; the sixth of the seven Divine middot, or attributes, and of their corresponding mortal middot, or spiritual emotions


Yetzer Hara:

The evil inclination; the human inclination to do evil, rooted in the physical nature of man

Yetzer Tov:

The good inclination; the human inclination to do good, rooted in the spiritual nature of man
 

Yetzirah: 

The World of Formation; the third of the four spiritual worlds, the realm of spiritual existence in which the limited nature of the created beings takes on form and definition; the abode of the lower classes of angelic beings and of the souls of
ordinary Jew


Yiddish:

The traditional language of Ashkenazic Jewry, spoken over the course of 1000 years in Central and Eastern Europe, and around the world


Yom Kippur:

The Day of Atonement, fast day falling on the 10th of the Jewish
month of Tishrei and climaxing the Days of Awe


Yovel:

The Jubilee year, the fiftieth year of the Shemittah cycle, during which all properties return to their original owners and all slaves are freed (see Leviticus 25:8-16)


Yud Gimmel Middot HaRachamim:

The Thirteen Attributes of Mercy; G-d’s boundless capacity for compassion, especially as expressed in the granting of
atonement

| Z |

ZA:

Ze'er Anpin, the small face; the term used by the Kabbalah for the Divine attributes which parallel emotions


Zachor:

Meaning to remember; the obligation to remember Amalek’s attack on the young Jewish nation; commemorated by the reading of the passage of this name on the Sabbath preceding Purim


Zechut:

merit


Ze'er Anpin:

The small face, the term used by the Kabbalah for the Divine
attributes which parallel emotions


Zemirot:

Hymns; Shabbat and festival songs generally sung around the table
 

Zeroa:

The shankbone used on the Passover seder plate; represents the Paschal sacrifice


Zohar:

The classic text of the Kabbalah; compiled by 2nd century mishnaic sage Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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