Jewish Glossary


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A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

This "Glossary" has two man purposes:

  • To provide immediate information designed to clarify a point under discussion in the site. That word or idea would be "linked" to a place on the site where it is more fully developed, or to the Glossary.
  • To explain Hebrew terms or expressions used on the site; in this role, it functions as a minimal Hebrew-English dictionary.

Numbers correspond to the Strong’s Concordance from which the definitions come. At the end of this work you will also find the correct spelling for some Hebrew names, the Hebrew spelling for the Tanach, and the Tractates of the Mishnah.

Guide to pronunciation:

  • ‘ – a vowel that is not quite pronounced; a very short e
  • a – as in at
  • ah – as in father
  • ahy – as in my
  • aw -as in awe (often used as awr to sound like or)
  • ay – as in way
  • e – as in bet
  • ee – as in me
  • i – as in it
  • oh – as in hope
  • oo – as in food
  • uh – as in up
  • u – as in put
  • kh – as in Scottish or German, a throat clearing noise
  • tsch – as in chair
  • ts – as in paints

A

Adar – Sixth month of Hebrew civil calendar: February-March.

Afikoman (al. Afikomen) - This word, from the Greek meaning "after-dish," refers to the last morsel eaten at the seder–half of the central matzah broken off and put away at the beginning of the meal…Greek word meaning that which comes after. It is represented in a broken piece of matzah wrapped in linen and buried (hidden)…A Greek word meaning "dessert." This piece of the ceremonial matzah is the final thing eaten at the Passover seder meal.

Aggadah (al. Agada, Agadah) pl. Agadot – stories, parables.

Agunah – A woman whose husband had disappeared, and who could not remarry without witnesses to his death….bound woman.

Akedah (al. Akeida) – Binding an animal for sacrifice; specifically, Abraham’s binding of Isaac for sacrifice to G-d–not consummated…The binding of the sacrifice.

Al Chet – Literally: for the sin; an important Yom Kippur prayer listing sins for which we beg forgiveness.

Al Hanisim (al. Ha-nissim) – thanksgiving for the miracles added to prayer and grace after the meal on the festivals of Hanukah and Purim.

Al Mikrah Megillah – the blessing before the reading of the Megillah.

Al Netilat Yadayim – the blessing over the washing of hands before the meal.

Alenu Leshabe’ach – a prayer of thanksgiving for being separated from the heathens.

Aliyah pl. Aliyot – Literally: going up. To "have an aliyah" refers to the honor of being called up to the bimah to recite or chant the blessings over the Torah. To "make aliyah" or "go on aliyah" means to immigrate to Israel.

Am haaretz – peasantry. Used by the Talmud and thereafter to mean ignorant….people of the land.

Amidah – standing prayer, quietly murmured, that is part of each daily service, alternatively called the Tefillah or the Shemoneh Esre…a prayer, recited silently, thrice daily, while standing up, the prayer of the eighteen benedictions. Amora pl. Amoraim – Speaker, interpreter; expounder of Talmudic (Mishnaic) law from compilation of Mishnah to redaction of entire Talmud, in Babylon (where the amoraim were known as Mar or Rav) and in Palestine (where they were designated Rabbi). Their discussions and teachings, 220-550, form the Gemara, lengthier sections of the Talmud that follow each Mishnah.

Anenu – a passage added to prayer on public fast days.

Ani Ma’amin – Literally: I believe; often sung at the seder and at Yom Hashoah observances in memory of Holocaust victims who sang this song of faith on their way to their deaths.

Anshei K’neset Hagdolah – Sages of the Great Synod during the first part of the Second Sanctuary Period.

Apocalyptic – Ideas and teachings pertaining to the revelation (apocalypse) of the last days and the end of the world.

Apocrypha – A Greek adjective in the neuter plural (from apokruphos, “hidden, concealed”) denotes strictly “things concealed.” Old Testament Apocrypha, specifically the fourteen books written after the Old Testament canon was closed and which, being the least remote from the canonical books, laid strongest claim to canonicity…The body of Jewish literature written between the second century B.C. and the second century A.D., not included in the canon of the Hebrew Bible.

Apostate – One whose actions are not consistent with the standards of behavior set by his religious community.

Aravah pl. Aravot – willow branch taken as one of the four species on the Feast of Tabernacles.

Arba’ah Minim (al. the Four Species) – Palm, myrtle, willow and citron; another name for the lulav and etrog together, used on Sukkot.

Aron Hakodesh – Literally: the Holy Ark; the special cabinet in which the Torah scrolls are kept in the synagogue; the Holy Ark is called Heichal in Sephardic synagogues.

Aseret Yemei Teshuvah – the ten days of penitence.

Asham – A guilt offering made by one who has sinned against his fellow man.

Ashkenazi pl. Ashkenazim – Referring to Jews of Central and Eastern European origin.

Ashrey – Psalm 145 recited thrice daily.

Atah Chonantanu – a passage added to the evening prayer after the Sabbath to note the difference between the Sacred and the non-Sacred.

Athid Lavo – The coming age.

Atzeret – Conclusion; used for concluding observance of festival; word derived from "gathering" or "detention," original meanings. Shemini Atzeret is concluding day of Sukkoth; Atzeret is Talmudic term for Shavuot, conclusion of Omer count…A festive gathering for the conclusion of a festive season, a concluding feast.

Aufruf – Calling up of the bridegroom or bridal couple for the Torah blessings on the Shabbat preceding their wedding.

Av – Eleventh month of Jewish year.

Av Beit Din (al. Bayt, Bet) – Father of the court–judicial president in Talmudic era, and later.

Av Harachamim – a prayer for the persecuted communities.

Avelut – third period of mourning; the first year after death.

Avinu Malkenu – Literally: our Father, our King; a prayer of supplication recited on Yom Kippur…a prayer said on the Days of Penitence and fast days.

Avodah (al. Abodah) – Service–specifically, the sacrificial Temple service as performed by high priest; today, referring to Yom Kippur observance and other synagogue rituals. Chasidic concept of life dedicated to G-d.

Azarah pl. Azarot – the Temple Courtyard. Ezrat Nashim – the outer Courtyard in the Sanctuary.

Azazel – Meaning unknown; Talmud thus denotes the mountain on which scapegoat is sent, to carry people’s sins into the wilderness, on Yom Kippur.

Azharot – a passage on the commandments in the Torah read on Shavuot.

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B

Badeken – Traditional formal veiling of the bride by the groom before the wedding ceremony.

Bamah pl. Bamot – an improvised altar, outside the Sanctuary.

Bar Kokhba (al. Kochba) – Leader of a Jewish revolt (132-135) against Hadrian.

Bar / Bat (al. Bas) Mitzvah – Literally: son / daughter of the commandment; ceremony marking a youngster’s reaching the age of religious majority, traditionally thirteen for boys and twelve for girls; in many congregations, thirteen for girls as well.

Baraita’ – An Aramaic term for a statement of law, historical or aggadic tradition which is attributed to the tannaitic period but which is not contained in the Mishnah.

Barchu – call upon the congregation to bless G-d.

Barech – grace…the part of the Seder when the grace after the meal is recited.

Baruch Dayan Ha’emet – a blessing of acceptance of G-d’s judgments.

Baruch Hu Uvaruch Shemo – a phrase of blessing of G-d’s Name upon hearing it uttered.

Basar – #1319. basar, baw-sar’; a prim. root; prop. to be fresh, i.e. full (rosy, fig. cheerful); to announce (glad news):–messenger, preach, publish, shew forth, (bear, bring, carry, preach, good, tell good) tidings….Good news (same as gospel).

Bat Kol – an "echo" of a Divine Voice.

Batlanim – male householders who had leisure to give themselves to regular attendance.

Bedikat Chametz – Search for leaven before Passover…casting out the leaven.

Beha’alotcha – a portion in the Book of Numbers.

Bein Hametzarim – the period between the Seventeenth of Tammuz and the Ninth of Av, "Between the Fences".

Beinoni pl. Beinonim – of median piety.

Beit Din (al. Bayt, Bet) – "House of Judgment [Law]" Jewish court employing religious and Talmudic law…Rabbinical court.

Beit haMikdash (al. Bayt, Bet) – House of Sanctity; synagogue…The sanctuary or Temple in Jerusalem.

Beit haShoevah (al. Bayt, Bet) – The House of the Waterpouring.

Beit Midrash (al. Bayt, Bet) pl. Batey Midrashot – Houses of Study.

Berachah (al. Brachah) pl. Berachot (al. pl. Brachot, Birchot) – a blessing, benediction.

Berachot Hashachar (al. Birchot, Brachot) – the blessings of awakening recited each morning.

Berit, B’ris – Literally: covenant; refers to the covenant between G-d and Abraham and his descendants.

Berit Milah – often referred to simply as b’ris.

Beshalach – a portion in the Book of Exodus.

Betzah – roasted egg, a symbol for the second sacrifice of Passover.

Beyn – #996. beyn, bane (sometimes in the plur. masc. or fem.); prop. the constr. contr. form of an otherwise unused noun from H995; a distinction; but used only as a prep., between (repeated before each noun, often with other particles); also as a conj., either . . . or:–among, asunder, at, between (-twixt . . . and), + from (the widest), X in, out of, whether (it be . . . or), within.

Bikkur – examining or investigating.

Bikkur Cholim (al. Holim) – Visiting the sick–a pious duty, carried out in the past by Chevra Kadisha.

Bikkurim (al. Bikurim) – the Offering of the First Fruit.

Bimah – The raised platform in the synagogue from which the Torah is read and from which worship services are usually conducted; the platform is called tevah in Sephardic synagogues…Reader’s stand in synagogue.

Birkat Hachodesh – the blessing of the New Moon.

Birkat haMazon – Benediction over food; grace after meals.

Birkat HaMinim – 90 CE decree.

Bitul Torah – the neglect of the study of the Torah.

Bi’ur Ma’asrot – the disposal of tithes.

Bo – a portion in the Book of Exodus.

Boethuseans – A religious party of the first century composed of wealthy and influential members of the priesthood, similar in doctrine with the Sadducees.

Boneh Yerushalayim – the blessing over the rebuilding of Jerusalem.

Bore Nefashot – a short blessing after the eating of food that does not require Birkat Hamazon.

Bore Peri Ha’etz – the blessing over fruit of the tree.

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C

C.E. – Common Era (same as A.D.).

Ceruvim – the Cherubim in the Sanctuary.

Chag Habikkurim (al. Habikurim) – Literally: Festival of the First Fruits; another name for Shavuot.

Chag Haggeulah – festival of redemption.

Chag Sameach – Literally: a joyous holiday; greeting used on the festivals.

Chai – Literally: life. When Jews drink, they wish each other Lechayim (to life).

Chalitzah – This Biblical ceremony, to absolve a man of marrying his childless brother’s widow, means "removal." The widow removes his shoe and publicly spits upon the recalcitrant.

Challah (al. Chalah) pl. chalot – Egg bread eaten on Shabbat and festivals; the challah used on Rosh haShanah is round, often containing raisins, symbolizing a sweet year, distinguishing it from the Shabbat challah that is braided…the kohen’s share in the dough…White braided Sabbath bread; name of the dough tithed from bread baking.

Chametz (al. Chamets) – Food prepared with leaven, by extension referring to all foods and utensils forbidden on Passover…Leavened bread and anything made with wheat, rye, barley, oats, or spelt, which has not been supervised to ensure that it has not leavened; refers to prohibited foods during Pesach.

Chanukat Habayit – Literally: dedication of the home; the ceremony affixing the mezuzah.

Chanukiah – Eight-branched candelabrum, with a place for a ninth candle (shamash) that light the others, especially designed for Hanukah.

Charoset – A mixture of fruits, nuts, and wine; one of the symbolic Passover foods. Its color and consistency are reminders of the bricks and mortar used by the Israelite slaves.

Chasidim – Ultra-Orthodox followers of the eighteenth-century leader, Rabbi Israel, the Ba’al Shem Tov.

Chatan – Bridegroom.

Chatan Bereshit – Literally: bridegroom of Genesis; the man called to recite or chant the blessings over the first section of the Torah on Simchat Torah.

Chatan Torah – Literally: bridegroom of the torah; the man called to recite or chant the blessings over the final section of the Torah on Simchat Torah.

Chatat (al. Hataat) – Sin offering in Temple…A sin offering made by one who has sinned against G-d.

Chavurah (al. Chaburah, Havra’ah) pl. Chavurot – a group of "subscribers" convened for the purpose of offering the Pesach Sacrifice and eating of its meat…Informal group, which meets together for Jewish study and celebration.

Chazan (al. Hazzan) – the cantor, the leader in prayer.

Chazan Hakkeneset (al. Hazzan) – synagogue employee.

Chazarat Hashatz – repetition of the amidah prayer by the cantor aloud after it was recited by the congregants.

Cheder – Old-fashioned term for Hebrew school….Chamber.

Cheshvan (Bul) – Second month of Jewish year.

Chet – Literally: missing the mark; one of the Hebrew terms translated as sin. Chevrah Kadisha – Group of people entrusted with the mitzvah of preparing a body for burial.

Chokmah – #2451. chokmah, khok-maw’; from H2449; wisdom (in a good sense):–skillful, wisdom, wisely, wit.

Chol – non-sacred.

Chol Hamoed – Ordinary part of the festival–days in the middle of Pesach or Sukkot when work is allowed…weekdays of the Festival.

Chukat – a portion in the Book of Numbers.

Chumash pl. Chumashim – one of the Five Books of the Torah.

Chuppah (al. Chupah, Huppah) – Canopy under which pair stand at wedding ceremony, symbol of home to be established…Canopy which represents the honeymoon chamber.

Confirmation – Ceremony marking the completion of the religious school course of study, often held on Shavuot.

Consecration – Ceremony marking the beginning of a child’s formal Jewish education, often held on Simchat Torah.

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D

Da’ath – #1847. da’ath, dah’-ath; from H3045; knowledge:–cunning, [ig-] norantly, know(-ledge), [un-] awares (wittingly).

Darash – #1875. darash, daw-rash’; a prim. root; prop. to tread or frequent; usually to follow (for pursuit or search); by impl. to seek or ask; spec. to worship:–ask, X at all, care for, X diligently, inquire, make inquisition, [necro-] mancer, question, require, search, seek [for, out], X surely.

Daven – The Yiddish word meaning "pray."

Dayenu – Literally: It would have been enough for us; name of a popular seder song.

Defilement – ritual impurity.

Devar Torah – Literally: a word of Torah; follows the Torah reading in a worship service, taking the form of a sermon, talk, explication, story, discussion, or program.

Diaspora – Jewish communities outside of Israel.

Dibre HaYamin – the events of the days.

Din pl. Dinim – Halachah law.

Duchan – the stand in front of the ark in the synagogue from which the kohanim bless the congregation.

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E

Eglah Arufah – "the heifer-of-the-broken-neck" prescribed in case of an unsolved murder.

Ein Kelohenu – "There is no simile of our L-rd…" a passage recited after the morning prayer.

El Erech Apaim – a prayer mentioning the thirteen Divine Attributes.

El Malei Rachamim – Literally: G-d, full of compassion; memorial prayer.

Elohim – G-d.

Elokai Netzor – a passage of personal requests recited upon the conclusions of the silent prayer.

Elul – Twelfth month of Jewish year….prior to R-H.

Emor – a portion in the Book of Leviticus.

Emunah – faith.

Episkopos – #1985. episkopos, ep-is’-kop-os; from G1909 and G4649 (in the sense of G1983); a superintendent, i.e. Chr. officer in gen. charge of a (or the) church (lit. or fig.):–bishop, overseer.

Episunagoge – #1997. episunagoge, ep-ee-soon-ag-o-gay’; from G1996; a complete collection; spec. a Chr. meeting (for worship):–assembling (gathering) together.

Ereb - #6153. ‘ereb, eh’-reb; from H6150; dusk:– + day, even (-ing, tide), night. (al. Erev) the day before, the eve of.

Erusin – In ancient times, the formal engagement ceremony before marriage.

Eruv – an act of legal "mixing", the means of "mixing".

Eruv Chatzerot – an act of legal "mixing" to enable transferring from one "private domain" to another on Sabbath.

Eruv Tavshilin – an act of "mixing" the cooked food prepared for a festival and the Sabbath next to it in order to enable cooking and baking on the festival for the Sabbath.

Etrog – Citron fruit; with the lulav, it is the symbol of Sukkot…citron fruit taken as one of the four species on the Feast of Tabernacles.

Eusebes – #2152. eusebes, yoo-seb-ace’; from G2095 and G4576; well-reverent, i.e. pious:–devout, godly.

Even Shetiyah – the Foundation Stone in the Sanctuary.

Ezrat Nashim – the outer Courtyard in the Sanctuary. Azarah pl. Azarot – the Temple Courtyard.

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F

Fleishig – Foods derived from meat or meat products.

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G

Gabai pl. Gaba’im – the leader of the Synagogue.

Gan Eden – The Garden of Eden…paradise.

Gaon pl. Ge’onim – (Excellency) Reverential title of heads of Talmudic academies of Sura and Pumbedita, Babylonia. Rabbi Elijah of Wilna was accorded that title in the eighteenth century…the head of a Torah Center in Babylonia in the post-Talmudic era.

Gehinnom (al. Gehinom) – Literally: Valley of Hinnom; a temporary place of punishment in the afterlife…Hell.

Gelt – Yiddish term for money; traditionally given as a Hanukah gift and used for the dreidel game.

Gemar Chatimah Tovah – Literally: May the final sealing be good; traditional greeting from the end of Rosh haShanah through Yom Kippur.

Gemara – Collection of legal and ethical discussions of the rabbis of the third through the fifth centuries, edited about 500 CE; together with the Mishnah forms the Talmud.

Gematria – Finding meanings in the numerical value of Hebrew letters and words.

Ger – #1616. ger, gare; from H1481; prop. a guest; by impl. a foreigner:–alien, sojourner, stranger…Gioret pl. gerim – The masculine and feminine forms of the Hebrew term for convert.

Ger Sheker – Proselyte who declares full conversion for ulterior motives.

Ger Toshav – Proselyte who accepts monotheism and the Noahide laws, and who receives courtesies and privileges.

Ger Tzedek – Full convert of true conviction, in all respects to be considered a Jew.

Gerut – The process of conversion.

Get – Religious divorce; the word is used to refer to a Jewish bill of divorcement.

Gevurot Geshamim – "the Power of Rain", a Praise to G-d for the revelation of His powers in Nature, added to the silent prayer.

Gezerah – Laws or traditions added by the Pharisees as fences around the existing Law in an attempt to prevent it from being broken.

God (names) – Adonai, Elohim, El Shaddai, YHVH, Hakadosh Baruch Hu, Ribono shel Olam, Harachaman, Avinu Shebashamayim.

Go’el – Redeemer.

Go’el Israel – "The Redeemer of Israel", one of the eighteen benedictions of the Amidah prayer.

Goyim – foreigner.

Grogger (al. Greegers, Graggers) – Noisemaker used to drown out Haman’s name during the reading of the Megillah on Purim.

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H

Ha Melech – The king.

HaAzinu, the song of. A portion of Deuteronomy.

Haben – The son.

Hadas – a myrtle branch taken as one of the four species on the Feast of Tabernacles.

Haftorah (al. Haftarah) pl. Haftarot – Selection from the Prophets read or chanted after the weekly Torah portion during the synagogue service on Sabbath and holidays.

Hag haMatzah – The Festival of Unleavened Bread.

Hagadol – The great.

Hagah – #1897. hagah, haw-gaw’; a prim. root [comp. H1901]; to murmur (in pleasure or anger); by impl. to ponder:–imagine, meditate, mourn, mutter, roar, X sore, speak, study, talk, utter.

Hagbalah – Days of Abstinence.

Haggadah (al. Hagadah, Agada, Agadah, Aggadah) pl. Haggadot – A general Hebrew term for utterance, applied specifically to the nonlegal portion of rabbinic literature. It is also the title of the text recited at the festive meal (seder) on the first two nights of Passover…Literally: telling; book in which the Passover story is retold and the seder ritual is outlined…the tale of the Exodus from Egypt as read at the Seder Night.

Hagigah (al. Chagigah) – a sacrifice offered on the eve of Pilgrim Festivals.

Hagomel – A blessing of thanksgiving for deliverance from perils.

Hakafah pl. Hakafot – The carrying of the Torah scrolls in a procession around the sanctuary…the circling of the Altar in the Sanctuary or the Bimah in the Synagogue.

Hak-heyl – assemble-ceremony of reading parts of Torah every seventh Sukkot.

Halakhah (al. Halachah, Chalakah) – The way one goes; the word for law, or for the purely legal and regulatory portions of the Talmud, and of all Jewish lore…Jewish law.

Halakhah Lemoshe Misinai (al. Halachah, Chalakah) – a Law given to Moses on Sinai and not written explicitly in the Torah.

Halakhic

Hallel (al. Halel) – Special psalms of praise, recited or sung on the festivals….Psalms 113 – 118.

Hamantashen – Filled three-cornered pastries supposed to represent Haman’s hat, traditionally eaten on Purim.

Hamavdil – the blessing of Havdalah.

Hanukah (al. Chanukah)- Literally: dedication; name of the winter holiday commemorating the Maccabean victory over the Syrians in 165 BCE.

Haptomai – #680. haptomai, hap’-tom-ahee; reflex. of G681; prop. to attach oneself to, i.e. to touch (in many implied relations):–touch.

Harpazo- #726. harpazo, har-pad’-zo; from a der. of G138; to seize (in arious applications):–catch (away, up), pluck, pull, take (by force).

HaSatan – The Adversary (same as Satan).

Hatafat Dam Berit – Taking a single drop of blood from the penis as a sign f the covenant, necessary in the conversion of an adult male already circumcised.

Hatarat Nedarim – the repeal of vows.

Hatikva – The hope.

Hatov Vehametive- the fourth blessing of Birkat haMazon — "He Who is ood and bestows goodness..".

Havdalah – Literally: separation; ceremony that marks the end of the Sabbath and the beginning of the week…the blessing over wine to mark the difference between the Sabbath and the weekdays.

Hayom Harat Olam – verses recited during the Rosh haShanah mussaf prayer.

Hechag – Literally: the holiday; one of the names for Sukkot.

Hechal – Hall of the Sanctuary.

Heretic – One whose beliefs do not accord with those of the established religion to which he claims adherence.

Hester Panim – the withdrawal of Divine Favor.

Heter – permission, permit.

Heter Iska – "transaction permit" allowing a money lender to take interest by making him a partner of the borrower sharing his profits.

High Holy Days – A ten day period from Rosh haShanah to Yom Kippur.

Hillel – The most prominent Jewish teacher of the first century (30 BCE – 10 CE).

Hilula – a celebration of memorial.

Holy of Holies – most Holy inner part of the Sanctuary.

Homiletic – The art of preaching or public persuasion.

Hoshanah – Chant of "Save us, L-rd." said while carrying Torah in procession.

Hoshana Rabbah (al. Hoshanah Raba) – the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles.

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I

Ishtar – Fertility Goddess.

Isru Chag – the day following a festival.

Itro – a portion in the Book of Exodus.

Iyar (Zif] – Eighth month of Jewish year.

Jubilee – Every fiftieth year, land lies fallow and land ownership is totally redistributed into equal family shares.

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K

Kabbalat Ol Mitzvot – Literally: the acceptance of the yoke of the commandments; a convert’s agreement to lead a Jewish life.

Kabbalat Shabbat – Psalms, readings and songs welcoming the Sabbath; the introductory portion of the Sabbath eve service.

Kabod (al. kabowd) – #3519. kabowd, kaw-bode’; rarely kabod, kaw-bode’; from H3513; prop. weight; but only fig. in a good sense, splendor or copiousness:–glorious (-ly), glory, honour (-able). (al. Kavod)

Kaddish (al. Kadish)- Prayer praising G-d. This prayer is chanted at several points in a service. In addition, it is recited at least once at each service in memory of those who have died…Prayer of sanctification of G-d’s name.

Kalat Bereshit – Literally: bride of Genesis; the woman called to recite or chant the blessings over the first section of the Torah on Simchat Torah.

Kallah (al. Kalah) pl. Kallot – Bride…Conclave or retreat.

Kaparah pl. Kaparot (al. pl. Kapparot) – expiation…Ceremony of transferring sinfulness to a scapegoat just before Yom Kippur.

Kaporet – the covering over the Holy Ark in the Sanctuary.

K’arah – Passover dish.

Karath – #3772. karath, kaw-rath’; a prim. root; to cut (off, down or asunder); by impl. to destroy or consume; spec. to covenant (i.e. make an alliance or bargain, orig. by cutting flesh and passing between the pieces):–be chewed, be con- [feder-] ate, covenant, cut (down, off), destroy, fail, feller, be freed, hew (down), make a league ([covenant]), X lose, perish, X utterly, X want … (al. Karet) – "Being cut off" from the people; Biblical punishment which might become capital or consist of early natural death.

Karpas – A green herb like parsley or a green vegetable such as celery or watercress, symbolizing spring; one of the symbolic foods used on the seder plate.

Kashrut – Jewish dietary laws.

Katatome – #2699. katatome, kat-at-om-ay’; from a comp. of G2596 and temno (to cut); a cutting down (off), i.e. mutilation (ironically):–concision. Comp. G609.

Kavanah – Literally: intentionality; referring to the spiritual attitude with which we approach worship.

Kedushah – (Holiness) When the reader or cantor repeats the Amidah (standing prayer), the congregation rises for this antiphonal chant of a doxology from Bible verses proclaiming oneness and sanctity of the L-rd…prayer of sanctification of G-d’s Name added to the third benediction of the amidah prayer.

Kedushat Hayom – the benediction concerning the "sanctity of the day" included in the amidah prayers on Sabbaths and Festivals.

Kehunah, Kehunah Gedolah – Priesthood in the Sanctuary, High Priesthood.

Ken Ayin Hara (Yiddish, Kinna Hurra) – Literally: May there be no evil eye. Keriah – Tearing of a garment or a symbolic black ribbon as an expression of grief in conjunction with a death.

Ketiva Vachatima Tovah – wishes of "good inscription" on Rosh haShanah.

Ketoret – incense offered in the Sanctuary.

Ketubah (al. Kethubhoth) pl. Ketubot – (Writing) Traditional marriage contract, detailing duties of wife and husband, and providing money penalties for divorcement of wife…A second marriage contract.

Ketuvim – Literally: the Writings; third section of the Bible.

Ketz – End of Days.

Kevah – Literally: fixed; referring to the fixed order of Jewish liturgy.

Kevod Hamet (al. Kebod) – Honor due to the dead.

Ki Tetze – a portion in the Book of Deuteronomy.

Ki Tisa – a portion in the Book of Exodus.

Kiddush (al. Kidush) – Blessing recited or chanted over wine on Shabbat or festivals emphasizing their holiness….pour out first cup of wine / blessing of sanctification…by extension, a light meal after the wine.

Kiddush Hachodesh (al. Kidush) – the sanctification of the New Moon.

Kiddush Levanah (al. Kidush) – the blessing of sanctification over the monthly renewal of the moon.

Kiddushin (al. Qiddushin, Kedushin) – Literally: holiness; refers both to the wedding ceremony and to the state of matrimony.

Kinah pl. Kinot – (Lamentation) Elegy in poetic (piyyut) structure recited on Jewish days of mourning.

Kipah – The Hebrew term for skullcap; the Yiddish term is yarmulke.

Kislev – Third month of Jewish year.

Kittel (al. Kitel) – White garment that is part of traditional Jewish burial clothes; worn by some worshipers on Yom Kippur as a reminder of mortality and a symbol of purity, and by some officiants at Rosh haShanah services and at the Passover Seder. Also worn by some grooms at their wedding.

Klaf – Hand-written scroll placed in a mezuzah, containing Deuteronomy 6:4-9; ll:13-21.

Kodashim Kalim – sacrifices of minor sanctity.

Kodesh – Literally: holy.

Kodesh hakodhashim – room behind Holy Place. also hakodesh – the Holy Place.

Kohelet – the Scroll of Ecclesiastes.

Kohen (al. Cohen) pl. Kohanim (al. pl. Cohanim) - Descendant of the ancient priestly class, the progeny of Aaron…a priest.

Kohen haGadol (al. Cohen haGadol, Cohen Gadol] – The High Priest.

Kol Nidrei (al. Nidrey) – Literally: al vows; prayer that begins the Yom Kippur eve service; the entire service is often called the Kol Nidrei service…a prayer and announcement of repeal of vows recited upon the advent of the Day of Atonement.

Korech – matzah and bitter herb sandwich.

Kosher – Ritually fit for use…permitted.

Kri – the traditional pronunciation of words in the Torah.

K’tiv – the traditional spelling of words in the Torah.

Kvatter / Kvatterin – Godfather / Godmother; those who carry the baby into the Berit ceremony.

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Ladino – Judeo-Spanish; the everyday language of Sephardic Jews.

Lag baOmer – 33rd day of 50 days of Omer.

Lamnatze’ach Ya’ancha Hashem – Psalm 20, recited on weekdays to mark sorrow and supplication.

Latreia – #2999. latreia, lat-ri’-ah; from G3000; ministration of God, i.e. worship:–(divine) service.

Lech Lecha – the third portion in the Book of Genesis.

Lechem Mishneh – two loaves required for the blessing on Sabbath and Festival meals.

Lehitpalel – Literally: to judge oneself; the Hebrew word meaning "to pray."

Leshanah Tovah Tikatevu – Literally: May you be inscribed [in the Book of Life] for a good year; Rosh haShanah greeting, sometimes shortened to Shanah Tovah.

Levi – a Servant in the Sanctuary, a Sage of the Talmud.

Leviathan – Sea monster mentioned in Job, of which the pious will eat at the resurrection.

Levirate – the institution of the brother-in-law (marrying his brothers widow).

Lulav pl. Lulavim – Palm branch, with myrtle and willow sprigs attached; with the etrog, it is the symbol of Sukkot…a palm branch taken as one of the four species on the Feast of Tabernacles.

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Maamad – "Station"–groups of lay people who assisted the Levites at the daily sacrifices one week a year.

Ma’aminim – the Believers.

Maariv – Evening prayer service….evening prayers after sunset.

Ma’aser pl. Ma’asrot – tithes given to the Kohen, the Levite or the poor.

Machah – #4229. machah, maw-khaw’; a prim. root; prop. to stroke or rub; by impl. to erase; also to smooth (as if with oil), i.e. grease or make fat; also to touch, i.e. reach to:–abolish, blot out, destroy, full of marrow, put out, reach unto, X utterly, wipe (away, out).

Machzor – (Repetition) High Holy Day prayer book, In some Orthodox synagogues, a special prayer book- -also known as a machzor–is used on the Pilgrimage Festivals.

Maftir – Last part of Torah reading on a given Shabbos or festival…the man who is "called up" to the reading of the concluding passage.

Magen Avot - a short summary of the Sabbath amidah prayer recited on Sabbath Eve after the silent prayer.

Maggid – Preacher; generally itinerant, and popular because of his clever parables….narration.

Mah Nishtanah – four questions.

Malkot – the penalty of lashing.

Malkut Shamayim - The Kingdom of Heaven.

Maot Chitim (al. maoz chittin) – Literally: wheat money; money collected prior to Passover to assist the needy to celebrate the holiday and to buy special Passover foods.

Maoz Tsur – Best-known Hanukah song. An English version of the song is entitled "Rock of Ages."

Maror – A bitter herb such as horseradish, symbolizing the bitter plight of the enslaved Israelites; one of the symbolic foods used on the seder plate.

Marranoes – forcibly converted Jews in Spain.

Mashiach - Anointed one (same as Messiah or Christ).

Masoretic Text - The accepted Hebrew text of scriptures.

Mattan Torah (al. Matan) – The giving of the law or instruction.

Mattanot Le-Evyonim - Giving to the poor.

Matzah pl. Matzot - Unleavened bread…The unleavened bread eaten in recollection of the hurried departure from Egypt; the eating of matzah is obligatory only at the seder.

Mayim Hayim – Living water.

Mazal Tov – Literally: good luck; congratulations. Mechilta – Halakhic midrash to Exodus.

Medieval - Relating to or characteristic of the Middle Ages.

Megillah (al. Megilah) pl. Megillot – Literally: scroll; there are five megillot in the Bible. The one we read on Sukkot is Ecclesiastes, on Purim is Esther, on Pesach is Song of Songs, on Shavuot is Ruth and on Tishah Be’av is Lamentations.

Melech – king.

Meni – Moon Goddess.

Menorah pl. Menorot - Seven- or eight-branched candelabrum; people commonly refer to an eight- branched Chanukiah as a menorah…the Lamp of the Sanctuary.

Menuhan - place of rest.

Mesorah – the traditional essential requirements in the writing of a Torah Scroll.

Mezuzah pl. Mezuzot - (Doorpost) Ritual object consisting of a casing and a klaf that is put on the doorpost(s) of the house.

Midat Hadin – the Divine Attribute of Justice.

Midrash pl. Midrashim – A collection of works compiled between the third and twelfth centuries that seeks out underlying truths and meanings of the Bible; the result of the process of delving into the ramifications of a biblical verse and of the ancient rabbis’ reading between the lines of Scripture.

Mikdash Me’at – Literally: a small sanctuary; refers to the home.

Mikrah (al. Miqra) - #4744. miqra’, mik-raw’; from H7121; something called out, i.e. a public meeting (the act, the persons, or the place); also a rehearsal:–assembly, calling, convocation, reading.

Minchah pl. Menachot – from an unused root mean. to apportion, i.e. bestow; a donation; euphem. tribute; spec. a sacrificial offering (usually bloodless and voluntary):–gift, oblation, (meat) offering, present, sacrifice…afternoon prayer; name of Temple sacrifice…evening prayers during the day…a gift offering in the Sanctuary…an offering made of flour and oil.

Minim - Sectaries; early Judeo-Christians.

Minyan – Quorum of ten adult Jews necessary for public prayer. Miqvah – #4724. miqvah, mik-vaw’; fem. of H4723; a collection, i.e. (of water) a reservoir:–ditch. (al. Mikvah) – Ritual bath.

Miqveh – #4723. miqveh, mik-veh’; or miqveh (H1 Kings 10 : 28), mik-vay’; or ` miqve’ (H2 Chron. 1 : 16), mik-vay’; from H6960; something waited for, i.e. confidence (obj. or subj.); also a collection, i.e. (of water) a pond, or (of men and horses) a caravan or drove:–abiding, gathering together, hope, linen yarn, plenty [of water], pool.

Mishkan – #4908. mishkan, mish-kawn’; from H7931; a residence (includ. a shepherd’s hut, the lair of animals, fig. the grave; also the Temple); spec. the Tabernacle (prop. its wooden walls):–dwelleth, dwelling (place), habitation, tabernacle, tent….the Sanctuary Tent.

Mishlo’ach Manot – the sending of "portions" to friends on Purim.

Mishnah – Code of Jewish law edited by Rabbi Judah HaNasi about 200 CE; together with the Gemara forms the Talmud.

Mishpachah - #4940. mishpachah, mish-paw-khaw’; from H8192 [comp. H8198]; a family, i.e. circle of relatives; fig. a class (of persons), a species (of animals) or sort (of things); by extens. a tribe or people:–family, kind (-red).

Mishpatim - a portion in the Book of Exodus.

Mitzvah pl. Mitzvot – Literally: Commandment; a religious precept or obligation; mitzvah refers to one of the 613 commandments in the Torah….a good deed.

Mitzvat Aseh - a commandment-to-do, a positive command.

Mitzvat Lo Ta’aseh – a commandment-not-to-do, a prohibition.

Mizmor Letodah - Psalm 101 recited daily to commemorate the Thanksgiving Offering in the Sanctuary.

Mo’ed (al. mow’ed) – #4150. mow’ed, mo-ade’; or mo’ed mo-ade’; or (fem.) mow’adah (H2 Chron. 8 : 13), mo-aw-daw’; from H3259; prop. an appointment, i.e. a fixed time or season; spec. a festival; conventionally a year; by implication, an assembly (as convened for a definite purpose); technically the congregation; by extension, the place of meeting; also a signal (as appointed beforehand):–appointed (sign, time), (place of, solemn) assembly, congregation, (set, solemn) feast, (appointed, due) season, solemn (-ity), synagogue, (set) time (appointed).

Mohel pl. Mohalim - Authorized functionary performing ritual circumcision.

Molad, Molad Halevanah pl. Moladot - the appearance of the new Moon.

Moreh Tzaddikim – teacher of righteousness.

Motza’ei Shabbat (al. Shabat) – the night following the Sabbath.

Motzi (al. Hammotzee, Hamotzi) – Literally: [G-d] who brings forth [bread]; blessing over bread; standard blessing before meals at which bread is served…one of the fifteen phases of the Seder ceremony.

Muktzeh - an object forbidden to carry on the Sabbath and Festival because of its not being fit or meant for use on that day.

Mussaf – (al. Musaf) "Added" prayer service for Sabbaths and festivals, immediately following morning prayer…the additional whole offering in the Sanctuary prescribed by the Torah for Sabbaths, Festivals and New Moons; Today: an additional Amidah prayer on said days as against the additional sacrifices.

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Na’anu’im – the wavings of the four species on the Feast of Tabernacles.

Nacham – #5162. nacham, naw-kham’; a prim. root; prop. to sigh, i.e. breathe strongly; by impl. to be sorry, i.e. (in a favorable sense) to pity, console, or (reflex.) rue; or (unfavorably) to avenge (oneself):–comfort (self), ease [one's self], repent (-er, -ing, self).

Nachash Hakadomony – the Predatory Snake.

Nachem - a prayer for consolation.

Naga - #5060. naga’, naw-gah’; a prim. root; prop. to touch, i.e. lay the hand upon (for any purpose; euphem., to lie with a woman); by impl. to reach (fig. to arrive, acquire); violently, to strike (punish, defeat, destroy, etc.):–beat, (X be able to) bring (down), cast, come (nigh), draw near (nigh), get up, happen, join, near, plague, reach (up), smite, strike, touch.

Nasi (al. nasiy) – #5387. nasiy’, naw-see’; or nasi’, naw-see’; from H5375; prop. an exalted one, i.e. a king or sheik; also a rising mist:–captain, chief, cloud, governor, prince, ruler, vapour…pl. Nesi’im – head of the people, a head of a Tribe, a Prince.

Naso - a portion in the Book of Numbers.

Natsal – #5337. natsal, naw-tsal’; a prim. root; to snatch away, whether in a good or a bad sense:– X at all, defend, deliver (self), escape, X without fail, part, pluck, preserve, recover, rescue, rid, save, spoil, strip, X surely, take (out).

Nazah – #5137. nazah, naw-zaw’; a prim. root; to spirt, i.e. besprinkle (espec. in expiation):–sprinkle.

Nazoraeans – Judaizing Christian sect (not to be confused with Nazarenes, a general term for Christians).

Neertzah (al. Nirtzah) - acceptance, closing prayer…the last phase of the Seder ceremony.

Neilah – Literally: closing; concluding service of Yom Kippur…closing of the gate.

Nesech – the libation of wine over the altar in the Sanctuary accompanying the sacrifices.

Neta Revai – the fruit of the fourth year after planting.

Netilat Lulav -the commandment of the four species in the Feast of Tabernacles.

Nevi’im – Literally: the Prophets; second section of the Bible…the latter prophets.

Niddah – Ritually unclean woman.

Nisan (Aviv) – First (springtime) month of year, during which Passover falls.

Nissuin (al. Nisuin) – In ancient times, the formal wedding ceremony.

Nisuch Hamayim - the libation of water in the Sanctuary during the Feast of Tabernacles.

Noahide – One who follows the covenant made with Noah.

Nusach – liturgical melodies at services.

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Ohel Mo’ed – the "Tent of Meeting"

Oketz - the stalk of the etrog.

Olah – Burnt offering in Temple.

Olam Haba - (al. Habba) Literally: the world to Come; refers to the life of the soul after death.

Olam Hazeh – the present world of toil.

Omer – Sheaf or bushel of grain.

Onan (al. Onen) – Mourner (between death and burial)….a mourning relative.

Oneg Shabbat – Literally: joy of the Sabbath; reception after Friday night services, which includes refreshments, socializing, and, sometimes, Israeli dancing or a discussion.

Onkelos - A targum on the Pentateuch.

Orlah – fruit picked during the first three years after planting which is forbidden by the torah.

Oseif - Gathering of the Nobles.

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Parah Adumah – Red heifer–special sacrificial animal.

Parashah pl. Parashot - The weekly Torah portion; also called Sidrah or Sedrah or Sidra.

Pareve – Foods containing neither meat nor milk.

Parochet – the curtain over the Ark in the Synagogue; the curtain separating the Holy of Holies from the Hechal.

Payes – Sidecurls worn by Ultra-Orthodox men and boys.

Payot - corners; therefore, earlocks of hair.

Pentateuch – the first five Books of the Bible, the Five Books of Moses.

Perushim – the upholders of the Oral Torah at the time of the Second Sanctuary.

Pesach pl. Pesachim – Passover.

Pesach Katan – the second offering of the Paschal Lamb on the 14th of Iyar.

Pesach Sheni - the 14th of Iyar, the offering of the Pesach Sacrifice by those who were not able to do so on the 14th of Nisan. Peshat – little meaning, literal.

Pesikta – Book of Haggadic discourses for festivals and special Sabbaths.

Pharisees – Religio-political faction in late Second Temple days that wanted to develop Judaism through prayer, study of Torah, and midrashic interpretations of Torah; forerunners of the rabbis.

Phobeo – #5399. phobeo, fob-eh’-o; from G5401; to frighten, i.e. (pass.) to be alarmed; by anal. to be in awe of, i.e. revere:–be (+ sore) afraid, fear (exceedingly), reverence.

Pidyon haben / habat - Literally: redemption of the (firstborn) son / daughter; home ceremony that takes place on the thirty-first day of a child’s life.

Piku’ach Nefesh – the care for human life.

Pikudey - a portion in the Book of Exodus.

Pinchas – a portion in the Book of Numbers.

Pirkey Avot - "the Ethics of the Fathers", a tractate in the Mishnah.

Pitma – the wart of the etrog.

Piyyut (al. piyut) pl. piyyutim (al. pl. piyutim) – Poetic prayer…liturgical poem.

Pneuma - #4151. pneuma, pnyoo’-mah; from G4154; a current of air, i.e. breath (blast) or a breeze; by anal. or fig. a spirit, i.e. (human) the rational soul, (by impl.) vital principle, mental disposition, etc., or (superhuman) an angel, daemon, or (divine) God, Christ’s spirit, the Holy Spirit:–ghost, life, spirit (-ual, -ually), mind. Comp. G5590.

Proselyte – Convert to Judaism.

Pseudepigraphic - written under another name.

Purim - Literally: lots; festival that celebrates the survival of the Jewish people.

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Qahal – #6951. qahal, kaw-hawl’; from H6950; assemblage (usually concr.):–assembly, company, congregation, multitude.

Qehelathah – #6954. Qehelathah, keh-hay-law’-thaw, from H6950; convocation; Kehelathah, a place in the Desert:–Kehelathah.

Qoheleth - #6953. qoheleth, ko-heh’-leth; fem. of act. part. from H6950; a (female) assembler (i.e. lecturer); abstr. preaching (used as a "nom de plume", Koheleth):–preacher.

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Rabbi pl. Rabanim - religious authority.

Rachatzah - washing Ur’chatz – celebrant washes, one of the fifteen phases of the Seder ceremony Rochtzah – the phase of the Seder ceremony in which hands are washed for the meal.

Rahab (al. Rachav) – Proud, harlot, broad. The word "Rahab" means a wall or broad place. Theis is where we get the term "broad" for a woman…False messianic kingdom.

Ramah – Seat of Idolatry.

Rasha pl. Rashim – The wholly wicked…iniquitous.

Rav – a Sage of the Talmud.

Re’eh - a portion in the Book of Deuteronomy.

Refa’enu – "Heal us..", one of the eighteen benedictions of the Amidah prayer.

Remez - alluding to.

Rochtzah – the phase of the Seder ceremony in which hands are washed for the meal Rachatzah – washing Ur’chatz – celebrant washes, one of the fifteen phases of the Seder ceremony.

Rosh haShanah – Literally: head of the year; Jewish New Year.

Rosh Hodesh (al. Chodesh) – festival of the new moon.

Ruach HaKodesh – The Holy Spirit.

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Sadducees - Religio-political faction in late Second Temple days that focused on priestly functions and the sacrificial system.

Sandak – Person who holds the baby during the Berit Milah ceremony.

Sanhedrin – the High Court in Jerusalem.

Sar - #8269. sar, sar; from H8323; a head person (of any rank or class):–captain (that had rule), chief (captain), general, governor, keeper, lord, ([-task-]) master, prince (-ipal), ruler, steward.

Scribes – the Sages who interpreted the Torah and its Laws.

Sebomai - #4576. sebomai, seb’-om-ahee; mid. of an appar. prim. verb; to revere, i.e. adore:–devout, religious, worship.

Seder - Literally: order; ritual for the home celebration of the first (and second) evening(s) of Pesach…the ceremony to commemorate the Exodus from Egypt on Passover Eve.

Seder Avodah (al. Abodah) – the "order of Service" that the Kohen Gadol performs in the Sanctuary on the day of Atonement.

Sefer Torah (al. Sifrei) pl. Sefarim – Torah scroll.

Sefirah – the "days of counting" between the Passover and Pentecost.

Selichot – Penitential prayers.

Selichot Service – A service of preparation for the High Holy Days, usually held at midnight on the Saturday preceding Rosh haShanah.

Semichah pl. Semuchim – ordination, Ordained Rabbis.

Sephardi pl. Sephardim – of Oriental Jewish communities.

Seraphim – fiery angels.

Seudah – Feast.

Seudah Mafseket (al. Hemafseket) – the "meal of cessation" before a fast.

Seudah shel Mitzvah - A festive meal that honors the observance of a mitzvah; a meal prescribed by the Torah or the Sages, same as Seudat Mitzvah.

Seudah Shelishit (al. Shlishit) – Literally: third meal; a light meal eaten late on Shabbat afternoon…the third meal eaten on the Sabbath.

Seudat Chavurah (al. Havra’ah, Chaburah) – Literally: meal of condolence; prepared by friends of the mourners and eaten in the house of mourning immediately following a funeral.

Sevivon - Hebrew word for a dreidel (four-sided top used in a Hanukah game).

Sfeka Deyoma – doubt as to the exact date of the day.

Sha’atnez – a cloth combining wool and linen.

Shabbat – The Sabbath (Sephardic pronunciation).

Shabbat Bereshit (al. Bereishit) – the first Sabbath after Simchat Torah on which the portion of Bereishit is read.

Shabbat Chazon – the Sabbath before the Ninth of Av.

Shabbat haGadol - Literally: the Great Sabbath; the Sabbath preceding Passover.

Shabbat Mevarchim - the Sabbath on which the forthcoming month is blessed.

Shabbat Nachamu – the Sabbath after the Ninth of Av.

Shabbat Shirah - "the Sabbath of Song", the Sabbath on which "the song of the sea" is read in the portion of Beshalach.

Shabbat Shuvah - Literally: Sabbath of Return; the Sabbath between Rosh haShanah and Yom Kippur.

Shabbat Zachor - The Sabbath immediately preceding Purim.

Shabbaton pl. Shabbatonim - Seven High Sabbaths….sabbath program of study and celebration.

Shabbos – The Sabbath (Ashkenazic pronunciation).

Shachah – #7812. shachah, shaw-khaw’; a prim. root; to depress, i.e. prostrate (espec. reflex. in homage to royalty or God):–bow (self) down, crouch, fall down (flat), humbly beseech, do (make) obeisance, do reverence, make to stoop, worship.

Shacharit (al. Shararit) – Morning Prayer. From Hebrew for "dawn"…Morning prayer service.

Shaddai – G-d Almighty.

Shakan – #7931. shakan, shaw-kan’; a prim. root [appar. akin (by transm.) to H7901 through the idea of lodging; comp. H5531, H7925]; to reside or permanently stay (lit. or fig.):–abide, continue, (cause to, make to) dwell (-er), have habitation, inhabit, lay, place, (cause to) remain, rest, set (up).

Shaliach – agent sent as the one who sent the agent.

Shaliach Tzibur – the precentor of the prayers in the Synagogue, the Cantor.

Shalom – The fullness of peace and harmony.

Shalom Zachor – first Friday following birth.

Shalosh Seudot – The three festive meals prescribed for the Sabbath.

Shammai (al. Schammai) – School of.

Shammash (al. Shamash) – Literally: servant; term for the ninth candle used to light the other candles in the Chanukiah … the beadle in the Synagogue.

Shavuot – Literally: weeks…The Day of Pentecost, receiving of the Torah, and the beginning of the wheat harvest. Also, it represents the betrothal between Israel and the L-rd.

Shebet – #7626. shebet, shay’-bet; from an unused root prob. mean. to branch off, a scion, i.e. (lit.) a stick (for punishing, writing, fighting, ruling, walking, etc.) or (fig.) a clan:– X correction, dart, rod, sceptre, staff, tribe.

Shebuah (al. shabuwa) - #7620. shabuwa’, shaw-boo’-ah; or shabua’, shaw-boo’-ah; also (fem.) shebu’ah, sheb-oo-aw’; prop. pass. part. of H7650 as a denom. of H7651; lit. sevened, i.e. a week (spec. of years):–seven, week.

Shechita – the slaughtering of animals for meat as prescribed by the Torah.

She’elat Geshamim - the petition for rain.

She’elot u-Teshuvot – questions and responses to queries on matters of Jewish law by rabbis and sages.

Shehecheyanu - Literally: [G-d] who has kept us alive; this is the blessing for beginnings and other happy occasions in people’s lives, such as birth and marriage. It is also said at candlelighting, Kiddush and certain other specific times during festival observances…a blessing over mitzvot which are performed once a year or over new fruit in its season.

Shekhinah (al. Shechinah) – G-d’s Presence in the world. – Aram. and late Heb., a word not in Scripture, but used by later Jews and by Christians to express the visible divine Presence, especially when resting between the cherubim over the mercy seat.

Sheloshim - the second period of mourning; thirty-day mourning period.

Shem Hameforash – the Ineffable Divine Name.

Shema - The main statement of Jewish belief: "Shema Yisrael Adonai Elohenu Adonai Echad" (Hear, O Israel: the L-rd is our G-d, the L-rd is One). Deut. 6:4-9.

Shemini Atzeret – Literally: the eighth day of assembly; conclusion of Sukkot…The day following Sukkot and the end of that festival.

Shemoneh Esre (al. Esray, Shmoneh Esreh) – Eighteen" – the number of blessings originally in the important part of the daily prayers recited in silence while worshipers stand–hence this name is applied to all such standing prayers, although the daily service now has nineteen and other services seven blessings. Combines adoration with entreaty. Also called Amidah (standing) or simply Tefillah (prayer).

Sheol – Afterlife; the netherworld.

Sheva Berachot (al. Birchot) – Literally: seven blessings; these are recited or chanted at a wedding ceremony prior to the sharing of a cup of wine by the bride and groom.

Shevarim – a shofar sound.

Shevat – Fifth month of Jewish year.

Shin – Hebrew letter (first letter of Shaddai).

Shitre Erusin – A betrothal contract.

Shivah – the first period of mourning; seven-day mourning period, the first day of which is the day of burial.

Shivah haben – child of the week.

Sh’lamim - peace offerings.

Shmitah – Release–the seventh year in which the land lies fallow and debts are released or annulled…the Sabbatical year at the end of each seven year cycle.

Shmuel – a Sage of the Talmud.

Shochet - Ritual slaughterer, required by Jewish dietary laws for the preparation of kosher meat.

Shofar - Trumpet made from a ram’s horn…a ram’s horn blown on Rosh haShanah and during the month of Elul.

Shofar Hagadol - The Great Trumpet.

Shofetim (al. Shofitim) – Judges; Book of the Bible…a portion in the Book of Deuteronomy.

Shome’a Tefillah (al. Tefilah) - "The One Who hears prayer.." one of the eighteen benedictions of the Amidah.

Shomer – Literally: guardian; person who remains with the deceased so that the body is never left alone prior to burial.

Shovavim Tat – a series of winter weeks whose Mondays and Thursdays are observed as fast days.

Shuckle - To sway during prayer.

Shulchan Aruch – code of law applicable to today…the Book of codified Jewish Law, by Rabbi Yosef Karo.

Shulchan Orech – table set for meal…one of the fifteen phases of the Seder ceremony.

Shushan Purim - Purim celebration on Adar 15 by cities walled at the time of Joshua.

Sicarii - A fanatic group of Zealots literally meaning cut throats as they were involved in political assassination of both Jews and Romans.

Siddur (al. Sidur) pl. Siddurim - Prayer book….daily and sabbath prayer book.

Sidra pl. Sedarim (al. pl. Sidrot) – Bible portion of the week, read on Sabbath.

Sifra (al. Sifre) – Halakhic midrashim to Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy.

Siloam - A pool of water in Jerusalem.

Simchah – Literally: joy; a happy event.

Simchat Torah – Literally: joy of the Torah; holiday marking the conclusion of the yearly cycle of Torah readings and the beginning of the new cycle; the final fall holiday.

Sivan – Ninth month of the Jewish year.

Siyum – the completion of the study of a Talmudic tractate. Sod – mystery.

Sofer pl. Soferim (al. pl. Sofrim) – A specially trained scribe.

Sotah – a woman suspected of adultery.

S’phirah pl. S’phirot – Emanation(s) from the ultimate, infinite, indefinable G-d-head toward the palpable world; aspects of G-d.

Sukkah (al. Sukah) pl. Sukkot (al. pl. Sukot) - Literally: booths; name of the festival that commemorates the Israelites’ wanderings in the desert after leaving Egypt…The Feast of Tabernacles or Booths.

Sunagoge – #4864. sunagoge, soon-ag-o-gay’; from (the redupl. form of) G4863; an assemblage of persons; spec. a Jewish "synagogue" (the meeting or the place); by anal. a Christian church:–assembly, congregation, synagogue.

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T

Ta’am Ha’elyon - the "upper" mode of cantilation of the passage of the Ten Commandments.

Taanit – A section of the Talmud on Fasts…a fast day.

Taanit Chalom – a fast over a bad dream.

Tachanun - a prayer of supplication.

Tachath – #8478. tachath, takh’-ath; from the same as H8430; the bottom (as depressed); only adv. below (often with prep. pref. underneath), in lieu of, etc.:–as, beneath, X flat, in (-stead), (same) place (where . . . is), room, for . . . sake, stead of, under, X unto, X when . . . was mine, whereas, [where-] fore, with.

Tachrichim - Burial shrouds.

Tachtiy – #8482. tachtiy, takh-tee’; from H8478; lower most; as noun (fem. plur.) the depths (fig. a pit, the womb):–low (parts, -er, -er parts, -est), nether (part).

Taharah - Ritual purification of the deceased in preparation for burial….washing of the dead body.

Takhrikhim - Shrouds prescribed by Jewish law.

Tal – (Dew) The prayer for dew (in Palestine) recited on first day of Passover.

Tallit (al. Talit) – Prayer shawl with ceremonial fringes on four corners.

Tallit Katan (al. Talit) - A small prayer shawl; a special undershirt with four corners each bearing tzitziyot.

Talmid pl. Talmidim – student, disciple.

Talmid Chacham - a scholar of the Torah.

Talmud – Comprised of both the Mishnah and Gemara, the Talmud is the collected legal and ethical discussions of the rabbis, edited around the year 500 CE.

Tamid – the daily sacrifice in the Sanctuary.

Tammuz - Tenth month on the Jewish civil calendar.

Tana pl. Tannaim (al. pl. Tana’im) – rabbis in the Mishnaic period.

Targum pl. Targumim - (Translation) Traditionally the name given the Aramaic translation of the Bible, read to the populace in Babylonian periods. The custom of reading services in Aramaic following the Hebrew goes back to hundreds of years before the great diaspora. Except for some interpolations and paraphrases, the Targum Bavli, also known as the Targum Onkelos, is a very faithful translation. Less faithful to the text are the Targum Yerushalmi and others of fragmentary character.

Tashlich – Traditional Rosh haShanah afternoon ceremony in which individuals symbolically cast their sins (crumbs) into a body of water…the casting away of sin.

Tefilin - Prayer boxes worn during weekday morning worship. Tefillah (al. Tefilah) – Literally: prayer; also refers to the central group of prayers in each service, alternatively called the Amidah or Shemoneh Esre.

Tefillah Zakah (al. Tefilah) - "a prayer of purity" recited upon the advent of Yom Kippur before Kol Nidrey.

Teki’ah – a shofar sound.

Tekufah pl. Tekufot – one of the four seasons of the year.

Telos – #5056. telos, tel’-os; from a prim. tello (to set out for a definite point or goal); prop. the point aimed at as a limit, i.e. (by impl.) the conclusion of an act or state (termination [lit., fig. or indef.], result [immed., ultimate or prophetic], purpose); spec. an impost or levy (as paid):–+ continual, custom, end (-ing), finally, uttermost. Comp. G5411.

Tenach (al. Tanach) - Trilogy of Torah, Prophets, and Writings formed from initial letters of the Hebrew Torah, Nevi’im, Ketuvim…The Hebrew Bible.

Teruah – An awakening blast.

Teshuvah - Literally: turning or returning; a Hebrew term for repentance…Repentance from sin, spiritual reawakening. A desire to strengthen the connection between oneself and the sacred.

Tetragrammaton – the four Hebrew letters usually transliterated YHWH or YHVH that form a biblical proper name of God.

Tetzaveh – a portion in the Book of Exodus.

Tevet – Fourth month of the Jewish year.

Tevilah – Literally: immersion…immersing in a ritual bath. Therapeutae – Sternly ascetic Jewish party whose views and practices were kindred to the Essenes in Palestine.

Tikkun Chatzot (al. Tikun) - a prayer of lamentation over the destruction of the Sanctuary, recited at midnight.

Tikkun Leil Shavuot (al. Tikun) - Literally: service of the night of Shavuot.

Tikkun Olam (al. Tikun) – Repairing our broken world.

Tikkun Soferim (al. Tikun) (al. Sofrim) – the set of rules for the writing of a Torah Scroll.

Tishah Be’av - The ninth day of the month of Av; a day of mourning for the destruction of the ancient Temple in Jerusalem.

Tishri (al. Tishrei) (Ethanim) – First month of Jewish year. Titkabel – a verse in the kadish, "Let the prayers of Israel be accepted.." Todah – the thanksgiving offering in the Sanctuary.

Tohuw - #8414. tohuw, to’-hoo; from an unused root mean. to lie waste; a desolation (of surface), i.e. desert; fig. a worthless thing; adv. in vain:–confusion, empty place, without form, nothing, (thing of) nought, vain, vanity, waste, wilderness.

Toldah (al. towledah) - #8435. towledah, to-led-aw’; or toledah, to-led-aw’; from H3205; (plur. only) descent, i.e. family; (fig.) history:–birth, generations.

Torah – Literally: teaching; in its most narrow sense, it is the first five Books of the Bible, hand-written on a parchment scroll; in its broadest sense, it is all of Judaism, which flows from those Books…Instruction (teaching) or law.

Tosefta (al. Tocefta) – (Supplement) Anthology of tannaitic text parallel to Mishnah, but outside Mishnaic canon, and more expansive. Rabbi Nehemiah, second century, began the work; in the third century it was continued by Hiyya ben Abba and Oshaiah.

Treif (al. Trefah) – Literally: torn apart; food that is not ritually fit. It is the opposite of kosher.

Tru’ah – a shofar sound.

Trumah - a heave offering, contribution…the seventh portion in the Book of Exodus.

Tsaphoon – hidden.

Tu Bishvat – Fifteenth day of the month of Shevat; a minor holiday known as the New Year of the Trees, observed by planting trees.

Tzaddik pl. Tzaddikim (al. Tzadik) (al. pl. Tzadikim) – Chasidic sages were so called; they were often raised by their followers to the status of direct intermediaries with G-d, super-human miracle workers…a just man, righteous, upright.

Tzafun – the phase of the Seder ceremony in which the hidden afikoman is eaten.

Tzedakah (al. Tsedakah) - Literally: justice or righteousness; the Hebrew word we use for charity and charitable acts.

Tzedokim – Sadducees.

Tzidkatcha Tzedek – verses recited after the minchah prayer on Shabat.

Tziduk Hadin - a prayer of accepting G-d’s Judgment.

Tzitzit pl. Tzitziyot - Ceremonially knotted fringes to be worn on all four-cornered garments.

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U

Untaneh Tokef – a passage describing Heavenly Judgment added to prayer on Rosh haShanah and Yom Kippur.

Ur’chatz – celebrant washes, one of the fifteen phases of the Seder ceremony Rachatzah – washing Rochtzah – the phase of the Seder ceremony in which hands are washed for the meal.

Ushpizin – the Seven Shepherds of Israel who "visit" every Jew’s Sukah on the Feast of Tabernacles.

Uva Letzion – a prayer composed of a selection of Scriptural verses.

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V

Va’era – the second portion in the Book of Exodus.

Va’etchanan - the second portion in the Book of Deuteronomy.

Vav – Hebrew letter.

Vayechal - a paragraph from Exodus chapter 32 and 34 read on a public fast. Vayelech - a portion in the Book of Deuteronomy.

Vayechi - the last portion in the Book of Genesis.

Ve’ahavta – Literally: and you shall love; the prayer from Deuteronomy 6:5-9, that obligates Jews to love G-d and to teach Judaism to future generations; part of the Shema.

Velamalshinim – a passage relating to slanderers and informers, prescribed as a nineteenth brachah added to the eighteen benedictions of the amidah prayer.

Vezot Habrachah – the last portion in the Torah.

Vidui - confession.

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Y

Ya’aleh Veyavo – a passage added to the amidah prayer and to the Grace after the Meal on Festivals and New Moons when additional sacrifices were offered in the Sanctuary.

Yachatz – The breaking of the middle matzah of the ceremonial matzot during a Passover seder…one of the fifteen phases of the Seder ceremony.

Yahrzeit – a day of memorial.

Yamin Noraim (al. Yamim) - Literally: The Days of Awe; the ten-day period beginning with Rosh haShanah and ending with Yom Kippur.

Yarmulke – The Yiddish term for skullcap; the Hebrew term is kipah.

Yavam – Husband’s brother upon whom devolved the duty of marrying the former’s widow if left without children….the brother-in-law.

Yavneh – A city that became the location of an academy and a central focus for the Jews once the Romans destroyed Jerusalem.

Yebamah – Under Biblical laws, childless widow who was commanded to marry late husband’s brother, so that a child might be named after the departed.

Yeshivah pl. Yeshivot - Torah academy.

Yeshua – Hebrew name meaning salvation (same as Jesus).

Yetzer – Impulse.

Yetzer haRa - Impulse toward evil.

Yetzer haTov – Impulse toward good.

Yichud – Time spent alone together by the bride and groom immediately after the wedding ceremony…Room entered by bride and groom where the two, in the consummation of the marriage, become one.

Yitro – the sixth portion in the Book of Exodus.

Yizkor – ("May He remember") Prayers for the departed, recited on Yom Kippur, Shemini Atzeret, last day of Passover, second day of Shavuot.

Yod – Hebrew letter.

Yom haDin – Literally: Day of Judgment; one of the names for Rosh haShanah.

Yom haPeduth - The Day of Redemption.

Yom haZikkaron – Literally: The Day of Remembrance; one of the names for Rosh haShanah.

Yom Kippur (al. Kipur) – Literally: The Day of Atonement.

Yom Kippur Katan (al. Kipur) – the eve of a New Moon, a "little" Day of Atonement.

Yom Teruah (Rosh haShanah) – The Feast of Trumpets.

Yom Tov pl. Yamim Tovim – a Festival Day, holiday.

Yoma – A tractate of the Mishnah on Yom Kippur.

Yoma Arichta - one "long" day, two days considered as one.

Yotzrot – liturgical poems added to the shacharit prayer.

Yovel - a Jubilee year at the end of a fifty year cycle.

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Z

Zaqen - #2205. zaqen, zaw-kane’; from H2204; old:–aged, ancient (man), elder (-est), old (man, men and . . . women), senator.

Zeman Mattan Toratenu (al. Matan) – Literally: the Season of the Giving of Our Torah; another name for Shavuot.

Zeman Simchatenu – Literally: the Season of Our Joy; another name for Sukkot.

Zikhrnot – A portion of the Rosh haShanah service that deals with divine remembrance.

Zikkaron – A Memorial.

Zionism - The belief that there should be a Jewish national homeland in the historic land of Israel.

Z’roah Adonai - Arm of the Lord.

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The Books of the Original Testament

Bamidbar – Numbers

Bereshit (al. Bereishit) – Genesis

Chavakuk – Habakkuk

Chumash Hapikudim – The Book of Numbers

Divrey Hayamim - Chronicles

Dvarim (al. Mishneh Torah)- Deuteronomy

Echah - Lamentations – read on Tishah Be’av.

Ester – Esther – read on Purim.

Hoshea – Hosea

Irmeyahu – Jeremiah

Kohelet – Ecclesiastes – read on Sukkot.

Melachim – Kings

Mishlei (al. Mishley al. Mishlev) – Proverbs

Nechemiah – Nehemiah

Rut – Ruth – read on Shavuot.

Shir Hashirim – Song of Songs – read on Pesach.

Shmot – Exodus

Shmuel – Samuel

Shofetim (al. Shofitim) – Judges

Tehillim (al. Tehilim) – Psalms

Vayikra – Leviticus

Yonah – Jonah

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Names in the Hebrew Bible

Aharon – Aaron

Avraham – Abraham

Balshatzar – Belshazzar, King of Babylonia

Chavakuk – Habakkuk

Eliyahu – Elijah

Esav - Esau

Ester – Esther

Hoshea – Hosea

Irmeyahu – Jeremiah

Mattitiyahu – Hebrew name for Matthew

Menasheh - Manasseh

Moshe – Moses

Nechemiah – Nehemiah

Rechavam - Rehoboam, King of Judah

Rivkah – Rebekah

Rut – Ruth

Shimshon - Samson

Shlomo – Solomon

Shmuel – Samuel

Tzidkiyahu - Zedekiah, King of Judah

Yitzhak (al. Itzchak) – Hebrew name for Isaac

Ya’akov – Jacob

Yechezkel - Ezekiel

Yechoniah – Jeconiah, King of Judah

Yehoshua – Joshua

Yerovam – Jeroboam, King of Israel

Yeshayahu – Isaiah

Yochanan – Hebrew name for John

Yonah – Jonah

Yosef - Joseph

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The Tribes of Israel

Asher - the Tribe of Asher

Binyamin - the Tribe of Benjamin

Efrayim – the Tribe of Ephraim

Issachar – the Tribe of Issachar

Levi - the Tribe of Levi

Menashe – the Tribe of Menashe

Reuven – the Tribe of Reuben

Shimon – the Tribe of Simeon

Yehudah – the Tribe of Judah

Zevulun - the Tribe of Zebulun
– Dan, Gad, Naphtali, Joseph

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Partial Listing of the Mishnah

Zeraim – Order of the Mishnah (seeds) regarding ritual laws, blessings, prayers:
Berakhot, Peah, Demai, Kilayim, Shebiit, Terumot, Maaserot, Masser Sheni, Hallah, Orlah, Bikkurim

Moed - Order of the Mishnah (festivals) regarding the Sabbath and all festivals:
Shabbat, Erubin, Pesahim, Sheqalim, Yoma, Sukkah, Besah, Rosh haShanah, Taanit, Megillah, Moed Qatan, Hagigah

Nashim - Order of the Mishnah (women) regarding marriage, divorce, relationships:
Yebamot, Ketubot, Nedarim, Nazir, Sotah, Gittin, Baba Qamma, Baba Mesia, Baba Batra, Sanhedrin, Makkot, Shabuot, Eduyyot, Abodah Zarah, Abot, Horayot

Nezikin - Order of the Mishnah (damages) regarding civil and criminal law:
Zebahim, Menahot, Hullin, Bekhorot, Arakhin, Temurah, Keritot, Meilah, Tamid, Middot, Qinnin

Kodashim – Order of the Mishnah (holy things) regarding sacrificial laws, Temple observance:
Kelim, Ohalot, Negaim, Parah, Tohorot, Miqvaot, Niddah, Makhshirin, Zabim, Tebul-Yom, Yadayim, Uqsin

Tohorot - Order of the Mishnah (purification) regarding things clean and unclean.