Hebrew Glossary - A Category
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In-depth Glossary of Transliterated & English Translation with their Meanings of the Hebrew Language
A B D E F G H I K Ch L M N O P R S Sh T Tz U V Y Z
|Hebrew Transliteration||English Translation||Meaning|
|Alef||Prefix||Marking 1st person, singular in the future tense of the Intensive (Pi'el) and Causative (Hif'il) stems in Hebrew verbs.|
|AH||Suffix||Marking direction or destination in nouns (equivalent to "-ward" in English e.g. daromah southward); Expressing (poetically) desire or appeal (equivalent to "let's" in English) in 1st person, plural, using the future tense of Hebrew verbs. For example, instead of nelech (we shall go) one may say nelchah (let's go)|
|Abba||Father||An affectionate way to say "father", hence "Dear father." Yisraeli children call their fathers "Abba"|
|Abba Ha'ah||The Higher Father|
|Ach (pl. Achim)||Brother|
|Acharit||Last / Latter|
|Acharit HaYamim||End of the Days||A Hebrew term for Jewish eschatology. When the "olam hazeh" (present age) is coming to a close and the "olam habah" (world to come) is about to begin. This term stems from Yeshayahu 2:1; Bereishit 49:1 and Micha 4:1: "The prophecy that Yeshayahu son of Amotz saw, concerning Yehuda and Yerushalayim: It will happen in the end of days (b'acharit ha-yamim):..." "Then Ya'akov called for his sons and said, "Assemble yourselves and I will tell you what will befall you in the End of Days (b'acharit ha-yamim)." "It will be in the end of days (b'acharit ha-yamim) that the mountain of the Temple of Hashem will be firmly established as the most prominent of the mountains, and it will be exalted up above the hills, and people will stream to it."|
|Acharon (pl. Acharonim)||Last One||Designation for recent rabbinic authorities as distinguished from the Rishonim, early authorities. The dividing line is placed between the eleventh and sixteenth centuries C.E.|
|Acharon shel Pesach||Last Day of Passover|
|Achashverosh||Ahasuerus||King of Persia who figured prominently in the Book of Ester. Modern scholarship identifies him with Xerxes (486-465 B.C.E.). Achashverosh first married Vashti and later took Ester to be his wife and next queen|
|Achavah B'Mashiach||Brotherhood in Mashiach (Messiah)|
|Achei sheker||False Brothers|
|Ach'shevei||One has accorded it the status of food|
|Achot (pl. Achayot)||Sister|
|Adam||Man||First human being created by G-d, and created "B'tzelem Elokim," "in the image of G-d." One of the meanings of this is that he has "bechirah chofshit", free will, and the ability to choose between what is tov, (good) and that which is ra, (evil).|
|Adamah||Earth / Ground|
|Adam HaRishon||The First Man|
|Adam Kadmon||Primordial Man||A term used in the Kabbalah to denote the stage of the divine unfolding which provides the link between Ein Sof and the Sefirot. This stage is conceived of in anthropomorphic terms as cosmic 'man'. As the Infinite emerges from its utter concealment It produces the entity Adam Kadmon containing the Sefirot in potentia. Spiritual entities, known on the analogy with physical illumination as 'lights', stream forth from various organs of Adam Kadmon's 'body' to produce the vessels into which further lights then flow so as to form the Sefirot. Behind all this is the ancient idea that the human body is written large in the cosmos, man being created literally in the image of G-d|
|Adar||Twelfth month of the Jewish calendar, sixth month of the Hebrew Civil calendar. Corresponding approximately to March. Consists of 29 days in an ordinary year and 30 days in a leap-year, when a month is inserted between Adar and Nisan. This added month is known as Adar Sheni (second Adar). Adar Sheni is also called Va-Adar. Adar 7th is anniversary of the birth and death of Moshe; Adar 13th is the Fast of Ester (Ta'anit Ester); Adar 14th and 15th, the Festival of Purim. In the leap-year the festival of Purim is celebrated on the 14th and 15th of Adar Sheni, whereas the 14th and 15th of the first Adar are observed as Purim Katan (minor Purim).|
|Adat HaShem||Congregation of HaShem|
|Addir Bimluchah||Glorious Kingship||Addir Bimlucha, an alphabetical acrostic poem of unidentified authorship, is mentioned by a disciple of Rabbi Meir of Rothenburg in the thirteenth-century work Tashbatz. The refrain alludes to several biblical verses, such as: "Yours, O Hashem, is the greatness...for all that is in heaven and on earth is Yours; Yours, O Hashem, is the kingdom..." (1Divre HaYamim 29:11). This poem has been inserted among the closing hymns of the Pesach Haggadah|
|Addir Hu||Glorious He Is||Composed by an anonymous poet, consists of eight stanzas of eight lines each and is sung at the end of the Pesach Seder. Its tune, which has been popular since the beginning of the seventeenth century, has eventually become something of a Pesach motif in the worship service of many synagogues.|
|Admat Kodesh||Holy Ground|
|Admo"r (Adonainu, Morainu, VeRabbeinu)||Our Master, Our Teacher, and Our Rebbe||Honorific title given to scholarly leaders of a Jewish community, usually specifically a Chassidic term.|
|Ad-nai||My L-rd, My Master||My Sovereign / my Master; used in Judaism in lieu of the Tetragrammation (the Hebrew name of G-d consisting of four letters, which is usually rendered in English as "Y-K-V-K" (replace the 'K' with an 'H')|
|Ad-nai Echad||YKVK is One|
|Ad-nai Elokeinu||YKVK our G-d (YKVK, our G-d)|
|Ad-nai Tzedekanu||YKVK our Righteousness|
|Ad-nai Tzeva'ot||YKVK of Hosts; YKVK of Armies|
|Ad-nai Yireh||YKVK Will See; In the Mount of YKVK it Will be Seen|
|Adon HaKatzir||Master of the Harvest|
|Adon Olam||Master of the Universe; Master of All; Eternal Ruler||Title of a prayer that is part of the morning service and is recited before bedtime.|
|Afikoman (Greek)||An After Dish||Mentioned in the Mishnah (Pesachim 10:8), and is the piece of matzah broken off from the central of the three matzot used in the Pesach Seder service the first two nights of Pesach. The breaking of the middle matzah in two and the hiding of the afikoman, which is shared by all at the table at the conclusion of the meal, are intended to awaken the children's curiosity. It has been suggested that the afikoman is wrapped in a napkin as a symbol of the unleavened dough which, wrapped in their garments, the Yisraelim carried on their shoulders out of Egypt (Shemot 12:34). According to some, the afikoman is symbolically concealed between the cushions, upon which the leader of the Seder service reclines, in keeping with a literal rendering of Shemot 12:17..."you shall watch the matzot". However, the practice may simply be designed to preserve the afikoman intact till it is distributed as the last thing eaten at the Seder service in remembrance of the paschal lamb which, during Temple times, was eaten at the end of the Pesach meal. The minhag (custom) of encouraging the children to snatch the afikoman and make it disappear for a while, until a promise of a gift has been obtained, is said to be based on a misinterpretation of the talmudic statement which reads: "The matzot are eaten hastily on the nights of Pesach so that the children should not fall asleep" (Pesachim 109a)|
|Agam HaEsh||Lake of Fire|
|Aggadah (pl. Agadot)||Lit. "Telling"; Narration; Story; Philosophical Material||Sections in the Talmud and the Midrash which do not constitute Halacha; stories popular anecdotes, biblical expositions. Most midrashic material is aggadic. About 30% of the Babylonian Talmud is taken up with Aggadah, the remaining 70% consists of legal subject matter (Halacha), containing discussions leading to rules of conduct as prescribed by the unwritten, oral law. The aim and purpose of the aggadic literature is to inspire and edify, and to move people to the kind of righteous behavior which the Halacha requires. Aggadot and Mashalim|
|Agudah||Bound Together; Union|
|Agunah (pl. Agunot)||Lit. "one who is chained"||A woman whose husband had disappeared and who could not remarry without witnesses to his death; a bound woman.|
|A"H (Alav Hashalom [masc], Aleha Hashalom [fem.])||Peace Be Upon Him/Her||For any deceased Jew.|
|Aharon||Aaron||Light Bearer. Elder brother of Moshe. Son of Amram and Yocheved, of the priestly tribe of Levi. Aharon married Elisheva from the tribe of Yehudah and had four sons, Nadav, Avihu, Elazar and Itamar. Aharon became Moshe's spokesman in Egypt to lead the Bnei Yisrael out of bondage to the Egyptians at the direction of HaShem.|
|Ahavah Rabbah||Great Love||A morning prayer that precedes the Shema' giving thanks to G-d for the gift of the mitzvot and the Torah. For more information see: Ahavah Rabbah/Ahavat Olam|
|Ahavah Shel achvah||Brotherly Love|
|Ahavat haEmet||Love of the Truth|
|Ahavat haKesef||Love of Money|
|Ahavat HaShem||Love of The Name (The Creator)||Maimonides writes concerning the love of HaShem: "When a person contemplates G-d's great and wondrous works and obtains a glimpse of G-d's incomparable and infinite wisdom, he will straightway love and glorify him, and long to know his great Name, even as David said: My whole being longs for G-d, the living G-d" (Yesode ha-Torah 2:2).
Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch states: "To love G-d means to realize that life has value only through G-d. We love G-d by loving the Torah and meeting its commands. There should be nothing dearer to us than the faithfulness which we owe to our G-d"
|Ahavat Yisrael||Love of the People of Israel|
|Aishet Chayil||The Woman of Valour||Song in praise of the Jewish woman, written by King Shlomo (Solomon). Traditionally sung Friday night, between "Shalom Aleichem" and the Blessing of the Children. More Info: Eshet Chayil|
|Akdamut (al. Akdamot)||Introduction||Chanted on the first day of Shavuot before the reading of the Torah, and was composed in Aramaic by Rabbi Meir ben Isaac of the 11th century. Consists of 90 verses alphabetically arranged; they contain acrostically a twofold alphabet, the name of the author and that of his father, and a short petition. There are ten syllables to each verse, and one rhyme runs through the entire poem. This mystical hymn deals with the indescribable greatness of the Creator, the excellence of the Torah and the future hope of Yisra'el.
Akdamut, serving as an introduction to the Ten Commandments about to be read out of the Sefer Torah, consists of two parts. The first part describes the unspeakable majesty of Hashem who created heaven and earth. The second part presents a dialogue between persecuted Yisrael and those who try to persuade him to change his faith to which he clings affectionately and tenaciously. A glowing description of the hoped-for Messianic era then follows, mentioning the contest between the legendary creatures, Livyatan and Behemot. The battle ends with the destruction of both. In Kabbalistic literature the Livyatan is identified with evil, which is destined to disappear in Messianic times.
|Akeidah (al. Akedah)||Lit. "Binding"||Scriptural account of G-d's command to Avraham to offer his son Yitzchak as a sacrifice, found in Bereishit 22|
|Akiva ben Yosef||Great Talmudic storyteller and leader of his people. According to legend, he began his Jewish education at age 40, and his collecting and arranging the whole Oral Law according to subjects laid the foundation for the editing of the Mishnah; a major legal scholar, who established an academy in Bnei Brak, and was also a legendary mystic and martyr. He was tortured and killed by the Romans in 135 CE.|
|Akkum||Non-Jews who do not even observe the Noachide precepts.|
|Akrav (pl. Akrabim)||Scorpion|
|Al Chet||For the Sin||An important Yom Kippur prayer listing sins for which we beg forgiveness.|
|Alef -||A||The first letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Also represents the number one.|
|Alef-Bet||The Hebrew Alphabet||The name is derived from the first two letters of the alef-bet.|
|Aleinu||It is incumbent upon us|| "It is incumbent upon us"...to give praise to the Sovereign of Everything. It is a part of the liturgy recited toward the end of each service, prior to Kaddish, in which G-d's universal power and the particularism of the Jewish people, as well as the Covenant that binds us, is articulated.
Originally a poem written by Rav for Rosh Hashanah and later incorporated throughout the year. See Aleinu for more information.
|Aleinu L'shabeach||A prayer of thanksgiving for being separated from the heathens.|
|Al Hamichyah||Abridged version of Birkat HaMazon|
|Al Hanisim (al. Al Ha-nissim)||For the Miracles||Thanksgiving for the miracles G-d wrought for us added to the Amidah and Birkat HaMazon (Grace after the Meal) on the festivals of Chanukah and Purim, when G-d's miraculous intervention delivered the Jewish people into safety.|
|Aliyah (pl. Aliyot)||Ascent; Ascending; Going up||Immigration to the Eretz Yisrael (Land of Israel). The individual given the honor of immigrating to Yisrael is called oleh.
To "have an aliyah" refers to the honor of being called up to the bimah to recite or chant the blessings before and after the Torah reading, or to raise it, or to dress it following the reading.
In the more Traditional synagogues, the Kohen is called first, then followed by a Levi and Yisrael. The number of aliyot of those called up to the Torah is determined by the day (Monday, Thursday, holiday, or Shabbat) on which the Torah is read.
|Almah (pl. Almot)||Young woman|
|Almanah (pl. Almanot)||Widow|
|Al Netilat Yadayim||The blessing over the washing of hands before the meal.|
|Amah (pl. Amot)||A unit of length, equal to six "tefachim," (approximately 48 centimeters or 19.2 inches).|
|Amah Teraksin||Space of 1 Amah wide between the 2 curtains which separated the HaKodesh (Holy Place) and the Kodesh HaKodoshim (The Holy of Holies)|
|Amalek (pl. Amalekim)||Was the son of Elifaz and his concubine Timna, and was the grandson of 'Esav. The Amalekim became known as the bitter enemies of the Yisraelim (Shemot 17:8-16) and came to symbolize the archetypal enemy of the Jewish people in each generation.
Haman was a descendant of Amalek. For more information see Article: Amalek
|Amen (Amein; Omein)||So Be It||Occurs 14 times in the Torah as a formula of confirmation or agreement. During the period of the Second Beit HaMikdash, Amen served as a response to benedictions and prayers recited outside the Beit HaMikdash. In place of Amen, the response used in the Beit HaMikdash was: "Blessed be his glorious majesty forever and ever."
The Mishnah states that "when the Kohanim and the people...heard the distinctive name of G-d pronounced by the Kohen HaGadol, they would exclaim: 'Blessed be His glorious Kingdom forever and ever.' " (Yoma 6:2)
|Am HaAretz||People of the Land||Used pejoratively in the first century. A term used in the Scriptures for citizens, or a particular class of citizens. In rabbinic literature is used for persons or groups that dissented from or were unlearned in rabbinic halacha and rigorous purity and tithing norms. Sometimes it signifies the unlearned, sometimes is used condescendingly (boor). It was also used of the broad mass of Jewish people of the 1st century CE, who cannot be categorized into any of the sub-groups of the time.|
|Amidah (pl. Amidot)||"Standing" Prayer||Set of 18 prayers recited daily by observant Jews. Standing prayer, quietly murmured, that is part of each daily service, alternatively called the HaTefillah, the (central) prayer, because the liturgy is built around it; also known as the Shemoneh Esrei, the eighteen, because the original compilation of the prayer (for the daily service) had eighteen benedictions in it.|
|Amirah L'Akum||Telling a non-Jew to do a forbidden act.|
|Ammudei HaKehillah||Pillars of the Congregation|
|Amorah (pl. Amoraim)||Lit. "Speaker"; Interpreter||Applied to the Sages of the Talmud who were active from the time of the conclusion of the Mishnah to the end of the fifth century...approx. a period of 300 years. The Amoraim activity was dedicated chiefly to expounding the Mishnah, which had been compiled and edited by Rabbi Yehudah HaNasi and had become the code of the Oral Law. They also concerned themselves with all Bible interpretation that is non-legal in character, or Aggadah, and frequently held popular discourses before congregations.|
|Amos||Amos||Meaning "to be burdened, troubled." 8th century B.C.E. prophet of Judean origin, Amos was a herdsman. His main center of activity was in the northern kingdom. In his book (the third of the twelve minor prophets), he warns the Yisraelim of the grave danger from Assyria. Righteousness for Amos was the most important moral attribute of the divine nature.|
|Amudah||Reading desk at the front (or center) of sanctuary at which the Torah will be read.|
|AMUSh (Ad Maia Veesrim Shana)||[He/She should live] for 120 years||Used for salutations in correspondence.|
|Am Segulah||A Treasured People||See Article: Am Segulah|
|Am Yisrael||Lit. "the People of Yisrael"||Usually used to refer to the Jewish people (the descendants of Yaakov, also called Yisrael).|
|Anan (pl. Ananim)||Cloud|
|Anan Edim||Cloud of Witnesses|
|Anash||Acronym for Anshei Shlomeinu...the Chassidic Brotherhood|
|Anashim Neemanim||Faithful Men|
|Anavat Ruach||A Spirit of Meekness|
|Anenu (al. Aneinu)||Answer Us||A passage added to the Amidah prayer on public fast day.|
|Ani Maamin||Lit. "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. Ani Maamin, like the poem Yigdal which opens the morning worship for each day, is based on the 13 creeds of Rabbi Moshe ben Maimun, generally known as Rambam or Moses Maimonides (1135-1204). In his commentary on the Mishnah (Sanhedrin 10:1), Maimonides examines the current conceptions of immortality and the doctrines upon which Judaism rests. Summing up his Jewish philosophy, he formulates 13 articles of creed covering the 613 commandments of Judaism:
1)There is a Creator
2) He is One
3) He is incorporeal
4) he is eternal
5) He alone must be worshiped
6) The prophets are true
7) Moshe was the greatest of all prophets
8) The entire Torah was divinely given to Moshe
9) The Torah is immutable
10) G-d knows all the acts and thoughts of man
11) He rewards and punishes
12) Mashiach will come
13) There will be resurrection
|Ani Maamin hodaah||Confession|
|Aninut||Refers to the period of initial grief between death and interment. The mourner is called an onen.|
|Anshei Keneset HaGedolah||Men of the Great Assembly||The Great Assembly consisting of 120 members was a legislative body that functioned during and after the Persian period in Jewish history, about 500-300 before the common era. It is unknown exactly how often this body met in Yerushalayim. Although, it has been suggested that it was called together at critical times when matters of national policy were involved.
According to tradition, the Great Assembly received the Torah from the prophets and instituted the basic prayers and benedictions...such as the Shemoneh Esrei. The Great Assembly is also credited with the adoption of the larger portion of the biblical books and the general framework of the synagogue worship.
The Mishnah ascribes to the Men of the Great Assembly a passage of three clauses, which reads: "Be patient in the administration of justice; develop many students; and make a fence for the Torah" (Avot 1:1)....the last clause.."and make a fence for the Torah" is understood to mean additional regulations, designed to preserve the biblical laws.
The Men of the Great Assembly restored the "crown of the Torah" by composing many of the prayers, enacting ordinances to "protect" the observance of the Torah, and establishing certain holy days and fasts in the Hebrew Calendar.
|Apikoras (pl. Apikorasim)||Heretic; Unbeliever||One who rejects Torah.|
|Arachin||Estimations||5th tractate of the Mishnah order of Kodashim. It discusses the valuation, for purposes of redemption, of men and things that are vowed to the sanctuary (cf. VaYikra 27:2-29)|
|Aravah (pl. Aravot)||Willow||Known in the Torah as "Arvei Nachal" (Willows of the brook). Two branches from this tree make up one of the "Arbah Minim" (the "Four Species"), which Torah commands to be held together and waved in all directions during the Festival of Sukkot. The symbolism of this act according to one opinion in the Talmud, is to show the supremacy of G-d, its Creator, over Nature|
|Arbah Chaiyot||Four Living Creatures/Beings|
|Arbah Kanfot||Four Corners||Also known as Tallit Katan, a rectangular piece of linen or woolen cloth with Tzitzit (Fringes) on its four corners and an opening in the center large enough to admit the head. It is worn under the upper garment throughout the day. Resting on the shoulders, it is suspended over the chest and back.
The Arbah Kanfot, resting upon every male from early boyhood, is provided with tzitzit as a reminder of the obligation to keep G-d's mitzvot. No pious Jew would permit himself to walk about without this continuous reminder.
The duty of wearing tzitzit derives from BaMidbar 15:39, where we are told: "It shall constitute tzitzit for you, that you may see it and remember all the mitzvot of Hashem and perform them; and not explore after your heart and after your eyes after which you stray"
|Arbah Minim||Lit. "Four Species"||Commanded by the Torah to be held together and waved in all directions on the Festival of Sukkot to fulfill the mitzvah to "rejoice before Hashem." The "Four Species" consists of the "Etrog" (Citron Fruit), the "Lulav" (Branch of the Date Palm), "Hadasim" (three Myrtle branches), and the "Aravot" (two Willow Branches)|
|Arbah Parashiyot||The Four Torah Portions||There are four special Sabbaths, two before Purim: Shabbat Shekalim, Shabbat Zachor, and two after Purim: Shabbat Parah, and Shabbat haChodesh. On these four special days there is extra parasha readings called Parashat Shekalim, Parashat Zachor, Parashat Parah and Parashat haChodesh. See Article: Arbah Parashiyot|
|Arbah Pinot HaAretz||The Four Corners of the Earth|
|Arbah Turim||Four Rows||Great legal code written by Jacob ben Asher, a 13th century codifier. The book is divided into four parts: 1) Orach Hayyim (Orach Chayim), dealing with daily conduct, 2) Yoreh Deah, including dietary laws, 3) Even HaEzer, governing personal and family matters; and 4) Choshen Mishpat, dealing with civil law|
|Arbaim Yom Varbaim Lailah||Forty Days and Forty Nights|
|Arbat Elafim||Four Thousand|
|Armilus||See Encyclopedia Judaica Article: Armilus|
|Aron HaKodesh||The Holy Ark; The Holy Chest||The special cabinet in which the Sefer Torah, Torah scrolls, are kept in the synagogue and is a reminder of the Biblical Ark of the Covenant in which the two stone Tablets were placed. The Holy Ark is called "Heichal" in Sephardic synagogues. The ark is the central object in the synagogue as it used to be in the Mishkan (Tabernacle) and then in Shlomo's Temple.
The ark in large synagogues contain many scrolls of the Sefer Torah, donated by members of the congregation in the course of many years. As a reminder of the Mishkan and Beit HaMikdash, a velvet curtain known as parochet is suspended before the open face of the ark. Special hangings of white silk are used on the High Holydays to symbolize forgiveness and atonement. In keeping with the statement in Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the Fathers) 5:23 "you ought to be bold as a leopard, light as an eagle, swift as a deer, and strong as a lion to do the will of your Father who is in heaven", two symbolic figures of two lions holding the Ten Commandments are generally carved or painted above the ark, as well as deer. See Article: Aron HaKodesh, Where is it?
|Aron Otzaram||Chest of Treasury|
|Aruch||Medieval lexicon covering the Talmud and Midrashim, written by Nathan ben Yehiel in 1101.|
|Aruch HaShulchan||Authoritative law code dealing only with the laws that have practical importance. It was written by Yehiel Epstein, a 19th century rabbinic authority.|
|Arvit||Evening worship service, as designated by Sefardi Jews (more often called Maariv).|
|Arvus||Joint responsibility (of one Jew for another's performance of mitzvot).|
|Asam (pl. Asim)||Barn|
|Asarah B'Tevet (al. Assarah B'Tevet)||Tenth Day of Tevet||Commemorates the breaching of the walls of Yerushalayim by the Babylonians at the beginning of their Destruction of the First Temple in the month of Tevet. A fast day.|
|Asenat||Wife of Yosef||Bereishit 41:45. See Encyclopedia Judaica Excerpt: Asenat|
|Aseret HaDibrot||The Ten Utterances; The Ten Commandments||The Ten Utterances of G-d to the Jewish People at Mt. Sinai when the Torah was given to the Yisrael.|
|Aseret Y'mei Teshuvah||Guilt or Trespass Offering||The guilt or trespass offering made by one who has unintentionally sinned or sinned against his fellow man, i.e., for sins of stealing things from the altar, for when you are not sure whether you have committed a sin or what sin you have committed, or for breach of trust.|
|Ashamnu||We Have Sinned||An alphabetical acrostic in which each letter of the Hebrew alphabet is successively utilized, is a brief confession recited responsively by reader and congregation in the Yom Kippur liturgy. It is accompanied by a symbolical beating of the chest as a further indication of teshuvah (repentance). The confession is couched in the plural form to stress the solidarity of the people of Yisrael. The round number of 24 expressions is reached by the threefold use of the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet which consists of 22 characters.|
|Asher Yatzar||The Asher-Yatzar benediction refers to the complexity of the human body. It is included in the preliminary morning service as a blessing over the physical health of the worshiper. It reads:
"Blessed are You, Hashem, our G-d, King of the universe, Who fashioned man with wisdom and created within him nany openings and many cavities. It is obvious and known before Your Throne of Glory that if but one of them were to be ruptured or but one of them were to be blocked it would be impossible to survive and to stand before You. Blessed are You, Hashem, Who heals all flesh and acts wondrously." (Artscroll Siddur - Nusach Ashkenaz, p. 15)
This benediction is recited in an undertone after washing the hands following the act of relieving oneself.
|Asherah||Asherah was the Hebrew name of a Kenaani goddess, the mother of seventy g-ds. She appears in the Ras Shamra literature as well as in the Amarna letters. When not the name of a deity, Asherah refers to a wooden pole which stood at Kenaani places of worship (Shemot 34:13) and was regarded as the wooden symbol of the goddess Asherah typifying fertility. The word is used in the Scriptures in a fluid manner, at times denoting the Kenaani fertility goddess herself, or her wooden image, or the tree or pole used as her symbol.
The regular furniture of a Kenaani shrine consisted of the altar, a stone pillar (matzevah), and a sacred tree (asherah)
|Ashir (pl. Ashrim)||Wealthy Man; Rich One|
|Ashkenaz||Then name Ashkenaz (Bereishit 10:3) has since the 10th century been identified with Germany. As the German and French Jews of the medieval period formed a uniform group in culture and religious customs, they were all referred to as Ashkenazim in contradistinction to the Sefardim or Spanish- Portuguese Jews.
Ashkenazim are the people who use Nusach Ashkenaz, the prayer arrangement adopted by the medieval Franco-German Jews, including certain variations described as belonging to the Polish custom (Minhag Polin). In the 18th century, the Chasidic movement adopted the Sefardic arrangement of prayers; hence, the Chasidim have been called Sefardim on many occasions.
The Ashkenazim in Eastern Europe developed an intense religious life, disseminating Talmudic scholarship among the people to a degree never before surpassed in Jewish history. A high Jewish literacy existed in an illiterate non-Jewish environment. Despite the Cossack massacres in 1648-9, which wiped out hundreds of thousands of Jews in various parts of Eastern Europe, the Ashkenazim represented a throbbing, vibrant and variegated Jewish life through the generations that flourished in Poland and Lithuania, Hungary and Roumania, Ukraine and Russia. Most of them spoke Yiddish until the 20th century. Before 1933, they constituted nine-tenths of the Jews.
Chasidim and Mithnaggedim and followers of the Haskalah movement (Maskilim) presented a changing pattern of types, trends and ideologies. Before the First World War, the Ashkenazim proved themselves creative in many new fields of endeavor, such as Hebrew and Yiddish literature as well as modern art. The years between the two World Wars were filled with new spiritual developments among the Jews in Eastern Europe, not including the Jews of Soviet Russia whose fate continued to be a mystery to the rest of the Jewish people.
The vitality of the Ashkenazim still dominates wherever they are transplanted. In Yisra'el, however, where the Oriental Jews are gaining in numbers, it is likely that the Sefardim and their patterns and customs will prevail.
|Ashrei||Happy Is; Blessed be||An alphabetical hymn: its successive lines begin with the letters of the Hebrew alphabet taken in order probably as an aid to memory; it is recited daily twice in the morning service and once in the afternoon service and consists of Tehillim 145, preceded by two verses taken from two other psalms - 84:5; 144:15 which contain the word ashrei (happy) three times.
According to the Talmud, anyone who recites this noble psalm three times a day is assured of his share in the Olam Haba (World to Come) (Berachot 4b). Tehillim 145, calling upon all mankind to glorify G-d's majesty, emphasizes his providential care for all his creation: "Hashem upholds all who fall...The eyes of all look hopefully to You...You open Your hand and satisfy every living thing...Hashem is near to all who call upon him sincerely..."
|Asiyah (al. Assiyah)||Action||From the root l'asot, "to do, to make." Assiyah is the lowest of the Four Worlds in Kabbalah|
|Asufah (al. Asefah)||Assembly; Meeting|
|Assur (al. Asur)||Pohibited; Impermissible; Forbidden|
|Assur B'Achilah||Prohibited to be eaten.|
|Assur B'Hanaah||Prohibited to derive benefit thereof.|
|Atah Bechartanu||You Have Chosen Us||The paragraph containing atah b'chartanu in the festival Amidah prayer is based on many biblical passages that keep reminding the people of Yisrael that they have been chosen by G-d to be His witnesses. His kingdom of kohanim, a beacon of light and truth to the nations of the earth.
You are a people holy to HaShem your G-d, Who has chosen you from all the nations of the face of the earth to be His own possession..." (Devarim 14:2)
Rabbi Samson Raphael HIrsch, in his Nineteen Letters, states that the biblical term G-d's own people does not imply Yisrael's exclusive possession of divine love and favor. On the contrary, it means that G-d has exclusive claim to Yisrael's service. The most cherished ideal of Yisrael is that of universal brotherhood.
Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook describes the affection for the people of Yisrael as sacred, derived from a high and divine source. A wonderful vital force is hidden in the heart of each Jew. This subconscious impulse makes the Jew share the powerful yearning for the pure ad uplifting light of truth and divine equity, a yearning that is bound to be realized some day in actual life. The moment a man desires to have a share in the spirit of Yisrael, the divine spirit enters his aspirations, even in spite of himself.
The best thinking by various Jewish theologians on the subject of the election of Yisra'el may well be summed up as follows:
Only in Yisrael did the ethical monotheism exist, and wherever else it is found later on, it has been derived directly or indirectly from Yisrael. The term election of Yisrael expresses merely a historical fact. Yisrael feels itself chosen, not as a master but as a servant. It separates itself from others only for the purpose of uniting them. The people of Yisrael affirm not that they are better than others, but that they ought to be better.
|Atah Chonantanu||You Have Favored Us||A passage added to the evening Amidah prayer after the Shabbat to note the difference between the sacred and the non-sacred.|
|Atarah (pl. Atarot)||Crown|
|Atar Chevrati||Social Networking Site|
|Ateret HaKivod||Grown of Glory|
|Ateret HaChayim||Crown of Life|
|Atid Lavo||The Coming Age||The Messianic Era|
|Atik Yomin||The Ancient of Days|
|Attarah||A neck piece on the tallit to ensure that when the tallit is worn it is neither upside down nor inside out. A vestment-like tallit, worn especially by Rabbies over robes when leading worship, is also often referred to as an atarah.|
|Atzeret||Conclusion||Conclusion of a festive season. Shemini Atzeret is concluding day of Sukkot; Atzeret is Talmudic term for Shavuot, conclusion of the Omer count.|
|Atzilut||Emanation||Atzilut is an emanation and reflection of Adam Kadmon (Keter)|
|Aufruf||Call Up||Calling up of the bridegroom or bridal couple for the Torah blessings on the Shabbat preceding their wedding.|
|Av||Father||Eleventh month of the Hebrew Civil calendar corresponding approximately to July-August, 5th month of the Hebrew Sacred calendar.
Tradition has it that the first day of Av is the anniversary of the death of Aharon, the brother of Moshe.
The 9th of Av (Tish'ah B'Av mentioned in Zecharya 8:19 as the Fast of the Fifth) is a day of fasting commemorating the destruction of the Temple.
|Avadim||Servants; Slaves||Minor Talmudic tractate dealing with the laws pertaining to Hebrew slaves.|
|Av Beit Din||Father of the Court||Originally the title given to the vice-president of the Supreme Court (Beit Din haGadol) in Yerushalayim during the Second Commonwealth. The Av Beit Din sat at the right hand of the President (Nasi) of the Sanhedrin (Supreme Court), and the other members of the court sat before them in a semi-circle. The Nasi was the leading authority in civil and political maters, and the Av Beit Din headed the administration of the purely religious life of the people. After the destruction of the Second Temple, the function of the Av Beit Din in the Sanhedrin of Yavneh and Usha was that of presiding over the Academy. Today the title Av Beit Din is given to the head of a Rabbinical Court (Beit Din).|
|Avel (pl. Avelim)||Mourner; Iniquity, Gross Injustice|
|Avelut||Mourning||The year of mourning after the burial of a parent.|
|Avelut Chadasha||"New" Mourning||i.e. For a deceased relative.|
|Avelut Yeshanah||"Old" Mourning||i.e. Over the destruction of the Beit HaMikdash (Temple)|
|Averot (al. Aveirot)||Sins|
|Av HaRachamim||Father of Compassion; Merciful Father||A prayer for the persecuted communities.|
|Avi||My Father||My Progenitor.|
|Avi Avot||Father of Fathers|
|Avi Chol||Father of All|
|Avimelech||King of Gerar|
|Avinu Malkeinu||Our Father, our King||A prayer of supplication recited on Yom Kippur, a prayer said on the Days of Penitence and fast days. The phrase "our Father" and "our King" are borrowed from Yeshayahu 33:22, 63:16; 64:7, where G-d is addressed in such terms as these:
"HaShem is our King, He will save us; You, O HaShem, are our Father; O HaShem, You are our Father...we are all the work of Your Hand."
|Avinu She'ba-Shamayim||Our Father in Heaven|
|Aviyah||Abijah||Course of the Priesthood.|
|Avnet||Belt that keeps the Torah Scroll together while it is stored in the Aron HaKodesh.|
|Avodah (al. Avodat)||Work; Service||Specifically the sacrificial Temple service as performed by the high priest; today, referring to Yom Kippah observance and other synagogue rituals. Chasidic concept of life dedicated to G-d. Avodah|
|Avodah Zerah||Idol Worship; Strange Worship; Idolatry||8th Tractate in the Mishnah order of Nezikin, which deals with regulations related to idols and idolatry.
When such a person prays, he’s now praying to a different or “strange” god. It follows that such a person could not be included in a traditional Jewish minyan, because his avodah zarah would legally invalidate the minyan.
|Avodat Kodesh (al. Avodat HaKodesh)||Worship; Service; Ministries|
|Avot||Fathers; Ancestors; the Patriarchs||The three ancient Patriarchs who laid the foundations of Yisrael have been described as the historic cornerstones for humanity.
Avot (Fathers) is also one of the 63 tractates of the Mishnah, and deals with the ethical principles established by the fathers of Jewish tradition who flourished over a period of nearly five centuries, from the time of the last prophet to the end of the second century.
Also refers to the first paragraph of the Amidah prayer.
|Avot DeRabbi Natan||Small tractate that provides an expansion to the tractate of Avot and is ascribed to Rabbi Natan the Babylonian.|
|Avot HaTumah||FAthers of Impurity|
|Avraham||Abraham||Father of a multitude. First of the TaNaCh Patriarchs. Lived approx. between 15th-18th century BCE. Born in Ur as Avram. Moved to Charan with his father Terach, wife Sarai (later Sarah) and nephew Lot. Avram was 99 and Sarai 90 when HaShem made a covenant with him, promising him and his descendants the land of Kenaan. See the article: Avraham for more information.|
|Avraham Avinu||Abraham our Father|
|Avshalom||Absalom||Third son of King David. He killed his half-brother Amnon to avenge the rape of his sister Tamar. In Rabbinic literature his career is cited as an example of vanity and rebellion.|
|Ayin||Eye; Nothingness||The 16th letter of the Hebrew alphabet|
|Ayin Harah||Evil Eye||The ability to bring about evil results by a malicious gaze.|
|Ayin Raah||Bad Eye||Stingy person.|
|Ayin Tovah||Good Eye||A generous person.|
|Ayno Rauy L'achilah||Unfit for Consumption|
|Azarah (pl. Azarot)||Temple Courtyard||Ezrat Nashim - the Outer Courtyard in the Temple.|
|Azazel||Name designating the "scapegoat" or the "demon" to whom the scapegoat was sent (VaYikra 16). On Yom Kippur, two goats were prescribed as sin offerings for the people. The Kohen Gadol cast lots and designated one goat "LeHaShem" (For HaShem) and the other "LeAzazel".
The Talmud denotes the mountain (Har Azal) of which the Azazel goat is sent to carry the people's sins into the wilderness on Yom Kippur and is then pushed off the mountain to be torn to shreds by the jagged cliff.
|Az Yashir||Then He Sang||The song of praise chanted by Moshe and the Benei Yisrael at the Reed Sea (Shemot 15:1-18). Also called Shirat HaYom (Song at the Sea). This song is recited in the daily morning service in keeping with the precept to "Remember the day you left Egypt all the days of your life" (Devarim 16:3).
|Azharot||A passage on the Mitzvot (Commandments) in the Torah read on Shavuot.|
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