A B D E F G H I K Ch L M N O P R S Sh T Tz U V Y Z

By Devorah Channah
Copyright ©2010 Orach Chayim Torah Studies / Headcoverings by Devorah. All Rights Reserved.

Hacham (al. Chacham; pl. Hachamim, Hachmim) The Wise A Jewish title given to pre-70 C.E. proto-rabbinic Sages/Scholars and post-70 C.E. Rabbinic Scholars
Hachnasat Orchim Hospitality The intense feeling of hospitality among the Jewish people is reflected throughout the Scriptures and the Talmud. A graphic description of Avraham's hospitality and kindness to strangers is to be found in Bereishit 18:1-8, where we read: "When he raised his eyes he saw three men standing at a distance from him. As soon as he saw them, he ran from the entrance of the tent door to meet them, and bowed down to the earth and said: My lords, if I find favor with you, do not pass by your servant. Let a little water be brought that you may wash your feet, and then rest yourselves under the tree. Since you have come to your servant, I will bring you a little food that you may refresh yourselves; then you may go on. They replied: Do as you have said. Then Avraham hastened into the tent to Sarah and said: Quick, three measures of fine flour! Knead it and make loaves. And he ran to the heard, picked out a good, tender bullock, and gave it to the servant who hastened to prepare it. Then he took butter and milk, and the bullock which he had prepared, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree while they ate." The Ramban observes that although Avraham had many servants, he himself ran to the herd, because he was eager to show hospitality.

In the Ethics of the Fathers, one of the ancient Jewish teachers of Yerushalayim tells us: "Let your house be wide open; treat the poor as members of your own family" (Shabbat 127a; Avot 1:5).

It is the duty of the host to be cheerful during meals, and thus make his guests feel at home and comfortable at the table (Derech Eretz Zuta 9). It is commendable that the host himself serve at the table, thereby showing his willingness to satisfy his guests (Kiddushin 32b). The host is warned against watching his guest too attentively at the table, for thereby the visitor may be led to abstain from eating as much as he would like (Sefer Chasidim 105)

Hadassah Jewish Women's Zionist organization in the United States
Hadassim Myrtle Used in the festival banquet during Sukkot because of the boughs of leafy trees. We use three branches, because the Torah refers to it in plural, placed to the right side of the Lulav
Hadlakat HaNerot Lighting of the Candles Referring to any holiday celebration in which candles are to be lit; The Mishnah takes for granted the ancient custom of kindling special Sabbath lights by the housewife (Shabbat 2:6-7). In accord with the cherished Jewish view, considering the home as the woman's sphere and the workday would as the man's, the lights marking the beginning of the Shabbat are kindled by the wife, while the twisted candle of the havdalah marking the resumption of the week's work at the end of the Shabbat rest is kindled by the husband. Since the Scriptures uses light and joy as synonyms (Tehillim 97:11; Ester 8:16), it has been suggested that the Shabbat illuminations were originally intended as symbolical of a day of joy, serenity and good cheer.

The custom of lighting two candles at least is explained by the two synonyms, "Remember" and "Observe," which introduce the Shabbat mitzvah in the two versions of the Decalogue, respectively (Shemot 20:8 and Devarim 5:12). The benediction pronounced at the lighting is not mentioned in the Talmud but is found in the ninth-century Prayer book of Rav Saadyah Gaon

Hadlakat HaNerot

HaElyon Highest One; The Most High
Haftarah (al. Haftorah; pl. Haftarot) Conclusion Additional portion read from the prophetic books (Neviim) of the Scriptures at the conclusion of the Shabbat and Festival Torah recitation and reading. Usually, though not always, the Haftarah contains some reference to an incident mentioned in the Torah reading.

On the 3 Sabbaths preceding the fast of Tish'ah B'Av, the 9th day of Av commemorating the the destruction of the Temple, prophecies of rebuke are recited, whereas on the 7 Sabbaths after Tish'ah B'Av the Haftarah consists of prophetic utterances of comfort and consolation.

The person who receives the honor of reading the Haftarah is referred to as the Maftir, the one who concludes the reading of the Torah. At least 3 verses from the end of the weekly portion (sidrah) are repeated when the Maftir is called to the Torah.

Hagalat Kelim Cleansing of Utensils According to the interpretation of the Talmudic Sages, the Torah refers to the cleansing of the utensils from the forbidden food, which they had absorbed, when it says: "Whatever can stand fire, such as gold, silver, bronze, iron, tin and lead, you shall put into the fire... But whatever cannot stand fire you shall put into the water" (BaMidbar 31:22-23).
Hagbah The honor of raising the Torah and showing it to the congregation after it has been read. Historically, this was done before the reading to show the congregation that the correct scroll was being read from, rather than one from a Gnostic group, for example
Hagbahah u'Gelilah Elevating and Rolling Up Hagbahah (elevating) and gelilah (rolling up) refer to the ceremonial raising of the Sefer Torah and then rolling it up in the synagogue worship service following the reading of the Biblical portions prescribed for Shabbatot, Festivals and various other occasions.

Among Sefardic Jews, their raising of the Torah takes place before the reading, in keeping with an ancient custom. In Sofrim 14:14, however, this custom is mentioned as being performed after the reading.

When the Torah is raised, the standing congregation sees at least three columns of writing while reciting these verses: "This is the Torah which Moshe placed before the Bnei Yisrael, upon the command of Hashem, through Moshe's hand." (Devarim 4:44; BaMidbar 9:23). Then come three verses from Mishlei 3:18, 17, 16, in reversed order from the original text: "It is a tree of life to those who grasp it, and its supporters are praiseworthy. Its ways are ways of pleasantness and all its paths are shalom. Lengthy days are at its right, at its left are wealth and honor. Hashem desired, for the sake of its [Yisrael's] righteousness, that the Torah be made great and glorious." (Yeshayahu 42:21)

Haggadah The Telling [of the story] The text read at the Pesach Seder in the retelling of the story of the Exodus from Egypt
Haggadah Shel Pesach Passover Haggadah The traditional Pesach Haggadah, reflecting Yisrael's constant struggle for life and liberty, is one of the most frequently edited books. Few Hebrew classics are so famous and have attracted the attention of so many Jews as the Haggadah. Since the sixteenth century, the Haggadah has appeared in more than two thousand separate editions. Representing a gradual development, the Haggadah is not the work of any one man nor the product of any one period. Some of its contents have come down to us from ancient times, and were an essential part of the Seder service two thousand years ago
Haggahot HaBah Referring to proposed emendations in the text of the Gemara, in Rashi's commentary, and in the Tosafot. Its author is Rabbi Yoel Sirkes, a 17th century Polish scholar
Haggahot HaGra A method of emendation similar to Haggahot HaBah, but the language is more vigorous. Its author is Rabbi Eliyahu HaGaon, known as the Gaon of Vilna
HaGibor The Mighty One
HaKadosh Baruch Hu The Holy One, Blessed be He
Hakafah (pl. Hakafot) Circuits On the eve of Simchat Torah, all the Torah scrolls are taken out of the aron ha-kodesh (holy ark) for the seven hakafot (processional circuits) around the synagogue. The repeated hakafot are performed until every adult person in the congregation has been honored with carrying a Sefer Torah. At the end of each hakafah, there is a great deal of singing and dancing on the part of all the participants. The hakafot are repeated during the morning service of the Simchat Torah festival.

The Chassidim perform hakkafot evem after the Maariv service of Shemini Atzeret, the 8th day of Sukkot.

The seven processions with the Sifre Torah on Simchat Torah became customary during the 16th century, in order to endear the Torah to the children.

Halachah The Way One Walks or Goes Jewish Law. Law, regulation and legal rulings on a particular issue. Derived from the Hebrew word "Halach" which means "to walk." The Way to follow the Torah.

Scholars contend that in the Halachah we find the mind and character of the Jewish people exactly and adequately expressed. For more than 2000 years Halachah has been the central factor in Jewish spiritual and national life. It is an inner, independent Jewish product on which little outside influence has been exerted.

In the Halachah, nothing is sacred unless man makes it so. Har Sinai, sanctified by G-d's descent to man, has retained no trace of sanctity; its very location is now a matter of archeological dispute, whereas Har Moriyah, which Avraham sanctified by his ascent to meet G-d, became the site of the Temple, and remains eternally sacred.  See further: Halachah Index

Halitzah A ceremony related to the Levirate law of marriage, which frees the widow to marry someone other than her husband's brother. In this ceremony the widow removes a shoe from her brother-in-law's foot, which is symbolic of removing his possessive right over her
Hallel Praise Hallel consists of Tehillim 113-118. It is called Hallel HaMitzri (Egyptian Hallel) because Tehillim 114 refers to the exodus from Egypt and begins with the words: "When Yisrael went out of Egypt."

On Purim, celebrating a miraculous deliverance that occurred outside the Holy Land, the reading of the Megillah takes the place of Hallel. On Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, the joyous chanting of Hallel is omitted because the High Holidays are not intended for jubilation. Nor is the Hallel recited in the house of a mourner during shivah. On Rosh Chodesh, a minor festival, Hallel is recited in abridged form, the first 11 verses of Tehillim 115 & 116 being omitted. Half-Hallel is likewise used on the last six days of Pesach, because there is a tradition that G-d restrained the angels from singing his praise upon seeing the Egyptians drowning in the Reed Sea on the 7th day of Pesach.

In order not to make Chol ha-Moed Pesach (days inbetween) appear as more important than the 7th day of Pesach, the Hallel is abridged throughout the last 6 days. The full-Hallel is recited on the first 2 days of Pesach, Shavuot, the 9 days of Sukkot, Chanukkah, and on the Seder nights.

Tehillim 136 is called in the Talmud (Pesachim 118a) Hallel ha-Gadol, the Great Hallel, to distinguish it from the Egyptian Hallel (Tehillim 113-118) sung on festivals. Tehillim 136 differs from all other psalms in that each of its 26 verses closes with a refrain ("His mercy endures forever"). The 26 refrains of praise correspond to the 26 generations from the creation until the giving of the Torah. Hashem showed kindness to man even before He had given him the Torah (Pesachim 118a). Also, the numerical equivalent of the tetragrammaton, the four-lettered Name of G-d signifying the divine quality of mercy, is 26.

HaL'vayat HaMet Funeral Procession The duty of attending the dead to the grave is considered in Jewish tradition as one of the highest forms of lovingkindness. The man who fails to join a funeral procession for a short distance (6 feet) is compared to one who mocks the poor. If, for some reason, a person is exempt from joining the procession, he is expected to rise in reverence to those who attend the dead, since they are engaged in the performance of good deed. The law requires us to rise before anyone who is performing a mitzvah.
Hamantaschen Haman's Hat; Haman's Pockets A triangular pastry for Purim called oznei-Haman in Hebrew (literally - Haman's ears)
HaMaor Referring to the commentary of Rabbi Zerahya HaLevi (12th century), which consists of glosses and criticisms of decisions of the RIF
HaMelech The King
HaNerot Halalu These Lamps Liturgy recited after kindling the lights of Chanukkah
HaNoten Teshuvah The prayer for the government, recited on Shabbat mornings after the reading of the Torah. The ancient custom to pray for the welfare of the government is based on Yirmeyahu 29:7 "Seek the welfare of the country where I have sent you into exile; pray to Hashem for it, for your welfare depends on its welfare".
HaRan The interpretation of Rabbenu Nissim ben Reuven of Spain (14th century). His book is an extensive commentary of the legal decisions of the RIF
Hasagat Gevul Removal of Landmarks Landmarks, consisting of stones or heaps of stones which defined the boundary of a man's field, were of extreme importance when there were no fences. Their removal, for purposes of enlarging one's own estate, was equivalent to theft. Hence the Torah declares: "You shall not remove your neighbor's landmark...Cursed be he who removes his neighbor's landmark!" (Devarim 19:14; 27:17).

Removal of landmarks was an ancient crime more difficult to combat than today when real estate ownership is determined by means of land-measurements.

By way of extension, any unfair methods used in the encroachment upon another person's livelihood are strictly prohibited as hasagat gevul

Hasatan (satan) The adversary Derived from a verb meaning to oppose, to resist, or to hinder.  King Hadad of Damascus was the Satan of Solomon (1Melachim 11:14).  Also see 1Shmuel 29:4; 2Shmuel 19:23; BaMidbar 22:22.  Satan is mostly identified with the yetzer hara (evil inclination), the lower passions which are a hindrance to man's pursuit of the nobler things in life.  Satan is also identified with the angel of death.  He leads astray, then he brings accusations against man, whom he slays eventually.  His chief functions are those of temptation, accusation and punishment.  Under the control of G-d, he acts solely with the divine permission to carry out his plots.  Thought he assumes a will of his own in Sefer Iyov, he keeps within the limits which G-d has fixed for him (Iyov 1:12; 2:6).  See further: Hasatan Index
HaShem The Name A term used by Jews to refer to G-d. Jews use a substitute for the actual Name of G-d because Jewish law forbids the pronunciation of G-d's Name. The prohibition is based upon the requirement to fear Elokim, as in Devarim 6:13 "Hashem your G-d you shall fear...". The Torah tells us that included in fear of G-d is fear of His Name, as in Devarim 28:58, "...to fear this great and honored Name of Hashem your G-d."

The Tetragrammaton was only pronounced in the Holy Temple during the Temple service. Otherwise it is never pronounced, though it is used as a focus for concentration during prayers. During prayers or while reading the Torah, Jews use the term "Ad-nai" - "My Master" - as a substitute for the Tetragrammaton, but even this term may not be pronounced during ordinary speech. Therefore, out of respect for G-d's holy Name, when we refer to G-d we use the term Hashem

Hashgacha Ritual supervision Most often used in terms of kashrut/dietary laws, although it can also refer to spiritual or moral supervision as in a yeshiva or dormitory
Hashgachah Divine Providence Divine providence signifies G-d's control and guidance of the universe and all it contains.

In Zecharya 4:10 we are told that "the eyes of Hashem - they scan the whole world!" Tehillim 145 celebrates G-d's providential care for all His creation, declaring that "Hashem is is good to all; His mercies are on all His works.... Hashem supports all the fallen ones and straightens all the bent... The eyes of all look to You with hope and You give them their food in its proper time... You open Your hand, and satisfy the desire of every living being...Hashem is close to all who call upon Him... and their cry He will hear, and He will save them..."

In the apocryphal book of Ben Sira we find that "good and evil, life and death, proverty and wealth come from G-d (11:14). According to a Talmudic statement, "a man does not even strike a finger here below unless it is decreed on high" (Chullin 7b). The same thought is expressed in Midrashic literature: "A snake never bites, a lion never rends, a government never interferes unless so ordered from above" (Ecclesiastes Rabbah 10:11.1) "What has G-d been doing since creation? He has been building ladders for some to ascend, for others to descend" (Tanchuma Mattot 9, ed. Buber)

Hashkafot Views  
Hashkalah Jewish rationalistic "enlightenment" in eighteenth and nineteenth century Europe
Hashkiveinu A prayer thanking G-d for protecting us while we sleep. This prayer precedes the Amidah and Maariv service and ends on the weekdays with the words, "Who guards Your people Yisrael forever." On Shabbat and festivals it concludes with the words, "Who spreads the shelter of peace over us and over all Your people Yisrael and over Yerushalayim."


Hasidim; Hasidism (al. Chasidim; Chassidim; sing. Hasid) Pious Ones The term may refer to Jews in various periods: 1) a group that resisted the policies of Antiochus Epiphanies in the second century B.C.E. at the start of the Maccabean revolt; 2) pietists in the thirteenth century, known as the Ashkenazi Hasidim, much involved in mysticism of the period; 3) followers of the movement of Hasidism founded in the first half of the eighteenth century by Israel Baal Shem Tov
Haskamah Approbation Haskamah has several meanings, one being a permit issued by noted rabbis for the publication of a Hebrew book. The primary purpose of these permits (haskamot) was to prevent the publication of a work that was likely to create ill-will on the part of the non-Jewish neighbor. The semi-imposed censorship was first introduced at the rabbinical conference at Ferrara, Italy, in 1554, one year after the public burning of the Talmud. It was enacted that all Hebrew books had to be approved by three rabbis and a communal representative before they could be published, in order to check utterances which might be misinterpreted by the ruling authorities.

In time, Haskamot came to assume something of the nature of copyright. They would forbid the printing of all or part of the book before the lapse of a decade or so. Purchasers, too, would be warned against buying books that have been reprinted without the permission of the author or original publisher before the expiration of the period set in the haskamah.

At a later period, the haskamah was earnestly desired by authors as an indication of piety or scholarship. Books would appear frequently with a number of haskamot, printed immediately after the front page.

Hatafat Dam Brit A Drop of Covenantal Blood If someone is born already circumcised or a non-Jew who was circumcised & afterwards wanted to convert has to undergo the process of "Hatafat Dam Brit"...a drop of covenantal blood, referring to the extraction of a drop of blood in place of Berit Milah (Covenant of Circumcision), since the earlier circumcision had no religious significance
Hatarat Nedarim A ritual during Rosh Hashanah that releases the individual from one's vows. In the synagogue, following the morning service, men gather in groups of four; three compose a Beit Din and release the fourth from self-imposed religious obligations that he may have forgotten. They take turns in this process until all have had the chance to ask release from individual vows and adjudicate that release
Hatikvah The Hope The national anthem of Yisrael which was composed by Naphtali Herz Imber (1856-1909) and published in 1886. It was first adopted as the Zionist anthem at the end of the nineteenth century. The words express the Jewish yearning for the restoration of Tziyon (Zion) and the hope for freedom and independence. Yisrael's national anthem reads as follows:

As long as deep in the heart
There still throbs a Jewish soul
And along towards the east
An eye keeps watch upon Tziyon-
Our great hope is not yet lost
The hope of two millennia
To be a free people in our land
Of Tziyon and Yerushalayim
Hatra'ah Warning A warning, by witnesses, given to a person who is about to commit a criminal act, letting him know the penalty which he will incur. This principle is based on the fact that many sins are committed through ignorance and error. The warning must name the particular punishment which the contemplated crime entails, whether corporal or capital; otherwise, the legal penalty attached to the crime cannot be imposed (Sanhedrin 8b; Makkot 16a)

This does not apply to a burglar, since the very crime of burglary constitutes his warning (Ketubot 34b; Sanhedrin 72b). Neither are false witnesses exempt from retaliatory punishment when they have not been forewarned, because the nature of their crime does not admit of forewarning

Hattarat Hora'ah The rabbinical diploma (of permission to decide religious questions) that certifies that, after a thorough examination, the candidate has proved himself competent and worthy to be a rabbi. The hattarat hora'ah is not a license, but simply a certificate of character and qualifications
Havarah Ashkenazit   The Ashkenazi pronunciation of Hebrew.  Still current in some Diaspora circles, especially religiously observant ones, and in synagogues and Yeshivot
Havarah Sefaradit   The Sephardi pronunciation of Hebrew as current in Yisrael which is the official pronunciation there
Havdalah Separation; Distinction A ceremony that marks the end of the Shabbat and Festivals, corresponds to the Kiddush, which proclaims the holiness of Shabbat and festivals. Both are attributed to the men of the Great Assembly, who functioned during and after the Persian period of Jewish history, about 500-300 before the common era.

The Havdalah, recited over wine, consists of four benedictions: over wine, spices, light, and the distinction between the sacred and the profane, between the seventh day and the six workdays.

According to Maimonides, the symbolic use of fragrant spices is to cheer the soul which is saddened at the departure of the Sabbath. When a festival follows immediately after the Shabbat the spices are omitted, because the soul then rejoices with the incoming festival. The wine for the Havdalah is allowed to flow over as a symbol of the overflowing blessing expected in the coming week. It is customary to cup the hands around the Havdalah candle and to gaze at the fingernails. The reflection of the light on the fingernails causes the shadow to appear on the palm of the hand, thus indicating the distinction "between light and darkness." A twisted candle of several wicks is used, because the phrase meore ha-esh (the lights of fire) is in the plural. The custom of dipping the finger in the wine of the Havdalah and passing it over the eyes alludes to Tehillim 19:9, where G-d's commands are described as "enlightening the eyes." These usages are not applicable whenever the Havdalah is recited as part of the Kiddush for festivals.

In Talmudic literature, great importance is attached to the Havdalah: future salvation as well as material blessings are promised to those who recite the Havdalah over the wine cup. "He who resides in Yisrael, he who teaches his children Torah, and he who recites the Havdalah at the conclusion of the Sabbath will enter the Olam Habah (World to Come) (Berachot 33a).

See further: Havdalah & Havdalah Index

Havinenu Grant Us A shortened Amidah, consisting of one paragraph beginning with the word havinenu, was composed in the 3rd century by Rabbi Samuel of Nehardea, one of the first generation of the authors of the Babylonian Talmud known as Amoraim. This prayer, quoted in Berachot 29a, is a synopsis of the middle thirteen petitions of the Shemoneh Esrei known as the abstract of the 18 benedictions.

On urgent occasions, it was permitted to abridge the intermediary thirteen benedictions by reciting the Havinenu passage, which is preceded by the opening three benedictions and concluded by the last three benedictions of the original Shemoneh Esrei.

Havruta (al. Chavruta) A study partner, or the practice of studying (usually Talmud) with a partner
Havurah (al. Chavurah) Fellowship; Companionship A small worship circle, usually egalitarian in nature, led by lay people rather than a rabbi
Hazkarat Neshamot Memorial Service The memorial service, known as Yizkor (may G-d remember) from the initial word of the prescribed prayer, was originally confined to Yom Kippur in order to stir the people to repentance. This theory is to be found in the Kol-Bo, an abridgment of the fourteenth-century work Orchot Chayim by Rabbi Aaron haKohen of France. The ancient custom of Hazkarat Neshamot is referred to in the Apocrypha, where we read that Judah Maccabee "took a collection amounting to two thousand silver drachmas, each man contributing, and sent it to Yerushalayim...to pray for the dead...he made atonement for the dead, so that they might be set free from their sin" (2Maccabees 12:43-45).

Furthermore, the Torah reading for Yom Kippur begins with the words "after the death." The plural form Yom Kippurim was explained by Rabbi Jacob Weil of the fifteenth century as a reference to the atonement required for both the living and the dead. Since the eighteenth century, however, memorial services have been conducted also on the last day of Pesach, the second day of Shavuot, and the eighth day of Sukkot or Shemini Atzeret.

Yizkor, like the anniversary of a death (Yahrzeit), presents a stirring emotional appeal to modern Jews, some of whom are remote from their ancestral faith or any affiliation with other functions of the synagogue. The current intense interest attached to the Yizkor services may well be attributed to a desire to recapture a part of one's heritage submerged in the dense traffic of the world. The ceremony is transformed from a commemoration of death into a declaration of spiritual life

Hebrew (Luach) Calendar   The Jewish calendar in use today is both solar and lunar - the years are reckoned by the sun and the months by the moon.  The lunar year, consisting of 12 months averaging 29 and 30 days alternately, contains 354 days, 8 hours, 48 minutes, 34 seconds.  The length of the solar year is 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 45 seconds.  Since the annual festivals are inseparably connected with the agricultural seasons, and a strictly lunar year would cause festivals constantly to recede from their appropriate season, it is necessary to adjust the two systems by the intercalation of an additional month (Adar Sheni or va-Adar) 7 times in a cycle of 19 years.  This month falls in the latter part of March and the beginning of April.  19 years constitute a lunar cycle, of which the third, sixth, eighth, eleventh, fourteenth, seventeenth, and nineteenth are leap years.

The year begins with the month Nisan, the month of ripe grain (aviv), in accord with the mitzvah in Shemot 12:12.  But from the earliest times there has been a civil year which begins in the autumn, the season of plowing and sowing, and closes with harvest.  The seventh month, Tishrei, is the holy month of the year (just as the seventh day is the holy day of the week).

All festivals are fixed and calculated with ease ahead of time, and has the force of law and cannot be abrogated by any individual community of observant Jews.  The Jewish is the most brilliant achievement of its kind and most extremely accurate system of intercalation, equalizing the solar and lunar years.  The adoption of an astronomically fixed calendar (4th Century) made it possibly for Jews everywhere to determine the first day of the month without actual observation of the lunar phases in order to preserve the uniform observance of the festivals in the face of persecutions.  See further: Hebrew Calendar Index

Hebrew (Ivrit) Hebrew Language A Semitic language.  The Hebrew alphabet, consisting of 22 letters, is purely consonantal; the small marks below and above the consonants, serving as vowels, were brought down into writing around the 6th century to aid in exact pronunciation of the language that many were losing knowledge of due to assimilation.  Before this the vowels were orally known and passed on. For those knowledgeable in Hebrew vowel 'writings' are not necessary and therefore omitted in most printed texts.  Although the Hebrew language appeared on the surface to ceased to be spoken more than two thousand years ago, it still existed among the Jewish people and has always been an integral part of the Jewish makeup. 

What a thrill it is to hear the majestic sounds of ancient Hebrew roll off the tongues of little children in modern Yisrael, B"H!  See further: Hebrew Index

Hechsher (pl. hechsherim) Approval of Food as Kosher A special symbol on a food package indicating that the contents are under Kosher supervision. Each individual hechsher (e.g. the ubiquitous O-U) is a trademark of the supervising organization and may not be used without permission
Hefker Ownerless Refers to property left by a person without heirs, or property unclaimed by an owner, or property confiscated by the court and disposed of by the process of law. (Gittin 36b)

Maimonides defines hefker as follows: "All that is to be found in deserts, rivers and streams, is hefker; whoever is first acquires title to such things as grass, wood and the fruit of trees. He acquires title to fish, birds and beasts that are ownerless...But if fish, birds or beasts are kept in private enclosures...they are private property, and anyone who catches them from such a place is guilty of stealing (Yad, Zechiah 1:1)

The property of a proselyte, unless inherited by those children whose conception and birth took place after his conversion, is deemed hefker. It may be acquired by the first person claiming it as his own, providing he assumes all the responsibilities and duties connected with the ownership of the property, such as the payment of taxes.

Heh - Heh H Fifth letter of the Hebrew alphabet
Hekdesh Any property that a person consecrates for use in the Temple or as a sacrifice
Hechal (al. Heichal) The Holy Place The main hall or room of the Temple before the Kodesh HaKodashim (Holie of Holies); used by Safardi Jews to refer to the holy ark, Aron Kodesh
Hesped Eulogy Address The term hesped, denoting a eulogy in praise of the deceased, has come down from ancient times. There is a Talmudic statement that from the way a person is mourned you may learn whether he deserves future bliss (Shabbat 153a).

Following a description of the achievements and good character of the deceased individual the funeral address usually closes with an expression of faith in immortality, and with an encouragement to the survivors to continue the good work of the person they are lamenting. The Scriptures preserves David's poetic funeral orations over Shaul and Yonatan and over Avner (2Shmuel 1:17-27; 3:33-34)

Hetter Permission Variously used in the sense of legal permission, legitimate action, and permitted object. It is the antonym of issur, the contrary meaning of which is prohibition, and also prohibited object. A rabbinic scholar who is qualified to decide on religious questions pertaining to issur v'hetter, actions or things forbidden or permitted, is called moreh hara'ah if properly ordained by a superior rabbi, who has authorized him to issue such decisions. Such an authorization is referred to as hetter hora'ah or semichah
HK"M HaShem Should Avenge his/her/their blood In Judaism, for someone who died as a martyr – who died simply for being Jewish, we write hk”m.
Hod Glory; Splendor; Acknowledgment One of the sefirah of the Sefirot
Horayot Decisions Tenth tractate in the Mishnah order of Nezikin, dealing with decisions related to religious law made in error by the Sanhedrin or the Kohen Gadol (VaYikra 4:1-21)
Hoshana Rabbah The "Great Hoshana" The 7th day of Sukkot is called Hoshana Rabbah because of the 7 processions formed round the synagogue (hakkafot) with the lulav and etrog amidst prayers for deliverance.

In Temple times, the people formed a procession around the altar on each of the first 6 days of Sukkot while chanting: We implore You, O Hashem, save us! (Tehillim 118:25). On the 7th day of Sukkot they formed 7 such processions, following which they would beat willow-sprigs against the ground, symbolically casting off sins as the leaves were beaten off (Mishnah Sukkah 4:5-6). For this reason, Hoshana Rabbah cannot occur on a Shabbat, for then the willow-sprigs (hoshanot) could not be used. The Mishnah designates Hoshana Rabbah as yom chibbut charayot (day of striking twigs) and relates: "They used to bring twigs and strike them against the ground at the sides of the altar" (Sukkah 4:6).

On the night of Hoshana Rabbah, custom is to meet together and read the anthology known as Tikkun Lel Hoshana Rabbah, which includes the whole of Devarim and Tehillim, and passages from kabbalistic works. Since the book of Devarim is the last of the Five Books of Moshe, it is read during the night of Hoshana Rabbah because the annual cycle of Torah readings is completed the next day, on Simchat Torah.

Hoshanot The prayer-poems known as Hoshanot, which are recited during the festival of Sukkot after the Musaf service, are pleas for deliverance and liberation. They were mainly composed by Rabbi Elazar haKallir, who lived presumably in Eretz Yisrael during the 8th century.

The word hoshanot is an abbreviation of hoshiah na (O save) in Tehillim 118:25. This invocation was repeated during the days of Sukkot in a solemn procession around the altar; on the 7th day of Sukkot, called Hoshana Rabbah, the procession with palm branches occurred 7 times. Hoshana became a term also for the willows carried in teh sevenfold circuit-procession of Hoshana Rabbah.

Alphabetically arranged, each of the Hoshanot compositions contains as many verses or phrases as there are letters in the Hebrew alphabet. They are replete with historical and midrashic allusions and are constructed in an involved poetic fashion. They consist of many intricate acrostics and a large variety of Hebrew synonyms which, if translated into another tongue, are likely to create a wrong impression and confuse the reader who happens to be unfamiliar with the puzzling intricacies of both Hebrew language and Jewish folklore. One of the Hoshanot, for example, is composed of an interesting alphabetic list of 22 Hebrew synonyms referring to the Temple at Yerushalayim; another presents an alphabetic description of the qualities attributed to the people of Yisrael in Jewish literature; a third enumerates destructive forces of nature, such as locusts, mentioned in the Scriptures on various occasions.

Hoshea Salvation The book of Hoshea occupies the first place among the twelve Minor Prophets. The name Monor Prophets, as compared with Major Prophets, does not refer to value but to volume - the length of the individual books. Since wach of these twelve books was very short, they were gathered into a single collection to safeguard their preservation. For this reason, they count as one book in the Hebrew Bible and are commonly known as Tre-Asar (The Twelve).

Chronologically, the book of Hoshea is after the book of Amos, but it is placed first because of its length. The length of the Major Prophets likewise determined that they should be placed before the Minor Prophets.

Hoshea the prophet lived after Amos during the 8th century before the common era, and prophesied in the kingdom of Yisrael before Yeshayahu did in the kingdom of Yehudah. Hoshea's prophetic work began before the death of Yarovam (Jeroboam) II, and he was still living when the kingdom of Yisrael was destroyed by the Assyrians in 721. Hoshea's style is highly poetic and difficult to follow, and many passages in the book of Hoshea are not clearly understood because we are no longer fully acquainted with certain events to which they allude.

According to some scholars, the narrative is an allegorical parable describing Elokim's love for Yisrael in terms of the prophet's tragic love for the allegedly faithless Gomer. Yisrael's faithlessness to G-d is the principal theme of Hoshea's prophecy, predicting dire punishment and ultimate deliverance through sincere repentance.

HUR-JIR Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion The Rabbinical seminary of the American Reform movement
HY"D (Hashem Yikom Damo[am]) Hashem Will Avenge His [their] Blood For martyred Jews

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