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

Words spelled with the Hebrew consonants chaf and chet that does not contain the dagesh (dotted), are pronounced as "ch" sounding like the ch in the Scottish word loch or in the Hebrew word chayim.

Chabad Branch of Chassidism founded by Rav Shneur Zalman of Liadi; Abbreviation for Chochmah, Binah, Daat (wisdom, knowledge and understanding), the three tenets of Chabad-Lubavitch philosophy
Chabad-Lubavitch Refers to a group of traditional Jews who are traditionally followers of the Lubavitcher Rebbe (Rabbi and leader) Schneerson, who has now passed away. For more information on Chabad, please visit their website
Chadar (al. Cheder) Chamber; Room Also an old fashioned term for Hebrew school
Chadash New
Chadashim Months In Biblical times the months were commonly distinguished by number. The names of only four Hebrew months are found in the Tanach narratives relating to the period preceding the Babylonian exile: Aviv, Ziv, Etanim, Bul (Nisan, Iyyar, Tishri, Marcheshvan). After the Babylonian captivity we find the Babylonian names of the months, which are now employed in every Jewish calendar: Nisan, Iyyar, Sivan, Tammuz, Av, Elul, Tishri, Marcheshvan, Kislev, Tevet, Shevat,Adar, va-Adar or Adar Sheni. The accepted Jewish calendar is based on the extremely accurate system published by Hillel II in 359, making the months to alternate between thirty and twenty-nine days
Chad Gadya A Kid; Only Kid The song intended for the entertainment of the children so as to keep them awake until the conclusion of the Seder service the first two nights of Pesach and consists of ten stanzas written in the form of a nursery rhyme and phrased in the simplest style of Aramaic-Hebrew. Many still regard it as an allegorical song, though scholars surmise that it is simply a nursery rhyme based on a popular French ballad
Chaf - Ch The eleventh letter of the Hebrew alphabet with the kh guttural sound
Chag Festival
Chag HaBikkurim Festival of the First Fruits Celebrated on Nisan 16
Chag HaGelulah The Festival of Redemption
Chag HaMatzot The Festival of Unleavened Bread
Chagigah Festival Offering A sacrifice offered on the eve of Pilgrim Festivals; Twelfth tractate in the Mishnah order of Moed, dealing with Temple sacrificial offerings during the three Pilgrimage Festivals
Chag Kosher V'Sameach Happy & Kosher Festival
Chag Sameach (al. Chag Sameyach) Happy Festival Greeting used on the festivals
Chag Sameach Pesach Happy Festival of Passover
Chai (pl. Chayim) Life; Living Word often used as a design on jewelry and other ornaments. Donations to charity are often made in multiples of 18, the numerical value of the word; hence, double Chai would be 36
Chacham (pl. Chachamim) Sage
Chaggai (Haggai) My Feast; Festive One of the twelve Minor Prophets. The Sefer Chaggai, the tenth of the Minor Prophets, consists of four prophecies delivered within the space of four months in 520 before the common era. A contemporary of Zecharya and Malachi, Chaggai is one of the last three literary prophets. His prophetic activity occurred eighteen years after Cyrus had permitted the exiles to return to Judea. The work of rebuilding the Temple had been at a standstill for seventeen years, because of the hostile Samaritans who interfered with the work of restoration. Chaggai sent four messages urging the returning exiles to rebuild the Temple in Yerushalayim. He roused the energies and the aspirations of the people who started a new life in Judea: "You who saw the Temple in its former splendor, what do you think of it now? You think nothing of it? Yet, take courage... work, for I am with you. Once again the treasures of all nations shall come in, and I will fill this house with splendor. The silver is mine, the gold is mine... upon this place I will bestow prosperity" (Chaggai 2:3-8)
Chaggim uZemannim Feasts and Festivals The terms chaggim and zemannim are frequently used interchangeably in the sense of festiavls. In Maimonides' Mishneh Torah, the division containing the laws concerning the feasts and festivals bears the title Zemannim. The seven biblical festivals, occurring within the first seven months of the year, include the three pilgrimage festivals (shalosh regalim): Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot; the High Holydays, known as Yamim Noraim (Days of Awe): Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur; Shemini Atzeret, the eighth-day festival following the seven days of Sukkot; and the most important new moon festival occurring on the first day of the seventh month.

The symbolic significance of the sacred number seven is conveyed in the circumstance that the Shabbat is the seventh day; the sabbatical year is the seventh year; the Yovel (Jubilee), the first after seven times seven years; forty-nine days elapse (7X7) between Pesach and Shavuot; Pesach and Sukkot each consisting of seven days.

The three pilgrim festivals marking the spring (barley, summer (wheat), and autumn (fruit) harvests, respectively, are referred to as chaggim, implying rhythmic processions around the sanctuary. On Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot, adult males had to appear in the Temple with gifts showing their gratitude for the divine blessings of the land (Devarim 16:16-17). The term chag is applied to all the pilgrim festivals, but especially to Sukkot; the term mo'ed (appointed season), used interchangeably with chag, refers to these festive occasions taking place on specified days.

The post-biblical festivals, regarded as workdays because they are not described as holy days, are: Chanukkah, Purim, Lag b'Omer, Tu Bishvat. Isru Chag (bind the festival) is the semi-festal day after each pilgrims left Yerushalayim for their homes in the times of the ancient Temple. In biblical times, the first day of the month, Rosh Chodesh was celebrated as a holiday (1Shmuel 20:18; 2Melachim 4:23; Yeshayahu 1:14) with special sacrifice offerings (BaMidbar 28:11-15)

Simchat Torah (Rejoicing of the Torah), celebrated in Yisrael on Shemini Atzeret, the eighth day of Sukkot, and in the Diaspora on the ninth day, was not known in Talmudic times. It came into use presumably around the ninth century in Babylonia, where the one-year cycle for the reading of the Torah prevailed. On Simchat Torah the last section of the Five Books of Moshe is read, thus concluding the one-year cycle, and immediately the new cycle is begun by the reading of the first chapter of Bereishit

Chalakah Hair cut after fourth birthday
Chalil Flute Means "pierced one." At a specific point in the Sukkot celebrations, everything becomes quiet. Then a chalil begins to play, and the man who plays it leads the procession
Chalitzah Removal The Biblical ceremony, to absolve a man of marrying his childless brother's widow. The widow removes his shoe and publicly spits in his face while reading, "This shall be done to the man who does not build up his brother's house." (Devarim 25:7-10) Thus, He is thereby released from his obligation
Challah (pl. Challot) Dough offering; Loaf; Cake The modern popular meaning is the special egg-bread eaten on Shabbat and festivals. It is in the form of a braid to represent the mystical Shabbat bride's hair or round for Rosh Hashanah, and often containing raisins, symbolizing a sweet year. The law of challah involves removing a token amount of dough (the size of an olive) and throwing it into the oven fires while reciting a specific blessing. This reflects the portion given to Kohanim in the Temple. Since there are no longer officiating Kohanim, this portion is burnt. For more info concerning Challah, click on the following link: All About Challah

During Shabbat, the challah loaves are used to remind us of the double portion of mannah that the Jews received on Fridays in the desert so they would not have to gather food on the Shabbat.

The 9th tractate in the Mishnah, order Zeraim, discusses setting challah aside for the Kohanim.

Chalomot Dreams Sefer Daniel is full of dreams which border on prophecy. The interpretation of dreams became a recognized art. The Talmud cites examples of men who received payment for the function. Twenty-four interpreters are said to have practiced at the same time in Yerushalayim. A dream which is not interpreted is like a letter which is not read. In the Torah, dreams are presented as a channel of true prophecy and of genuine revelations Bereishit 20:3-6; 31:10, 25; 37:5, 9
Chametz Leavened Leavened dough, either cooked or not
Chamishah Assar B'shvat 15th day of Shevat--Jewish Arbor Day
Channah (al. Chanah) Anna; Hanna Enablement; Grace
Chanukat HaBayit Dedication of the House The dedication of a new home; the ceremony affixing the mezuzah (commandments to the doorpost)
Chanukiah The eight-branched candelabrum, with a place for a ninth candle (shamash) that lights the others, especially designed for Chanukkah
Chanukkah Dedication Often called Festival of Lights. Begins on Kislev 25 and lasts for eight days. The holiday recognizes the Maccabean victory of a small army over the Assyrian-Greek forces in 164 B.C.E. and the manifest conflict between Jewish faith and Greek culture, as well as the rededication of the Temple. The celebration is marked by lighting candles in a Chanukiah, spinning Dreidels, eating Latkes, and retelling the story of the power of the spirit over might
Charoset A mixture of fruits, nuts, and wine; one of the symbolic Pesach (Passover) foods, its color and consistency are reminders of the bricks and mortar used by the Yisraelim slaves in Egypt
Chashmal Electrum A fiery radiance identified in the vision of Yechezkel (Ezekiel) as surrounding the Divine countenance seated upon the heavenly chariot
Chasid (pl. Chasidim) Ultra-Orthodox Jewish followers of the 18th Century leader, Rabbi Israel, the Ba'al Shem Tov; A group of Pious Jewish Sages in the 1st Century who shared the Perushim's (Pharisees) ethical and religious values, and were also characterized by a close walk with G-d and their emphasis on doing what you preach and following an 18th century mystical interpretation of Judaism
Chataat (al. Hataat) Sin Offering Sin offering in the Temple...A sin offering made by one who has sinned against G-d
Chattan Groom Used also in reference to reading the Torah. When one is given the privilege of reading the final paragraph of Torah on Simchat Torah, that person is referred to as Chattan Torah, a groom of the Torah. The same honor is accorded the one who reads the opening paragraph of the Torah during the same celebration, called Chattan Bereishit, groom of the beginning
Chattan Bereishit Groom of the Beginning The man called to recite or chant the blessings over the first section of the Torah on Simchat Torah
Chatunah Wedding Weddings have always been joyous occasions among the Jewish people; they were often community festivals, marked by singing, dancing, and lively music. The wedding canopy (chuppah, under which the bridal couple is married, is reminiscent of the tent ceremony in Bible times, when it was customary to bring the veiled, jewel-decked bride into the groom's tent (Bereishit 24:67). The beautifully embroidered chuppah, supported by four poles which are held by four unmarried young people, is supposed to symbolize the future home of the wedded couple. The use of the portable canopy is attributable to the fact that it was customary for weddings to take place in front of the synagogue, under the canopy of heaven (tachat kippat ha-shamayim). Under the chuppah, the bride is conducted three times around the groom as part of the wedding ceremony. This custom alludes to Yirmeyahu 31:21, where G-d addresses his people: "I betroth you to myself forever; I betroth you to myself in righteousness and in justice, in love and in mercy; I betroth you to myself in faithfulness..."
Chatzi-Kaddish Half-Kaddish An abbreviated form used as a transition following various minor forms of the liturgy
Chavah (al. Chavvah) Eve
Chavakkuk (Habakkuk) To Embrace; to wrestle A seventh century B.C.E. Prophet. The Sefer Chavakkuk, the eighth of the Minor Prophets, consists of three chapters that contain some of the noblest utterances in the history of religious experience
Chaver An Associate; Friend Refers to a person who became a member of a group dedicated to the meticulous observance of mitzvot
Chavurah Group A group of "subscribers" convened for the purpose of offering the Pesach Sacrifice. A group of like-minded people meeting together to worship by studying Scripture
Chayah The Living One
Chayim Chadashim New Life
Chayye Adam Human Life The books Chayye Adam and Chochmat Adam (Human Wisdom) by Rabbi Abraham Danzig (1748-1820) represent the most important works on Jewish law and ethics after the Shulchan Aruch, composed by Rabbi Joseph Karo of the sixteenth century. The subject matter treated in both Chayye Adam and Chochmat Adam coincides with that of the first two parts of the Shulchan Aruch, and is based on the enormous mass of new material which accumulated in the course of two and a half centuries after the appearance of the Shulchan Aruch. The new material, carefully collected and sifted by Rabbi Abraham Danzig, is presented in a simple, easy to read Hebrew style, readily understandable by the cultured Jewish layman
Chayyot (al. Chayyot) Living Beings G-d's highest form of heavenly beings; the four-winged angels Yechezkel saw in his vision of the Divine chariot
Chayut Life-force
Chazak! Chazak! Be Strong, Be Strong! "Chazak! Chazak! Venitchazek!" ("Be strong! Be strong! And may we be strengthened!") is exclaimed by the congregation at the completion of any of the books of Torah being read publicly in the Synagogue. This unanimous response on the part of the congregation is reminiscent of the expression "chazak venitchazak be'ad amenu" ("Be strong, and let us be of good courage for our people!") in 2Shmuel 10:12 and 1Divrei HaYamim 19:13. This is understood to mean: Let us gather courage to live in accordance with the teachings contained in each of the five books of the Torah
Chazakah Taking Hold; Possession In general, this Talmudic term refers to the act of taking possession of property. The term chazakah has a variety of meanings in Jewish legal literature: 1) the formal taking possession of real property 2) possession under circumstances giving rise to the presumption of rightful ownership 3) a legal presumption 4) reputation. The formal protext by the original owner within the three-year period of possession is, under Jewish law, sufficient to overcome the presumption (chazakah) of rightful ownership arising forom such possession
Chazal Acronym for "Our sages of blessed memory"...a term referring to the Talmud sages
Chazarat Ha'Shatz The public repetition of the Shemoneh Esrei
Chazeret Horse radish taken as bitter herbs on Pesach night
Chazzan Cantor The person who chants the liturgy, often as Shaliach Tzibbur during worship services
Cheder (al. cheider) Room The one-room Hebrew school commonly found in small villages throughout Eastern Europe in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries
Chedvah Joy One of the many synonyms in the Torah for joy. Chedvah is the first of the group of four which correspond to a four stage process of the manifestation of joy of the soul--Chedvah, Gilah, Simchah and Sason. Chedvah comes from the root word chad and means "sharp" or "unitary"..describing the initial "point" of joy
Chelev Non-kosher fats; the fats surrounding organs, as distinguished from the fat surrounding muscles. Forbidden to be eaten under the laws of Kashrut
Chen Grace; Beauty; Loveliness
Chesed Lovingkindness; Mercy
Cheshvan The 8th month of the Hebrew sacred calendar; second month of the Hebrew Civil calendar
Chet - Ch 8th letter of the Hebrew alphabet with the kh guttural sound
Chet Missing the mark One of the Hebrew terms translated as sin and connotes missing the mark, that is to say, the good action leads to a positive result, while the sinful action leads to no result. In order that life should be kept intact, every sin brings it punishment, inflicted by the Author and Guardian of life
Chet Ha'egel The Sin of the Golden Calf
Chevrah Friendship group, smaller and less formal than Chavurah
Chevra Kaddisha Holy Society; Sacred Society A burial society...a group of people entrusted with the mitzvah of preparing a body for burial according to Jewish law. This has always been regarded as holy duty, a religious act of great merit, a deed of kindliness and piety. Historical records of such societies date back to the beginning of the seventeenth century. Generally, the membership consists of eighteen, the numerical equivalent of chai (alive), or a multiple of eighteen. On the seventh of Adar, the anniversary of the death of Moshe, it is customary for these groups to celebrate with a banquet following a fast observed in memory of the dead. In the Talmud, mithassekin and gomle chasadim are mentioned as supervising the burial functions (Moed Katan 24b; Ketubbot 8b)
Chevrah Kebranim In prior generations, primarily in Europe, an important fellowship, the Society of the Gravediggers, whose responsibility it was to prepare the grave and fill it after interment
Chiastic Style of Hebrew poetry
Chiddur Mitzvah The act of enhancing and beautifying a mitzvah
Chillul Hashem Profanation of the Name Causing G-d or Judaism to come into disrespect, or causing a person to violate a commandment. Defamation of the divine name through an act performed in defiance of religious or ethical principles. This concept is based on VaYikra 22:32, which read, "You shall not profane My holy Name; I will be hallowed among the Jewish people of Yisrael"
Chilufei Otiyot Interchanging of Letters Refers to any one of the alphabetic transformation systems described in Kabbalah
Chinuch Torah education (of minors)
Chizuk Encouragement and Strength  
Chok Biblical decree; Laws of Torah
Chochmah (al. Hochmah) Wisdom Wisdom is used in the Tanach as one of the three departments of knowledge among the people of Yisrael. The other two are Torah and prophecy. The Torah presents the divine commandments to man; the prophets pass judgment on man's conduct in the light of these commands; the wise men, whose wisdom is embodied in the wisdom of literature of the Tanach (Mishlei, Iyov, Kohelet), seek by observation and reflection to know things as they stand related to man and G-d. Wisdom is characterized in the Tanach by such qualities as honesty, chastity, sobriety, diligence. Wisdom has been described as one of the five types of writing distinguishable in the Tanach, the other four being historical, legal, devotional, and prophetic.

"Wisdom cannot reside in the evil hearted" is an old Jewish maxim. Character and learning are mutually dependent upon each other. The character of the original thinker generally rises above the level of the commonplace, since great thoughts spring from the heart. "This view grew to be so essential an element of the make-up of the Jew that for him the saint and scholar became identical concepts" (Louis Ginzberg)

Chol Non-sacred; ordinary, mundane
Cholent Often spelled tsholent. A traditional food associated with Shabbat. A meat, bean, and potato stew that is cooked before Shabbat and sits warming in a low oven all night until Shabbat lunch (because of the restriction on igniting fires on the Shabbat)
Chol HaMoed Intermediate days of Pesach and Sukkot, when work is permitted; a "semi-holiday" state. No marriages are performed on Chol haMoed, because one celebration must not be superimposed on another; mourning is prohibited; tefillin are not put on during the morning services by a large majority of observant Jews; the special festival prayers are recited; the meals are eaten in the sukkah during Chol haMoed Sukkot, and the eating of chametz is prohibited during Chol haMoed Pesach
Choshen Breatplate Breastplate placed over the Torah, reminiscent of the breastplate worn by the Kohen during the Temple period. Often it is used for a practical reason to identify where the Torah is set for a special reading, especially when there is more than one Torah scroll
Chovot HaLevavot Duties of the Heart One of the most widely read and deeply loved ethical works by Rabbi Bachya ibn Pakuda of eleventh century Spain, the most popular Jewish philosopher of the Middle Ages. Rabbi Bachya's Duties of the Heart describes the Jewish faith as a great spiritual truth founded on reason, revelation, and tradition. Combining depth of emotion, poetic imagination, eloquence and exquisite diction with a keen intellect, the author appeals to the sentiments and stirs the hearts of his readers. He declares that a man may be as holy as an angel and yet he will not equal the one who leads a fellow man to righteousness. He writes:
"Life and death are brothers that dwell together; they cling to each other and cannot be separated. They are joined by the two extremes of a frail bridge over which all created beings travel. Live is the entrance; death is the exit; life builds, death demolishes; life sows, death reaps; life plants, and death uproots. Know that yesterday shall never come back; nor should you say: "I shall do it tomorrow." Hasten to do your task every day, for death may at any time send forth its arrow-like lightning."

Bachya's Duties of the heart written originally in Arabic, was rendered into Hebrew by Rabbi Yehudah ibn Tibbon of twelfth-century Spain, who translated Rav Saadyah's Beliefs and Opinions and Rabbi Yehudah Halevi's Kuzari from the original Arabic into Hebrew

Chullin Unconsecrated; Profane Matters Third tractate in the Mishnah order of Kodashim, dealing with the laws of ritual slaughtering and other regulations connected with the preparation of animal food
Chumash (pl. Chumashim) Five A compilation of the first five books of the Bible and readings form the prophets, organized in the order of the weekly Torah portions
Chuppah (al. Huppah) Bridal canopy Used during the wedding ceremony and forming a sacred space in the center of the Bimah. It symbolically represents the bridal chamber, where the couple would go after the wedding to consummate the marriage, fulfilling the obligations of Yichud; Symbolic of the groom's home
Churban The destruction of the first or the second Beit HaMikdash
Chutzpah Boldness, audacity, insolence, nerve, gall, or a combination thereof, weighted according to the situational need