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

Yaakov (Yiddish: Yankel) Jacob Supplanted; Held by the Heel. The son of Yitzchak and Rivkah, and the twin brother of 'Esav.
Yaaleh V'Yavo May it Ascend and Arrive The prayer beginning with the words Yaaleh v'Yavo is added to the Amidah (Shemoneh Esrei) and the Birkat HaMazon (Grace after Meals) on Rosh Chodesh and all sacred festivals. It is not inserted on Chanukah and Purim, when the prayer Al HaNissim is added instead.

The Talmud refers to this prayer by mentioning the need of remembering the new month in the seventeenth benediction of the Shemoneh Esrei (Berachot 29b). In Sofrim 19:11, this prayer is quoted as part of the Birkat HaMazon. It is based on the following prayer in the Torah:

"On your feasts and new moon festivals you shall sound the trumpets...they will serve as a reminder of you before your G-d" (BaMidbar 10:10)

In the Synagogues, it is customary to call out Yaaleh v'Yavo before the Amidah on the eve of Rosh Chodesh as a reminder to the congregation to insert it in the proper place. Recited for the prosperity of the people and for deliverance and happiness, kindness and mercy, life and peace, Yaaleh v'Yavo refers also to Yerushalayim, Mashiach, and Yisrael

Yaarot Dvash The book Yaarot Dvash contains the best known collection of the sermons of Rabbi Jonathan Eybeshitz (1690-1764), who was one of the wisest and most learned talmudic scholars of his time.

Rabbi Eybeshitz taught in part that Judaism imposes no severe restrictions on the flesh. We are not asked to walk barefoot on snow and sleet, to wear coarse garments next to the skin, to torture the body for the good of the soul. In Judaism the duties of religion are calculated to bring joy rather than pain. We are unlike other religious groups who seek to attain saintliness through a discipline of self-mortification. Even Yom Kippur is ushered in with a festive meal. Heathen philosophers may advance the claim that the divine spirit can rest on a man only when he lives in solitude and in self-abnegation; but our Jewish thinkers justly contend taht no such preparations, no such conditions and surroundings, are required for the disclosure of the prophetic visions.

Moderation in all things is with us an essential religious precept

Yad Hand; Arm In Hebraic concept yad (hand) is a synonym for "arm" and is understood to begin at the shoulder; Also the pointer for the reading of the Torah so that one does not touch the scroll itself
Yadayim Hands Eleventh tractate in the order of Tohorot, dealing with rabbinic enactments related to the ritual impurity of hands
Yael To Ascend; Mountain Goat The Keni woman in the time of Devorah who slew who killed Sisera (Shoftim 4:17-5:24) with a tent-pin
Yachatz The breaking of the middle matzah in one of the 15 steps of the Pesach Seder
Yachid Single One; Singular
Yahadut Judaism Although the term Yahadut (Judaism) does not occur in the Hebrew Scriptures or in the Talmud, it is employed in an ancient Midrash (Ester Rabbah 7:11), where it signifies a mode a life based on adherence to the teachings of the Torah given by G-d. Judaism has been defined a the strictest form of monotheism (belief in one G-d) and the practical effect of that belief on life. First preached by Avraham, and symbolized by the covenant of circumcision, it is the oldest existing religion.

The main purpose of Judaism is to promote mutual understanding and peace among all people. Its function is to keep the great ideals intact before the eyes of mankind. The tone of Judaism is optimistic. The world is good and life is precious, for both are the creation of G-d who is the source and ideal of all goodness and morality. As G-d is merciful and gracious, so should man be. As a child of G-d, man has duties toward himself as well as toward his fellow man. He is in duty bound to preserve his health; he who subjects himself to needless fasting and self-mortification is a sinner. The servant of G-d does not detach himself from secular contacts and does not despise life, which is one of G-d's gifts.

Faith and hope are said to be the two most prominent characteristics of Judaism. Judaism demands belief in a personal G-d. As to how to live the Jewish life was summarized by Hillel in the famous maxim: "Do not to you neighbor what is hateful to yourself; the rest is commentary; go, learn it."

Yahrzeit (Yiddish) Year-Time; Anniversary The anniversary of one's death; it is commemorated by lighting a 24-hour candle and saying Kaddish Yatom. Also lit on holidays when Yizkor (prayer of remembrance) is recited.

Jewish tradition has assigned the day of death, instead of the day of birth, for remembrance because the life of a person can best be evaluated at the end of his journey on earth.

Since the human spirit is Biblical referred to as "the lamp of Hashem" (Mishle 20:27), it is customary to light a Yahrzeit lamp on the eve of the day; the lamp remains burning until the sunset of the next day.

The traditional Yahrzeit of Moshe (Adar 7th) is the occasion of eulogies on great scholars who have passed away during the year. Chasidim observe the Yahrzeits of their saintly leaders with great joy

Yalkut Shimeoni The most comprehensive midrashic collection known as the Yalkut (anthology) has been attributed to Rabbi Simeon of Frankfort, who lived in 13th century Germany. It represents a rich treasury of aggadic, ethical-historical statements, compiled from more than fifty sources. some of which are no longer in existence, and is arranged according to the 24 books of the Hebrew Scriptures.

The two parts of Yalkut Shimeoni contain 963 paragraphs devoted to the interpretation of the five books of the Torah, and 1,085 paragraphs given to the interpretation of the remaining 19 books of the Scriptures

Yamim Noraim Days of Awe The ten days period for teshuvah (repentance) from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur. Three books are opened on Rosh Hashanah; one of the perfectly righteous, one of the completely wicked, and one of the intermediate class which embraces the vast majority of mankind.
"The perfectly righteous are immediately inscribed and sealed to life; the completely wicked are immediately inscribed and sealed to death; the intermediate are in suspense (will neither be punished nor acquitted) until Yom Kippur. If they repent, they are inscribed to life; if not, they are inscribed to death" (Rosh Hashanah 16b)
In Daniel 7:10 we find mention of books opened in the heavenly court ("the court sat in judgment and books were opened"). The Mishnah speaks of the record of man's actions in the books of heaven, where "the ledger is open and the hand writes" (Avot 2:1; 3:20). That the deeds of the righteous and of the wicked are divinely recorded is alluded to in Yeshayahu 65:6; Malachi 3:16. The book of life is mentioned in Yeshayahu 4:3; Tehillim 69:29; Daniel 12:1.
Yarden Jordan River Largest water-stream in Yisrael (250 km long) feeding both Sea of Galilee and Dead Sea as well as Yisrael's artificial irrigation lifeline (Jordan-Negev Pipeline). It serves, from Gesher-Naharayim southward, as Yisrael's border with the Kingdom of Jordan
Yarmulka The skull-cap worn for prayer and meals. A word of Slavic derivation. kappel, from the Italian cappelo for hat, or kippah in Hebrew. A distinguishing characteristic of the traditional Jew
Yasher Koach Straight Strength Used idiomatically to express praise or thanks for serving in a religious or ceremonial role. Implies "may your strength continue, go on straight", i.e. "You done good! Do it many times more!"
Yatziv Pitgam True is the Word An Aramaic piyyut (prayer-poem) recited on the second day of Shavuot, before the reading of the Haftarah.

The author of the poem is the famous tosafist Rabbenu Tam (110-1171), whose home at Ramerupt, France, was destroyed by Crusaders in 1147, and he himself narrowly escaped death. He then settled at Troyes, where he headed conferences of French rabbis, the decisions of which are known as the ordinances of Rabbenu Tam. The name of the author and that of his father are indicated in the form of an acrostic at the beginning of the 15 lines of Yatziv Pitgam, which includes the following prayer: "May the King who lives forever protect his people, whom he destined to be countless. May their valleys be white with flocks of sheep; may their presses flow with wine..."

Yavneh City south of Jaffa where Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai opened an academy. There he reestablished the Sanhedrin, which sat in Yavneh until the Bar Kochva revolt
Yechezkel (Ezekiel) G-d Will Strengthen One of the Prophets of the 6th century B.C.E. - last days of the First Temple. He received inspiration from the prophetic utterances of Yirmeyahu, his elder contemporary, prophesied in Babylon for a period of twenty-two years, having been taken into captivity eleven years before the fall of Yerushalayim. Prior to the destruction of the Temple by Nevuchadnetzar in 586 before the common era, Yechezkel's prophecies were messages of doom; after it, they were messages of hope and assurances of restoration.
Yechidah Unit; Singular one The highest of the five levels of soul, which is said will only manifest itself at the time of Mashiach
Yedid Nefesh Dearly Beloved The mystical poem, breathing the spirit of love between G-d and his people, was composed by Rabbi Eliezer Askari, who lived in Safed during the 16th century and was one of the Kabbalistic disciples of Rabbi Isaac Luria and Rabbi Joseph Karo.

The acrostic of the four stanzas contains the four-letter name fo G-d. Yedid Nefesh is recited frequently within Chasidic circles of worshipers

Yehoshua G-d is Salvation In the Scriptures (Shemot 16:9), the leader of the Yisraelim after the death of Moshe, who led Benei Yisrael into the Promised Land. Hoshea was the original Hebrew name to which the letter yud was later prefixed. The Sefer Yehoshua continues the history of the preceding five books of the Torah and narrates the conquest and settlement of the promised land; it records the completion of the great movement of which the exodus from Egypt was the beginning.
Yehudah Judah Meaning "praise." In the Scripture (Bereishit 29:35), the fourth son of Yaakov and Leah and the founder of one of the twelve tribes. After the division of King David's dynasty, the part of the Jewish nation that lived in the South became known as Judah, and a citizen of Judah (Yehudah) was called a Yehudi (Jew). Eventually the northern kingdom, consisting of the ten tribes, disappeared, and all Jews in subsequent generations became known by the appellation Yehudi
Yehudim Jews
Yein Nesech Wine of Libation Wine handled by an idolater, wine from which a libation to a heathen god was made. The supposition was that the idolater may have dedicated the wine as a offering to his deity; hence it was forbidden to drink it and thus become indirectly guilty of an act of heathenism. This regulation, as well as the dietary laws, made it difficult for a Jew to dine with non-Jews unless they were invited to his table.

Daniel "resolved that he would not defile himself with the king's food, nor with the wine which he drank" (Daniel 1:8), because the king's food might consist of the meat of unclean animals, or might not be freed from blood, or part of it might have been offered in sacrifice to idols: some of the wine might have been poured out as a libation to the gods

Yekum Purkan May Salvation Arise This Aramaic prayer was composed in Babylonia, where Aramaic remained the daily language of Jews for more than a thousand years, until the 9th century when Arabic became the popular language.

There are two Yekum Purkan prayers, both of which are phrased alike and recited on the Shabbat, following the public reading of the Torah. The first was composed on behalf of Babylonian and Palestinian scholars and leaders; the second is a prayer for the congregation, "great and small, women and children."

YM"SH,Y'Sh,Y"ShU (Yemach Shmo Vezichro) May his name be wiped out (YH"SH, Y'Sh); May his name and memory be wiped out (Y'Shu) For deceased enemies of the Jewish people
Yemot HaMashiach Days of the Mashiach; Messianic Era; Days to Come
Yericho Jericho
Yerushalayim Jerusalem City of Peace. Holy City. One of the oldest cities in the world. Capital of ancient Yisrael and Judea from the time of King David until the destruction of the Second Temple 70 C.E., and proclaimed as the capital of Yisrael in 1950
Yeshayahu Isaiah G-d is Salvation. The great 8th century Prophet in the kingdom of Judah who was born in Yerushalayim in 765 B.C.E (Yeshayahu 1:1). Yeshaya is a short form
Yeshivah (pl. Yeshivot) Seated Yeshivah and Methivta are used synonymously for the oldest institution of Jewish learning, devoted primarily to Talmud and rabbinic literature. Originally, these terms signified a meeting of scholars, a council, a session, over which presided an elected rosh yeshivah or, in Aramaic, resh methivta. The yeshivot that were established in medieval Europe were a direct continuation of the academies that flourished during the talmudic and geonic periods in Eretz Yisrael and Babylonia
Yeshurun Upright; Fair A term for Am Yisrael (People of Yisrael) used in Devarim 32:15, 33:5, 33:26; Yeshayahu 44:2
Yesod Foundation
Yetzer Inclination; Natural Impulse The good impulse (yetzer tov) and the evil impulse (yetzer ra) are pictured in Jewish literature as wrestling in perpetual conflict within the heart of man. Ha-satan is usually identified with the yetzer harah. According to Bereishit Rabbah 9:9, the existence of the yetzer harah in the heart of man and the struggle to overcome it lends high value to the good that emerges from the inner battle. The two conflicting impulses, the good and bad tendencies, are said to be implanted in man as a consequence of his having been formed (yitzer) from the dust and endowed with a soul (Bereishit 2:7).
Yetzer HaRa The Evil Inclination
Yetzer HaTov The Good Inclination
Yetziat Mitzrayim Exodus from Egypt Nearly all the fundamental precepts of Judaism are linked to the historic event of Yisrael's exodus from Egypt. The most enduring meaning of the exodus is suggested by the Ten Commandments, which begin with the words, "I am Hashem your G-d Who brought you out of the land of Egypt." The Torah frequently makes use of the remembrance of Egypt as a motivation for the performance of basic ethical precepts.
Yetzirah Formation The third of the four worlds of creation. This is the realm of the heart and the place of motivation. The name Yetizirah means formation, thus Tetzirah gave form to that dimension which we know as time. Each of the six sefirot of Yetzirah manifest and form one of the six days of creation, following the form of their sefirotic emanation
Yevamot Levirates First tractate in the Talmudic order of Nashim, dealing with the status of the widow of a man who has died childless and whose brother must contract levirate marriage
Y'varech'cha Hashem v'Yishmerecha May Hashem bless you and Safeguard you
YKVK (replace "K" with a "H") The sacred Name of G-d in Jewish scriptures and tradition; also known as the tetragrammaton. In traditional Judaism, the name is not pronounced, but Ad-nai (only when in prayer) or Hashem (The Name) is substituted.
Yichud Unification; Uniqueness; Setting up Time spent alone by the bride and groom immediately after the wedding ceremony. The private room where the bride and groom consummate the marriage and become echad (one). The term yichud also denotes being alone with a forbidden member of the opposite sex and the sages teach this should be avoided since the Yetzer HaRa (the Evil Inclination) may arouse the passions
Yidden (Yiddish) Jews
Yiddish (from German "Juedisch" or Jewish) The vernacular of Ashkenazi Jews; it is a combination of several languages, especially Hebrew and German, written in Hebrew script
Yiddishkeit (Yiddish) Jewishness
Yigdal To be Great The liturgical poem used as an opening hymn in the daily morning service. Composed by Rabbi Daniel ben Yehudah of 14th century Rome. It consists of thirteen lines which summarize the 13 principles of faith as formulated by Maimonides in his Mishnah commentary (on Sanhedrin 10:1). One rhyme runs through all the thirteen lines, each of which consists of sixteen syllables. In the Siddur of the Sephardim, a fourteenth line is added, which reads: "These thirteen principles are the foundation of the divine faith and the Torah."
Yirat Shamayim Fear of Heaven  
Yirmeyahu Jeremiah G-d will raise up. The Prophet who along with Yeshayahu was a giant among the Prophets of Yisrael. Yirmeya is a variant form
Yishtabach Yishtabach and Baruch Sheamar, respectively, form the prologue and the epilogue to the Biblical mosaic of Pesuke d'Zimrah (verses of song), a section of the daily morning service, preceding the Shema' and the Shemoneh Esrei. The concluding benediction Yishtabach, containing 15 synonyms of praise, is expanded on Shabbat and festivals by the addition of Nishmat, known as birkat ha-shir (Pesachim 118a)
Yishuv Settlement  
Yisrael (Yiddish: Iser, Isser) Israel Meaning "prince of G-d"; "to contend, fight" or "to rule." A son of Yitzchak whose primary name is Yaakov. Israelite, as opposed to the Kohen and Levi; called third to the Torah in a traditional synagogue
Yisrael Sabba The Elderly Yisrael
Yitro Jethro Meaning "abundance, riches" or "excellence." The father-in-law of Moshe; also known as Yeter
Yizkor Remembrance A Memorial Prayer. The remembrance of the deceased, commemorated during the Shalosh Regalim on the final day, and Yom Kippur
Yochanan ben Zakkai 1st century Tanna and pupil and intellectual heir of Hillel. Most of his sayings are in the field of ethics and aggadah
Yod (al. Yud): Y 10th letter of the Hebrew alphabet
Yoel (Joel) G-d is Willing One of the Minor Prophets. The Sefer Yoel, the second among the Minor Prophets, consists of four chapters, attributed to the prophet Yoel about whose personality nothing is known. Even the date of his book is subject to speculation and is greatly disputed among Bible scholars. Yoel is placed either in a very early period or in post-exilic times.
Yoetz (pl. Yoetzim) Counselor; Adviser
Yoma Aramaic for "day." Fifth tractate in the order of Moed, describing the Temple service on Yom Kippur and dealing with laws relating to the fast and repentance
Yoma Arichta One Long Day Two days that are considered as one as in Tishri 1 and Tishri 2..the two days, 48 hours, of Rosh Hashanah
Yom HaAtzmaut Yisraeli Independence Day The anniversary of Yisrael's declaration of independence which was signed on the 5th day of Iyar, 5708 (May 14, 1948), and is observed annually as a national holiday in Yisrael and throughout the Diaspora or Tefutzot Yisrael. In Yisrael, Yom ha-Atzmaut is a festival celebrated in the form of special congregational services in the synagogues, military parades, social parties and festive activities.

The central features of the celebration consists of a special thanksgiving service which includes the reading of the messianic prophecies of the book of Yeshayahu (10:32-12:6), the chanting of Hallel (Tehillim 113-118), the reciting of special memorial prayers for the Yisraelis who fell in battle as well as for the martyrs of the Nazi persecutions, and an invocation to national repentance. The service concludes with the sounding of the shofar, followed by the proclamation: "May it be the will of Hashem our G-d that as we have been granted to see the dawn of the redemption, so may we be granted to hear the trumpet of the Mashiach."

Yom HaDin The Day of Judgment Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is both Yom HaDin
Yom haKatzir The Day of Harvest The Festival of Shavuot as the the Festival of Harvest
Yom HaPedut The Day of Redemption A term for Yom Kippur
Yom HaShoah Holocaust Remembrance Day Day of commemorating the Holocaust; it is observed one week prior to Yom HaZikkaron
Yom HaZikkaron The Day of Remembrance Yisraeli Memorial Day for Yisrael's fallen soldiers, observed for the twenty-four-hour period just prior to Yom HaAtzmaut
Yom Kippur (al. Yom HaKippurim) Day of Atonement The holiest day of the Jewish year. It is marked by fasting from sundown on the ninth day of Tishri to sunset of the tenth. On this day, Jews ask for forgiveness for their sins. The climax of the ten-day period of repentance that begins with Rosh Hashanah, the Day of Judgment. There is a midrashic statement that G-d modeled the world like an architect, and it would not stand until He created repentance
Yom Kippur Katan To emphasize the spiritual character of Rosh Chodesh and renewal, a little (minor) Yom Kippur precedes the feast of the new moon; the congregation offers petitions for divine forgiveness, followed by the confessions of sins and Shema' Yisrael before the open Ark.

It is observed as a fast-day by Kabbalistically minded Jews, who recite special prayers for forgiveness (selichot) during the Minchah service of the day.

Rabbi Isaiah Horowitz, who died in Tiberias (1630), refers to Yom Kippur Katan in these terms: "Following the custom of very saintly men, one ought to repent and make restitution in monetary as well as in personal matters, that he may enter the new month as pure as a new-born infant." The fasting, however, is not obligatory on the day preceding Rosh Chodesh

Yom Teruah Day of the Awakening Blast A name for Rosh Hashanah, the New Year on the Hebrew civil calendar
Yom Tov (pl. Yamim Tovim) A Good Day; a Holiday The term yom tov applied to all festivals, connotes joy and festivity. The Torah often tells us to rejoice on festive occasions (Devarim 12:18, 14:26, 16:11, 14, 26:11; 27:7). The Jewish codes of law emphasize the idea that it is a mitzvah, a religious duty, to be gald at heart and joyful on the festivals. Maimonides writes: "Women should have clothes and pretty trinkets bought for them, according to a man's means... And while one eats and drinks, it is his duty to feed the stranger, the orphan, the widow, and other poor and unfortunate people, for he...who eats and drinks with his wife and family, without giving anything to eat and drink to the poor and the distressed - his meal is not a rejoicing divinely commanded, but a rejoicing of his stomach... a disgrace to those who indulge in it" (Yad, Yom Tov 6:18). Appropriate passages are read from the Torah and the Prophets as part of the congregational services, which include a Musaf describing the festival offerings in Temple times.

In the Megillat Taanit, an ancient calendar of joyous events in the history of the Jewish people during the Hellenistic and Roman periods, a considerable number of semi holidays are listed when public fasts are not to be observed. Most of them ceased to be kept when the memory of the events they celebrated faded out in the course of time. On the other hand, new semi holidays are declared on rare occasions, such as the Yom ha-Atzmaut (Yisrael's Independence Day) on the 5th of Iyar, proclaimed in 1948 in celebration of the establishment of the State of Yisrael

Yom Yerushalayim Holiday celebrating the reunification of Jerusalem in the hands of the modern state of Yisrael
Yonah (Jonah) Dove One of the minor prophets, noted for being swallowed by a big fish and emerging unscathed. The Sefer Yonah, the fifth book of the twelve Minor Prophets, records a prophets experiences rather than his utterances. The Sefer Yonah contains the noblest expression of the universality of religion, is designed to show that kindness of heart and readiness to repent may be found everywhere among men.
Yontif A collapsed form in Yiddish for yom tov
Yosef Joseph Meaning "G-d Will Add," "Increase." One of the twelve sons of Yaakov, and one of the two sons of Yaakov and Rachel
Yose HaGelili 1st century Tanna, colleague of Rabbi Akiva and one of the leading scholars of his day
Yotzer Giver of Light Yotzer is the name given to a variety of prayer-poems (piyyutim), inserted within the framework of the Shema' during the morning service of festivals. The term is derived from the phrase yotzer or (he forms light), used in the so-called yotzer benediction that precedes the Shema'; it emphasizes the goodness of the Creator of light who daily renews the creation. The plural form yotzerot is sometimes misapplied to piyyutim or liturgical hymns in general
Yovel Jubilee The year at the end of a fifty year cycle. Every 50th year agricultural land in Yisrael is to remain unplanted, while land ownership is to be totally redistributed into equal family shares. The word yovel refers to the blowing of shofarot (trumpets) to announce the year