Glossary (A-C)

Glossary >> Glossary (A-C)

A
Abba
Aramaic Father

Acharit HaYamim
Hebrew The End of Days

Acharon (pl. Acharonim)
Hebrew Authorities of Jewish Law since the sixteenth century

Acharon Shel Pesach
Hebrew The last day of Passover

Achdut
Hebrew Unity

Acher
Hebrew Another

Adam
Hebrew [lit. man] First human

Adamah
Hebrew Dust, Earth

Adar Rishon
Hebrew Twelfth month of the Jewish year; Also known as Adar Aleph or Adar I

Adar Sheni
Hebrew Thirteenth month of the Jewish year (leap year only); Also known as Adar Beit or Adar II

Adat B’nei Yisrael
Hebrew Community of the Children of Israel

Adonai
Hebrew [lit. My L-rd] Name of G-d used most often in prayer

Adonai Tz’va-ot
Hebrew Name of G-d referring to G-d as the Ruler of the angelic hosts of heaven

Afatsa
Hebrew Gallnut

Afikoman
Greek A broken piece of matzah that is the last food eaten at the Passover Seder

Aggadah
Hebrew Non-legal rabbinical interpretation of the Tanach, including homilies and stories

Agun (Agunim pl.)
Hebrew A male whose wife has disappeared or deserted him and can therefore not receive a Jewish divorce

Agunah (Agunot pl.)
Hebrew A female whose husband has disappeared or deserted her and can therefore not receive a Jewish divorce

Ahavat Yisrael
Hebrew Loving a fellow Jew

Aishet Chayil
Hebrew [lit. The Woman of Valour] Song written by King Solomon that is traditionally sung Friday night

Akdamut
Aramaic – Poem glorifying the gift of Torah which is said on Shavuot

Al
Hebrew 1. On 2. Over 3. Upon 4. About 5. Concerning

Aleph
Hebrew 1. First letter of the Hebrew alphabet; 2. Represents the number one

Aleph – Bet
Hebrew The Hebrew alphabet

Aliyah (Aliyot pl.)
Hebrew [lit. going up] 1. Be called to the bimah to recite a blessing over the Torah scroll; 2. To move to Israel

Altaamin B’atzmecha
Hebrew Do not trust yourself alone

Am Yisrael
Hebrew 1. The nation (people) of Israel; 2. Jews

Amidah
Hebrew [lit. standing] A central Jewish prayer

Amoraim
Hebrew Post-Mishnaic authorities cited in the Gemara/Talmud

Amos
Hebrew 1. Prophet of the Jews; 2. The twelfth book of the Nevi’im

Amud (Amudim, pl.)
Hebrew Columns

Anavut
Hebrew Humility

Aninut
Hebrew Period between death and burial

Anshei Knesset HaGedolah
Hebrew Men of the Great Assembly

Anusim (pl.)
Hebrew [lit. forced ones] Jews who converted to Christianity in Spain and Portugal during the Middle Age

Apikorsim (pl.)
Hebrew Heretics

Arachin
Hebrew 1. Consecration of personal worth to the Temple; 2. A tractate of Kodashim

Arayot
Hebrew 1. Incest; 2. Forbidden sexual unions

Arav
Hebrew 1. To become evening 2. Grow dark

Aravah (Aravot pl.)
Hebrew Willow branch

Arba Minim
Hebrew Four species used on Sukkot

Areiv (Areivim pl.)
Hebrew Guarantor

Aron
Hebrew Ark

Aron HaBrit
Hebrew An ark constructed in which to store the Ten Statements

Aron HaChodesh
Hebrew 1. A container used to store the Sefer Torah and Sefer Megillah, 2. Ark of the Covenant

Arvit
Hebrew Evening service (another name for Ma’ariv)

Asarah B’Tevet
Hebrew A day-fast mourning over the beginning of the siege of Jerusalem that led to the destruction of the Temple and those who died in the Shoah

Ashkenazi (Ashkenazim pl.)
Hebrew Descendants of Jews from France, Germany, and Eastern Europe

Atarah
Hebrew Crown

Atzei Chayim
Hebrew [lit. Trees of Life] Handles of a Sefer Torah

Atzeret
Hebrew A gathering

Aufruf
Hebrew The honoring of the groom by having him up to the bimah for an aliyah the week before his wedding

Av (Avot pl.)
Hebrew 1. Father; 2. Fifth month of the Jewish year

Aveilut
Hebrew Rituals of mourning

Aveinu
Hebrew Our Father

Aveinu Malkeinu
Hebrew Our Father, Our King

Aveinu She-ba-shamayim
Hebrew [lit. Father in heaven] A title referring to G-d’s watchful care over us

Aviv
Hebrew Spring

Avodah, Avodas Hashem
Hebrew Service of G-d

Avodah Zarah
Hebrew [lit. foreign worship] 1. Idolatry and superstitions; 2. A tractate of Nezikin

Avoth
Hebrew 1. “Ethics of the Fathers”; 2. A tractate of Nezikin

Ayin
Hebrew 1. Sixteenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet; 2. Represents the number seventy

B
Ba’al
Hebrew 1. Ownership; 2. Self-responsibility

Ba’al Koray (m)
Hebrew Person who reads from the Sefer Torah

Ba’al Kriah (f)
Hebrew Person who reads from the Sefer Torah

Ba’al Teshuva (m) (Ba’alei Teshuva pl.)
Hebrew [lit. master of repentance] A Jew who returns to Torah Judaism/Torah observance

Ba’alat Teshuva (f)
Hebrew [lit. master of repentance] A Jew who returns to Torah Judaism/Torah observance

Ba’alei Tefillah (pl.)
Hebrew Prayer leaders

Ba’alei Batim (pl.)
Hebrew Lay leaders

Badal
Hebrew 1.To separate 2. To divide 3. To set apart 4. To make a distinction 5. To divide into parts 6. Set apart 7. Sever 8. Difference new

Badekin
Hebrew Veiling of the bride

Badhan
Hebrew [lit. jester] An entertainer at Jewish weddings and other festivities

Bakar
Hebrew 1. To Seek 2. To Enquire 3. To Consider

B’am
Hebrew Amongst our people

Bamidbar
Hebrew [lit. in the wilderness] The fourth book of the Torah (Numbers)

Banu Chosech Legaresh
Hebrew [lit.] We’ve come to fight the dark

Bar
Aramaic Son

Bar Mitzvah
Hebrew [lit. son of the Commandments] 1. A Jewish boy becomes responsible for following all mitzvot beginning at age 13; 2. A celebration of a boy’s Jewish adulthood

Bara
Hebrew Created

Baruch HaBa
Hebrew Blessed be he who comes

Bashert
Hebrew 1. Predestined; 2. Soul-mate

Bat
Hebrew Daughter

Bat Kol
Hebrew Heavenly voice

Bat Mitzvah
Hebrew [lit. daughter of the Commandments] 1. A Jewish girl becomes responsible for following all mitzvot beginning at age 12; 2. A celebration of a girl’s Jewish adulthood

Bava Batra
Hebrew 1. Real estate, possessions, inheritance, partnership, evidence, testimony; 2. A tractate of Nezikin

Bava Kamma
Hebrew 1. Damage to person and property, loans and interest, stolen goods; 2. A tractate of Nezikin

Bava Metzia
Hebrew 1. Rabbinical decrees concerning lost and found property, embezzlement, fraud, usury, sales, rentals, rights of hired laborers; 2. A tractate of Nezikin

Bavel
Hebrew Babylon

B’dikat Chametz
Hebrew Search for leaven

Beged Ish
Hebrew Man’s garment

Beged Isha
Hebrew Woman’s garment

Bein
Hebrew 1. Between 2. Among

Bein Adam la’Havero
Hebrew Between or among people

Bein Adam la’Makom
Hebrew Between man and God

Bein Ham’Tzarim
Hebrew The Three Weeks

Beit
Hebrew House

Beit Din
Hebrew [lit. house of law] Rabbinical court

Beit HaMikdash
Hebrew The Holy Temple in Jerusalem

Beit Midrash
Hebrew House of study (another term for synagogue/shul)

Beit Midrash l’Limudei HaYahadut
Hebrew Seminary for Jewish studies

Beit Midrash l’Morim
Hebrew Seminary for teachers

Beit Midrash l’Rabbanim
Hebrew Seminary for rabbinical studies

Beit Knesset
Hebrew House of assembly (another term for synagogue/shul)

Beitzah
Hebrew [lit. Cooked or roasted egg] 1. Rabbinical decrees concerning the festivals; 2. A tractate of Moed

Ben
Hebrew Son

Ben Chorin
Hebrew Free person

Bentching
Yiddish [lit. blessings] The Grace After Meals that is recited at the conclusion of the three meals, if one “washed” and ate bread

Berachot
Hebrew 1. Prayers and benedictions; 2. A tractate of Zeraim

Bereishit
Hebrew [lit. In the beginning] The first book of the Torah (“Genesis”)

Bereishit Rabbah
Hebrew A collection of midrashim on the book of Bereishit

Bet
Hebrew 1. Second letter of the Hebrew alphabet; 2. Represents the number two

B’Ezrat HaShem
Hebrew With Hashem’s help

Biah
Hebrew Act of sexual intercourse performed with the intent to marry

Bikur Holim
Hebrew Visiting the sick

Bikkurim (pl.)
Hebrew 1. Offerings of the first fruits at the Temple; 2. A tractate of Zeraim

Bimah
Hebrew A platform on which the Torah Scroll is placed when read

Binah
Hebrew 1. Intuition; 2. Understanding

Birchot HaMitzvot
Hebrew Blessings over ritual acts

Birchot Hat’filot
Hebrew Liturgical benedictions

Birchot Nehenin
Hebrew Blessings of enjoyment

Birchot Nodaah
Hebrew Blessings of thanksgiving

Birkat Eirusin
Hebrew Betrothal benediction

Birkat G’ulah
Hebrew Blessing of Redemption

Birkat HaChodesh
Hebrew Special blessing recited before the musaf prayer the shabbat before Rosh Chodesh

Birkat HaMazon
Hebrew Blessing recited after meals

Birkat HaShachar
Hebrew Blessing of the dawn

Bishul Yisrael
Hebrew Ruling that a Jew must be involved in the cooking or processing of food in order for the food to be considered kosher

Bitul
Hebrew Nullification

Biur Chametz
Hebrew Removing leaven from the home

Blech
Hebrew Covering for the stove top that is used on Shabbat and some holidays to keep food warm

B’nei
Hebrew Children

B’nei Anusim
Hebrew Historical term for Jews who were forced to convert to another religion

Bochur (Bochrim pl.)
Hebrew Young men

Bochya
Hebrew Cried

Boker
Hebrew 1. Morning 2. Break of Day

Borei P’ri HaGafen
Hebrew Blessing over wine/grape juice

Borei N’fashot Rabot
Hebrew [lit.] Creator of all life

Bracha (Brachot pl.)
Hebrew A blessing

Brit
Hebrew Covenant between God and Israel

Brit Milah
Hebrew The ceremony of ritual circumcision performed on Jewish males on the eighth day

B’toch Shelo
Hebrew Burial in the property the deceased owns

Bubbe
Yiddish Grandmother

C
Cantor
Latin The person who leads the congregation in prayer

Chabashim (pl.)
Hebrew Jews from Ethiopia (also known as Beta Yisrael)

Chachomim (pl.)
Hebrew Sages

Chag
Hebrew Jewish holiday

Chag HaAviv
Hebrew [lit. The Spring Festival] – Alternate name for Pesach

Chag HaMatzot
Hebrew [lit. The Time of Our Freedom] Alternate name for Pesach

Chag Sameach
Hebrew Happy holiday

Chaggai
Hebrew 1. Prophet of the Jews; 2. The ninteenth book of the Nevi’im (Haggai)

Chagigah
Hebrew 1. Halakhot for pilgrimage festivals; 2. A tractate of Moed

Chai (Chaim, pl.)
Hebrew Life

Chalav
Hebrew Milk

Challah [picture]
Hebrew 1. A tithe of dough for the Kohen; 2. A braided loaf of bread baked in honor of Shabbat; 3. A tractate of Zeraim

Chalutz (Chalutzim pl.)
Hebrew 1. Pioneers; 2. The earliest settlers of Israel in modern times

Chametz
Hebrew [lit. leaven] 1. Any food made with grain and water that has been permitted to ferment and rise 2. The five grains (wheat, barley, spelt, rye, oats), or products produced from them, which Jews are prohibited from eating or owning during Passover

Chametz B’ayin
Hebrew Leavened grains

Chanukah
Hebrew A celebration of the miracle of the oil in the Temple in Jerusalem after the Maccabees’ defeat of the Greek army

Chanukiah [picture]
Hebrew Eight-branched candelabrum used during the Chanukah celebration

Chanukkat HaBayit
Hebrew 1. Dedication of the house (affixing a mezuzah); 2. Re-dedication of the Temple

Charah
Hebrew Anger

Charoset [picture]
Hebrew An apple-nut mixture resembling mortar used during the Passover Seder

Chashach
Hebrew 1. To be or grow dark 2. To have a dark color 3. To grow dim

Chatan
Hebrew Groom

Chatan Bereishit
Hebrew [lit. Groom of Bereishit] The person given the aliyah that beings the reading of the Torah anew on Simchat Torah

Chatan HaTorah
Hebrew [lit. Groom of Torah] The person given the aliyah that completes the reading of the Torah anew on Simchat Torah

Chatzi Kaddish
Hebrew A partial Kaddish, dividing sections within a service

Chatimah
Hebrew Closing benediction

Chavakuk
Hebrew 1. Prophet of the Jews; 2. The seventeenth book of the Nevi’im (Habakkuk)

Chavaya
Hebrew Experience

Chavurah (Chavurot pl.)
Hebrew Group that meets informally for prayer, discussion, and Jewish celebrations

Chazan (Chazanim pl.)
Hebrew 1. Cantor; 2. The person who leads the congregation in prayer

Chazan HaKnesset
Hebrew Public functionary who performs a variety of tasks

Chazanut
Hebrew The art of cantorial singing

Chelev
Hebrew A kind of fat that surrounds the liver and other vital organs

Cherem
Hebrew 1. Ban; 2. Excommunication

Chesed
Hebrew Lovingkindness and grace towards others

Cheshvan
Hebrew Eighth month of the Jewish year

Chet
Hebrew 1. Eighth letter of the Hebrew alphabet; 2. Represents the number eight

Chevra Kaddisha
Hebrew [lit. holy society] Organization of volunteers who prepare the deceased for burial

Chimutz
Hebrew Leavening

Chizuk
Hebrew Inspiration

Chokhmah
Hebrew Wisdom

Chol HaMoed
Hebrew [lit. the intermediate day] Intermediate days during Passover and Sukkot during which most work is permitted

Cholent [picture]
Hebrew A Shabbat stew, consisting often of stew meat, potatoes, beans and barley

Cholov Yisrael
Hebrew Ruling that a Jew must be present from the time of milking to the time of bottling to ensure milk from kosher animals do not mix with milk from non-kosher animals

Choref
Hebrew Winter

Choshen [picture]
Hebrew Breastplate on a Sefer Torah (Torah Scroll)

Choshech
Hebrew 1. Darkness 2. Obscurity 3. Secret Place

Chukot
Hebrew Statutes

Chullin
Hebrew 1. Laws of non-sacred animal slaughter and dietary laws; 2. A tractate of Kodashim

Chumash
Hebrew [lit. five] 1. The first five books of the Tanach in book form; 2. The five books of Moses in book form

Chuppah [picture]
Hebrew A cloth or a tallis placed on four poles used as a wedding canopy

Chutzpah
Yiddish Extreme level of arrogance and presumption

Converso
Spanish Jew who converted to Christianity in Spain and Portugal during the Middle Ages