Hebrew/Yiddish Glossary


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Admor: Hebrew initials for: Adonenu Morenu VeRabenu (Our master, Our teacher our Rabbi). This is a title commonly used with Chassidic Rebbes. Admor of Ger, Admor of Satmer etc.
Akeida: Hebrew literally 'binding' Refers to the binding of Yitzchok on the alter.
al Kiddish HaShem: Heb. for the sanctification of HaShem. refers to someone who is killed for being a Jew.
Alsheich: Jewish Biblical commentator Rabbi Moshe Al Sheich
Am HaAretz: Hebrew means 'people of the land' and refers to those who are ignorant of the Torah.
Amora(Amoraim): Rabbis of the period of the Mishnah
Amorah: Biblical city filled with wicked people
Apikorsim: Heretics who reject the teachings of the Rabbis
Ari Z'L: Hebrew initials of the words: Adoni Rabbenu Yitzchok Zechorono LeVaracha our master Rabbi Yitzchok. Better known as Yitzchok Luria the great 16th century Kabbalist
avodah: Hebrew word meaning 'service'. Refers to any type of service to HaShem
Avraham Aveinu: Hebrew name of Abraham
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Baal Shem Tov: Founder of the Chassidic movement
Baal Tshuva (Baalei Tshuva): Hebrew for someone who is a repentant sinner.
Bamidbar: Fourth book of the Torah. Called in English Numbers
Bava Basra: Tractate of the Talmud
Bava Kama: Tractate of the Talmud
bechina (bechinos): a subdivision of an Inyan. Every Inyan has many bechinos.
Beis HaKnesses: Jewish house of worship
Beis HaMedrash: Jewish house of study
Beis HaMikdash: Heb. The Holy Temple
BeisMidrash: Jewish house of study
Bereishis: First book of the Torah. Called Genesis in English
Brachos: Tractate of the talmud

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caftan: Type of long garment worn by Chasidim
Chas V'Shalom: Hebrew for 'G-d forbid'
Chazal: Hebrew initials for: Chochmenu Zichrona Levaracha (Our sages of Blessed memory) Used to refer to Rabbis of the Talmud
Cheshvon: Eighth month of the hebrew calender
Chocham(Chochomim): Hebrew for 'sage' or scholar
Chozeh: Hebrew for seer (prophet). Rebbe Yakov Yitzchok of Lublin was called the Chozeh because Ruach HaKodesh.
Chukos: Weekly portion where the Torah is read from Bamidbar (Numbers) 19:1-22:1

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daas: Hebrew word meaning knowledge
Days of Awe: The days around the holidays of Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur, so called because they are days of judgement.
Devorim: Fifth book of the Torah. Called in English 'Deuteronomy'.
doven(davening): Yiddish for pray.
Drash: A method of Biblical interpretation ascribing moral or ethical meaning to verses in the Torah.

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Eichah: The Hebrew name for the book of Lamantations
Eliyahu HaNavi: Hebrew for the prophet Elijah
Elul: Sixth month of the Jewish year
Eruv: A legal act that causes different residences to be considered as one.

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gabbai: Hebrew for an attendant
Gaon: Hebrew title of one who is an especially learned scholar in Torah
gehennim: Place where one is punished for one's sins after death. The Talmud says that except for especially wicked souls, the normal stay is up to one year.
gematria: Numerical value of the letters of the Hebrew words
Ger Toshiv: A 'partial' convert who agrees not to worship idols
Gitten: Tractate of the Talmud

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Haftorah: A portion of the Tenach read after the Torah is read on Shabbos
HaKohen: Hebrew for 'the Priest' refers to someone who is a direct paternal descendant from Aaron in the Torah
halacha: Hebrew word meaning 'law'
HaRav: The Rov (see Rov).
HaRav HaKodesh: The Holy Rov (see Rov).
HaShem: Noun used in place of G-d. Lit. The Name
Hoshanah Rabbah: Last day of the intermediate days of Succos. It is considered to be similar to Yom Kippur in that it is a time of repentance.
HY'D: Heb. HaShem Yimkom Domov: HaShem should avenge their blood.

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Inyan: A spiritual concept or idea. A general idea as opposed to specifics. The specifics would be bechinos.
Ivdah: A story that shows or teaches a specific method of serving HaShem
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Kavanah: Hebrew word for 'intention'.
Kiddish: Ceremony performed on Friday night over a cup of wine.
Koheles: One of the books of the Tenach, called in English Ecclesiastes.
Kol Nidrei: First prayer of Yom KIppur
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MaHarsha: Hebrew initials for : Moreinu HaRav Shmuel Eliezer (our teacher Rabbi Shmuel Eliezer) a famous Talmud commentator
Maggid: In Europe this was a person who would give sermons on moral subjects. Many of the first Rebbes was Maggidim (pl. of Maggid).
Malachi: One of the books of the Tenach.
Megilla: Tractate of the Talmud
Menuchos: Tractate of the Talmud
mesiros nefesh: Hebrew for self sacrifice
midah(midos): A character trait, either good or bad.
midah kenegid midah: Heb. measure for measure
Midrash: Rabbinical work with homiletic interpretations
mikvah: Hebrew word referring to a ritual bath used for purification
minyan: Group of Jewish men (at least ten) who have gathered for prayer.
Mishleh: One of the books of the Tenach, called in English Proverbs.
Mishnah: An ancient Jewish work made of specific laws.
Mitzrayim: Hebrew name for the land of Egypt
mitzvah(mitzvos): One of the commandments of the Torah.
Mori: Hebrew for my teacher.
Moshe Rabbeinu: Hebrew for Moses our teacher. A common Jewish way of referring to Moses.
Moshiach: Heb. Messiah

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nashama: Hebrew word for soul.

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O'H: Hebrew initials for the words: Olav HaShalom (may he rest in peace)
Orach Chaim: On of 4 sections of the Shulchan Aruch. This deals with the laws that apply to each person on a daily basis, throughout the year.
Or HaChaim: Jewish Torah commentary

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Parsha (Parshos): A portion of the Torah read each week.
payyut: A type of prayer similar to a poem said on Jewish holidays
Peah: Tractate of the Mishnah
Pesachim: One of the Tractates of the Talmud
peshat: A method of Biblical interpretation based on finding the simple meaning in the Torah.
posek: A verse in the Torah or Tenach
Pilishtim: Hebrew for Philistines
pilpul (pilpulim): Method of learning which involves hair-splitting logic.
Pirkei Avos: A Tractate of the Mishnah

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Rambam: Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon also called Maimonides
Ramban: Rabbi Nachman ben Moshe, also called Nachmanides
Rashi: The primary commentary on the Tenach.
Reb: A title added to a persons name as a sign of respect.
Rebbe: Leader of a Chassidic group or a teacher
Rebbe Reb: A title added to a few special Rebbes as a sign of their higher spiritual stature.
remez: A method of Biblical interpretation based on finding hints in the Torah for various concepts.
Rosh HaShanah: 1. Heb. New Year Holiday at the beginning of the year. 2. A tractate of the Talmud
Rov: An official rabbi who renders legal decisions. Many of the Rebbes were both a Rebbe of Chasidim, and the Rov of the city in which they lived.
Ruach HaKodesh: Heb spirit of holiness. Refers to one who can see events, and understand things that are not apparent to the human eye.
Rus: Hebrew name the book of Ruth

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Sanhedrin: Tractate in the Talmud
sefer (seforim): A Jewish religious book.
Sefer Yitzerah: Hebrew Kabbalistic work.
Segal: Hebrew for 'Segan L'Kohen' assistant to the priest. refers to one who is of the tribe of Levi.
Shabbos: Tractate in the Talmud
Shabbos Chazon: Shabbos before Tisha B'Av
Shabbos Nachmu: Shabbos after Tisha B'Av
Shabbos Tshuva: Shabbos between Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur
Shalom Bayis: Hebrew word referring to peaceful relations between husband and wife
Shechina: Hebrew word denoting the divine presence.
Shemos: Second book of the Torah. Called Exodus in English
Sheolos v'Tshuvos: Heb. Questions and Answers. This refers to Jewish scholarly books which are based on legal questions asked of Rabbis and their answers.
Shofar: A ram's horn blown on Rosh HaShanah
Shemini Atzeres: Eighth day of the holiday of Succos. it is a holiday for itself
Shemos: The second book of the Torah. Called in English Exodus.
Shir HaShirim: Hebrew name for the Song of Songs
Shir HaShirim Rabbah: Rabbinic Midrash on Song of Songs
Shlita: Hebrew Initials for the words: Sh'Yichiya L'Aruch Yomim Tovim Amen. (He should have a good long life amen)
shtender: A stand or lectern, where books were placed during learning, or where a prayer book was placed by prayers.
Shulchan Aruch: 15th/16th century book of Jewish law
siddur: Jewish prayer book.
Sifrei: Midrashic work on Devorim
Simchas Torah: Second day of Shemini Atzeres (in Israel there is only a single day), where one celebrates the completion of the readings of the Torah for that year.
Slichos: Penitential prayers said on the days before Rosh HaShanah and Yom KIppur
sod: A method of Biblical interpretation based on describing secret teachings in the Torah.
Sodom: Biblical city filled with wicked people
Sota: A tractate of the Talmud
strakes: Strips of velvet sown into the garments of some of the Rebbes, or great Rabbis.
Succos: Holiday after Yom Kippur where people sit in booths
Sukkah: One of the tractates of the Talmud
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Taanis: One of the tractates of the Talmud.
Talis (talesim): A special garment that is used to cover a person in prayer.
Talmid (Talmidim): Disciples of a Rebbe.
Talmud: An ancient work of Jewish law.
Talmud Chocham (Talmidei Chochomim): Hebrew for Talmud sage, refers to one who is learned in Jewish legal texts.
Tannaim: Rabbis of the Talmud
Targum Onkeles: Aramaic translation of the Torah by Onkeles
Taz: One of the major commentators on the Shulchan Aruch
Tehillim: Hebrew name for Psalms.
Tekunei Zohar: The most esoteric section of the Zohar
Tenach: First letters from the three Hebrew words: Torah, Neviium Kesuvim, which are the divisions of the jewish Bible. Torah is the first five books, Neviium are the prophetic works and Kesuvim are the other books.
tephilin: Special boxes that contain passages of the Torah which are worn by men in daily prayer.
Tisha B'Av: 9th day of the month of Av, a major fast day
Tishrei: Seventh Month of the Hebrew calender
Torah: a. First 5 books of the Jewish Bible b. Also refers to the whole of Jewish law c. also common term for a chassidic teaching
Tshuva: Hebrew word for repentance
Three Weeks: Period of time from 17 of Tammuz to 9 of Av
Tzaddakah: Hebrew for charity
Tzaddekus: righteous women
Tzaddik (Tzaddikim): lit. Righteous. Another name for a Chassidic Rebbe.
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Yakov: Hebrew for Jacob
Yakov Aveinu: Hebrew for 'our father Jacob'
Yavatz: Hebrew initials for Yaakov ben Tzvi. Name of Rabbi Yaakov Emden
Yechzkel: Hebrew name for the book of Ezekiel
Yehoshua: Hebrew for Joshua
Yerushalmi: Talmud that was compiled in Palestine as opposed to the standard on that was compiled in Babylonia called the Bavli
Yeshaya: Hebrew name for book of Isaiah
Yetzer: lit. Inclination. It is Jewish belief that every Jew has both an evil and good inclination within him, that are at 'war' to see which of them the person will follow.
Yetzer Tov: Heb. Good Inclination
Yetzer HaRah: Heb. Evil Inclination.
Yirmiya: Hebrew name for the book of Jeremiah
Yitzchok: Hebrew for Isaac
YM'Sh: Heb. Yimach Shimoh V'Zichro : Their name should be erased
Yom Kippur: The Day of Atonement, the most holy day of the Jewish year.
Yom Suf: Hebrew 'sea of reeds'.
Yom Tov: Hebrew name for 'holiday'
Yortzheit: Yiddish for the day of the anniversary of a death
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Z'L: Hebrew initials of the words: Zechorono LeVaracha (His memory is a blessing.)
Zohar: Hebrew/Aramaic Rabbinical Kabbalistical work that is one of the most important sources for Kabbalah, and was very influential with Chasidim
ZT'L: Hebrew initials of the words: Zechor Tzaddik LeVaracha (The memory of a Tzaddik - Righteous person is a blessing.)
ZTvK'L: Hebrew initials of the words:Zechor Tzaddik veKadosh LeVaracha (The memory of a Tzaddik - Righteous man and a Kodosh - a holy man is a blessing)

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