Glossary of Unfamiliar Terms
As you learn and live within Judaism, you will find there are many commonly used words that might be new to you. Many of these words are just the English transliteration of a Hebrew word. We choose to use these transliterations because they represent what you will find in Jewish communities and Jewish learning. Below you will find a glossary of some unfamiliar words you'll come across on our website.
Bemidbar - Hebrew name of the book of Numbers. It means "In the wilderness"
Bereishit - Hebrew name of the book of Genesis. It means "In the beginning"
Brachot - Hebrew word for blessings.
Chanukah - The winter holiday commemorating the rededication of the Temple in the time of the Hasmoneans.
Chumash - Hebrew for "a fifth." It refers to a book that has the first five books of the Torah in it. Usually includes commentary from well known Rabbis.
D'var Torah - Hebrew for "A word of Torah." It refers to a short teaching which is given about a portion of scripture. These teachings happen during meals and other events.
Devarim - Hebrew name of the book of Deuteronomy. It means "Words"
Didache - Greek for "teaching." It refers to a early document which gives an introduction to Gentiles cominsg to faith in Yeshua and joining the Jewish community.
Lag BaOmer - Celebration of when the plague against Rabbi Akiva's disciples ended and later the death of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, a great Torah scholar.
Melachot - Hebrew for "creative work." These are the categories of "work" which can not be done on Shabbat.
Midrash - Hebrew for "inquiring." It is a form of interpretation. Many of the midrashim are stories.
Modeh Ani - The first prayer said in the morning as you awake. It is offer thanks to God for another day of life.
Parsha - "Portion" This is the weekly Torah reading done at Shabbat services.
Pesach - "Passover" The holiday which celebrates the redemption of the Israelites from Egypt.
Purim - The holiday which celebrates the redemption of the Jewish people from the Persian Empire. The book of Ester tells the story.
Rashi - Nickname for Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki. His commentary on the Torah is one of the most well known and used commentaries.
Rosh Hashanah - "Head of the Year" This is the holiday celebrating the beginning of the Jewish year.
Sh'ma - Core prayer taken from Deuteronomy 6:4-9.
Shabbat - "Sabbath" The seventh day of the week.
Shavuot - "Weeks" The holiday which celebrates God's giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai. Might also know it as Pentecost.
Shemoneh Esrei - "The Eighteen" This is the core prayers said at every time of prayer. Also known as Amidah.
Shemot - Hebrew name for the book of Exodus.
Shmini Atzeret/ Simchat Torah - These are holidays attached to the end of Sukkot. Simchat Torah celebrates finishing the Torah reading cycle and immediately beginning again.
Sukkot - Holiday celebrating God's protection in the wilderness.
Tisha B'Av - Commemorating the destruction of the Holy Temple.
Torah - Means "teaching" and can have from a very specific definition to a very broad one. At its most specific it means the first five books of the Bible. In the most general sense it can just refer to a teaching.
Trope - The melodic way in which the Torah is read during services.
Tu B'shvat - The new year for the trees. There are specific laws for using the produce from a tree. Some of them require you to wait a certain number of years before you can use the produce. So naturally you need to know when to start counting those years.
Vayikra - Hebrew name of the book of Leviticus.
Yeshua - Hebrew for Jesus.
Yom Kippur - "Day of Atonement" The holiday in which the community confesses their sins.