hebrew TERMS



Adonai  (ah-doh-NIGH)
A name traditionally used in place of the four-letter Name of G-d, to avoid pronouncing it unnecessarily.

Aliyah (ah-lee-YAH)
Immigration to Israel. The Hebrew word translated into English means "ascent" - a "going up" that started with the Israelites "ascending" from Egypt to Israel; from slavery to freedom.

Bereshit (be-ray-SHEET)
Genesis (1st book of the Torah)


Bet Midrash (bayt meed-RAHSH)
"House of study", a school that was usually part of a synagogue.

Chag Sameach (khag sa-MAY-akh)
A happy holiday (used as a greeting)

Chanukah (khah-nook-KAH)
The eight day festival (beginning 25 Kislev) commemorating the successful Jewish revolt against the Greek/Syrian occupation of the Land. The word chanukah means 'dedication.'


Chesed (Hesed) (KHE-sed)
Kindness, Mercy, Grace

Erev (E-rev)
Evening. Shabbat and all the festivals start just before sundown.

Haftarah (hahf-TAH-rah)
The selection from the book of prophets read after the Torah reading.


Haggadah (hag-GAH-dah, or hag-ga-DAH)
A set narrative of benedictions, prayers, midrashic comments and psalms recited at the seder ritual on erev Pesach.

HaShem (ha-SHEM)
"The Name". A word traditionally used as a substitute for the four-letter Name of G-d, to avoid pronouncing it unnecessarily.

Kabbalat Shabbat (kab-bah-LAHT shab-BAHT)
Service welcoming the Sabbath


Leshon Kodesh (le-shohn KO-desh)
Holy tongue; Hebrew.

Leshon Hara (le-shohn ha-RA)
"Evil tongue"; Defaming or badmouthing

Mashiach (Moshiach) (mah-SHEE-akh)
Messiah


Midrash (MEE-drash)
An interpretation; a story that fills in gaps in the Torah narrative, or answers questions about the narrative; (when capitalized) any of several volumes of such stories compiled by rabbis of the Talmudic era

Mikveh (MEEK-veh)
Immersion into fresh running water for the purpose of a ritual cleansing, or an outward sign of a conversion or spiritual cleansing.

Mitzvah (meetz-vah)
Commandment; not "good deed" in Hebrew, but has come to mean that in Yiddish, especially among more secular people


Mo'adim (mo-ah-DEEM)
The appointed times outlined in the Torah in Lev. 23. Specific times appointed by Gd, throughout the cycle of the year, for specific purposes. Festivals.

Parashah (pa-rah-SHAH)
The weekly Torah portion (pl. parshiot). Parashat Hashavua – The weekly Torah portion, read on Shabbat. [H]

Rosh Chodesh (rohsh KHOH-desh)
First day of the new Jewish month


Ruach HaKodesh (ROO-akh ha-KOH-desh)
The Holy Spirit.

Shabbat (shahb-BAHT)
The Sabbath day, referring to Saturday on the Gregorian calendar system (not Sunday).

Shabbat Shalom! (shahb-BAHT shah-LOHM)
"A Sabbath of Peace," is the greeting used instead of 'hello' or 'goodbye' on Shabbat.

Shalom (shah-LOHM)
Peace; wellness; hello; goodbye


Shavua Tov! (shah-VOO-ah TOHV)
"Have a good week!"

Shavu'ot (shah-voo-OHT)
"Weeks." The name of the festival that is counted from the day of the Omer, when the first sheaf of the barley harvest was brought to the priest during Pesach.

Sh'lom bayit (she-LOHM BAI-yeet)
Peace in the home


Tanakh (ta-NAKH)
Acronym for Torah Nevi'im K'tuvim - Torah, Prophets, Writings) The three divisions of the Hebrew Bible

Teshuvah (te-shoo-VAH)
Return, repentance

Torah (TOH-rah)
"Teaching" or "instruction". The word used to describe the first five books of the Bible.

Tzedakah (tze-DAH-kah or tze-dah-KAH)
Righteousness; used for charitable donations, though the root has a very different sense from the root of "charity."


Yeshua (ye-SHOO-ah)
"Jesus." The name of the Messiah.