Vocabulary of Jewish Life
Tikkun Leil Shavuot – A custom, originating in the world of Kabbalah, Jewish mysticism, of spending the entire first night of Shavuot engaged in Torah study in preparation for receiving the Torah anew on the first morning of Shavuot.
Yom Tov, Hag – Festival days, such as the first two days of Sukkot, Shemini Atzeret, Simhat Torah, Shavuot, and the first and last two days of Pesah.
Magbiah/ha – the person who does Hagbah.
Hallel – A series of Halleluyah Psalms (113-118) of praise to God, recited on certain festive days in the Jewish calendar.
Kabbalat Shabbat – A service on Friday evenings, originating in the world of Kabbalah, consisting of six Psalms (one for each day of the week, Sunday – Friday) followed by the hymn Lekha Dodi, welcoming Shabbat, and concluded by two final Psalms, including the Psalm for Shabbat.
Shaliah Tzibur – the person, representing the congregation, leading the service.
Parasha or Sidra – The section of the Torah read on a Shabbat morning. The Torah is divided into 54 Parashot. In order to finish the Torah in exactly one year if the year has lest than 54 weeks two Parashot may be combined and read together on several Shabbatot during the week.
Shaharit -The Morning service.
Sidra – See Parasha.Tana”kh – A Hebrew acronym for Torah, Nevi’im (Prophets), and Ketuvim (Writings), the three parts of the Hebrew Bible.
Adar Rishon/Adar Sheni – Since a lunar year is shorter than a solar year, in order for our holidays to occur at the proper season, 7 times during every 19 year cycle, we need to add a leap month to adjust the calendar. The extra month is inserted just after the month of Adar, before Pesach. The added month is known as Adar Sheni, second Adar; the first Adar is thus called Adar Rishon.
Maimonides (1135-1204, Spain and Egypt) – Also know as Ramba”m, a Hebrew acronym for Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon (in Hebrew, the double quotation mark indicates an abbreviation). One of the greatest Halachists and Philosophers in Jewish history. He was also a world renowned physician of the royal court in Cairo.
Tzedakah – Often translated as charity, which comes from a Latin root meaning love. The Hebrew root of the word carries a sense of justice. The difference is that we don’t necessarily give Tzedakah only out of a sense of love – we should give out of a sense of justice, because it is the right thing to do.
Teshuvah – In English, responsa. Literally, the root of the word means ‘to come back,’ and from that we get the two primary meanings of ‘repentance’ and ‘answer’. In the context this bulletin article, a teshuvah is an answer to a halachic question.