Aaron - See "Aharon"
Abraham - see "Avraham"
"Acharon" - (m., pl. "Acharonim"); the "last" or a "later one." In Torah scholarship, the term has taken on the specific meaning of a Torah scholar who lived from approximately the sixteenth-seventeenth centuries through the nineteenth century. Some examples are Rabbi Akiva Eiger, the "Chatam Sofer" and the "Chofetz Chayim."
"Adam" - Original Man; first human being created by G-d. He is created "B'tzelem Elokim," "in the image of G-d." One of the meanings of this is that he has "bechirah chofshit," free will, and therefore the ability to choose between "Tov," that which is good, and "Ra," that which is evil.
- the Name for
G-d used most frequently in Berachot and in
reading the Torah aloud. It means
"Master," as the Hebrew word for "master" is "adon."
The connotation is "Master of the universe" and "Master of
the individual human being."
"Akeidah" - (f., pl. "Akeidot"); the binding; as in "Akeidat Yitzchak," the "Binding (as a Sacrifice is bound) of Yitzchak, and his offering by Avraham to HaShem, as a sacrifice, according to His Command." Until, at the last moment, while the sword was already in the air, an Angel of G-d intervened to stop the drama and pointed to a ram, to be substituted for Yitzchak (Bereshit 22:1-19), thus declaring for all time that human sacrifice was in fact abhorred by G-d.
This was the primary expression of faithfulness to HaShem by Avraham and Yitzchak; Avraham, for his willingness to sacrifice his beloved son, although to do that involved terrible contradictions to his previous perception of HaShem and to his teachings concerning the Almighty, and Yitzchak, for his willingness to be sacrificed upon the altar so that his father could fulfill the Command of G-d.
This act of "Mesirat Nefesh," "Self-Sacrifice," by Avraham, the father willing to sacrifice his son, even more than Yitzchak's "Mesirat Nefesh," who only was willing to give up his life, became the model for Jewish behavior in times of persecution, throughout the ages. And it became also the act that we could point to on "Rosh HaShanah," the Day of Judgment, as the level of loyalty that our People is capable of.
"Aliyah" - (f.; pl. "Aliyot"); going up, rising; in location or in personal qualities; as in "Aliyah l'Eretz Yisrael," "Going up to live in the Land of Israel" or "Aliyah La'Torah," "Going up to make a blessing on the Torah"
"Amah" - (pl. "amot"); a unit of length, equal to six "tefachim," or approximately 48 centimeters, or 19.2 inches. An example of its use in Jewish Law is in connection with the "Sukkah," where the maximum height is 20 "amot," approximately 960 cm., corresponding to about 384 inches or 32 feet.
"Amen" - (adverb); the response given upon hearing a blessing, meaning "so be it;" also interpreted as an abbreviation of "E-l Melech Ne'eman," "The Mighty and Faithful King," where we see the relationship between "Amen" and "Ne'eman," "Faithful"
"Amora" - (Aramaic; plural: Amoraim); A scholar of the Gemara; examples: Abaye and Rava
"Aravot" - (sing. Aravah"); called by the Torah "Arvei Nachal," "willows of the brook." Two branches from this tree make up one of the "Arbaah Minim," the "Four Species, or Types of Agricultural Produce" which the Jew is commanded by the Torah to hold together and wave in all directions. The symbolism of this act, at least according to one opinion in the Talmud, is to show the supremacy of G-d, its Creator, over Nature.
Minim" - the "Four Species, or Types of Agricultural
Produce" which the Jew is commanded by the Torah to hold together and wave in all
directions. The symbolism of this act, at least according to one opinion in the Talmud, is to show the supremacy of G-d, its Creator, over
Another symbolic interpretation of the "Four Species" is
based on the assumption that "Taam," or Taste, represents knowledge of Torah
while "Re-ach," or Aroma, represents the accomplishment of good deeds.
The "Lulav," associated with the date, has good taste, but little aroma, and represents the individual who is a Torah Scholar, but has only a few good deeds.
"Hadasim," symbolize the individual who has "Re-ach," but little "Taam," good deeds, but only a little knowledge of Torah.
The poor "Hadasim," though as creations of Hashem, are beautiful, have neither taste nor aroma. Thus, they represent individuals who have just a little Torah knowledge and very few good deeds to their names.
Thus, just like at the Pesach Seder Table, the Four Sons symbolize the Jewish People, which contains all types of individuals, so the act of holding the "Arba-ah Minim," the Four Species together, represents the unity of the Jewish people, and the fact that it is made up of individuals with all possible mixes of Torah knowledge and good deeds."Asarah B'Tevet" - Tenth Day of Tevet, which commemorates the breaching of the walls of Jerusalem by the Babylonians at the beginning of their Destruction of the First Temple
"Aseret HaDibrot" - (English: Ten Commandments, or Ten Utterances); The following were the Ten Commandments, or Ten Utterances of G-d to the Jewish People at Mt. Sinai, which form the moral underpinning of human civilization.
1. "Anochi HaShem Elokecha " - "I am the L-rd your G-d, etc." - To have faith in G-d's existence, His concern for the world, His intervention at will in the affairs of the world, and His infinite might.
2. "Lo Yiheheh Lecha " - "You shall not recognize the gods of others in My presence, etc." - the prohibition against idolatry. One of the three Cardinal Sins, for which one must give up one's life rather than violate it.
3. "Lo Tisa " - You shall not take the Name of the L-rd your G-d in vain, etc." - Do not disgrace Hashem's Name by using it for no valid purpose.
4. Version A: "Zachor et Yom HaShabbat L'Kadesho
"Remember the Day of Shabbat to Keep it Holy, etc. - Sanctify the Day of Shabbat by treating it as a Day of Delight, and by the recitation of Kiddush, etc. (Shemot 20:8-11)
5. "Kabed et avicha v'et imecha " - "Honor your Father and your Mother " - Revering and honoring one's parents is considered a basic commandment in Judaism from the perspective that there are three partners involved in the creation of a human being: one's parents and G-d Himself. That is why this Commandment is included with the first five, which are considered basically between Man and his Creator.
6. "Lo Tirtzach" - "You shall not Murder" - Since the human being is created in the "image of G-d," the level of seriousness of violation of this commandment should not be minimized. Certain taking of life is sanctioned by the Torah, as is the case in the "arba mitot bet din," the four forms of capital punishment, which are at least theoretically part of the legal code of the Torah; or the taking of life involved in a "milchemet mitzvah," "an obligatory war." However, outside of the limited exceptions, the diminution of the "Tzelem Elokim," the "image of G-d" in the world is one of the three Cardinal crimes, for which one must give up his or her life, rather than violate.
7. "Lo Tinaf" - "You shall not commit adultery" - Strictly speaking, this prohibition involves cohabiting with a married woman; this is another of the Three Cardinal Sins, regarding which one must forfeit his life rather than violating.
8. "Lo Tignov" - Literally, this means "You shall not steal;" however, this Commandment has been interpreted to refer to only one kind of theft; namely, to someone who kidnaps a person, forces him or her to work for him, and then sells him or her into slavery. This, like the previous prohibitions mentioned in the verse, murder and adultery, is a Capital Crime; that is, punishable by the death-penalty. "Garden-variety" stealing is prohibited by the Torah in Vayikra 19:11, where it says "You shall not steal, you shall not deny falsely, and you should not lie one to another."
9. "Lo Taaneh ve'reacha ed shaker" - "Do not give false testimony against your neighbor." Giving testimony is a very serious matter in Judaism; one then has the power with words to directly affect someone else's life.
10. "Lo Tachmod beit reiecha, " - "You shall not covet your fellow's house. You shall not covet your fellow's wife, his manservant, his maidservant, his ox, his donkey, nor anything that belongs to your fellow." This is an area where the Torah legislates regarding a person's inner thoughts and feelings. Only a Divine Lawgiver could possibly legislate in this way, for He knows our innermost thoughts and feelings. The meaning of the prohibition is that a person should regard another's possessions as totally beyond his possibility of acquisition.
"Ashkenazim" - Jews whose "recent" (within the last "thousand-or-so" years) ancestors were from Northern or Eastern Europe, as opposed to Sefardim. There are some limited variations in Jewish custom between the "Ashkenazic" communities (who generally follow the RAMA in disputes with the "Mechaber") and the "Sefardic" communities (who follow the "Mechaber").
"Av" - (m.; pl. "avot"); 1. Father, as in the "Avot" of the Jewish People; 2. Major Category, as in connection with Shabbat, one of the thirty nine "Avot Melachot" (each word of the combination should be "clicked" to get the "full" story;" 3. The saddest month in the Hebrew Calendar, which commemorates the Destruction of both of the Holy Temples
"Avinu Malkeinu" - "Our Father, Our King" the name of a prayer recited on Fast Days and Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur; authored by Rabbi Akiva; successfully brought down rain from heaven when recited by R. Akiva, after the lengthy prayers of another Torah giant had failed to accomplish that goal.
"Avodah Zarah" - (f.); idol worship or, in general, worship of anything other than G-d; for example, worship of the sun or the moon or the stars or a particular river, or man-made objects, such as statues of various kinds. King David describes the contrast between HaShem and idols in "Tehilim"/Psalms 115:3-8:
"Our G-d is in the heavens; whatever he pleases, he does. Their idols are silver and gold, the handiwork of man. They have a mouth, but cannot speak; they have eyes, but cannot see. They have ears, but cannot hear; they have a nose, but cannot smell. Their hands - they cannot feel; their feet - they cannot walk; they cannot utter a sound from their throat!"
"Those who make them should become like them, whoever trusts in them!"
"Avot" - the group of "forefathers," or "Founding Fathers," of the Jewish people. They were Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov: grandfather, father and grandson. Both Avraham (Abraham) and Yitzchak (Isaac) had children who were founders of dynasties who opposed the goals and purposes of the Jewish People; namely, Yishmael (Ishmael), son of Avraham, ancestor of the Muslim Civilization, and Esav, ancestor of Amalek and of Rome. But Yaakov, who for this reason is called the "chosen one of the Avot," had twelve righteous sons. Although each was unique and had faults, ultimately, they were all righteous, and made up the Tribes of Israel, otherwise known as the Tribes of G-d. This set of three great individuals defined the ancestry of the People of Israel. Their lives, activities and contributions are described in the Book of Bereshit (Genesis).
"Avraham" - First of the "Avot," the "Founding Fathers" of the Jewish People. Father of the Jewish People in particular and, by the name change of Avram to Avraham declared by the Almighty to be the father, as well, of "a multitude of nations." (Bereshit 17:4) He re-discovered Monotheism, the belief in only One G-d, one of, if not the fundamental concept of the Jewish Religion. This principle was known obviously by Adam, but forgotten by most of his descendants, who built their societies on the basis of idol worship, until Avraham. Avraham re-discovered Monotheism on his own, according to the Midrash at the age of forty (some say at the age of three!), by reflecting upon Nature, and asking the question, "Who is the Owner of the Palace?"
He went on to teach the idea of Monotheism with his wife, Sarah, wherever he went. He surmounted many challenges posed by G-d to test his faith, including the most severe, the "Akeidat Yitzchak," the "Binding of Yitzchak" when Hashem commanded him to sacrifice his son, Yitzchak, as a sacrifice upon the altar. Unhesitatingly, he rose to the challenge and, together with Yitzchak proceeded to the sacrifice. Only at the last moment, with the knife raised for the slaughter, was Avraham called back by the Angel of G-d. The merit of this supreme test of faith, where the required act contradicted all previous teachings of logic and morality, is relied on by Avraham's descendants, for all of our generations, especially on Rosh HaShanah.