B - C
B.C.E. - relating to a system of historical dating of events; specifically, Before the Common Era; that is, before the birth of Jesus. The latter is known in Jewish tradition as "Yeshu HaNotzri," Jesus of Nazareth, the founder of Christianity. This term corresponds to B.C.. Compare to C.E., which is in the Common Era.
"Baal Shem Tov" - "Master of the Good Name;" Rabbi Yisrael ben Eliezer (1700-1760); founded in 1736, in Eastern Europe, the Movement known as "Chassidut." In the disastrous wake of Shabtai Tzvi, a false-Messiah who had gained enormous popularity in the Jewish Community before converting to Islam, Chassidut raised the morale of the Jewish People. It showed that the average Jew could be important without being a great scholar, by emphasizing Prayer, Joy and Kabbalah.
"Baal Teshuvah" - (pl. Baalei Teshuvah); "Master of Repentance;" equiv. to "Chozer BiTeshuvah," "One who has 'returned' ," who has repented, or "done Teshuvah."
"Baalei Tosafot" - a group of Torah Scholars, mainly grandsons and great grandsons of RASHI, who basically formulated and carried forward the Ashkenazic Tradition. They lived mainly in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries in Christian Europe, during the time of the Crusades. Their works appear on the traditional "daf," or page, of the Talmud, opposite the works of the Master Commentator, RASHI, on the other side of the "Daf." They debated fundamental Torah ideas with RASHI, among themselves and with other "Rishonim."
Like RASHI, although they lived in tumultuous times, replete with tragedy for many great Jewish communities, such as Worms, Speyer and Mayence, all destroyed by the Crusaders, they wrote their works as if nothing at all was amiss with the world.
"Bamah" - (f., pl., "Bamot"); an altar made on a high place, for the service of HaShem or the service of idols.
There was a time of "heter habamot," a time when it was permitted to worship HaShem using "bamot," but after a certain period, after the "Mishkan," the Tabernacle, the temporary transportable Temple, moved to Shiloh, and certainly once the designed-to-be permanent Temple stood in Yerushalayim, there began the period of "Issur HaBamot,' in which "bamot" were prohibited even for the Service of HaShem.
But they were so ingrained into the ritual life of the Jewish People that it was almost impossible to eradicate their use, and the Bible would often comment about one of the Kings who had been relatively good in terms of observance of the Torah, "but he could not eliminate the 'bamot.' "
"Bamidbar" - (English: Numbers); the fourth book of the "Chumash," or the Five Books of Moses; literally, "In the Desert," because it deals with the experiences of the Jewish People in the desert on their forty-year trek. It begins with the census of the People of Israel in the Desert (hence, "Numbers"), and goes on to recount other events which qualify it for the title of "Saddest Book of the Five Books." These include rebellions of the Jewish People against G-d and Moshe which were "mini," "midi," or "maxi." On the "mini" level, being somewhat ridiculous considering Who their Protector Was, were complaints about their desert diet, where they enjoyed the miraculous "mohn," or food from heaven, in comparison to what it had been in "Mitzrayim" (Egypt). On the "midi" level were complaints about lack of water, which can never be too pleasant in the desert.
On the "maxi" level, there occurred an event, triggered by
the slanderous report of the "Meraglim," or Spies, sent to report on "Eretz
Yisrael," or Land of Israel. Their report said the Land was physically beautiful, but
inhabited by nations of fierce giants, whom the Jewish People could never conquer. This
was an outright statement of disbelief in the Power of Hashem to deliver on His Promise of
the Land to the "Avot" and to their descendants. For
this betrayal, the Jewish People were punished by being condemned to wander in the desert
for forty years, until they would all die, and only their children would enter the Holy
Land. This is one of the disasters that the Jewish People brought upon themselves that
occurred on Tishah B'Av, and
contribute to making it the "Saddest Day on the Hebrew Calendar."
"Bar Kochba" - "Son of the Star;" Leader of Revolt against Rome in 135 CE, last attempt, with initial success for a few years, to regain independence from Rome, after Destruction of Second Temple in about 70 CE. He was believed by Rabbi Akiva to be the Mashiach, and he was given this name based on the prophecy of Bilaam recorded in the Torah, which speaks of a "star shooting forth from Yaakov." Tragically, he was tricked into believing that Rabbi Elazar was involved in Treason. At that point, Bar Kochba executed him, he lost the support of Rabbi Akiva and the rest of the Rabbis, and presumably, of G-d. His name reverted to Ben Kosiba, either his real name or, appropriately, the "Son of the Lie."
"Bar Mitzvah" - (m; pl. "Bnei Mitzvah"); literally, "son of the Mitzvah;" more correctly, the status of having reached the level of being obligated in all the responsibilities and entitled to all the privileges of an adult male, in Jewish Society. In Judaism, this status is attained when a young man reaches the age of thirteen years.
This milestone is considered a bitter-sweet time, a time when the parents have the "nachas," the "pleasure of seeing the fruits of their labor," their son growing into adulthood, but which is also a large step closer to his leaving their home.
The son is generally called up to make a "beracha" on the Torah at the first opportunity after he reaches this status, and may read the Parshah and/or the Haftarah. The father is also given an "Aliyah" after his son's, at which he recites the additional blessing, "Blessed is He Who has relieved me of the punishment of this boy."
A "Seudah," a festive meal, is often celebrated in honor of this event, at which the son may say some words of Torah.
"Basar BeChalav" - (m.); a mixture of meat and milk (or dairy) ingredients; as in "Asur le'echol Cheeseburger ki hu Basar BeChalav," "One is not allowed to eat a cheeseburger, because it is a mixture of meat and dairy ingredients."at Mitzvah" - (f; pl. "Bnot Mitzvah"); literally, "daughter of the Mitzvah;" more correctly, the status of having reached the level of being obligated in all the responsibilities and entitled to all the privileges of an adult female, in Jewish Society. In Judaism, this status is attained when a young woman reaches the age of twelve years.
This milestone is considered a bitter-sweet time, a time when the parents have the "nachas," the "pleasure of seeing the fruits of their labor," their daughter growing into adulthood, but which is also a large step closer to her leaving their home.
A "Seudah," a festive meal, is often celebrated in honor of this event, at which the daughter may say some words of Torah.
"Be", "Ba", "Be", "Bo", "Bei" as in "hay" - Different pronunciations of the preposition "in;" as in "Bereshit bara Elokim," "In the Beginning, G-d created" (Bereshit 1:1) and "Vaya-aminu BaHashem ," "And they believed in Hashem " (Shemot 14:31)
"Bechirah Chofshit" - "Freedom of Choice;" a fundamental belief of the Jewish Religion. "Bechirah" means "choice;" "Chofshit" means "free." The concept means that the human being is not forced to choose "good" or "evil," but is free to choose between them. This is, of course, the most fundamental choice of all, the one which the Bible associates with the choice between "life" and "death," for which the Bible recommends "Choose Life." Or, as the Talmud teaches "Everything is in the hands of Heaven except the "fear of Heaven."
- (m., pl. "batei din"); a court of Jewish Law; in general, three
judges sit on a "beit din," for capital cases, twenty three
are required, and for the most important cases, the "Sanhedrin"
is the "beit din."
- (m., pl. "Batei Mikdash"); holy Temple, spiritual center of
the Jewish People. Three "Batei Mikdash" have played or, we
believe, will soon play important roles in the Life of our People.
- the First Temple, built by Shelomo Hamelech, King Solomon, in Jerusalem,
executing the idea of his father, David HaMelech,
King David, in approximately the year 1000 B.C.E. and destroyed by
the Babylonians in approx. the year 586 B.C.E.
- the Second Temple, built by Ezra, Nechemiah and Zerubavel, in approx.
the year 516 B.C.E. with the permission of the Persian
King Daryavesh, son of Queen Esther, and destroyed by the Romans in
approx. the year 70 C.E.
"Bayit Shelishi" - the "Third Temple," to be built by the Mashiach, "soon and in our days," to serve as a spiritual center for the entire world, and never to be destroyed.
The Section of the "Shulchan Aruch" that he comments upon is "Even HaEzer," that deals primarily with Laws regarding Marriage and Divorce, etc.
Beitar - Jewish Fortress city in the Bar Kochba revolt; originally nearly "impregnable," but after betrayal of its secret tunnel network, it fell to Rome, resulting in the massacre of hundreds of thousands of Jews and the crushing of the Bar Kochba Revolt.
"Beracha" - (pl. berachot); a blessing given by one to another: G-d to Man, Man to Man, or Man to G-d. Two basic types within the latter category are "Birchot HaMitzvot," blessings said to G-d basically in gratitude for the privilege of being given a commandment of His to perform; for example, "Blessed are You, O L-rd our G-d, Who has sanctified us with His commandments, and has commanded us to hear the sound of the Shofar," and "Birchot HaNehenin," blessings given by Man to G-d before partaking of one of the wonderful things that Hashem has put into Creation, such as bread. The example would be "Blessed are You, O L-rd our G-d, Who brings forth bread from the earth."
"Bereshit" - (English: Genesis); the first of the Five Books of Moses. It deals with the Creation of the Universe by G-d in Six "Days," and his "rest' on Shabbat, the Seventh Day. Adam, Original Man, is created; Chava, Original Woman and Adam's wife, is created from him. They are blessed, and given dominion over the Garden of Eden. They are given one command (alright! Maybe two: not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge and not to eat from the Tree of Life), they violate it (by eating from the Tree of Knowledge), and are driven from the Garden.
The Story of Noach (English: Noah) and his Ark, is told.
Bible - Teachings of G-d to human beings; see "TANAKH"
HaMazon" - Set of
blessings that were formulated to be recited after a meal.
Some of ideas are praise of G-d, Who supports His entire creation
with what each creature needs for its existence, Who gave the Land of Israel
to the Jewish People; Request for Divine mercy upon Yerushalayim,
the Holy Temple, the
Dynasty of King David, etc.
"Bitachon" - (m., pl. "Bitchonot"); trust and confidence; feeling of security. The religious personality tries never to despair, "even when a sharp sword is upon his throat." For this type of personality, "Emunah," Belief, and "Bitachon," Confidence, are always closely related.
As it says at the end of the Tefilah "U'va L'Tziyon Goel," "And a Redeemer shall come to Zion," "Baruch haGever asher Yivtach BaHaShem, V'Haya HaShem Mivtacho," "Blessed is the man who trusts in HaShem, and HaShem is his source of security (Yirmiyahu 17:7) and "Bitechu BaHaShem Adei ad, ki B'Y-ah HaShem Tzur O'lamim," "Trust in HaShem forever, for in Almighty G-d is the "Rock of the Worlds" (Yeshayahu 26:4).
"Brit" - (pl. Britot) - covenant; as in a covenant with G-d. The Jewish People has made several covenants with G-d. One is "Brit Milah," or Circumcision, performed on a healthy male Jew at the age of eight days. Far from being a mutilation of the body, it is in fact a perfection of the body, and a completion of G-d's work, in accord with the verse "which G-d created, to complete." (Bereshit 2:3) Another "Brit" is the "Brit HaTorah," the Covenant of the Torah, which the Jewish People negotiated with G-d, saying "We will do it (i.e. perform its commandments), before we understand ," thus showing unqualified belief, trust and loyalty.
"Brit Milah" - (f.); the Covenant of Circumcision that HaShem established with Avraham, and his descendants. Part of the meaning of this Covenant is that HaShem left His Creation "incomplete," and it is the job of Man to "complete" the Creation; in particular, by acting to complete his own Creation by raising himself to a higher level of holiness.
"Brit Milah" is accomplished specifically through the organ of sexual desire, in which the "Yetzer HaRa," the "Evil Inclination," has particular dominance, to demonstrate that Man has been given the ability, through living according to the lifestyle of the Torah, to take mastery over and sublimate the "Yetzer HaRa." He can do this by combining it with his "Yetzer HaTov," his Good Inclination, to give power and energy to his Service of HaShem.
The Jewish woman is charged with sublimating her "Yetzer HaRa" by living a life of "T'zniut," Modesty, and fulfillment, in the context of family life with her husband and children. In this manner, she can augment the level and quality of her "Avodat HaShem," Service to HaShem, whatever profession, if any, outside the home, she may choose to enter.
C.E. - relating to a system of historical dating of events; specifically, In the Common Era; that is, after the birth of Jesus. The latter is known in Jewish tradition as "Yeshu HaNotzri," Jesus of Nazareth, the founder of Christianity. This term corresponds to A.D.. Compare to B.C.E., which is before the Common Era.
"CHABAD" - an acronym representing "CHochmah," Wisdom, "Binah," Insight, "Daat," Knowledge - the code for the philosophy of Lubavitch Chassidut.
"Chadash" - Hebrew for "New." This refers to an early agricultural-Halachic state of the five types of grain ("chitim" - wheat; "seorim" - barley, "kusmin" - spelt, "shibbolet shual - oats, "shifon" - rye) which is obtained when they have taken root before the sixteenth of Nisan. Thus, before the sixteenth, these grains are considered "chadash," in which they are prohibited; after the sixteenth, they enter the stage of "yashan," old, in which they are permitted. In the time of the Temple, it was the actual Omer Offering (see below) which effected the change in status; post-Temple, it is the Day itself.
- (f., pl. "challot"); has two meanings: one is the
"bread" used on Shabbat; the second is that part of dough that is
removed from the batch and burnt in the oven. It is burnt because there is a
technical obligation to give it to a "Kohen,"
a Priest; but without the Temple, this custom was suspended, and the dough has
had to be destroyed.
Shabbat is used in the following manner: two loaves are set out on the table,
and covered with a cloth; a napkin is sufficient, but attractive Shabbat
challah covers are available in Judaica stores. After Kiddush
is recited on a cup of wine, the people present wash their hands ritually,
reciting a blessing on that act; then return to the table, where the
head-of-the-household recites a blessing praising G-d Who "brings forth
bread from the ground." The "challah" is cut, and distributed
to all present, and the meal then continues.
The origin of the use of "challah" is the miraculous "Mohn," the "bread from heaven" which fell for the Jewish People while they were in the desert, on their way to the Land of Israel. To implant the idea of Shabbat, two portions fell on Friday, none of it spoiled when left overnight, and none fell on Shabbat, to mark it as a special time.
"Chametz" - (from the OU "Glossary" of Common Passover Terms); Fermented or leavened wheat, rye, oats, spelt and barley. When these grains come in contact with water, they leaven within 18 minutes. In the case of hot or salted water, leavening takes place instantly.
"Chametz" may not be consumed on "Pesach" either by eating or drinking, and may not be held in one's possession, nor may any benefit be derived from "chametz." Grain flour is commonly produced from grains that have been washed and tempered. Tempering is the process by which grains are softened by soaking in water, and this flour and all products made with it are, therefore, "chametz."Chashmonaim, over the Greeks and their Hellenist allies. It also involved the purification of the Temple, aided by the Miracle of the Oil, whereby an amount of oil sufficient for only one day miraculously lasted for eight days.
"Chapters of the Fathers" - see "Pirkei Avot"
"Chassidut" - Movement within Judaism founded by the "Baal Shem Tov" in 1736. It emphasized prayer, joy and "kabbalah," Jewish Mysticism. After the debacle of Shabtai Tzvi, the false Messiah who converted to Islam, the Jewish community needed a boost in spirit. This was provided by Chassidut. The movement was vigorously opposed by the "Mitnagdim," the Opponents (of Chassidut), under the leadership of the Vilna Gaon.
- (m., pl. "Chatanim"); a bridegroom; a man who is "Mekadesh"
his "Kallah;" that is, designates a
woman as his wife by giving her an object of value, generally a ring, and
reciting the words, "you are hereby dedicated to me by acceptance of this
ring, according to the Law of Moshe and Israel."
The Kallah accepts the
ring, thus accepting and agreeing to the dedication of herself, to the Chatan,
as his wife.
Seven blessings are
recited, each referring to a different aspect of marriage.
The "Chatan" and
the "Kallah" spend a few moments of privacy together to symbolically
seal their marriage.
It is a great Mitzvah
to bring joy to the "Chatan" and the "Kallah," who are
compared at this time and for the first week of their marriage to a king and a
queen, by singing and dancing joyously in their honor.
The sun in its glorious rising is compared to a "Chatan" emerging from his "Chupah," or Bridal Canopy, on one of the happiest days of his life.
"Chatunah" - (f., pl. "Chatunot"); a wedding; the ceremony at which the Chatan and Kallah are united as man and wife; thereby hopefully creating a "bayit neeman be-Yisrael," a faithful home in Israel.
"Chava" - Original Woman; Created so that she and Adam would find completeness and happiness together. Ideally, a woman is an "ezer k'negdo," "a helper and a best-friend-advisor" to her husband.
- (m., pl.
"Chaverim"); a male friend - equivalent to "Chaverah" and
"Chaverot" for female friend. The Sages say in "Pirkei
Avot," "Establish a Torah authority for your self and go so far as
to purchase a friend," so important is it to have friends.
Rabbi Yehoshua, one
of the great students of Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai,
said that to be and to have a good friend is the most important thing in life,
and to be and to have a bad friend is the path most to be avoided.
"CHAZAL" - an acronym, using "CH," "Z," and "L," where "CH" stands for "Chachameinu," Our Sages, and the "Z" and "L" correspond to the expression "Zichronam Livrocho," "of blessed memory;" this means basically the authoritative opinion of the Talmud.
"Chessed" - (pl. Chasadim) - an act of kindness. It was said by Shimon HaTzaddik (Simon the Righteous) that the world continues to exist because of three things: Torah Study, the worship of Hashem, and the performance of "gemilut chasadim," "acts of kindness."
Kadisha" - an Aramaic
expression, meaning “the Holy Group,” and referring to the group of
individuals, generally volunteers, who take upon themselves the task of
preparing members of the community who have passed away for burial,
according to the Jewish Traditions of respect and honor for the deceased.
"Chilul HaShem" - Desecration of G-d's Name, as by flouting, with full knowledge and in public, a Command of HaShem; betrayal and abandonment of Judaism not because of extreme torture, but simply to enhance one's status in society.
Another way of defaming G-d is by an individual who is recognized as a Jew behaving in a manner reflecting dishonesty, greed and general lack of concern for other human beings, contrary to the spirit of the Torah.
- (m., pl. “Chizukim”); encouragement, derived from the root “chet”
“zayin” “kuf,” meaning ;“ to be strong;” as in “The Torah
teacher gave his student ‘chizuk,’ ‘encouragement,’ in his study of
"Chulent" - a hot stew prepared for Shabbat by having the cooking mostly done before Shabbat and having the pot sit on a covered stove. Chulent became a traditional fixture in the menu of the Shabbat lunch for two reasons: 1) because it is delicious 2) to establish a clear argument, against the "Tzedukim," the Sadducees, who believed only in the Written Law, not in its explanation in the Oral Law. They took what the Written Law said absolutely literally. Thus, when the Written Law states "Do not burn a fire in all your habitations on the Day of Shabbat," the Tzedukkim interpreted this to mean that no form of fire could be maintained in one's house. The Perushim, believed that a fire could be maintained, as long as it was started before Shabbat.
- (m., pl.
"chumashim"); the "Five Books of Moses;" These Books were
"dictated," as it were, by HaShem, to
Moshe, during the forty years that the Jewish People, the Children of Israel,
were in the desert. The term is based on the Hebrew word for the number
The Books are:
"Chupah" - (pl. Chupot); bridal canopy. In the Jewish wedding, the "kallah," or bride, and the "chasan," or groom, stand together under the "chupah" in the presence of ten witnesses, when they become betrothed (dedicated) to each other in the "Kiddushin" ceremony. Afterwards, they go by themselves into a room for a short time with two witnesses at the door, to guard their privacy. At that point, they are considered husband and wife. After celebrating with relatives and friends, they may, in privacy, consummate their marriage.
Circumcision - see "Brit Milah"
Citron - see "Etrog"
"Cohen" - See "Kohen"
Command (or Commandment) - see "Mitzvah"