"Ra" - (m., pl. "Raim"); evil, bad; as in "Achav haya melech ra," "Achav was an evil king."
"Rabbeinu" - (m; pl. "Rabboteinu"); literally, our "Master," or "Teacher of Torah." The idea of "Mastery" in connection with the teaching of Torah is firmly in place, although Judaism abhors the concept of slavery of Man to Man. The sense in which the expression is used here is basically that a dedicated student, or congregant, is obligated in general to follow the decisions in Jewish Law of his or her Teacher or Rabbi, which is based on the same root, and has a similar meaning.
The most famous example of a "Rabbeinu" is, of course, "Moshe Rabbeinu," "Moses, our Teacher."
"Rabbeinu Tam" - see here.
Rabbi Akiva - one of the greatest of the Tannaim, Scholars of the Mishnah, the earliest written form of the Oral Torah. He was the Spiritual Leader of the Bar Kochba Revolt and it was he who initially proclaimed Bar Kochba the Mashiach. He was a Master of Transformation and Growth, as we see from the fact that he began to study Torah at the age of forty, and went on to become one of the greatest Torah Scholars. The death of 24,000 of his students constitute the traditional reason for the sadness of the Sefira, and the cessation of the plague on Lag BaOmer, the greatest cause for the happy nature of that Day. He could look at utter devastation and see future glory, as the Talmud tells us in Makot, where he and three of his colleagues gazed at the ruin of the Temple, and they wept. As they wept, he laughed! And he explained, "Just as I see the tragedies foretold by the Prophets fully realized before my eyes, so I see in my mind's eye the future realization of the Prophecies of Redemption foretold by the Prophets. He died a martyr's death, which he accepted with joy(!?), seeing it as the fulfillment of the command to love G-d with his whole life.
Rabbi Avraham "Abaleh" Gambiner - see "Magen Avraham"
Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai - a great student of Rabbi Akiva, who excelled in the study of the "Revealed" Torah, but whose forte was the "Hidden" Torah. Pursued by the Romans, he fled with his son, Rabbi Eliezer, to a cave in the Galil Section of Israel, where they remained for thirteen years, immersed in the study of Torah. When he emerged from the cave, Rabbi Shimon was estranged from the rest of his People. When he saw them farming, or engaged in other normal pursuits, he criticized, "How can you waste your time on matters of this world, when we are obligated to study the Torah, whose values are of the Next World?" At that point, a Heavenly Voice was heard, which told Rabbi Shimon to return to the cave, for he was no longer fit for human society. He did so, and upon exiting, became the great Master of Kabbalah, known for his Authorship of the Zohar. His Yahrtzeit (Death Anniversary) is "celebrated" on Lag BaOmer, as per his instructions to his disciples, with bonfires, song and mystical fellowship.
Rabbi Yosef Karo - known as the "Mechaber," the Compiler, (1488-1575), for his work on the Shulchan Aruch, which represented a compendium of Jewish Law, as seen from the Sephardic Side. Before he produced the Shulchan Aruch, he had actually written a work of which the Shulchan Aruch was merely a digest. This was the Beit Yosef, which was a commentary on a work known as the Four Turim, by Rabbi Yaakov ben HaRosh, in which Karo presented the Talmudic arguments related to each topic discussed, and explained the reason(s) for the Halachic decision.
Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon - otherwise known as RAMBAM, or Maimonides; twelfth century Torah scholar, who began his career in Spain. He, with his family, was pursued by the Almohades, a fundamentalist Moslem sect, who believed in spreading their religion by the sword. He spent the bulk of his career in Egypt, where in addition to producing some of the most important works of Halachic literature, also served as Personal Physician to the Sultan. Among his great achievements were the production of the "Yad HaChazakah," the "Strong Hand," also known as the "Mishne Torah," "Review of the Torah," as well as the "Perush HaMishnayot," "Explanation of the Mishnah," and the "Moreh HaNevuchim," "Guide for the Perplexed," a work of Philosophy. He was strongly criticized, mainly for the following reasons: He did not quote his sources in the Talmud with his Halachic decisions, which engendered the fear that this would discourage people from studying the Talmud, and he seemed to be too much involved with Greek Philosophy. He was also criticized by some who misinterpreted his works for not believing in the Resurrection of the Dead. However, the verdict of history on the RAMBAM seems to be summed up in the expression, "From Moshe (Rabbeinu, in the Bible) till Moshe (ben Maimon), there arose none like Moshe."
Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman - otherwise known as RAMBAN, or Nachmanides; thirteenth century Torah scholar, whose virtuosity extended over all the fields of Torah knowledge. Aside from his greatness in his own right, one of his main accomplishments was saving the People of Israel from a destructive schism over the issue of the RAMBAM, whose opponents had gone so far as to burn his writings. He defended the RAMBAM against his detractors, claiming that most of the criticisms were simply false. When King Louis XIV of France, "Saint" Louis, burnt all the copies of the Talmud in Paris in the Square of the Louvre, Rabbeinu Yonah of Gerondi, one of the RAMBAM's main detractors, felt that the events in Paris were a sign that he and the other opponents of the RAMBAM were seriously wrong. He then composed a work called "Shaarei Teshuvah," "The Gates of Teshuvah," in which he outlined the methods of doing Teshuvah, and he traveled from place to place preaching about the need to back away from matters which cause division among the Jewish People.
Rabbi Moshe Isserles - otherwise known as RAMA (1530 - 1572); in his short but incredibly productive life, Rabbi Moshe put an indelible stamp on the world of Torah scholarship. His MAPA, Tablecloth, representing the Ashkenazic Torah world, integrated with the Shulchan Aruch, and enabled it to represent the entire Jewish Torah spectrum.
Rabbi Shabbetai Kohen - See "Siftei Kohen"
Rabbi Shlomo ben Yitchak - see "RASHI"
Rabbi Shmuel ben Uri Shraga Faibesh - See "Beit Shmuel"
"Rachamim" - (m.); mercy, compassion; based on the word "rechem," womb, linking the emotion fundamentally to the mother; yet Jewish liturgy has us praying to Hashem to have mercy on His People "K'rachem av al banim," "As a father would have mercy upon his child. In doing so, we appeal to His "Midat HaRachamim," "Attribute of Mercy."
"Rachel" - One of the "Imahot," "Founding Mothers" of the Jewish People; younger sister of Leah, daughter of Lavan, beloved wife of Yaakov. In one of the very few instances where romance is described outside of Shir HaShirim. We find "And Yaakov kissed Rachel " (Bereshit 29:11) and "And Yaakov loved Rachel, and he said, 'I will work for you for seven years for Rachel, your younger daughter.' " (Bereshit 29:18) and "And Yaakov worked for Lavan for seven years, and they were as just a few days, so great was his love."
Rachel was barren for many years, but when Hashem finally opened her womb, she bore "Yoseph the Righteous," so called because of his resistance, with all his might, to the attempted seduction by the wife of Potiphar, "And he refused, And he said, 'And how could I do such a terrible wrong as this, and I would sin against the L-rd." (Bereshit 39: 8-9) Yoseph didn't learn these standards of morality by himself. He was trained to them by his father and mother.
"Rasha" - (m., pl. "Reshaim"); a wicked person; the opposite of the "Tzaddik," the righteous person. This individual rejects the Kingship of HaShem, rejects the Mitzvot, the Commandments, and rejects the Morality of the Torah, thinking he can define it on his own. Generally, the "Rasha" is concerned only about his own interests, rather than about the "zulat," the other. He or she remove themselves from the larger community, be it the Jewish community or the general community. With all that, there is hope for him or her. By the Process of "Teshuvah," Repentance, he or she can erase all their sins.
"RASHI" - see here
Rav Saadiah Gaon - see Saadiah Gaon
"Rebbe" - Two meanings: 1. Torah Teacher, in general and 2. Head of a Chassidic Movement; as in, The Lubavitcher Rebbe, A"H, lived at 770 Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn, and in Kfar Chabad in Israel, there was a building put up that looked exactly like 770 eastern Parkway.
Revival of the Dead - see "Techiyat HaMetim"
"Ribbono shel Olam" - (m.); reference to G-d as the Creator and Master of the universe. Compare HaShem.
"Rishon" - (m., pl. "Rishonim"); the "first" or an "early one." In Torah scholarship, the term has taken on the specific meaning of Torah scholars who lived from approximately the eleventh though the fifteenth-sixteenth centuries, who passed along the Talmudic Tradition their earliest members received from the "Geonim" to later generations, and added their own insights to the Talmudic analysis. Some of the great "Rishonim" were RASHI, Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki, of France, his grand-children and great grandchildren, the "Baalei Tosafot," the RAMBAM, Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon of twelfth century Spain and later, Egypt, and the RAMBAN, Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman, of thirteenth century Spain and later, Eretz Yisrael, to name but a few.
Righteous Person - see "Tzaddik"
"Rivkah" - One of the "Founding Mothers" of the Jewish People; the wife of Yitzchak, who passed the difficult test set up by Eliezer, the servant of Avraham, who had been sent to the family of Avraham to find a wife for Yitzchak. Eliezer had said "the girl who will be willing to give me water and likewise will be willing to water all of my camels, she is the one who will have demonstrated her worthiness for marriage with the son of my holy master ." (Bereshit 24:14) She demonstrated her strength of character when she chose to leave her home environment and commit herself to Yitzchak, and again when she opposed Yitzchak when he favored Esav, and Rivkah saw clearly that Yaakov was the one who was worthy of being the true heir of Yitzchak and Avraham and to carry forward the mission of the Jewish People.
"Rofe" - (m.;pl.
"Rofeim"); physician, doctor, "healer;" - ideally, an individual human
being who undertakes to use the medical knowledge available to him or her to heal their
fellow human beings, knowing full well that the ultimate power to heal is in the
"Hands" of Hashem alone.
"Rosh Chodesh" - (pl. Roshei Chodoshim); beginning of a
month, marked by the "molad," or the "New Moon. Rosh Chodesh is intimately
tied to the life of the Jew. Just as the visible portion of the moon grows to its full
roundness and then declines to invisibility, so is it for the People of Israel. At times,
such as at the time of Kings David and Solomon, Jewish fortunes were extremely bright; at
other times, such as during the times of Roman persecution, or the Nazi Holocaust, Jewish
fortunes were at a very low ebb.
"Rosh Chodesh" is considered a minor holiday, sometimes marked, as in the time of King Shaul with a festive meal, and a time for atonement. As we say in a Prayer dedicated to Rosh Chodesh, "You have given to Your People the celebration of New Months, a time for Atonement for all their generations."
The beginning of a particular month of the twelve (or, less frequently, thirteen), is either one or two days, depending on whether the previous month was "malei," full; i.e. 30 days, or "chaser," lacking; i.e. only 29 days. In the case where the preceding month had thirty days, the "Rosh Chodesh" of the current month consists of two days: the 30th day of the previous month AND the first day of the current month. In the case where the preceding month had only twenty nine days, the "Rosh Chodesh" of the current month consists of just one day; namely, ONLY the first day of the current month.
"Rosh HaShanah" - Start of the Year; The "Day of Judgment" for all individuals and for all nations. One of the Mitzvot, or Commandments associated with this holiday is the blowing of the Shofar, the Ram's Horn, which portrays our sighing and wailing before the Master of the Universe on this Awesome Day. Yet, we eat sweet foods and other symbolic foods to show our optimism for a good outcome of our heavenly trial. In the Rosh HaShanah Prayers, we recite three special prayers, in which we accept the Kingliness of Hashem, attest to his complete knowledge of our deeds, and even our thoughts, and recall the great goodness which He did for us when He gave us the Torah.
"Ruach" - (m. and f., pl. "Ruchot"); wind, air, breath, soul, mind, spirit, direction; as in "Mashiv HaRuach U-Morid HaGeshem," "Who makes the wind blow and the rain fall" (From the daily Shemoneh Esray Prayer); "VeHaRuach tashuv el HaElokim ," "And the soul will return to G-d " (Kohelet 12:7)