יהוה = YHWH

YHWH / Yahweh = The Name of God
Elohim = God
Yeshua / Y'shua = Jesus
haMasiach - Messiah = Christ
Ruach = Spirit
Ruach haKodesh = Holy Spirit
TaNaCh = Old Testament
Brit Hadasshah = New Testament
Renewed Covenant = New Testament
Shalom = Peace
Yisra'el = Israel

Messianic Glossary



Abba Means 'father'

Acharit HaYamim Means 'end of days'

Adonai Means 'lord'

Afikomen Means 'dessert' -- it contains a broken piece of matzah and is hidden during the Passover seder only to be brought out at the end of the meal (hence 'dessert').

Alephbet The Hebrew alphabet -- 'aleph' is first letter of alphabet, 'bet' is second.

Aliyah To immigrate to the land of Israel, also being called to read from Torah at shul or to recite the blessing.

Amain Same as Amen (Some prefer Omein)

Amidah 'Standing' prayer that originally consisted of 18 benedictions, but interestingly, a 19th malediction (a curse) was added to the Amidah, intended (supposedly) as a jab against Jews who believed in Yeshua as messiah, since it cursed 'heretics' to traditional Judaism.

Aninut Mourning period immediately following burial.

Anomianism Means 'lawlessness' that is, 'without Torah' or 'having no Torah.'

Antisemitism Literally means 'against the Semites' which includes all Semitic peoples, but today used mostly to describe hatred and crimes against the Jewish people.

Ashkenazi Eastern and central European Jews also, Jews from France; Ashkenazi have customs that differ from Sephardic Jews.


Bar Kochba Simeon ben Kozeba, who led a Jewish revolt against Rome in 132 CE, the name means 'son of a star.' Messianic Jews did not participate in this revolt since traditional Jews considered Bar Kochbar a Messianic figure. This refusal of Messianic Jews to participate in this revolt caused a further breakdown of relations between Jewish believers and traditional Jews.

Bar Mitzvah Non-Scriptural rite of passage, literally means "Son of the Commandment" and is achieved at age 13 when a boy reaches an age of responsibility towards G-d's Torah. Originated in the Talmudic age and became a popularized ritual in the 16th and 17th centuries.

Bat Mitzvah Non-Scriptural rite of passage, literally means "Daughter of the Commandment" and is achieved at age 12 when a girl reaches an age of responsibility towards G-d's Torah. First known Bat Mizvah occured in 1921 for Judith Kaplan, the daughter of Reconstuctionist movement founder, Mordecai Kaplan.

Baruch Means 'blessed' (Blessings begin 'Baruch atah adonai....').

Baruchot/Berachot Means blessings (formal)

Beit Din This is a court established to resolve issues within G-d's community -- the first known Messianic Beit Din was in Jerusalem, headed by the Apostle James.

Beit Midrash Literally means "House of Study"

Binyan Av Rabbinic argument style where a foundational passage serves to interpret other passages.

Blintz A crepe-like treat filled with cheese or fruits.

B'nei Noach Gentiles who reject Yeshua, but choose to obey the 7 laws of Noah as interpreted by traditional rabbis rather than committing to full conversion to Judaism and receiving whole Torah.

Brit Chadasha Means 'New Covenant' aka New Testament.

Brit Milah (Bris) The 'Covenant of Circumcision' as given to Abraham, performed on the 8th day by all of Abraham's descendants. Brit Milah is also practiced as part of the conversion ritual to Judaism, a practice which dates back to the Pharisees.


Calendar The Biblical calendar is lunar-based and its months were generally referred to numerically (1st month, 2nd month etc.). The modern Jewish calendar was influenced by the Babylonian calendar and some month names are Babylonian in origin. The only months mentioned by their Hebrew names in Scripture are: Aviv, Ziv, Sivan, Elul, Ethanim, Bul, Chisleu, Tevet, Shevat, and Adar. Other month names, like Nisan (which replaces biblical Aviv), Tammuz, Av, Iyyar (which replaces biblical Ziv), Heshvan (which replaces biblical Bul) and Tishri (which replaces biblical Ethanim) are borrowed from the Babylonian calendar.

CE 'Common Era' - used in place of 'AD' by traditional Jews because 'AD' means 'the Year of Our L-rd' and reckons time by the birth of Yeshua.

Chachkas Yiddish for bric-a-brac

Chag Sameach A greeting used to mean 'Happy Holiday' during the festivals. Can be personalized for the specific moedim: Chag Pesakh, Chag Sukkot, etc.

Chai Means 'life' -- a popular greeting is 'L'chayim' meaning 'to life.' In Jewish mysticism, the numeric value of words are often added up to find hidden meanings in words. The letters comprising "Chai' equal a total of 18, hence the practice of giving money and donations in increments of 18 dollars.

Challah A braided sweet egg bread served traditionally in a loaf shape for the weekly shabbat and served in a round shape for Rosh Hoshana.

Chametz Means 'leaven' which is forbidden during Pesakh (Passover) and Chag HaMatzah (Unleavened Bread).

Chanukah Means "Dedication" [festival of] and traditionally commemorates both the battle triumph of the Maccabees in recapturing Jerusalem and the temple miracle of the olive oil burning for 8 straight days which the rabbis teach.

Chanukiah The 9-branched menorah used at Chanukah, as opposed to the biblical 7-branched menorah.

Charoset Traditionally, this is mixture of apples, raisons, nuts and wine served at Pesakh (Passover) to represent mortar on the seder plate.

Chasidic A sect of Orthodox Judaism.

Chaver, Chaverim Chaver means 'friend' -- Chaverim is plural, 'friends.'

Chol v'chomer Popular rabbinic argument style found in many Jewish writings, including Brit Chadasha (New Testament) meaning from lesser to greater (or greater to lesser) "If this .... then how much more so..."

Cholent A traditional stew that is kept warm to avoid cooking on Shabbat.

Chukkim Torah commands whose reasons aren't fully explained in Torah -- we obey them without understanding their purpose simply because G-d commanded us to.

Chumash Means 'five' and is a book which includes Torah and all the Torah Parshot and Haftorah readings.

Chuppah The canopy which the bride and groom stand under

Circumcision Foreskin removal -- the commandment was given by G-d to Abraham; to this day obeyed by the children of Isaac and Ishmael.

Cohen Means 'Priest' -- a descendant of Aaron the Levite and responsible for temple service.

Commandments The Torah instructions, the rabbis counted 613 commandments in all -- these include the decalogue (aka 'ten commandments).

Conservative Sect of Judaism founded in 1886 by Rabbis Sabato Morais, Marcus Jastrow, and Henry Pereira Mendes, who created the Jewish Theological Seminary.

Conversion The ritual of a Gentile becoming a proselye to Rabbinic Judaism, Gentile Conversion is not necessary in Messianic Judaism.

Counting of the Omer Counting the days between Pesakh (Passover) and Shavuot (Pentecost).


Davar Halameid Mi'Inyano Rabbinic argument style where one verse is understood by the context of total passage

Daven To pray.

Days of Awe Traditionally, the ten days following Rosh Hoshana and preceding Yom Kippur; aka "Ten Days of Awe." This is a time to examine one's life, make peace, seek forgiveness and make amends for all the wrongs committed in the previous year.

Diaspora The dispersion of the Jewish people to lands outside of Israel.

Dispensationalism Relatively new church doctrine which divides G-d's Plan up into two separate dispensations; it pits Torah against Grace; an age of Israel against a church age. Basically, Dispensationalism creates a confused G-d and confused followers. It leads to anomianism (lawlessness) and pre-tribulational eschatology scenarios to accommodate G-d's supposed 'two sets of people.' Dispensationalists read the bible in terms of 'this applies to me, this doesn't apply to me' instead of acknowledging G-d has One Way for *all* His children.

Dreidel A Chanukah game using a spinning top containing the Hebrew alephbet letters: Nun, Gimmel, Hey, and Shin. These letters stand for nes godal hayah sham ("a great miracle happened there"); but in Israel, the 'Shin' is changed to 'Peh' so it will stand for "a great miracle happened here."


Ein Sof Means 'unending' -- in Jewish mysticism represents the essense of the infinite G-d.

Elohim Means 'G-d,' 'gods,' and 'judges.'

Essenes A sect of Judaism begun a couple hundred years before Yeshua --- the Dead Sea Scrolls found at Qumran were Essene manuscripts.

Ethics Of The Sages/Fathers Rabbinic writing known as "Pirke Avot" traditionally studied between Pesakh (Passover) and Shavuot (Pentecost).

Etrog Citrus fruit used during festival of Sukkot.

Eyshet Chayil/Eshet Chayil Means 'woman of valor' as taught in Proverbs 31:10-31


Fleishig (or basar) Means 'meat' in Yiddish. According to rabbinic Judaism, dairy products cannot be used with meat products, so kitchen utensils are kept separate to designate if they are for dairy (milchig) or meat (fleishig).


Gefilte Fish Stuffed Fish dish

Gemara Commentaries on the Mishneh -- the Mishneh and Commentaries together form the Talmud, the rabbinic writings.

Gematria Kabbalist numerology which seeks out hidden meanings in words based on the numeric value of its letters.

Gentiles Goyim (pl) Goy (sing) for nations.

Get A divorce decree given to the wife, aka sefer kritut.

Gezeirah Shavah Rabbinic style argument by analogy -- comparing similar words in different Scriptural passages.

Glatt Kosher Means 'smooth' -- referring to the smooth lungs of a non-diseased kosher animal slaughtered. It doesn't mean 'extra kosher' or 'premium kosher' as some misuse the term.

Goy/Goyim Means 'nations,' sometimes translated "gentiles.' Common usage today is as a 'non-Jew,' however, Israel itself is a goy/nation: "And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation (Strong's 01471 - 'goy)'. Exodus 19:6a

Grogger Noisemaker used during Purim whenever Haman's name is mentioned.

Gut Shabbes/Gut Shabbos Greeting of "Shabbat Shalom" (Peaceful Sabbath) in Yiddish as "Good Sabbath."


Haftarah Weekly reading from the Prophets, read in addition to Torah Parsha.

Haggadah Means 'the telling' of the Exodus, it codifies the order of the Pesakh meal (seder).

Halachah Means 'the way to walk' and are rabbinic interpretations of how Torah is to be obeyed.

Hallel Songs of praise found in Psalms 113-118 and read on Pesakh (Passover).

Haman Evil high ranking official in King Ahasuerus' court who tried to get the king to exterminate all the Jews in the land. Through G-d's provision, the Jews were able to survive this attempt.

Hamentaschen A triangular dessert cookie served at Purim.

Hamesh/Hamsa Hand Hamesh/Hamsa means 'five.' In Jewish mysticism, this was an amulet to protect its wearer from the evil eye.

Hanukah/Hanukkah Means "Dedication" [festival of] and traditionally commemorates both the battle triumph of the Maccabees in recapturing Jerusalem and the temple, as well the miracle of the olive oil burning for 8 straight days in the temple following this victory.

HaShem Due to the rabbinic prohibition against using YHVH's Name, HaShem is used instead, meaning 'The Name.'

Havdalah Means 'separation.' An traditional observance marking the end of the weekly Shabbat/Sabbath with wine and spices.


Jesus Jesus was derived from the Greek word Ieosus which was derived from the Hebrew word Yeshua.

Jew Means 'Praiser' -- comes from 'Judah. Today means those from tribes of Judah, Levi, Benjamin and others who returned to Israel following Babylonian captivity.

Jewish Law Includes written Torah as well as rabbinical writings.


Kabbalah Jewish Mysticism

Kashrut Means 'proper' and refers to Kosher dietary laws.

Kavanah Means 'intention'

Kelal Ufrat A rabbinic argument style where a general summary statement is followed by an explanatory, more specific statement.

Ketubah A traditional Jewish marriage contract

Kethuvim/Ketuvim The Writings, the section of the TaNaKh containing: Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, and The Chronicles.

Ke Yotzei Bo Mimakom Acher "Like it says elsewhere" Rabbinic argument style where the explanation of a word in one text is clarified by use of same word in an unrelated text.

Kiddush Prayer of santification

Kippah Aka Yarmulke -- this is the skullcap worn by Jews, the cap is a fairly recent non-Scriptural tradition.

Kittel White garments for burial, sometimes worn also for Yom Kippur services.

Kli Gever Refers to the prohibition against the dress and habits of the other sex

Knaidelach Matzo balls

Knish Stuffed potato and flour dumpling.

Kohen/Kohanim Means 'Priest' -- a descendant of Aaron the Levite and responsible for temple service.

Kol Nidre The prayer that begins the Yom Kippur service.

Kosher Foods that Torah permits man to eat are kosher. Used loosely to mean anything permissible for G-d's people.

Kugel Seasoned pudding made from noodles or potatoes.


Lag b'Omer Means the 33rd day of the Omer since in jewish mysticism the sum letter totals of "lamud" and "gimmel" in 'Lag' equal 33. Tradition teaches that during the destruction of the second temple, many of Rabbi Akiva's students were dying of an epidemic, but on this day, the epidemic creased and students lived. In commemoration, this day is a day of rejoicing.

Latkes Fried potato pancakes eaten during Chanukah with applesauce or sour cream on top.

Lashon Hara Means 'evil tongue' and is a prohibition against harmful speech against others

L'Chayim From 'Chai' meaning 'life' -- this popular greeting means 'to life.' In Jewish mysticism, the numeric value of words are often added up to find hidden meanings in words. The letters comprising "Chai' equal a total of 18, hence the practice of giving money and donations in increments of 18 dollars.

Leap Year Due to differences in year length between the modern solar calendar year and the Biblical lunar calendar year, a leap year is added to realign the calendars.

L'hitraot Means 'see you' used instead of goodbye or shalom in a more casual 'see you soon' sort of way.

Lox Smoked salmon

L'Shanah Tovah Means 'for a good year' and is a popular greeting at Rosh Hashana.

Lulav This is the palm branch waved during Sukkot (Festival of Tabernacles/Booths)


Machzor A prayerbook used during the high Holy Days.

Magen David/Mogen David Six-pointed star of David used as symbol of Jewishness today. Somewhat dubious history with pagan origins; first Jewish use was in 13th century Prague and later adopted by Zionist mov't in the 19th century. While Nazis forced Jewish people to wear the star, today the star's popularity is such that it's become the symbol of Jewishness worldwide.

Maimonides The famous Jewish scholar/author Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon (1135-1204) better known as 'Rambam.'

Mashiach/Moshiach Means 'annointed' and translated as Messiah or Christ.

Matzah Unleavened bread eaten during Pesakh (Passover) which Yeshua used to designate His body at the last Pesakh seder (Last Supper) prior to His crucifixion.

Matzah Ball Soup This is a soup that uses matzah balls (matzah meal, egg, oil, seasonings) in a chicken broth; can be made with or without added vegetables.

Matzah Meal Crumbs from crushed matzah bread; used as a flour or for breading.

Mazel Tov Means 'good star' or 'good constellation' and comes from Jewish mysticism; commonly used today as 'congratulations.'

Mechitzah This is a curtain or partition between men's and women's sections at the synagogue or other religions functions.

Megillah Means 'scroll' -- can refer to any of five books of Scripture: Ruth, Song of Songs, Esther, Lamentations or Ecclesiastes but most commonly used during Purim, referring to the Megillah of Esther.

Menorah The seven-branched candlestick G-d commanded the Israelites to make.

Messiah Means 'annointed' and comes from the Hebrew word 'mashiach.' Yeshua was the Messiah foretold in the TaNaKh.

Messianic Age A thousand year period where Yeshua will rule the earth as its king. Israel will reside again in the land, the temple will be rebuilt, the resurrection will occur, there will be peace on earth.

Mezuzah Means 'doorpost' -- this is a rabbinic tradition where a miniature scroll is affixed to a doorway. The mezuzah contains two verses inside it, Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and 11:13-21. G-d instructs us in these two passages to "Lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes. And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thine house, and upon thy gates." "These words" refer to His Torah. Yet ironically, the mezuzah doesn't put the actual Torah on doorposts, instead it mocks the command by merely parroting the command that we should put Torah on our doorposts. Oy. Further, if we take this command literally, we also need to surgically put a mezuzah in our heart and soul, and add one to fenceposts as well. Clearly the verse is meant to say "Keep My Torah inside of you and around you always and teach It to your children so they will do the same."

Midrash Means 'study'

Mikveh Means 'gathering' and was a ritual bath used achieve ritual cleanliness by priests. Later rabbinic writings associated this ritual bath with female cleanliness following her menstrual cycles; mikveh is also used for female conversions in modern Judaism. At the time of Yeshua, mikveh was used to identify one's religious affiliations and to renew one's faith -- baptism itself is a type of mikveh.

Milchig Means 'dairy' in Yiddish. According to rabbinic Judaism dairy products cannot be used with meat products, kitchen utensils are kept separate to designate if they are for dairy (milchig) or meat (fleishig). The actual command in Scripture in Exodus 34:26b reads: "Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother’s milk." It is from this passage the rabbis interpreted that no meat should be consumed with dairy.

Minyan Means 'number' and refers to the necessary quorum for religious services (which is ten adult men).

Mishneh Rabbinic writings codified about 200 CE.

Mitzvah/Mitzvot Means 'commandment' -- used to mean any commandment or good deed one might perform.

Moedim Holy Days -- G-d's appointed times.

Mohel The one who performs the circumcision on an eight day old male baby.

Mysticism Mysticism became markedly important in rabbinic Judaism following the Babylonian captivity. Astrology, numerology, and general interest in the occult flourished. Today most evidenced by Kabbalistic studies.


Ner Tamid Means 'eternal light' -- symbolizes the menorah that burned constantly in the temple.

Nevi'im The Prophets, the section of the TaNaKh containing: Joshua, Judges, Books of Samuel, Books of Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi.

Niddah The laws governing separation of man and wife during her menstrual cycle.

Noahic Commandments (Noachide Laws) Seven commandments the rabbis interpret as governing all mankind, Jew and non-Jew alike.


Olam Haba Means 'the world to come' and refers to the Messianic age when Yeshua will rule and peace will abound.

Old Testament Using Septuagint book ordering, this is the Christian "TaNaKh."

Omer Means 'sheaf' and used a unit of measure in Scripture.

Onah Sex for recreational pleasure instead of pru u'rvu (procreation)

Oneg Shabbat Means 'Sabbath Delight' -- this is a celebration occuring after services at many synagogues on Shabbat.

Oral Torah/Oral Law These are traditional writings written by rabbis and scribes. Considered by traditional/rabbinic Judaism to be as inspired as Scripture itself, called the Talmud, which consists of Mishneh and its commentaries (Gemara). Messianic Judaism does not consider the oral tradition equal to the Bible.

Orthodox Strictest sect of Judaism, devotes tremendous amount of study not only to Torah and Talmud, but to Jewish mysticism (Kabbalah) also.


PRDS PaRDes Four rabbinic levels of Torah understanding: Pashat-simple; Remez-hint; Drash-search; Sod-hidden

Parah Adumah Red heifer mentioned in Numbers 19 -- the ashes of this heifer were for purifying purposes.

Pareve (parve) Means 'neutral' and refers to foods that contain neither meat or dairy products.

Parsha The weekly Torah readings read at shul and studied at home.

Patriarchs Refers to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob -- forefathers of the Jewish people.

Pentecost Greek for 'fifty' and is the festival of Shavuot -- this was when the Ruach (Holy Spirit) fell on the apostles in Jerusalem.

Peyot The side locks (hair) worn by Orthodox men, a relatively new practice begun a couple hundred years ago by the Chasidic Jews.

Pharisees/P'rushim Ancestor to modern day rabbinic Judaism -- this sect of Judaism was flourishing at the time of Yeshua -- they put great importance on the oral tradition. After the destruction of the temple, most other sects of Judaism died out, leaving Pharisaic Judaism to dominate.

Phylacteries These are leather boxes containing scrolls with Scripture passages, the rabbis interpreted G-d's command to wear His Word on hands and forehead -- for more info, see Mezuzah.

Pirkei Avot Also known as "Ethics of the Sages/Fathers," this is a rabbinic tractate traditionally studied between (Passover) and Shavuot (Pentecost).

Pneuma Means 'the wind' 'to breathe' or 'blow' -- Greek for 'Spirit'

Pru u'rvu Sex for procreation purposes as opposed to onah (recreational, sexual pleasure)

Purim Means 'lots' and is the celebration of Jewish victory after the failed attempt to exterminate Jews from Persia -- story found in scroll of Esther.


Rabbi / Rav (also rebbe) Means 'master' -- used in messianic circles by those who ignore Matthew 23:8 by seeking superiority and authority over others. (Judaism tends to require a degree or some sort of certification -- a knowledgeable layman generally won't earn such a title anymore).

Rambam Famous Jewish scholar/author Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon (1135-1204) also known as 'Maimonides.' You may already be familiar with his: Thirteen Articles of the Jewish Faith and Eight Levels of Charity

Rashi Famous bible commentator, Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki (1040-1105 CE).

Rebbetzin Means the wife of a rabbi

Reconstructionism Founded by Mordecai M. Kaplan (1881-1983), it Defines itself as an evolving and more dynamic Judaism.

Red Heifer (Parah Adumah) Red heifer mentioned in Numbers 19 -- the ashes of this heifer were for purifying purposes.

Reform Founded by Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise, this is a more progressive sect in Judaism, more liberal in its treatment of women and more liberal in its conversion requirements.

Reincarnation Reincarnation is taught in the Talmud as Din Gilgol Neshomes, meaning '"the judgment of the revolutions of the souls." This is another reason why Talmud is not considered on par with Scripture by Messianics.

Replacement Theology False church doctrine which teaches the church replaces Israel in G-d's Plan. Basically all the blessings promised to Israel are usurped by the church (though the replacement theologists generally allow Israel to keep all the curses she was promised -- Oy!).

Rosh Chodesh Means 'head of the month' -- the new month begins when the first sliver of the new moon is seen.

Rosh Hashana Traditional Judaism refers to Rosh Hashana as the 'new year' but this is actually inaccurate from a Scriptural point of view. In Scripture, Rosh Hashana (or "Feast of Trumpets/Shofar) occurs in the seventh month, not the first month. It is not the new year at all according to biblical year reckoning.

Ruach Means 'Spirit' from Hebrew for 'wind, breath, air, strength, breeze.'

Ruach HaKodesh Means 'Holy Spirit'


Sabbath From 'Shabbat' -- G-d blessed and sanctified the seventh day of the week as a day of rest.

Sacrifice Modern Judaism doesn't offer sacrifices since the temple has been destroyed; but Messianics view Yeshua as sin sacrifice.

Sadducees This sect of Judaism died out with the loss of the temple in 70CE, since their whole belief revolved around temple work, and not oral tradition.

Sages Refers to the great Jewish scholars whose work is preserved still this day in oral tradition.

Sandek The person who holds the baby during his circumcision -- often the child's grandfather.

Seder Means 'order' and is usually used to refer to the Pesakh dinner using the Haggadah as a guide.

Sefer Means 'book' -- can be used generically for any religious books, or used more specifically as in "Sefer Torah" (books of Torah) or "Sefer Yetzirah" (book of creation).

Sefer Kritut Means 'cutting off the book/writing' -- a divorce decree given to the wife, aka a 'get.'

Sefirot In Jewish mysticism (according to Kabbalah) there are ten Sefirot or Divine Emanations of G-d.

Selichot These are special prayers for forgiveness recited on fast days.

Sephardic Jews Jews from Spain, Portugal, Africa and middle eastern countries.

Septuagint LXX Means 'seventy' for the seventy scribes who translated the Torah into Greek around 3nd century BCE; the Writings and Prophets were translated later, 2nd century BCE.

Shabbat Means 'sabbath' G-d blessed and sanctified the seventh day of the week as a day of rest

Shabbat Shalom Means 'peaceful sabbath' -- a common greeting when Shabbat is approaching.

Shalom Means 'peace' but also used as a greeting to say hello or goodbye.

Shalom Aliechem Means 'peace to you' or 'peace unto you' -- a greeting.

Shalom Bayit/Shalom Bayis Means having/maintaining peace within the home.

Shammus Means 'servant' and is the candle used to light other candles in menorah; also, a synagogue custodian.

Shavua Tov Means 'good week' and is a popular greeting when shabbat ends.

Shavuot Means 'weeks' -- known in Greek as Pentecost.

Shehitah Means 'slaughter' and refers to kosher slaughtering of animals.

Sheitels Yiddish for 'wigs'

Shekinah/Shechinah (-h also) Means 'divine presence of G-d' -- a term frequently bandied about by Messianics who do not realize the word appears no where in Scripture but is used repeatedly in the Kabbalah and rooted in Jewish mysticism.

Shema Means 'hear' and is the quintessential Jewish text from Deuteronomy 6:4: "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD" showing the uniqueness of the G-d of Israel. Israel didn't require many gods (like harvest gods, fertility gods, fire gods) The G-d of Israel is unique and infinite -- He alone is sovereign.

Shemoneh Esrei "Standing" prayer that originally consisted of 18 benedictions, but interestingly, a 19th malediction (a curse) was added to the Shemoneh Esrei intended (supposedly) as a jab against Jews who believed in Yeshua as messiah, since it cursed 'heretics' to traditional Judaism

Sh'enei Ketuvim Rabbinic argument style where two laws that seem to contradict are settled by another verse which resolves the conflict.

Shiva Means 'seven' and refers to the one week period of mourning following the death of a family member.

Shloshim Means 'thirty' and refers to the one month period of mourning following the death of a family member.

Shochet Person who butchers kosher animals.

Shofar Ram's horn, also translated 'trumpet' in some bibles.

Shul Synagogue in Yiddish.

Siddur Prayer book

Simchat Torah Means rejoicing in Torah and celebrates the ending and beginning of the Torah parshot annual reading cycle.

Sukkah Means 'booth' and translated 'tabernacles' in some bibles. Shaul the tentmaker may have been a sukkah maker.

Sukkot Means 'booths' -- this is the festival of tabernacles which commemorates G-d's protection on Israel when she lived in tents under His protection.

Synagogue From the Greek synagogia, this is a meeting place for assembly.


Tabernacles From 'sukkot' means 'booths' -- this is the festival of tabernacles which commemorates G-d's protection on Israel when she lived in tents under His protection.

Taharat HaMishpachah Family purity laws which govern the separation of a man and his wife during her menstrual cycle.

Tallit Prayer shawl with tzitzit (fringed edges), based on the command in Numbers 15:38 and Deuteronomy 22:12 that men wear Tzitzit on their garments. The prayer shawl is a rabbinic compromise to this law since a tallit isn't quite a garment, but it does contain tzitzit.

Tallit Katan Closer to a garment than the regular prayer shawl, this is worn under clothing and contains the commanded tzitzit.

Talmidim students -- especially disciples.

Talmud The collection of oral tradition: the Mishneh and Gemara/commentaries.

TaNaKh/Tenach/TNK Jewish Scriptures, divided into three sections: Torah, Nevi'im, and Ketubim -- hence acronym: TNK- TaNaKh. Referred to by Christians as "Old Testament" though the book ordering differs from the Christian Bible.

Tashlisch Means 'casting away' and refers to a tradition on Rosh Hashana of casting bread into a body of moving water to symbolize sins being removed.

Techelet/T'chelet/Tekhelet The blue cord on each corner of the tzitzit, "Bid them that they make them throughout their generations fringes in the corners of their garments, and that they put with the fringe of each corner a thread of blue." Numbers 15:38 Traditional Judaism doesn't add the blue cord to their tzitzit, arguing they aren't sure about identifying the chilazon, a snail of Tyre from which the Phoenicians traditionally extracted the blue dye. Second century sages felt this was too expensive a dye to use, so they waived the biblical requirement, lest people use a cheaper dye instead and break the oral law. Written Torah never commanded the blue dye come from this particular snail, in fact, any blue dye would fulfill this command.

Tefillah Means 'prayer'

Tefillin Means 'remembrance' - these are leather boxes containing scrolls with Scripture passages, the rabbis interpreted literally G-d's command to wear His Word on hands and forehead -- for more info, see Mezuzah.

Teshuvah Means 'return' as in 'return to G-d; teshuvah is the way to repent: to stop and turn in the direction of G-d.

Tikkun Olam Refers to 'repairing the world' through mitzvah -- a noble concept but ignores the fact we need Messiah to return to set things right -- repairing the world isn't man's 'do it yourself' project.

Tisha B'Av Means the 'ninth of Av' -- a fast day remembering the temple destructions.

Torah Means 'instruction' and refers to the books of Moshe -- the 'law' comprised of the books: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. 'Torah' is also used loosely in traditional Judaism to mean all Jewish law, Scriptural and oral.

Tractate A section or book from Mishneh and Talmud.

Treyf/Treif Means 'torn' and refers to non-kosher meat, meats not sanctioned by G-d.

Tu B'Shevat New year for trees, an Israeli-style Arbor day celebrated by planting trees on the 15th of Shevat.

Tzaddik Means a 'righteous person.'

Tzedakah From same root as Tzaddik, meaning righteous, but refers to charity. Many Jewish homes have a small box for collecting money that will later be donated to a charitable cause.

Tzitzit Fringes G-d commanded be attached to the corners of garments.


Ushpitzin A rabbinic concept of inviting ancesters to one's sukkah (like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron and David).


Western Wall The remaining portion of the old temple on the temple mount, also called the 'wailing wall.'

World to Come Olam Haba -- the coming messianic kingdom when there will be peace on earth.


Yad A hand-shaped pointer used when reading from Torah.

Yahrzeit Means 'anniversary' -- marking the anniversary of a deceased family member.

Yahveh or Yahweh [possibly pagan origin] These are some of the possible pronunciations suggested for the Name [yod heh vav heh] by various Sacred Name groups.

Yarmulke Aka kippah -- this is the skullcap worn by Jews, the cap is a fairly recent non-Scriptural tradition.

Yehud/Yehudi Jew and Jews

Yerushalayim/Yerushalom Jerusalem

Yeshiva Talmudic and Torah academy

Yeshiva Bocher Unmarried male student student at Yeshiva

Yeshua Means 'Salvation' and is the name of 'Jesus' in Hebrew. "And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Yeshua: for he shall save his people from their sins." Matthew 1:21

Yetzer Ra In traditional Judaism, this means the 'evil impulse' which leads us to sin if not controlled.

Yetzer Tov In traditional Judaism, this means the 'good impulse' which leads us to obey G-d

Yiddish Originating among Ashkenazic Jews, this language is based on German using Hebrew letters.

Yisrael/Yisroel Israel

Yom HaAtzmaut modern Israel's Independance Day

Yom HaShoah Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Yom HaZikaron modern Israel's Memorial Day

Yom Kippur Day of Atonement, holy day occuring ten days after Rosh Hoshana (Blowing of Trumpets). "It shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto YHVH." Leviticus 23:27 "Soul affliction" is interpreted by many to mean fasting.

Yom Yerushalayim Celebrates the 1967 recapture of Jerusalem.


Zealots Revolutionary Judaism sect existing during time of Roman occupation in Israel around 1st and 2nd century BCE, sect still popular at time of Yeshua.

Zohar Most likely written by Spanish kabbalist named Moses de Leon in the thirteenth century, some believe de Leon was merely redistributing a text originally written in the 1st century by Rabbi Shimon Bar Yokhai. Kabbalists tend to early-date the Zohar, others tend to late-date it.

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