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Abarbanel - A Torah commentator and religious philosopher (Lisbon, 1437 - Venice, 158). He was extremely involved in explaining matters of faith, especially in regard to the ultimate redemption. He served as Minster of the Treasury in the Portugese and Castillian kingdoms, and he led the exiles from Spain during the Expulsion. Towards the end of his life he lived in Naples.

Alter Rebbe - Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, founder of Chabad Chassidism (1745-1813). Among his writings: Shulchan Aruch HaRav, Halachic rulings with a brief elucidation of the reasons. Likutei Amarim, a.k.a. Tanya, a guide for service of G-d, faith in Him, etc.

Arizal - Rabbi Yitzchak Luria Ashkenazi, leading Kabbalist. In addition to his own in-depth studies of the Zohar, he merited a “revelation of Elijah the prophet,” who taught him the secrets of the Torah. As a result, he developed a unique approach to Kabbalah. Although he only managed to instruct his students for two years (after his revelation), his teachings had an immense effect on all of Jewry, to this very day. His teachings were mainly transcribed by his student, Rabbi Chaim Vital, in his books Etz Chaim, Pri Etz Chaim, Sha’ar HaKavanot, etc. The teachings of the Ba’al Shem Tov and further development of Chassidut are also based upon the Arizal’s approach. (Jerusalem 1534 - Tzefat 1572.)

Avraham ben HaRambam - Outstanding disciple of his father, the Rambam. Philosopher, Halachic authority, and commentator of the Torah. Leader of Egyptian Jewry. (1186-1237.) Amongst his books: Birkat Avraham, Ma’aseh Nissim, HaMaspik L’Oved Hashem.

Ba’al Shem Tov - Rabbi Yisrael son of Rabbi Eliezer, founder of the Chassidic movement. He involved himself in educating Jewish children and simple folk, and he merited the revelation of the prophet Achiya HaShiloni who taught him Torah. At the age of 36 he began to become known as a leader, and to spread his teachings throughout the nation. Many of the Torah greats joined the ranks of his students. Among his main teachings: Hashgacha Pratit - Particular Divine Providence not only over every person, but even over every detail in the world, inanimate, vegetable, and animal. Ahavat Yisrael - The obligation to truly love every single Jew no matter who they are, and the emphasis on the unique qualities of every Jew because of the soul that he possesses, which is a part of G-d Himself. (1698-Mezhibozh 176.)

Bamidbar Rabba - See Midrash Rabba.

Bechinat Olam - A book of philosophy about the foolishnesses of this world and the eternal good of the World to Come. Authored by Rabbi Yedayah HaPenini from Provence. (He lived circa 129.)

Ben Porat Yoseph - One of the earliest books of Chassidic philosophy. Authored by Rabbi Yaakov Yoseph of Polna, one of the greatest disciples of the Ba’al Shem Tov. (First printed: Koritz, 1781.)

Bereishit Rabba - See Midrash Rabba.

Chaim Vital - One of the scholars of Tzefat. A student of Rabbi Moshe Alshich in Halacha, and of Rabbi Moshe Cordovero in Kabbalah. Later, the closest disciple of the Arizal, and transcriber of most of his teachings. (Tzefat 1543 - 162.)

Chid”a - Rabbi Chaim Yoseph David Azulai, one of the great Sephardic scholars in Israel. He often traveled as an emissary of the community in Israel to collect support for them in the Diaspora. Everywhere he went, he expressed interest in the local books, both in print and in manuscript. He disseminated Torah, was an accepted Halachic authority, a Kabbalist, an orator, an expert in history, and a professional bibliographer. He wrote more than fifty books. (Jerusalem 1727 - Livorno 186.)

Choshen Mishpat- See Shulchan Aruch.

Devarim Rabba - See Midrash Rabba.

Emunah U’Mada - A compendium of the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s letters and talks on science-related issues. Kefar Chabad, 1977.

Emunot VeDe’ot - The first philosophy book from a Jewish perspective. Authored by Rabbi Sa’adyah Gaon (passed away 942).

Esther Rabba - See Midrash Rabba.

Even HaEzer - See Shulchan Aruch.

Frierdiker Rebbe– the previous Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yoseph Yitzchak Schneerson of Lubavitch, sixth in the Chabad dynasty. He is famous for his selfless devotion to the cause of advancing Jewish education and observance although forbidden under the Communist regime. Afterwards, the movement relocated to Latvia, then to Poland, and then to Brooklyn, NY. There, too, he fought for Jewish education without compromise, and for the dissemination of Judaism amongst all Jews (188-195).

Gili’on HaShas - Notes recorded by Rabbi Akiva Eiger (1761-1837) in the margins of his Talmud (as well as Shulchan Aruch and many other books). They are printed in the margins of the Vilna edition of the Talmud, among others.

Gri”z - Rabbi Yitzchak Ze’ev, son of Rabbi Chaim Soloveitchik. He continued the dynasty by serving as Rav of Brisk, Lithuania. Towards the end of his life he lived in Jerusalem.

Hai Gaon- Son of Rabbi Shereira Gaon. Dean of the Yeshiva of Pumbedita in Babylonia. He was a scion of a family who traced their lineage back to King David. He was the leader of his generation, taught many disciples, wrote books of rulings and commentaries on the Talmud, and wrote thousands of responsa to Jews throughout the diaspora. He wrote Biblical commentaries, and essays on faith and issues in Judaism. His death marked the end of the Gaonic period. (939-138.)

HaKeriah VeHakedusha- Journal published in the United States during the Holocaust, 1941-1945, by Agudas Chassidei Chabad in Brooklyn, NY. It was printed under the direction of the Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yoseph Yitzchak Schneersohn. In fact, he himself participated with Chassidic discourses and other articles. The journal was mostly Yiddish, with some parts in Hebrew and English. It dealt with explaining the issue of the ultimate Redemption, the wait and hope for it, as well as preparations towards it. It also dealt with the struggle for the preservation of Torah-true Judaism, without compromise and without concession to the “spirit of the times.” It has not yet been reprinted.

Hanachot BeLahak - (transcripts of talks by the Lubavitcher Rebbe that were translated from the original Yiddish to Hebrew). See Introduction, Part “a”.

HaYom Yom Calendar - (19 Kislev 573-4). It includes Chabad customs, sayings, stories, and short teachings from the leaders of Chabad. Compiled by the Lubavitcher Rebbe from amongst the writings of his father in law, Rabbi Yoseph Yitzchak. It has been printed in many editions.

Ibn Ezra- Rabbi Avraham ben Meir Ibn Ezra, a Biblical commentator, philosopher, composer, linguist, astronomer, and doctor. His commentary on the Torah tends towards the literal, but he strongly criticized the Karaites and their like who did not believe in the Oral Torah. (Spain 19 - 1164.)

Kesef Mishnah - Commentary on the Rambam’s Yad HaChazakah by Rabbi Yoseph Caro, author of the Shulchan Aruch.

Ketzot HaChoshen - Novella and notes on Shulchan Aruch Chosen Mishpat- very sharp and intricate - by Rabbi Aryeh Leib HaKohen Heller, Rabbi of Stari, Galicia. (Lvov/Lemberg, 1788.)

Korban HaEdah - One of the most famous commentaries printed on the margins of the Jerusalem Talmud. His commentary concisely presents the simple meaning of the text, similar to Rashi’s commentary on the Babylonian Talmud. It includes also a more in-depth commentary, comparable to the Tosafot , which is called Shirei HaKorban. Penned by Rabbi David Frankel, Rabbi of Greater Dessau, and later of Berlin. He passed away in the middle of writing it, and did not merit to complete it. (On Moed, Nashim, and part of Nezikin. Dessau, Germany, 1743.)

Kuzari - A book defending the Jewish faith, by Rabbi Yehuda HaLevi (circa 1075-1141). Among the first books composed on Jewish thought. It is written as the story of the Kazhari king’s conversion to Judaism, with conversations between the king and the Jewish sage concerning the Jewish religion. He establishes the Divine revelation at Sinai and the unbroken chain of tradition as the basis of our faith, and puts special emphasis on the uniqueness of the people of Israel and the land of Israel, as well as the advantages of practical Mitzvot.

Levush– Pen name of author of a set of ten books called Levush Malchut , or Levushimfor short. The first five books deal with the Tur : Levush HaTechelet, Levush HaChur on Orach Chaim, Levush Ateret Zahav on Yoreh De’ah, Levush HaButz VeHa’Argaman on Even HaEzer, Levush Ir Shushan on Choshen Mishpat. What stands out about these books is their brief presentation of the final rulings with their reasons. (153-1612.)

Likutei Sichot - See Introduction, Part “a”.

Likutei Torah - See Torah Ohr.

Ma’amarim – Chassidic Discourses - Concepts explained by the Rebbes using the terminology and philosophical approach of the Chabad system. (Not to be confused with Sichot, which are more available and accessible to the broader public.) Most of these discourses begin with a “heading” from a verse connected to the week’s Torah portion or nearby holiday. First, several questions are posed on the understanding of the specific verse. A deep discussion and explanation is then offered about the main topic of the discourse (usually topics related to G-d, the Torah, and the Jewish people, and the connection between them). Only then does the discourse return to the original questions, and answer them based on the discussion in between.

Maggid Mishnah - Commentary on the vast majority of the Rambam’s Yad HaChazakah. Explains the Rambam’s decisions, words, and order of presentation, as well as the sources upon which his words are based. Author: Rabbi Vidal di Toulousa, student of the Rashba, often called HaKadosh. (He lived in Spain, circa 134.)

Maharal MiPrague - Rabbi Yehuda Leva ben Betzalel. One of the great Halachic authorities; a Kabbalist and an expert in the sciences. He was a talented leader, and a great innovator in the area of Jewish education. In his books, many issues are explained based on the ideas of Kabbalah, but in a philosophical manner. He served for many years as the Rabbi of Nickolsburg and the country of Moravia. Afterwards, he established a study center in Prague, and then served as Chief Rabbi of Posen and Greater Poland. It is said that he created a Golem, a kind of clay robot - through the power of the Divine Name - to fight against the Jews’ enemies. (circa 1512 - Prague 169.) Among his many works: Gur Aryeh on Rashi; Gevurot Hashem on the Pesach Haggadah; Derech Chaim on Pirkei Avot; Tiferet Yisrael; Be’er HaGolah.

Mechilta- A Halachic Midrash on the book of Shemot, attributed to Tanna D’vei Rabbi Yishmael. There are some Aggadicstatements as well. (In the time of the Rishonim there was extant as well a Mechiltaof Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai.

Mesechet Sofrim - One of the seven “small tractates” appended to the Talmud. It seems that these tractates were authored during the Gaonic period. In several instances, we follow the opinions rendered in Mesechet Sofrim, since it was compiled after the Talmud. Its content: The laws of writing a Torah scroll, Torah reading, prayers and other blessings, Chanukah, Purim, and the month of Nissan. It also includes various Aggadic discussions. It has 21 chapters.

Midrash Rabbah - A number of Israeli Midrashim or homiletic commentaries (often known as Bereishit Rabbah, Shemot Rabbah, etc.). From various periods. Mostly Aggadic, but some Halachic in nature. On the Torah and Five Megillot. Midrash Bereishit Rabbah is attributed to the Mishnaic sage, Rabbi Oshiyah, although it was completed at a later date.

Midrash Tanchumah - An Israeli Midrash on the Torah. The Midrash more commonly known by this name is from a later date, collected from many sources. The old Midrash Tanchumah was printed from an Oxford manuscript by R.S. Buber (Vilna 1885). It probably got its name from the main expounder in the book, Rabbi Tanchumah bar Abba. In Yalkut Shimoni there are teachings quoted from another Midrash of this same name, which is not presently extant even in manuscript form.

Midrash Tehillim - Also known as Midrash Shocher Tov because of the opening verse. R. S. Buber published an expended version based on manuscripts, with many additions and explanations (Vilna 1891).

Migdal Oz - Memorial book in memory of Rabbi Ezriel Zelig Slonim. Editor: Yehoshua Mundshein. Kefar Chabad, 198.

Mishna - The first authoritative collection of the laws of the Oral Torah. Compiled by Rabbi Yehuda HaNassi. Written in a clear Hebrew, though very different than Scriptural Hebrew. The Mishna is comprised of six orders: Zeraim - Blessings and prayers, and agriculture-related laws. Mo’ed - Laws pertaining to Shabbat and holidays. Nashim - Vows, spousal obligations, marriage and divorce, etc. Nezikin - Monetary as well as capital law, court proceedings, ethics, etc. Kodshim - Matters pertaining to ritual slaughter, Kosher, the laws of sacrifices, and those of the Holy Temple. Taharot - The laws of ritual purity and impurity. There are a total of 63 tractates, containg 524 chapters.

Mitteler Rebbe - Rabbi Dov Ber Shneuri, second in the Chabad dynasty. He dedicated himself greatly to broadening and deepening Chassidism, and spreading its study throughout the nation (1774-1828).

Moreh Nevuchim (Guide to the Perplexed) - Maimonides’ book of philosophy. Written for inquiring Jews who had studied philosophy, and were looking for ways to explain Judaism within the scientific and phiolosophic approaches prevalent in their time.

Orach Chaim - See Shulchan Aruch.

Otzar HaGaonim - A compilation of responsa and commentaries of the early post-Talmudic era. Most of them gathered from manuscripts. Compiled by Dr. Binyamin M. Levin.

Pardes - Its full name is Pardes Rimonim. It is the main work of Rabbi Moshe Cordovero, the chief Kabbalist in Tzefat in the period prior to the Arizal. This book summarizes his approach to Kabbalah. It was completed in Tzefat in 1548.

Rabeinu Bachye - son of R. Asher ibn Chalavah. Kabbalist, and commentator. He explains the Torah in four methods: peshat (simple meaning), derush (exegetical and homiletic), philosophical approach, and sod (mystical and Kabbalistic). D. 134.

Rabeinu Chanan’el - son of Rabeinu Chushiel, from Kiruan, North Africa. His commentary on most of the tractates of the Talmud is short and clear and primarily received in tradition from the sages of Babylonia. (1 - 153.)

Rabeinu HaZaken - See Alter Rebbe.

Rabeinu Tam – Rabeinu Yaakov ben Rabbi Meir, grandson of Rashi, called ‘Tam’ based on the verse, “Yaakov was a wholesome ( tam) man, abiding in tents”. His questions and answers are the basis of the Tosafot commentary on the Talmud. He was a respected leader whose rulings promoted family values. His main work is Sefer HaYashar , which includes novella on the Talmud, as well as halachic responsa. He also wrote linguistic works and piyutim , or prayer-poetry. D. 1171, North France.

Rabeinu Yechiel - brother of the Tur and oldest son of the Rosh. He wrote a book of rulings that is often quoted in the Tur, written by his brother. He had much correspondence with his father. (1267 - 1314.)

Rama MiPanau - Rabbi Menachem Azariah of Panau, one of the greatest Italian scholars. He had Torah and material greatness together. He studied Kabbalah from the books of Rabbi Moshe Cordovero, and afterwards from Rabbi Yisrael Seruk, a disciple of the Arizal. (1548 - Mantouba 162.) Among his Kabbalistic works: Asarah Ma’amarot, Yonat Elem. His Halachic works include Alfasi Zutah, and She’elot Uteshuvot.

Ramah - Rabbi Moshe Isserlish. One of the greatest Halachic authorities, a Kabbalist, and a philosopher, Rabbi of Cracow, Galicia. His most famous work is the Mapah - notes printed in the Shulchan Aruch , which complete the Codes with the rulings and customs of Ashkenazic communities. Some of his other books: Torah Chatat, Torah HaOlah, Mechir Yayin, She’elot U’Teshuvot. (153 - 1572.)

Ramak - Rabbi Moshe Cordevero. See Pardes.

Rambam - Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon (Maimonides). His father studied under Rabbi Yoseph ibn Migash, student of the Rif. He studied science, medicine and philosophy as well. His family moved from Spain to Morocco, Israel and then Egypt where he served as leader of the local Jews and personal physician of the King. He wrote, in Arabic, a commentary on Mishna, as well as Sefer HaMitzvot - which served as a preparation for his great work in Hebrew, Mishna Torah, which includes all of the laws of the Oral Torah. He became very famous, and questions about Halacha, faith, and customs reached him from all over the world. He also wrote, in Arabic, his work of philosophy, Moreh HaNevuchim, the Guide to the Perplexed. He also wrote many letters and responsa, as well as medical works, etc. (Cordoba, 1135 - Cairo, 125.)

Ramban - Rabbi Moshen ben Nachman (Nachmanides). A great Halachic authority, Biblical commentator, Kabbalist, linguist, scientist, and doctor. He lived in Gerona, Spain, and was recognized as head and spiritual leader of Spanish Jewry. Towards the end of his life he was forced to defend Judaism in public debates with a convert to Christianity. Because of the ensuing danger to his life, he was forced to flee to Israel. (Spain, 1194 - Acco, 127.)

Ramchal - Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzato. Famed Kabbalist and composer. As an adult he moved to Amsterdam, and later to Israel. (Padaua, 177 - Acco 1747.) Among his books: Lashon Limudim, Pit’chei Chochma, Mesilat Yesharim.

Rashi - Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki. Author of the most well-known commentary on the Torah and the Talmud. He lived in the north of France. In his commentaries he always chooses the interpretation that fits best with “the simple meaning of the text.” His syntax is extremely concise and precise.

Raza”h - Rav Zerachia HaLevi Girndi, one of the great Torah sages in Provance and a colleague of the Ra’avad - Rabbi Avraham ben David from Pushkeira. He was knowledgeable in both Torah and the sciences. He wrote critical “notes” on the Rif’s (Rabbi Yitzchak Alfasi) legal writings. They are printed in the margins of the Rif. On Nashim and Nezikin they are called HaMaor Hagadol , and on Moed it is called HaMaor Hakatan. D. 1186.

Rebbe Rashab - Rabbi Shalom DovBer Schneersohn of Lubavitch, fifth in the Chabad dynasty. Because of his clarity of expression and the many categorizations in his discourses, he is known as the “Maimonides of Chassidism.” He was the first to establish a Chassidic Yeshiva (Tomchei Temimim) in which Chassidut was studied in depth and the students toiled in Divine service as an inseparable part of the schedule of studies. This Yeshiva provided the nucleus of those who would strengthen and spread Torah and Judaism with self-sacrifice in Soviet Russia. The Yeshiva and its students served as trend-setters for all the Chabad Yeshivas that would later spring up across the globe (186-192).

Rogatchover Gaon - See Tzafnat Pa’ane’ach.

Rosh - Rabbeinu Asher ben Yechiel. Among the great early Halachic authorities. Born and raised in Germany, he was a dedicated disciple of the Maharam of Rotenburg, last of the Sages of the Tosafot. When his teacher passed away, he succeeded him as the spiritual leader of German Jewry. In 133, as persecution increased, he fled to Spain. There he was appointed head of the Bet Din and Yeshiva in Toledo. More than one thousand responsa of his are still extant. His main work is Piskei HaRosh , a reliable compilation of all of the Halachic rulings applicable nowadays and following the order of the Talmud. He also composed a Tosafot on the Talmud and commentaries on the Torah, Mishna, and several tractates. Passed away 1327.

Russian government, printing was halted in 1837. The second volume of the book, which was published only eleven years later on the books Vayikra, Bamidbar, Devarim , and Shir HaShirim , is known by a different name, Likutei Torah. In the second volume there are incorporated also notes by his grandson, the Tzemach Tzedek.

Sa’adiah Gaon – Rabbi Sa’adiah ben Yoseph, one of the greatest of the Gaonim and dean of the Academy of Sura, Babylonia. He was involved in Halacha and Jewish thought, song and Hebrew linguistics. He carried on a debate with the Karaites by correspondence, and successfuly vanquished them.

Sedei Chemed – A Halachic encyclopedia, in which every subject is clearly presented, from the earliest sources to the Rabbis of his time. Compiled by Rabbi Chaim Chizkiyahu Medini, Rabbi of Karsubzar in the Crimea, who became famous worldwide as an expert in halacha. He later returned to the Land of Israel, and was appointed as Rabbi of Hevron. It was first published in 1891, and has been reprinted in many editions.

Seder HaDorot – Historical text containing three sections: a) Yemot Olam - a chronology from the beginning of Genesis to the book’s compilation in 1696. b) Seder Tana’im VeAmora’im - The names of all the Sages of the Mishna and Talmud, as well as details about their lives and some of their teachings. c) Seder Mechabrim Usefarim - a bibliography. Author: Rabbi Yechiel Halperin, Rabbi in Halusk and later in Minsk. (Published Karlasru, 1769. Edition revised by R. Naftali Maskil Le’eitan, Warsaw 1878.)

Sefer HaChakirah - First printed under the title Derech Emunah. Discussion of philosophical issues from a Chassidic perspective. Authored by the third Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Schneersohn, author of the Tzemach Tzedek , when he was involved in debates during the conference of Jewish leaders convened by the Czarist Government (starting from 1843) to discuss Jewish topics and Jewish education.

Sefer HaMa’amarim – Core teachings of Chassidut by the various Rebbes of Chabad-Lubavitch. Known by the year during which the discourses were said, e.g. Sefer HaMa'amarim 578, according to topic, e.g. Sefer HaMa'amarim Bati LeGani , or by some other identifying factor, such as Sefer HaMa'amarim Kuntreisim , which includes all of the discourses that were published in booklets during the Previous Rebbe’s sojourn in Poland.

Shaalot U’Teshuvot Chacham Tzvi halachic responsa of Chacham (Sephardic term for Rabbi) Tzvi Ashkenazi, Rabbi of Altona and, later, of the Ashkenazic communities in Amsterdam and Lvov, Poland. (166 – 1718.)

Shaalot U’Teshuvot HaRashbahalachic responsa of Rabeinu Shlomo ben Aderet, Barcelona, Spain. Student of Rabeinu Yonah MiGirundi and the Ramban. He headed the Academy, and wrote commentaries on the Talmud, Halachic rulings (such as Torat HaBayit and Mishmeret HaBayit), and Aggadic interpretations. People turned to him with their questions from all reaches of the Diaspora. He wrote about ten thousand responsa, of which about three thousand are printed, as well as books on other issues. He was expert also in science and philosophy, and he protected Jewish faith and tradition from attacks from both within and without. (1235 – 131.)

Shaalot U’Teshuvot HaRivashhalachic responsa by Rabbi Yitzchak ben Sheshes of Spain, student of the Ran and Rabeinu Krashkash. After the terrible persecutions of 1391, he became Rabbi in Algiers. His responsa dissect issues from all sides. Rabbi Yoseph Caro wrote in the name of his teacher, Rabbi Yaakov Beirav, that he relied on the responsa of the Rivash more so than on other authorities.

Shaalot U’Teshuvot Maharam Shik halachic responsa by Rabbi Moshe Shik, a student of the Chatam Sofer , and one of the leading Rabbis of Hungary.

Shaalot U’Teshuvot Maharikhalachic responsa of Rabbi Yosef Kolon. A student of some of the leaders of France and Germany, such as the Maharil. He lived in Italy, and he issued clear Halachic rulings regarding all areas of Jewish life. D.148.

Shaalot U’Teshuvot Shevut YaakovHalachic responsa of Rabeinu Yaakov Reiser, who served as a Rabbi in Galicia and Germany. Among others, he authored Chok Yaakov on the laws of Passover, and Iyun Yaakov on the Aggadahs included in Ein Yaakov. His books stand out because of their sharpness, and were lovingly received in the scholarly world. d. 1733, Metz.

Shaalot U’Teshuvot Tzemach Tzedek – The halachic responsa of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem (which shares the same numerical value as Tzemach) Mendel (same numerical value as Tzedek) Schneerson, third leader of Chabad Chassidim, and one of the leading Halachic authorities of his day. (1789 – 1865.)

ShachSifsei Kohen , the commentary of Rabbi Shabse HaKohen of Vilna on the sections of Yoreh De’ah and Choshen Mishpat of the Shulchan Aruch. Poland, Lithuania, and Czechoslovakia, 1621-1663.

Shav Shematsa – A series of seven essays dealing with chazakah (assumptions) and sefeikot (uncertainties) in the Talmud and halacha. Written by Rabbi Aryeh Leib HaKohen Heller, author of the Ketzot HaChoshen (Lvov, 184).

Sheloh Shnei Luchot HaBrit. A book of ethics and halacha , which deals also with Kabbalistic matters, and incorporates almost every topic within Judaism. Author: Rabeinu Yeshaya HaLevi Horwitz (156-163). One of the great Rabbis of Poland, Lithuania, and Russia. Towards the end of his life he moved to Israel.

Shem HaGedolim – See Chidah.

Shemot Rabba – See Midrash Rabba.

Shereira Gaon - Dean of the Academy of Pumbedita in Babylonia. Especially famous for his responsa known as Igeret Rav Shereira Gaon in which he describes the writing of the Mishna and Talmud, and the way in which the Oral Law was transmitted from generation to generation. He wrote commentaries on the Torah and Talmud, most of which were lost. His son, Rav Hai Gaon, succeeded him. (96-955.)

Shevilei Emunah – Written by Rabbi Meir Aldeby, grandson of the Rosh. The book deals with issues of faith, and includes kernels of philosophy, as well as a comprehensive treatise on nature, Talmud, and Halacha. Amongst others, it is a compilation of teachings from the Rambam, Ramban, Rashba, and others. Seemingly, it was concluded after the author moved from Spain to Jerusalem, in 136.

Shimshon Raphael Hirsch - Developer and leader of a movement in 19th century Germany known as Torah im Derech Eretz (“Torah together with the way of the world”). He held leading rabbinical posts in many large cities, including Frankfurt, where he founded a separate Orthodox community and established educational institutions where Torah was studied along with the sciences. He encouraged his students to be proud of their Torah heritage. His approach helped, at least temporarily, to stem the tide of assimilation and Reform, in a period when many people considered Germany lost to Torah-true Judaism. His views are followed in many schools today. Nonetheless, many Torah leaders felt and feel that Yeshivahs and Jewish schools should teach Torah only, and that Rabbi Hirsch’s apologetic approach was fitting only for his time and place. (1808-1888.)

Shir HaShirim Rabba - See Midrash Rabba.

Shitah Mekubetzet – also known as Asifat Zekeinim. An anthology of early commentaries (e.g. Rabeinu Gershom, Rabeinu Chananel, Ri ibn Migash, Tosafot Shantz, Rabbi Yeshaya di Trani, Rabbi Menachem HaMeiri, etc.) on the Talmud. Compiled by Rabbi Bezalel Ashkenazi, Chief Rabbi of Egypt, and later of Jerusalem (d. 1592). Parts of the book were first published around 15 years after his passing. Some parts are still in manuscript form. This book is extremely important for a proper understanding of the Talmud, and arouses great interest amongst all scholarly circles.

Shmuel HaNaggid (Rabbi Shmuel the Prince) - Vizier to the king of Granada; composer, linguist, and Halachic authority (993-156).

Shome’ah KeOneh – This is a halachic classification, which declares that one who hears various recitations (e.g. Kiddush, Havdalah , the reading of Megilat Esther , the sounding of the Shofar , etc.) that he is himself obligated to say, to be considered as if he had himself said them, as long as both the one reciting the blessing and the listener intended for the listener to fulfill his obligation with this recitation. This is because of the fact that “all Jews are responsible for one another,” which gives each person the obligation to ensure that all other Jews fulfill all of the commandments as well.

Shulchan Aruch – The classic code of Jewish Law authored by Rabbi Yoseph Caro, in Tzefat. He first composed his great work, the Beit Yoseph , which includes all of the discussion and decisions between the many different opinions, as a commentary to the Four Turim of Rabbi Yaakov, son of the Rosh. They comprise: Orach Chaim (mainly: laws of prayers and blessings, Shabbat and holidays), Yoreh Deah (mainly: laws of Kashrut, idol worship, interest, education, vows, and mourning), Even HaEzer (mainly: laws of marriage, divorce, and Yibum), and Choshen Mishpat (monetary law). In this commentary, he deals only with laws that are relevant nowadays. From the essence and synopsis of this commentary, he developed the Shulchan Aruch (Venice, 1565). Since for the most part he based his decisions on the greats of Sephardic Jewry, his contemporary, Rabbi Moshe Isserlish (the Ramah), argued with his decisions in many instances, ruling instead according to the authorities from France and Germany. The composite of the two has become the most widely accepted legal work in the Jewish nation.

Shulchan Aruch HaRav – See Alter Rebbe.

Sichot Kodesh – See Introductory chapters, Part “a”.

Sifri - Halachic Midrashim from Israel, which pre-date the Mishnaic era. Compiled in the early generations of the Talmudic era, on the books Bamidbar and Devarim. On Bamidbar it is mostly Halacha , and on Devarim mostly Aggadah. The accurate edition is by Rabbi Meir I Shalom (Vienna 1864).

Talmud Bavli – A compilation of the discussions between the Talmudic sages in Babylon throughout several generations, about the Mishna , its interpretation, and its sources. Compiled and closed circa 5 by Ravina and Rav Ashi (d. 427).

Talmud Yerushalmi – A compilation of the discussions between the Talmudic sages in Israel throughout several generations, about the Mishna, its interpretation, and its sources. Compiled mainly by Rabbi Yochanan (d.279).

Tanchumah - See Midrash Tanchumah.

Tanya – Classic work of Chabad Chassidism. Comprised of: Likutei Amarim (serving G-d with love and fear), Sha’ar HaYichud VeHaEmunah (belief in the oneness of G-d), Igeret HaTeshuvah (the concept of return in Chabad approach), Igeret HaKodesh (a compilation of pastoral letters by the Alter Rebbe, mostly about Tzedakah , which were published by his children after his passing), and Kuntres Acaharon (elaborations of various issues). Authored by Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, founder of Chabad. See Alter Rebbe.

Tiferet Yisrael – Commentary on the Mishna by Rabbi Yisrael Lifshitz. A short and to-the-point commentary, which includes many indices and synopses of various topics in Mishna and translates the difficult words into German. (Germany, 1782-186.)

Torah Ohr – Chabad Chassidic discourses on the Torah, books of Bereishit, Shemot , and Megilat Esther , by Rabbi Shneur Zalman, founder of Chabad.

Tosafot – Discussions regarding the interpretation of the Talmud, from the French and German sages, the disciples of Rashi and their students for several generations, over more than 2 years (until 1328). Some of them are included in the margins of the Talmud next to Rashi’s commentaries.

Tur - A book of practical Jewish law, compiled by Rabbi Yaakov, son of the Rosh. It is split into four turim (sections). Its structure was closely followed in the Shulchan Aruch, the primary code of Jewish law in use today.The author passed away circa 1343.

Tzafnat Pa’aneach - Book by Rabbi Yoseph Rosen, Rabbi of Dvinsk, Latvia, on the Rambam and more. This pithy text opened a new approach to philosophical explanations of Halachic principles. Amongst other innovations, his method was to divide every topic into three aspects. For instance, with regard to the commandment of circumcision he explains that there is: a) the act of circumcision. b) The commandment to be circumcised. c) The commandment not to remain uncircumcised. The Lubavitcher Rebbe quotes him often, and further develops his ideas.

Tzava’at Rabbi Eliezer HaGadol - An ethical testament from Rabbi Eliezer HaLevi, to his descendants. He passed away in Mainz, Germany, 1337.

Tzemach Tzedek - See Sha’alot U’Teshuvot Tzemach Tzedek; Sefer HaChakira.

Urim VeTumim - a commentary on Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat , by Rabbi Yonatan Eibeshitz (passed away 1764).

Vayikra Rabba - See Midrash Rabba.

Yad HaChazakah - See Rambam.

Yad Malachi - A book of the rules followed in Talmud and Halachic authorities. Compiled by Rabbi Malachi HaKohen, an Italian sage. It is considered to be one of the best treatises on Talmudic principles. He lived circa 174.

Yerushalmi - See Talmud Yerushalmi.

Yoreh De’ah - See Shulchan Aruch.

Zohar - Primary text of Kabbalah. Tradition identifies its author as Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, student of Rabbi Akiva. The Zohar itself comprises different sections. One is Ra’aya Meheimna, a compilation of the Mitzvot, which is based on that which was revealed by the faithful shepherd of the Jewish people, Moses, to Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai. There are also sections that were revealed and made public at a later stage, such as Zohar Chadash and Tikkunei Zohar.

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