Ahavat Hashem – Love of G–d.

Ahavat HaTorah – Love of Torah.

Ahavat Yisrael – Love of a fellow Jew.

Baal Shem Tov – Lit. “owner of a good name” – a reference to Rabbi Israel ben Eliezer, the founder of the chassidic movement.

Baal Teshuvah – Repentant, one who returns to Jewish practice.

Brachah – Blessing.

Chabad – An acrostic formed from the initial letters of the words Chochmah, (wisdom), Bina, (comprehension), Da’at (knowledge). Generally used to describe the intellectual approach of the Lubavitch movement.

Chassid – (plural: chassidim): Follower of the Rebbe, adherent of the chassidic life style.

Chassidut – chassidic philosophy.

Galut – exile.

HalachahTorah law.

HaggadahPassover book for the Seder.

Hashem – G–d.

Kabbalah – “Inner” esoteric depths of Torah; mysticism.

Kashrut – Observance of the kosher laws; dietary propriety of foods by Torah law.

Kiddush – Blessing of sanctification for Shabbat

Lubavitch – a town in White Russia, centre of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement for over a century.


Mezuzah – Parchment-scroll, inscribed with two paragraphs of Torah; affixed to doorpost.

Midrash – Rabbinic commentary and explanation.

Mikvah – Immersion pool built to rigid specifications of Torah-law; used primarily by married women as part of “Family Purity” laws.

Mishnah – the earliest compilation of the Oral tradition.

Mitzvah (plur: mitzvot) – Precept or command of Torah.


Nachas – Joy, usually from children.

Neshamah – Soul.


Rebbe – leader and head of the chassidim.

Rishonim – the early commentaries on the Talmud.

Seder – Lit. “order” – a reference to the celebration of the first night of Passover.

Sefer Torah – Torah scroll.

Shabbat – the Sabbath.

Shechinah – Divine Presence.

Shiva – Lit. “seven” – reference to the seven day mourning period.

Shema – “Hear O Israel” prayer.

Siddur – Prayer book.

Taharat Hamishpachah – Laws of Family Purity.

Tallit Katan – Small prayer shawl.

Talmud – a voluminous compendium of Torah oral tradition.

Tanya – Source text of Chabad; written by Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi (1745-1812).


vTeshuvah – Repentance.

Tisha B’Av – The ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av – a national fast day commemorating the destruction of the Temples in Jerusalem.

Torah – The overall body of Jewish religious teachings; scriptural and rabbinic.

Tzedakah – Charity.

Tzitzit – Fringes worn on the corner of a square garment.

Yeshiva – Torah academy.

Yiddishkeit – Torah-Judaism.

Yisrael – Lit. “Israel”; The Jewish People.

Yomtov – Festival.

Zohar – early Kabbalistic text written by Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai.