Enter your email address to get our weekly email with fresh, exciting and thoughtful content that will enrich your inbox and your life.


A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 0-9

Maamar:  lit. “word” or "essay." Often a reference to a formal discourse of Chassidic teachings delivered by a chassidic Rebbe.  [108 related articles] Kabbalah & Chassidism; Mysticism » Maamar
Maaneh Lashon:  booklet containing the prayers and readings recited at the resting place of a tzaddik 
Maariv (evening prayer):  The evening prayer services.  [7 related articles] Prayer » G-d and Man » Maariv (evening prayer)
Maaser Sheni:  the tithe eaten in Jerusalem  [3 related articles]
Maccabees, The:  The Jewish army that revolted against the Syrian-Greek occupation in 139 BCE, whose miraculous victory culminated in the festival of Chanukah. Their name is an acronym of their battle cry, whose Hebrew words mean “who is likened unto You amongst all powers, O, G-d.”  [30 related articles] People » People & Events » Maccabees, The
Machashavah Zara:    [39 related articles] G-d and Man » Machashavah Zara
Machloket (Torah Debate):  (lit. "debate" or "dispute"); in Torah, a dispute between two differing opinions on a legal interpretation  [16 related articles] Torah, The » Machloket (Torah Debate)
Machzor:  prayer book used on the High Holidays. (Some liturgical traditions also use specialized machzors for other holidays.)  [15 related articles] Calendar, The Jewish » Machzor
Magen Avraham:  commentary on the Orach Chayim section of the Shulchan Aruch by R. Avraham Abele HaLevi, a prominent 17th-century Polish scholar; the title of this work is also commonly used as a reference to its author 
Maggid:  the fifth step of the Passover seder in which the story of the Exodus is told  [10 related articles]
Maggid (Preacher):  teacher or preacher, when capitalized, “the Maggid” usually refers specifically to R. Dov Ber, the Maggid of Mezeritch; 
Maggid of Dubna (R. Yaakov Wolf Krantz):  Rabbi Yaakov Krantz, 1741-1804; famous European preacher, best known for his parables  [3 related articles] People » People & Events » Maggid of Dubna (R. Yaakov Wolf Krantz)
Mah Nishtanah:  (lit. "What Is Different?"); the "Four Questions" asked by the children at the Passover seder  [31 related articles] Passover » Mah Nishtanah
Maharam Schiff:  Moreinu HaRav Meir Schiff; 1608-1644, author of a classical commentary on the Talmud, famous for insightful explanation of the subject matter without resorting to pilpul  People » People & Events » Maharam Schiff
Maharil:  R. Yaakov HaLevi Moellin, 1360-1427, foremost German talmudist of the 14th century; the father of many Ashkenazi customs  People » People & Events » Maharil
Maharsha:  R. Shmuel Eliezer Eidels, 1555-1631, author of a commentary on the Talmud  [4 related articles] People » People & Events » Maharsha
Maimonides:  Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon, known by the acronym the “Rambam”, 1135-1204; Cordoba (Spain), Fez (Morocco) and Fostat (old Cairo, Egypt); codifier, philosopher, communal leader, and court physician to Sultan Saladin of Egypt; author of a commentary on the Mishnah, the Book of Mitzvot, Mishneh Torah, the Guide to the Perplexed and many other works  [237 related articles] People » People & Events » Maimonides
Makif:  (lit. "encompassing"); an aspect or effluence which encompasses its subject in a transcending form 
Malachi:  A contemporary of Zechariah and Haggai, the last of the prophets. Prophesied at the onset of the Second Temple Era. 
Malachi, the Book of:  The book of Tanach containing Malachi's prophecies, admonishing the Jews to serve G-d.  [4 related articles] Tanach » Torah, The » Malachi, the Book of
Malchiyot:  one of the blessings of the Mussaf service on Rosh HaShanah, consisting of verses reflecting G-d’s sovereignty 
Malchut (kingship):  sovereignty, the last of the ten Divine sefirot and their corresponding mortal middot; acts as a transitionary link to a lower world  [71 related articles]
Malkot ("lashes"):  ("lashes") The Jewish court would administer lashes to a person who intentionally violated a negative commandment. The amount of lashes was determined by a doctor's assessment of what the person could sustain, up to thirty-nine.  [1 related article] Halacha (Torah law) » Malkot ("lashes")
Mamash:  Literally; actually; tangibly; palpably 
Mamzer:  A child born from an incestuous or adulterous relationship--specifically, a relationship between a man and a woman who halachically cannot be bonded in marriage.  [5 related articles]
Manasseh (Son of Joseph):  (a) Joseph’s eldest son. Born in Egypt before the onset of the fateful famine. His grandfather Jacob elevated him and his brother Ephraim to the status of progenitors of tribes within the nation of Israel. According to the Midrash, he served as his father's interpreter in the royal court. (b) A common Jewish name.  [13 related articles]
Manna, The:  the food from heaven provided to the Jews in the desert after the exodus from Egypt  [45 related articles]
Maor:  light source, luminary  [2 related articles]
Maot Chitim:  charity to help needy families for Passover  [5 related articles]
Mar'it Ayin:  (lit. "what appears to the eye") One may not perform certain actions that appear to be forbidden, even if one is in fact doing them in a permissible way.  [6 related articles] Halacha (Torah law) » Mar'it Ayin
Maror:  the bitter herbs eaten at the Passover seder  [16 related articles]
Martyrs, the Ten:  Ten Mishnaic sages who were killed by the Romans in the second century CE as an atonement for the sale of Joseph. They are: Rabban Simeon ben Gamaliel II, Rabbi Ishmael ben Elisha, Rabbi Akiba, Rabbi Hananiah ben Teradion, Rabbi Hutzpit the Interpreter, Rabbi Eleazar ben Samua, Rabbi Hananiah ben Hakinai, Rabbi Yeshevav the Scribe, Rabbi Judah ben Damah, and Rabbi Judah ben Bava. On Yom Kippur and Tishah B'Av it is customary to read an elegy that discusses the martyrdom of these holy men. (Some sources replace some of the names above with Rabbi Hananiah the Deputy High Priest, Rabbi Judah ben Teima, Rabbi Judah the Baker, and Rabbi Tarfon.)  [8 related articles] People » People & Events » Martyrs, the Ten
Mashkeh:  strong drink, liquor 
Mashpia (Spiritual Mentor):  (lit. “source of influence”); a spiritual chassidic mentor  [18 related articles] Self & Fellow » Human Being, The » Mashpia (Spiritual Mentor)
Maskil:  (lit.: “that which causes intellectual enlightenment”) a) The adjective King David uses to describe certain Psalms. b) A follower of the so-called Enlightenment movement. c) A chassid with a profound understanding of chassidic philosophy. 
Masmid:  one who studies Torah constantly, with great diligence 
Matan Torah:  Giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai.  [164 related articles]
Matriarchs, The:  Sarah, Rebecca, Leah and Rachel, from whom the Jewish nation descended; the wives of the Patriarchs[10 related articles]
Mattathias ben Johanan:  (d. 139 BCE) Father of the Maccabees, led the rebellion against the Syrian Greeks, culminating in the miraculous victory which is celebrated on the festival of Chanukah[4 related articles]
Matzah:  unleavened bread eaten on Passover  [143 related articles] Passover » Matzah
Mayim Achronim:  lit. "after-waters," used to wash the fingertips after a meal, in preparation for Grace after Meals.  [4 related articles] Mitzvah; Mitzvot » Torah, The » Mayim Achronim
Mazal:  a) A medium that conveys spiritual influence to worldly beings; in its Talmudic usage, the celestial constellations that serve this purpose. b) The root or main part of the soul, which is not experienced consciously.  [32 related articles] Human Being, The » Mazal
Mazal Tov:  (lit. "a good mazal") Traditional congratulatory wish for happy lifecycle events such as births, weddings, circumcisions, and bar or bat mitzvahs.  [7 related articles]
Mechilta:  (Aramaic, lit. “the Compendium”); a text of exegesis on the Book of Exodus compiled in the era of the Mishnah, during the third century  Torah, The » Mechilta
Mechirat Chametz:  (lit. "sale of leavened"); the sale to a non-Jew of leavened goods or vessels which cannot remain in one’s property over Passover  [15 related articles] Passover » Mechirat Chametz
Mechitzah (separation between the sexes):  the partition separating between the men’s and women’s sections in a synagogue.  [12 related articles]
Mechutan:  the father of one’s son-in-law or daughter-in-law 
Medini, R. Chizkiah (Sdei Chemed):  

Chaim Hezekiah Medini (1833 - 1904), also known as the S'dei Chemed -- the title of his chief halachic work -- was a legendary Torah scholar. Born in Jerusalem, he moved to Constantinople and then the Crimea, where he served the Jewish community with dedication and kindness, but continued to long for Jerusalem. After many years, he returned in 1889, but upon hearing that he was wanted to serve as Rishon Letzion (chief rabbi), he moved to Hebron, hoping to be allowed to study in peace. However, he eventually relented and served as chief rabbi -- in Hebron -- until his passing in 1904.

Rav Chaim Chizkiya Medini is best known for his monumental, 18-volume work, S'dei Chemed, a halachic encyclopedia referred to by halachic authorities and scholars throughout the world.

  [1 related article] People » People & Events » Medini, R. Chizkiah (Sdei Chemed)
Megilah:  (lit. "scroll") Usually a reference to the Scroll of Esther that is read on Purim and chronicles the story of the holiday.  [50 related articles] Tanach » Torah, The » Megilah
Megillat Esther:  The Biblical book of Esther.  [50 related articles] Tanach » Torah, The » Megillat Esther
Mehader:  one who performs mitzvot precisely and lovingly 
Mehetabel:  The wife of Hadar, last of the eight listed kings of Edom.  [1 related article]
Mei Geshamim:  rainwater (as used in a mikvah) 
Meir, Rabbi:  (2nd century CE) Mishnaic sage, also known as Meir Baal Hanes (“Meir, the Master of the Miracle”), husband of Beruriah and son-in-law of Hananiah ben Teradion. Student of Rabbi Akiba, Rabbi Ishmael, as well as Elisha ben Abuyah. As a general rule, any Mishna that states a halachah anonymously is assumed to represent the view of Rabbi Meir. The Talmud testifies that his intellect was so keen, that his sagacious colleagues were unable to plumb the depths of his ideas.  [13 related articles] People » People & Events » Meir, Rabbi
Mekushar:  a chassid who has developed a meaningful spiritual bond with his Rebbe 
Melachim:  the Book of Kings 
Melachim:  The (two-part) book of Tanach relating the history of the Israelites and their kings, from David's passing until the Babylonian exile (837-423 BCE).  [6 related articles] Tanach » Torah, The » Melachim
Melamed:  (lit. "teacher"); children’s Torah teacher  [36 related articles] Mind, The Human » Human Being, The » Melamed
Melaveh Malkah:  (lit. "accompany the queen"); festive meal held on Saturday night to escort the departing Sabbath Queen  [13 related articles] Shabbat » Melaveh Malkah
Melchizedek:  Melchizedek is mentioned in Genesis 14:18-20 as the king of Salem and a priest to G-d in the narrative of Abraham returning from his victorious battle. According to Targum, he is the very same person as Shem, the son of Noah.  [9 related articles]
Mem:  the thirteenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet, prounounced "m," with a numerical value of 40  [11 related articles]
Memalleh Kol Almin:  (lit. “filling all worlds”); G-d’s immanent light which enclothes itself in every particular created being 
Men of the Great Assembly:  A panel of 120 prophets and sages--including Ezra, Nehemiah, Mordecai, Daniel, Simeon the Righteous and the prophets Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi--which constituted the ultimate religious authority at the onset of the Second Temple Era (4th century BCE). Among their accomplishments was the composition of the text of our standard prayers and blessings[6 related articles] People » People & Events » Men of the Great Assembly
Menachem M. Schneerson:  Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, of righteous memory (1902-1994); seventh leader of Chabad-Lubavitch, lived in Nikolayev and Dnieperptrosk (Ukraine), Leningrad, Berlin, Warsaw, Paris and New York; built upon and expanded his predecessors’ work to revolutionize Jewish life across the globe; known simply as “the Rebbe”  [335 related articles]
Mentch:  (Yiddish; lit. "person"): a person of integrity and honor  [13 related articles] Human Being, The » Mentch
Mentchlichkeit:  human decency  [13 related articles] Human Being, The » Mentchlichkeit
Merirrut ("Bitterness"):  (lit. “bitterness”); negative feelings which spur a person to positive activity  [25 related articles]
Meshaleach:  (lit. "sender"); one who designates and sends an emissary 
Mesirat Nefesh:  (lit. "giving of the soul"); self sacrifice.  [136 related articles] Human Being, The » Mesirat Nefesh
Methuselah:  (3074-2105 BCE) Son of Enoch and grandfather of Noah; a wise and righteous man. He died at age 969 (the longest recorded lifespan in the scriptures), seven days before the Flood[3 related articles]
Metzora:  a person afflicted with tzaraat  [47 related articles] Parshah (Weekly Torah Reading) » Metzora
Mezonot:  blessing (“Who creates various kinds of foods”) recited over foods prepared from the five species of grain  [2 related articles]
Mezuzah:  (lit. doorpost); parchment scroll affixed to the doorposts of a Jewish home or business, containing portions of the Shema.  [88 related articles] Torah, The » Mezuzah
Mi SheBeirach:  (lit. “May He Who blessed...”); opening words of brief prayer on behalf of a specific person that often accompanies the Torah reading in the synagogue  [1 related article] Parshah (Weekly Torah Reading) » Mi SheBeirach
Micah the Prophet:  (6th century BCE) Student of Elijah and a contemporary of Hosea, Isaiah and Amos[4 related articles]
Micah, the Book of:  The book of Tanach containing Micah's prophecies, foretelling the Israelites' exile as well as the future redemption. Micah reproves the people for worshipping foreign gods and extorting the poor, and urges them to worship G-d wholeheartedly.  [2 related articles] Tanach » Torah, The » Micah, the Book of
Michal (David's wife):  (a) (9th century BCE) Daughter of King Saul, her hand in marriage was given to David after he killed Goliath. While David was fleeing Saul’s wrath, Michal was wedded to Paltiel ben Laish. After established his kingship, David brought her back to his home. (b) A common Jewish name.  [4 related articles]
Middot:  (a) Attributes of character; spiritual emotions (e.g., the love or awe of G-d); mental states. (b) The seven lower sefirot, the Divine emotive attributes. (c) Tractate of the Talmud that concerns itself with the structure of the Holy Temple. 
Midian:  An ancient Middle Eastern nation descended from Abraham and Keturah. After Balaam failed in his attempt to curse the Israelites, he successfully advised the Midianites to send their daughters to seduce the Israelite men, which caused a plague to strike the Israelites. At G-d’s command, the Israelites then waged war against the Midianites, killing almost all of them.  [4 related articles] Countries, Lands & Geographical Locations » Physical World, The » Midian
Midrash:  (a) the classical collection of the Sages’ homiletic teachings on the Torah, on the non-literal level of derush; (b) any one such teaching  [19 related articles] Torah, The » Midrash
Midrash Rabbah:  a compilation of Midrashic interpretations of the Pentateuch and certain other Biblical books, composed in the fourth century  [2 related articles] Torah Books » Torah, The » Midrash Rabbah
Midrash Shmuel:  commentary on Ethics of the Fathers by Rabbi Shmuel Uceda; 1540-1600; Sefad  Torah Books » Torah, The » Midrash Shmuel
Mikdash:  Sanctuary; generally synonymous with Mishkan, though also with Beit HaMikdash 
Mikoshesh:  Individual executed for desecrating the Shabbat while the Israelites were in the desert (Numbers 15). According to the Talmud, the motivation for his deed was to alert the Israelites to the severity of Shabbat desecration. Some identify this individual as Zelophehad[3 related articles]
Mikveh, the:  (lit. "collection or gathering [of water]"); ritual bathing pool in which a person immerses himself as part of the transition to ritual purity  [120 related articles] Halacha (Torah law) » Mikveh, the
Milchik:  (Yiddish) pertaining to milk and its by-products; a category of the kashrut laws. 
Minchah (afternoon prayer):  (lit. “the offering”); afternoon prayer service  [10 related articles] Prayer » G-d and Man » Minchah (afternoon prayer)
Minchah Gedolah:  Half a shaah zmanit after chatzot. This is the earliest time one may recite minchah, the afternoon prayer.  Day, The » Minchah Gedolah
Minchah Ketanah:  Nine and a half shaot zmaniot hours after sunrise. According to certain halachic authorities, it is preferable to wait until this time before praying minchah.  Day, The » Minchah Ketanah
Minhag (Jewish Custom):  Jewish custom or tradition.  [18 related articles] Halacha (Torah law) » Minhag (Jewish Custom)
Minhagim:  Jewish customs or traditions.  [18 related articles] Halacha (Torah law) » Minhagim
Minor Purim:  Semi-festive day in the intercalated first month of Adar in a leap year, whose date corresponds to the date in which Purim is actually celebrated that year in the following month of Adar.  [11 related articles] Calendar, The Jewish » Minor Purim
Minyan, The:  (lit. “number”); the quorum of ten necessary for communal prayer  [42 related articles] G-d and Man » Minyan, The
Miriam:  (a) (1400-1274 BCE) A prophetess, daughter of Amram and Jochebed, older sister of Aaron and Moses. After the Splitting of the Sea she led the women in song and dance. In her merit the Israelites were miraculously provided with water in the desert. The Talmud identifies her with the midwife Puah, who practiced midwifery in Egypt together with Shifrah (Jochebed), and defied Pharaoh’s orders to kill Israelite babies. (b) A common Jewish name.  [60 related articles]
Mishael:  (c, 400 BCE) Exiled to Babylon together with Daniel, Hananiah, and Azariah, where they were trained to be chamberlains in the royal court. Despite the personal risk involved, they refused to eat the royal non-kosher cuisine. They were later appointed to government positions. They were thrown into a furnace after refusing to bow to an idol erected by Nebuchadnezzar. Miraculously, they emerged unscathed, as described in the Book of Daniel
Mishael ben Uzziel:  (14th century BCE) First cousin of Miriam, Aaron, and Moses. Carried the bodies of Nadab and Abihu – together with his brother Elzaphan – out of the Holy of Holies
Mishkan, The (Tabernacle):  a) the tabernacle or temporary Sanctuary in which the Divine Presence dwelled during the Jews’ journeys through the desert; b) the portion of the tabernacle and the Temple building before the Holy of Holies which contained the inner altar, the table for the showbread, and the menorah  [97 related articles] G-d and Man » Mishkan, The (Tabernacle)
Mishlei:  The book of Tanach containing Solomon's wise sayings and parables.  [4 related articles] Tanach » Torah, The » Mishlei
Mishloach Manot (Sending Food Portions to a Friend on Purm):  food gifts exchanged on Purim  [34 related articles] Calendar, The Jewish » Mishloach Manot (Sending Food Portions to a Friend on Purm)
Mishnah:  The first compilation of the oral law, authored by Rabbi Yehudah HaNasi (approx. 200 C.E.); the germinal statements of law elucidated by the Gemara, together with which they constitute the Talmud; also, a single statement of law from this work.  [43 related articles] Torah Books » Torah, The » Mishnah
Mishpatim:  Mishpatim: (a) (lit. "judgments") Rational commandments, one of the three categories of mitzvot. (b) One of the 53 Torah portions (in the Book of Exodus). (c) The 13th book of Maimonides' Code of Law.  [10 related articles] Mitzvah; Mitzvot » Torah, The » Mishpatim
Misnaged:  Opponent of Chassidism. 
Mitzrayim:  the biblical name for Egypt 
Mitzvah Campaign, The Rebbe's:  campaign, specifically, campaigns initiated by the Lubavitcher Rebbe for the observance of mitzvot  [46 related articles] Torah, The » Mitzvah Campaign, The Rebbe's
Mitzvah; Mitzvot:  (lit. “commandment”); one of the Torah’s 613 Divine commandments; a good deed or religious precept; according to Chassidut, the word mitzvah stems from the root tzavta, attachment, the mitzvah creating a bond between G-d who commands and man who performs.  [2263 related articles]
Mitzvot:  (lit. “commandments”); one of the Torah’s 613 Divine commandments; a good deed or religious precept; according to Chassidut, the word mitzvah stems from the root tzavta, attachment, the mitzvah creating a bond between G-d who commands and man who performs.  [2263 related articles]
Moab:  Nation situated on the southern edge of the east bank of the Jordan River, descendant of Moab, the son of Lot. En route to the Promised Land, the Israelites were commanded not to conquer or battle Moab.  [5 related articles] Countries, Lands & Geographical Locations » Physical World, The » Moab
Mochin:  (lit. “brains”); the three intellectual sefirot, chochmah, binah and daat, also referred to as immot (‘mothers’) because they are the source of the middot, the emotional attributes 
Modeh Ani:  "I acknowledge..." prayer of thanksgiving recited immediately upon awakening in the morning  [45 related articles] G-d and Man » Modeh Ani
Modim:  (lit. “we thankfully acknowledge”); one of the blessings of the Amidah during which we are required to bow  [1 related article] Prayer » G-d and Man » Modim
Mohel:  The trained expert who performs ritual circumcisions.  [8 related articles] Life Cycles » Human Being, The » Mohel
Mordecai:  (4th century BCE) Leader of the Jews during the time of King Ahasuerus, first cousin of Esther. Refused to bow to Haman, thus incurring his wrath. Encouraged Esther to beseech the king to annul Haman's decree calling for the extermination of the Jews, as recorded in the Scroll of Esther, which is read every year on Purim. (b) A common Jewish name.  [23 related articles]
Moreh Nevuchim:  A philosophical work authored by Maimonides  [2 related articles] Torah, The » Moreh Nevuchim
Moreh Shiur:  table indicating the exact passages to be studied in various daily study courses 
Moreinu:  (lit. “our master”); title prefacing the proper name of a particularly important rabbi or scholar 
Moses:  (a) (1393-1273 BCE) Greatest prophet to ever live. Son of Amram and Jochebed, younger brother of Miriam and Aaron. Born in Egypt and raised by Pharaoh’s daughter. Fled to Midian, where he married Zipporah. Deployed by G-d to Egypt to liberate the Israelites. Visited ten plagues upon Egypt, led the Israelites out, and transmitted to them the Torah at Mt. Sinai. Led the Israelites for forty years while they traveled in the desert, all the while performing astonishing miracles and wonders. Died in the Plains of Moab, and succeeded by his disciple Joshua. (b) A common Jewish name.  [197 related articles]
Moshiach:  (lit. “the anointed one”) the Messiah. One of the 13 principles of the Jewish faith is that G-d will send the Messiah to return the Jews to the land of Israel, rebuild the Holy Temple and usher in the utopian Messianic Era.  [458 related articles]
Moshiach's Meal:  festive meal instituted by the Baal Shem Tov and held on the last day of Passover in anticipation of the Redemption  [15 related articles] Passover » Moshiach's Meal
Motzoei Shabbat:  the night following Shabbat day  [19 related articles] Calendar, The Jewish » Motzoei Shabbat
Mount Moriah:  the Temple Mount  [4 related articles]
Mourning:    [195 related articles] Human Being, The » Mourning
Muktzeh:  (Aramaic, lit. “set aside”); an object that may not be moved or handled on Shabbat or the festivals  [8 related articles] Shabbat » Muktzeh
Musaf:  "Additional" prayer service recited on Shabbat and festivals, commemorating the additional offerings brought in the Temple on these days  [4 related articles] G-d and Man » Musaf
Mussar:  (a) words of censure or admonishment; (b) Jewish philosophic works dealing with personal conduct and character, and methods for self-improvement in these areas 

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 0-9