Aharon: Aaron, the first High Priest

Akiva, Rabbi: one of the foremost sages of the Talmudic period, unlearned until the age of 40, whose ardent efforts enabled him to serve as a major figure in the transmission of the Torah tradition

Alter Rebbe, the (lit., “the Old Rebbe”): Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi (1745-1812), the founder of the *Chabad-*Lubavitch trend within the chassidic movement; author of the Tanya, a classic text of the chassidic tradition, and Shulchan Aruch HaRav, a classic legal code

Amcha Yidden: plain, honest folk

Avodah (lit., “service”): formerly, the sacrificial service in the Temple, and later, the service of prayer instituted in its stead

Avraham Avinu (lit., “our father Abraham”): the Patriarch Abraham

AriZal (lit., “the lion of blessed memory”): R. Isaac Luria (1534-1572), one of the leading Kabbalistic* luminaries

Baal Shem Tov, the (lit., “Master of the Good Name”): Rabbi Yisrael ben Eliezer (1698-1760), founder of Chassidism

Baal teshuvah (lit. “master of return”): a person who turns to G‑d in repentance, after willful or unknowing transgression of the Torah’s commandments

Beis HaMikdash: the (First or Second) Temple in Jerusalem

Chabad (acronym for the Hebrew words meaning “wisdom, under­standing, and knowledge”): the approach to Chassidism which fil­ters its spiritual and emotional power through the intellect; a syno­nym for Chabad is *Lubavitch, the name of the town where this movement originally flourished

Chai Elul (lit., “the Eighteenth of Elul”): the birthday of both the Baal Shem Tov (1698) and the Alter Rebbe (1745)

Chanukah (lit., “dedication”): eight-day festival beginning 25 Kislev, commemorating the Maccabees’ rededication of the Temple in the second century B.C.E., and marked by the kindling of lights

Chassidus: chassidic thought

Chinuch: (lit. “dedication” or “education”)

Chizkiyahu: Hezekiah, one of the last righteous kings in the First Temple Period

Elul: the sixth month of the Jewish year when counting from Nissan (or the twelfth when counting from Tishrei); a month devoted to repentance and soul-searching in preparation for the Days of Awe

Eretz Yisrael: the Land of Israel

Gematria: the Hebrew letters also serve as numerals. Since G‑d created the world through speech, the numerical equivalence between words indicates an intrinsic connection

Haftorah (lit., “the final passage”): the passage from the Prophets read in the synagogue after the conclusion of the Torah reading

Haggadah (lit., “telling”): the text from which the *Seder service is con­ducted on the first two nights of Passover (outside of *Eretz Yis­rael, and in Eretz Yisrael on the first night only)

Halachah (pl., halachos): (a) the body of Torah law; (b) a particular law

Holy of Holies: the inner chamber of the Temple where the Divine Presence was revealed. In the First Temple, it contained the Holy Ark

Kabbalah (lit., “received tradition”): the Jewish mystical tradition

Kabbalas ol (lit., “the acceptance of [G‑d’s] yoke”): an unswerving, self­less commitment to carrying out the Will of G‑d

Kislev: the ninth month of the Jewish year when counting from Nissan (or the third when counting from Tishrei)

Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev, Rabbi: one of the foremost disciples of the Maggid of Mezritch; renowned for his all-encompassing love and care for the Jewish people and for every individual Jew

Likkutei Dibburim: a selection of the public talks of the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn (see *Previous Rebbe)

Likkutei Torah: a collection of chassidic discourses by Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi (see *Alter Rebbe)

Lubavitch: name of the village in White Russia which for a century was the home of the Rebbeim of *Chabad, and which is hence used as a name for the movement

Maamar: a formal chassidic discourse

Maccabees: the sons of Mattisyahu the priest who inspired the revolt against the Syrian-Greek rulers of Eretz Yisrael which culminated in the *Chanukah miracle

Machzor: the special prayer book used on holidays

Maggid of Mezritch (lit., “the preacher of Mezritch”): R. Dov Ber (d. 1772), disciple and successor of the *Baal Shem Tov; mentor of the *Alter Rebbe

Mashiach (lit., “the anointed one”): the Messiah

Matzah: the unleavened bread eaten on Passover (see *Pesach)

Megillah (lit., “scroll”): the Biblical book of Esther; the parchment scroll on which that book is recorded

Menorah: the golden candelabrum lit in the Temple

Mesirus nefesh (lit., “sacrifice of the soul”): the willingness to sacrifice oneself, either through martyrdom, or through a selfless life, for the sake of the Torah and its commandments

Midrash: classical collection of the Sages’ homiletical teachings on the Bible

Mishnah: the germinal statements of law elucidated by the Gemara, together with which they constitute the Talmud

Mitteler Rebbe, the (lit., “the Middle Rebbe”; Yid.): R. Dov Ber (1773-1827), son and successor of the *Alter Rebbe

Mitzvah (pl., mitzvos; lit., “command”): a religious obligation; one of the Torah’s 613 Commandments

Moshe Rabbeinu (lit., “Moses our Teacher”): the “father of the proph­ets,” who redeemed the Jews from Egypt and brought them to the revelation at Mount Sinai

Nasi: (a) in Biblical times, the head of any one of the Twelve Tribes; (b) in later generations, the civil and/or spiritual head of the Jewish community at large

Neilah (lit., “locking”): the fifth prayer service recited before the con­clusion of Yom Kippur, when the gates of heaven are being locked

Nigleh (lit., “the revealed [knowledge]”): the study of Jewish law as reflected in the Talmud, and in the works of the subsequent com­mentators and codifiers

Nissan: the first month of the Jewish year according to certain reckon­ings, or the seventh when counting the months from Tishrei; the month of the Exodus from Egypt

Pardes (lit., “orchard”): the metaphorical term used to refer to (a) the four levels of Torah interpretation: pshat (the literal meaning of the text), remez (its allusions), derush (the homilies that can be derived from it), and sod (its mystical secrets); (b) more particularly, the study and experience of those mystical secrets

Parshah: portion of the Torah read publicly every week

Parshas...: the Parshah of [a certain *Shabbos or festive occasion]

Pesach: Passover, seven-day festival beginning on 15 Nissan, com­memorating the Exodus from Egypt

Pnimiyus HaTorah (lit., “the inner dimension of [the Torah]”): the mystical dimension of Torah study

Pesach Sheni (lit., “the second Passover”): opportunity given to certain persons who were unable to offer the Paschal sacrifice to do so one month later, on 14 Iyar

Previous Rebbe, the: Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn (1880-1950; also known by the acronym of his name as the Rebbe Rayatz), the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, who headed the movement’s active resis­tance against the Communist suppression of religion in Soviet Russia and who transferred the movement to the US during World War II

Purim (lit., “lots”): one-day festival falling on 14 Adar and commemo­rating the miraculous salvation of the Jews of the Persian Empire in the fourth century B.C.E.

Rambam (acronym for Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon; 1135-1204): Mai­monides, one of the foremost Jewish thinkers of the Middle Ages; his Mishneh Torah is one of the pillars of Jewish law, and his Guide to the Perplexed, one of the classics of Jewish philosophy

Rashi (acronym for Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki; 1040-1105): the author of the foremost commentaries to the Torah and the Talmud

Rebbe (lit., “my teacher [or master]”): saintly Torah leader who serves as spiritual guide to a following of chassidim

Rebbe Maharash (acronym for Moreinu (“Our teacher”) HaRav Shmuel): R. Shmuel Schneersohn of Lubavitch (1834-1882); the son and successor of the *Tzemach Tzedek

Rebbe Rashab: (acronym for Rabbi Sholom DovBer): Rabbi Sholom DovBer Schneersohn (1860-1920), the son and successor of the *Rebbe Maharash, who founded the Tomchei Temimim Yeshivah in Lubavitch in 1897

Rosh HaShanah (lit., “head of the year”): the New Year festival, falling on 1 and 2 Tishrei

Sanhedrin: the High Court of 71 sages in Jerusalem which served as the supreme authority on Jewish law

Shabbos: the Sabbath

Shavuos (lit., “weeks”): festival commemorating the Giving of the Torah at Sinai, in Eretz Yisrael falling on 6 Sivan, and in the Dias­pora on 6-7 Sivan

Shechinah: the Divine Presence

Shlomo: King David’s son and successor, who built the First Temple in the tenth century B.C.E.

Shmuel: the prophet Samuel

Shulchan Aruch: the standard Code of Jewish Law compiled by Rabbi Yosef Caro in the mid-sixteenth century

Shulchan Aruch HaRav (or “the Alter Rebbe’s *Shulchan Aruch”) is the later edition compiled by the *Alter Rebbe

Shvat: the eleventh month of the Jewish year when counting from Nis­san (or the fifth when counting from Tishrei)

Simchas Beis HaShoevah: the celebration which accompanied the water libation in the Temple on *Sukkos

Simchas Torah (lit., “the rejoicing of the Torah”): the final day (in Eretz Yisrael, the eighth day; in the diaspora, the ninth) of the festival of *Sukkos on which the annual cycle of Torah readings is completed; this event is celebrated with exuberant rejoicing

Sukkah (lit., “booth”; pl., sukkos): a temporary dwelling in which we are commanded to live during the festival of *Sukkos

Sukkos (lit., “Booths”): seven-day festival (eight days in the Diaspora) beginning on 15 Tishrei, taking its name from the temporary dwelling in which one lives during this period

Tammuz: the fourth month of the Jewish year when counting from Nis­san (or the tenth when counting from Tishrei)

Tanach: the Bible

Tanya: the classic text of *Chabad chassidic thought authored by the *Alter Rebbe

Tefillin: small leather boxes each containing four Biblical passages which the Torah commands adult males to wear daily during morning prayers

Tehillim (lit., “praises”): the Book of Psalms

Teshuvah (lit., “return [to G‑d]”): repentance

Teves: the tenth month of the Jewish year when counting from Nissan (or the fourth when counting for Tishrei)

Thirteen Attributes of Mercy: G‑d’s boundless capacity for compassion, especially as expressed in the granting of atonement

Tishah BeAv (lit., “the Ninth of Av”): fast commemorating the Destruc­tion of both the First and the Second Temple

Tishrei: the first month of the Jewish year according to certain reckon­ings, or the seventh when counting the months from Nissan; the month which includes *Rosh HaShanah, *Yom Kippur and *Sukkos

Tu BiShvat (lit., “the Fifteenth of Shvat”): “The New Year of the Trees,” celebrated every year as a minor festival

Tzaddik: righteous man

Tzedakah: charity

Tzemach Tzedek: R. Menachem Mendel Schneersohn (1789-1866); son-in-law and successor of the Mitteler Rebbe; known by the title of the collection of Responsa which he authored

Ushpizin (“honored guests”): seven leading figures in Jewish history who make noncorporeal visits to our sukkos on the holiday of that name

VeAl HaNissim (lit., “And for the miracles”): the opening phrase of a passage included in the daily prayers and the grace after meals on Chanukah and Purim, thankfully acknowledging the miracles G‑d wrought on those days

Yaakov Avinu: the Patriarch Jacob

Yahrzeit (Yid.): the anniversary of a person’s passing

Yechidah: the highest of the five levels of the soul, the rung in which the soul is in absolute unity with G‑d

Yechezkel: the prophet Ezekiel

Yehoshua: Joshua, the leader of the Jewish people after Moses

Yehudah: Judah

Yehudah HaNasi, Rabbi (“Rabbi Yehudah the Prince”): leader of the Jewish people in Eretz Yisrael shortly after the Destruction of the Second Temple; compiler of the *Mishnah

Yeshivah: Rabbinical academy

Yetzer HaRa: the Evil Inclination

Yitzchak Avinu: the Patriarch Isaac

Yom Kippur: the Day of Atonement, fast day falling on 10 Tishrei and climaxing the Days of Awe

Yud-Beis Tammuz: the twelfth of Tammuz; the Previous Rebbe’s birth­day and the anniversary of his release from capital sentence and imprisonment in Soviet Russia in 1927

Yud Shvat (lit., “the Tenth of Shvat”): anniversary of the passing of the *Previous Rebbe in 1950

Yud-Tes Kislev (lit., “the Nineteenth of Kislev”): anniversary of the passing of the Maggid of Mezritch in 1772, and anniversary of the release from capital sentence of his disciple, the *Alter Rebbe, in 1798

Zohar (lit., “radiance”): the classic text of the *Kabbalah