's Glossary of Jewish Terms

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This is a glossary of Hebrew terms encountered on these web pages. It is not a complete glossary. It originated as a glossary of just the kashrut pages, but has extended to the full pages. So there is a bias in the terms selected to kashrut subjects. The hope is that this will become a general glossary of Jewisg terms. Please let me know any terms you believe should be added to the list.


Discussion in the Talmud which is folkloric or speculative. Illustrative - but not necessarily the source for halacha.
A Jew that lives in the Northern European areas of Germany, Poland, Austria, and Russia, or is descended from such a Jew.
Hebrew - "meat"
Abbr - "Before the Common Era". Read C.E. that follows.
Abbr - "Common Era". Since Judaism does not believe in the divinity of Jesus, Using the phrase A.D. and B.C. (Anno Domini and Before Christ) to denote years would violate our faith. As an alternative - we use B.C.E and C.E.
Hebrew - "inspection" or "search". The search the shochet does of the internal organs to insure the animals fitness for consumption. Bedikah Chametz is the search for Chametz (unkosher for Pesah food) before Pesah.
Birkot Hamazon
Hebrew - "Blessing of the Food". The blessing recited after eating.
Committee on Jewish Law and Practice
Hebrew - "new". The new harvest of grain, that in Israel can not be eaten til after Pesah. In the Galut opinion differs on whether it can be eaten (usual practice is that it can).
Hebrew - "milk"
Chalav Yisrael
Hebrew - "Milk of a Jew"
Hebrew - The dough that is separated in reminder of the portion of dough brought to the Temple (also called challah). The special bread baked of Holidays has assumed this name because of this procedure.
Hebrew - The fat located around the major organs. Reserved for the Temple sacrifice and thus forbidden as food.
Hebrew - "severity" or "restriction". A extra rule or practice one voluntarily takes on as a personal fence around the Torah.
Committee on Jewish Law and Standards (CJLS)
Committee set up by the Conservative RA to interpret and revise Rabbinic Law and tradition.
Abbrev. - "Consult Your Local Authority on Halacha". This is a disclaimer. Rulings on Jewish Law should be made but your own local autority on halacha, not determined by web pages. Also I (as the author) have neither the education or background to properly dictate halacha. Use the information here for your own education, and in actual practice - CYLAH.
Hebrew - "blood"
Greek - "dispersed". The Jews living outside Israel (dispersed by the destruction of the second Temple).
Yiddish - "of meat". Describing food that contain meat products, or the equipment that is used with fleishig food.
Hebrew - "exile" or "captivity". The Jews living outside of Israel.
Hebrew - from gamar - "to complete" - The rabbinic portion of the Talmud that discusses the Mishna.
Gid Hanaseh
Hebrew - "sinew of the sciatic". The sciatic nerve. Reserved for the Temple sacrifice and thus forbidden as food.
Yiddish - "smooth". Used to describe meat that does not have lung lesions (thus is smooth). Also used to describe anyone is extremely strict in their practice (sometimes pejoratively).
Hebrew - "to walk". An term that encompasses the legal aspects of Jewish practice. What is the halacha = What is the Jewish law. Halachic process is the process of developing halacha.
Hebrew - "supervision". Rabbinic supervision of a food product or facility
A Symbol or seal (originally always a seal with the Mashgiach's name) placed on a preprepared product certifying its kashrut.
A Roman historian of Jewish origins who lived from about 40 C.E. to 100 C.E. His work 'The Jewish Wars' written on the comtemporary Roman wars to fight the Jewish uprisings are the best accounts (from a Roman viewpoint) of the jews of that time.
Hebrew - "to be kosher" - verb. To make of meet the requirements of being kosher.
Hebrew - "fit". adj. being ritually fit.
Hebrew - "fitness". The term to generally describe the laws of food.
A family who lead the successful revolt against the Syrians to retake Israel and Jerusalem in 167 B.C.E. and chronicaled in theh book of same name and celebrated by the holiday of Chanukah. Mattathius was the father (and priest), on his death his son Judah took of command.
Hebrew - "overseer". The person who supervises the preparation and serving of Kosher food.
Yiddish - "of milk". Describing food that contain milk products, or the equipment that is used with milchig food.
Hebrew - "study (by oral repetition)" - The Oral part of the Torah law (as found in the Talmud).
Hebrew - "Commandment" - A term with two parlances; common and halachic. The common parlance means a good deed. The accurate meaning is a point of Jewish law or a commandment.
Hebrew - "carcass" or "carrion" - Meat that comes from an animal not killed by ritual means (Shechita). Not fit for consumption.
Yiddish - "neutral". Describing food that contains neither milk or meat, or equipment used with such food.
Pirke Avot
Hebrew - "Saying of our Fathers". Talmudic collection of saying of our great sages.
Rabbi Moses ben Maimon or Maimonides. Sage of 12th century. Born in Spain and lived in Morocco and Cairo. Wrote "Mishneh Torah" and "Guide to the Perplexed". First great codifier.
Greek - "response". A rabbinic review and decision on a particular question of religious practice.
A Jew from Spain, Africa, Asia, Southern France, Yugoslavia, Greece or Turkey, or a Jew descended from such a Jew.
Hebrew - "slaughtering". The practice of Kosher slaughter.
Hebrew - "slaughterer". A person trained in the rituals of slaughter, who is allowed to perform shechita.
Shulchan Aruch
The last major codification of Jewish law agreed on by all sects. Written in the mid 16th century by Joseph Karo and Moses Isserling.
Hebrew - "fat". The general term for fat which is permissible to eat (as opposed to chelev).
Hebrew - "neutral". Describing food that contains neither milk or meat, or equipment used with such food.
Hebrew - "booths". One of the three main Jewish pligrimage holidays that lasts eight days starting with the 15th of Tishrei (Just after Yom Kippur). Celebrated but eating (and living) out side in a booth or Sukkah. Also the traditional time for the repurification/rededication of the Temple.
Hebrew - from taraf "to tear". Unfit food. Literally from meat torn from a living animal.
Hebrew - "pure" or "ritually clean".
Hebrew - "decrees". Rabbinic rulings in the middle ages generally forbidding a practice allowed under Jewish law.
Compilation of the Oral Law (mishna) and the original rabbinic ruling on it (Gamara).
Hebrew - "impure" or "ritually unclean".
Tevilat Kaylim
Hebrew - "ritual immersion". The consecration of metal and glass utensils in a mikvah or a stream. Sometimes referred to as "toiffoling"
see T'refah
Va'ad Hakashrut
Hebrew - "committee of kashrut". A group or organization that performs mashgiah. Sometimes known as a Va'ad for short.
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Last updated on Aug 1, 1999 at 10:01 PM

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copyright 1999 - Steven Ross Weintraub