Pronunciation

Ahavat Olam

Ahavat Olam n. Hebrew (ah-hah-VAHT oh-LAHM) Literally, “Eternal Love.” 1. The initial words of the prayer that precedes the Shema in the evening service. It expresses God’s eternal love for the people of Israel. 2. ahavat olam Generally expressed as “love of the world.” A term to describe the motivation behind giving tzedakah or doing …

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agunah

agunah n. Hebrew (ah-goo-NAH) Literally, “anchored.” A woman whose husband has deserted her or simply disappeared. Without either a get, the Jewish divorce decree that a Jewish man must grant to his wife, or proof of his death, she cannot remarry, according to Jewish law. While Orthodox and Conservative rabbis generally require a get, Reform …

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aggadah

aggadah n. Hebrew (ah-gah-DAH); pl. aggadot (ah-gah-DOTE) Literally, “narrative.” Aggadot are Jewish stories that are presented in the Talmud along with halakhah, the body of Jewish law. Unlike halakhah, these legends, historical stories, jokes, ethical tales, and sermons are not legally binding; their purpose is to explain and elaborate on Jewish laws and customs. noun …

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Adon Olam

Adon Olam n. Hebrew (ah-DOAN oh-LAM) Literally, “Lord of the world” or “eternal Lord.” One of the songs traditionally sung to end Shabbat and holiday morning services. Sung by the entire congregation together in Hebrew, the words to “Adon Olam” date from the Middle Ages. The hymn praises eternal God, “who rules everything and will …

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afikoman

afikoman n. Hebrew (ah-fee-KO-men) From a Greek word meaning “dessert,” a piece of matzah that is hidden during the Passover seder. On the seder table are three symbolic matzot covered with a cloth. Following the text of the haggadah, the leader breaks the middle matzah in half and hides one half—the afikoman—somewhere in the house. …

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Adoshem

Adoshem n. Hebrew (ah-doe-SHEM) A contraction of two of the Hebrew words for God: Adonai and ha-Shem. Adonai is the word most often used in prayers; traditional Jews use the term ha-Shem when referring to God. noun Eisenberg, J., Scolnic, E., & Jewish Publication Society. (2001). The JPS dictionary of Jewish words. Over 1000 entries …

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Adonai

Adonai n. Hebrew (ah-doe-NYE) Literally, “my Lord.” Another name for God, and the one used most often in prayers. Because God’s name is so sacred, it is not spoken as it is written. The Hebrew letters (yud, hay, vav, and hay) that spell the name are read only as Adonai. See also Adoshem, ha-Shem, and …

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Adar II

Adar II n. Hebrew (ah-DAR TWO) Seven times in every 19 years, an extra month is inserted in the Jewish calendar, creating a leap year. Adar II comes after the month of Adar, in March or April. noun Eisenberg, J., Scolnic, E., & Jewish Publication Society. (2001). The JPS dictionary of Jewish words. Over 1000 …

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Adar

Adar n. Hebrew (ah-DAR) The twelfth month in the Jewish calendar, it falls around February or March. In leap years, when a second Adar is added, the first is called Adar I. noun Eisenberg, J., Scolnic, E., & Jewish Publication Society. (2001). The JPS dictionary of Jewish words. Over 1000 entries for Jewish holidays and …

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