midterm #2

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Herem

a ban of excommunication or ostracism; most effective sanction to enforce the authority of the rabbi in pre-modern Jewish society

Hesder

"arrangement"; an option that allows religious soldiers in Israel to combine religious study with military service

Hevra Kaddisha

aramaic for "holy society"; a voluntary burial society

Hitlahavut

"bursting into flame"; the Hasidic ideal of religious ecstasy or fervor, esp. in prayer

Holy cherub

in the mysticism of the German pietists, a manifestation of divine glory

Huppah

canopy under which jewish ceremonies are conducted, symbolizing the household now shared by the newly married couple

Jewish Renewal

a contemporary Jewish religious movement that incorporates elements of Hasidism, Kabbalah, meditation and various New Age concepts

Kach

an illegal ultra-nationalist religious movement in Israel founded by Meir Kahane and advocating the removal of Arabs from Israel

Kaddish

A prayer consisting of praises of God that is recited at the conclusions of units of the liturgy or of religious study

Kalam

a Muslim school of theology that influenced Jewish thinkers, it applied to rational methods to the analysis and clarification of religious beliefs

Karaites

a movement that arose in the Middle Ages, whose adherents reject rabbinical oral tradition and acknowledge only the authority of the Bible

Kavod

"(Divine) glory"; a spiritual force that serves as the intermediary between God and the created universe in the mystical speculations of the Hasidei Ashkenaz movement

Kedushah

"santification"; the 3rd section of the 18 benedictions prayer. When recited in a congregational setting it incorporates verses from the chariot visions of Ezekiel and Isaiah

Kelippot

"husks or shards-in the Kabbalistic doctrine of Rabbi Isaac Luria, these are the remains of the shattered vessels that could not contain the divine light. They are the metaphysical source of evil in the world

Kerovah

An elaborate form of liturgical poetry designed to accompany the recitation of the Amidah prayer

Ketubbah

A Jewish marriage contract, whose main purpose is to guarantee the support of the wife in the event of divorce or widowhood. Also outlines the couple's mutual obligations during the marriage

Ketuvim

"Sacred writings"

Khazars

a seminomadic Turkic nation whose royalty and nobility converted to Judaism in the late 8th and early 9th century

Kiddush

"sanctification"-a liturgical ceremony, usually recited over a cup of wine, inaugurating the Sabbath or a festival

Kiddushin

"sanctificationS"-a term for betrothal

Kohen (kohanim)

a priest. In Judaism, all priests are patrilineal descendants of Aaron, Moses's brother, who was designated 1st high priest

Kol Nidrei

Aramaic: "all the vows"- a ceremony for the cancellation of vows, recited before the evening service of the Day of Atonement

Kolel

An institution for advanced talmudic studies for married students

Kvater (m)/kvaterins (f)

Yiddish: "godfather"-an individual who is honored by being asked to carry the baby in to a circumcision

Law of Return

A law passed by the Israeli parliament in 1951 recognizing all Jews as Israeli expatriates and allowing them automatic citizenship

Levirate Marriage

a biblical law requiring a childless widow to marry her late husband's brother, or to undergo a ritual ceremony of release

Levites

One of the 12 tribes of Israel, descended from Jacob's son Lei. The Levites were designated a holy tribe without a territory, and were supported by tithes

Leviticus Rabbah

a work of aggadic midrash on the book of Leviticus

Lilith

in folklore and kabbalistic traditions; a female demon, usually the queen of the demons, who threaten newborn infants

Logos

Greek: "word" "reason"; in the philosophy of Philo of Alexandria, the rational principle of the universe that serves as the intermediary between God and the physical world

Lulav

the green, closed frond of the date palm. It is one of the "four species" taken in the ritual processions of the Feast of Tabernacles

Lurianic Kabbalah

the interpretation of the Kabbalah taught by Rabbi Isaac Luria in 16th century Safed

Maccabee

Epithet attached to Judah son of Mattathias, the 1st military leader of the Hasmonean uprising against the Hellenistic forces. Means "hammer", refers to his might or physical features-books about the uprising were titled "Maccabees"

Malkhuyyot

"kingship"-the theme of the 1st section of the Additional Service for Rosh Hashanah, stressing the theme of God's absolute sovereignty over the universe

Maror

"bitter herb"; a required food at the Passover seder, symbolizing the bitterness of the slavery in Egypt

Marranos

a derogatory term for Conversos

Masorti movement

"traditional"; the name used by Conservative Judaism in Israel and some other localities

Massekhet

"tractate"; a section of the Mishnah or Talmud, usually dealing with a specific topic. Tractates are divided up into chapters, and several tractates make up an order (seder)

Matrilineal descent

The rule in rabbinic law that counts as Jewish a person who is born of a Jewish mother

Matzah

unleavened bread, eaten at Passover to recall how the Israelites left Egypt in haste and their dough did not have time to rise

Megillah

"scroll"; especially the scroll of the book of Esther that is read ritually at Purim

Merkahah mysticism

"chariot"; an esoteric mystical discipline based primarily on the prophet Ezekiel's vision of a chariot composed of angelic beings bearing a mysterious human-like figure

Midrash

rabbinic teachings related to the Bible

Mikveh

a pool of water used for purification

Min

in rabbinic literature: a heretic

Minor Prophets

a volume in the Nevi'im section of the Bible containing 12 shorter works that are treated as a single book

Mishnah

"to recite from memory"; authoritative collection of Jewish oral traditions, mostly legal matters, organized by subject-compiled by Rabbi Judah the Patriarch in the early 3rd century BC--genre of oral teachings not connected to scripture

Mishneh Torah

"second Law"-Hebrew term rendered as "Deuteronomy" in Greek. Title adopted to designate Maimonides comprehensive code of Jewish law

Mizrachi movement

Hebrew abbreviation for "spiritual center"--religious Zionist movement

Mohel

one who performs circumcision

Moriah

The location of the mountain where Abraham was commanded to sacrifice his son; traditionally identified with the Temple Mount in Jerusalem

Musaf

"additional"; the additional sacrifices offered on Sabbath and festivals; by analogy: the additional prayer services on those days

Nasi

"prince"; title given to the communal and judicial head of the Palestinian Jewish community

Navi

"prophet"; one who was chosen to deliver messages from God

Negative theology

in Maimonides's philosophy: the belief that the use of attributes in the Bible does not convey positive info about God, but serves to deny any deficiencies

Neo-Orthodoxy

the interpretation of traditional Judaism associated with Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch

Neoplatonism

a philosophical approach based on the teachings of Plato and Plotinus that stresses the existence of the transcendent One from which emanated the diversity of the material world

Neturei Karta

Aramaic: "guardians of the city"; a traditionalist religious movement that virulently opposes Zionism

Nevi'im

"prophets"-the 2nd division in the Jewish classification of the Bible

New Christians

Jews who converted to Christianity at the time of the Spanish Inquisition

Niddah

A menstruating woman, or one who has not become purified of the impurity caused by menstruation

Ninth of Av

the date of an annual day of fasting and mourning for the destruction of the two Jerusalem Temples and several other national catastrophes

Noachide commandments

7 moral and religious obligations that are considered binding on all of humanity (all of whom are descendants from Noah)

Odes to Zion

Poignant Hebrew poems about Jerusalem authored by Judah Halevy

Omer

"sheaf"; a sheaf of barley offered on the 2nd day of Passover, beginning a count of 7 weeks until Shavuot, the Feast of Weeks. term is used to refer to the process of counting the 7 weeks

Orthodox Union

the main organization of modern or centrist Orthodox congregations in America

Other Side

In the Kabbalah, the realm of evil. "Sitra Ahra"

Passover

the springtime festival commemorating the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt

Patriarchal era

the generations of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the biblical ancestors of the Jewish people

Patrilineal descent

according to a 1983 decision of the American Reform movement, children of a Jewish father should be accepted as Jewish even if the mother was not Jewish

Pentateuch

"the 5 books of Moses"--the Torah

Pesah

Hebrew for "Passover"

Peshat

"simple"; literal or contextual exegesis

Pesher

"interpretation"; a genre of literature found at Qumran in which biblical texts are interpreted with reference to recent events or specific history of the Qumran sect

Pesiqta

"division"-midrashic expositions for "special" occasions, such as festivals and other days that are not part of the sequential cycle of readings from the Torah and Prophets

Petihah/Petihtah

"opening"/"introduction"-a rhetorical structure for introducing midrashic homilies, esp. by commencing with a verse from another part of the Bible, and developing a sermon that culminates with the beginning of the passage that is read that day in the synagogue

Pharisees

"Separate"-a 2nd Temple movement that encouraged Torah scholarship as a religious value, and maintained strict standards of purity and dietary observance

Pittsburgh Platform

Policy statement of the American Reform movement in 1885, expressing strong opposition to Jewish peoplehood, ritual and other features of traditional Judaism

Piyyut

Hebrew liturgical poetry

Positive Historical Judaism

an evolutionary cultural conception of the Jewish religion advocated by Zacharias Frankel

Practical Kabbalah

the use of cabalistic principles in order to manipulate reality, a form of magic

Primordial Man (Adam Kadmon)

a form of cabalistic symbolism according to which the sefirot are configured as limbs of a human form

Pseudepigrapha

ancient Jewish texts, many of them of an apocalyptic nature, that claimed to be written or revealed by biblical figures

Purim

"feast of lots"; a holiday commemorating the events recounted in the book of Esther, when the Jews of the Persian Empire were saved from Haman's plot to murder them. aka "Feast of Esther"

Purim-Shpils

"purim plays"; theatrical productions traditionally enacted on Purim

Qorban

"sacrifice"

Qumran

an archaelogical site in the Judean desert near the Dead Sea where a library of manuscript scrolls was discovered from the 2nd Temple era. It is widely believed that Qumran was the site of an Essene community

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