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Publisher's Foreword

Rosh HaShanah

The Fast of Gedaliah

The Ten Days of Teshuvah

Yom Kippur


Simchas Torah

Yud-Tes Kislev


The Tenth of Teves

Yud Shvat

The New Year of Trees

The Fast of Esther



Sefiras HaOmer

Pesach Sheni

Lag BaOmer


Yud-Beis Tammuz

The Three Weeks


Chai Elul

Glossary and Biographical Index

Timeless Patterns In Time
Chassidic Insights Into The Cycle Of The Jewish Year
Adapted from the Published Talks of the Lubavitcher Rebbe
Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson Shlita

Glossary and Biographical Index

by Rabbi Eliyahu Touger Edited by Uri Kaploun

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  Chai Elul: Breathing New Life Into Our Divine Service 

Adarthe twelfth month of the Jewish year when counting from Nissan (or the sixth when counting from Tishrei); the month in which Purim is celebrated
AharonAaron, the first High Priest
ahavas Yisraelloving one's fellow Jew
Akiva, Rabbione 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
Amalekthe first nation to attack the Jews after their exodus from Egypt; in later times, a perpetual enemy of our people
amcha Yiddenplain, honest folk
Avthe fifth month of the Jewish year when counting from Nissan (or the eleventh when counting from Tishrei); the month in which both Temples were destroyed
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"): acronym for R. Isaac Luria (1534-1572), one of the leading luminaries of the *Kabbalah
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
Bein HaMetzarimthe Three Weeks of semi-mourning from the Seventeenth of Tammuz to *Tishah BeAv, commemorating the period between the fall of Jerusalem and the Destruction of the Temple
Beis HaMikdashthe (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
Chavakukthe prophet Habakkuk
Chai Elul(lit., "the Eighteenth of Elul"): the birthday of both the *Baal Shem Tov (1698) and the *Alter Rebbe (1745)
chametzleaven which is forbidden to be eaten on Passover (see *Pesach)
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
Chassiduschassidic thought
cheder (pl., chadarim)school in which young children learn reading skills and begin the study of the Torah
chinuch(lit. "dedication" or "education")
ChizkiyahuHezekiah, one of the last righteous kings in the First Temple Period
Elulthe 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 Yisraelthe Land of Israel
gematriathe 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
Iyarthe second month of the Jewish year when counting from Nissan (or the eighth when counting from Tishrei)
Holy of Holiesthe 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
Kislevthe ninth month of the Jewish year when counting from Nissan (or the third when counting from Tishrei)
Lag BaOmerthe 33rd day of the *Omer, a minor festival falling between *Pesach and *Shavuos
Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev, Rabbione 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 Dibburima selection of the public talks of the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn (see *Previous Rebbe)
Likkutei Toraha collection of chassidic discourses by Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi (see *Alter Rebbe)
Lubavitchname 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
maamara formal chassidic discourse
Maccabeesthe sons of Mattisyahu the priest who inspired the revolt against the Syrian-Greek rulers of Eretz Yisrael which culminated in the *Chanukah miracle
machzorthe special prayer book used on holidays
Maharal of PragueRabbi Yehudah Loewe (c. 1525-1609), one of the foremost figures in Jewish law and thought
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
matzahthe unleavened bread eaten on Passover (see *Pesach)
Megillah(lit., "scroll"): the Biblical book of Esther; the parchment scroll on which that book is recorded
menorahthe 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
Midrashclassical collection of the Sages' homiletical teachings on the Bible
mikveha ritual bath used by women for purification after emerging from the state of niddah, and used by both men and women in their endeavors to attain spiritual self-refinement
Mishnahthe 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
Nissanthe 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
Omer(lit., a certain measure of grain): the period of 49 days counted (see *Sefiras HaOmer) from the second day of *Pesach to the eve of *Shavuos
"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
Parshahportion of the Torah read publicly every week
Parshas...the Parshah of [a certain *Shabbos or festive occasion]
PesachPassover, seven-day festival beginning on 15 Nissan, commemorating the Exodus from Egypt
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
pnimiyus HaTorah(lit., "the inner dimension of [the Torah]"): the mystical dimension of Torah study
Previous Rebbe, theRabbi 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
Raaya Mehemna(lit., "the faithful shepherd," alluding to Moses): the title of one of the parts of the *Zohar
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
Sanhedrinthe High Court of 71 sages in Jerusalem which served as the supreme authority on Jewish law
Seder(lit., "order"): the order of service observed at home on the first two nights of Passover (see *Pesach)
Sefiras HaOmer(lit., "the counting of the Omer"): the mitzvah to count the 49 days from the second day of Passover to the eve of *Shavuos
Shabbosthe Sabbath
ShaulSaul, Israel's first king
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
Shechinahthe Divine Presence
Shlitaan acronym for the Hebrew words meaning: "May he live a long and good life"
ShlomoKing David's son and successor, who built the First Temple in the tenth century B.C.E.
Shmuelthe prophet Samuel
Shulchan Aruchthe 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
Shvatthe eleventh month of the Jewish year when counting from Nissan (or the fifth when counting from Tishrei)
Simchas Beis HaShoevahthe 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
Sivanthe third month of the Jewish year when counting from Nissan (or the ninth when counting from Tishrei); the month in which the Torah was given
Tammuzthe fourth month of the Jewish year when counting from Nissan (or the tenth when counting from Tishrei)
Tanachthe Bible
Tanyathe classic text of *Chabad chassidic thought authored by the *Alter Rebbe
tefillinsmall 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
Tevesthe tenth month of the Jewish year when counting from Nissan (or the fourth when counting for Tishrei)
Thirteen Attributes of MercyG-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
Tishreithe 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
tzaddikrighteous man
Tzemach TzedekR. 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 Avinuthe Patriarch Jacob
yahrzeit(Yid.) the anniversary of a person's passing
Yechezkelthe prophet Ezekiel
yechidahthe highest of the five levels of the soul, the rung in which the soul is in absolute unity with G-d
YehoshuaJoshua, the leader of the Jewish people after Moses
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
yeshivahRabbinical academy
Yetzer HaRathe Evil Inclination
Yetzer Tovthe Good Inclination
Yitzchak Avinuthe Patriarch Isaac
Yom Kippurthe Day of Atonement, fast day falling on 10 Tishrei and climaxing the Days of Awe
Yud-Beis Tammuzthe 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

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