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What You Need and What You are Needed For

No Small Matter

A Shepherd of Souls

Reaching Outward

Digging For Roots

Jewels in the Streets

Opening the Iron Fist

Shepherding His Flock

Unveiling Hidden Treasures

Precious Souls

"The Language of the Wise is Healing"

"Rejoice O Barren One"

Beyond Nature's Limits

Sparks of Greatness

More Than During His Lifetime


Glossary and Biographical Index

To Know and To Care - Volume 2
An Anthology of Chassidic Stories
about the Lubavitcher Rebbe,
Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson

Glossary and Biographical Index

by Eliyahu and Malka Touger

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An asterisk indicates a cross reference within this Glossary. All non-English entries are Hebrew unless otherwise indicated.

"770"770 Eastern Parkway, N.Y., the address of Lubavitch World Headquarters
Adarthe twelfth month of the Jewish year when counting from Nissan (or the sixth when counting from Tishrei); the joyful month in which the holiday of Purim is celebrated
aliyah(lit., "ascent"): immigration to *Eretz Yisrael
Anash(acronym for anshei shlomeinu): the chassidic brotherhood
Aron HaKodesh(lit., "the holy ark"): the repository for the Torah scrolls in a synagogue
Avthe fifth month
baal teshuvah (pl., baalei teshuvah; lit., "master of return," i.e., a penitent)in contemporary usage, one who has discovered his spiritual heritage and its responsibilities when already an adult
bachur (pl., bachurim; lit. "young man")a *yeshivah student
badchanjester at weddings, etc.
bar-mitzvah(boy celebrating his) religious coming of age at 13
behiddurenhanced or meticulous observance of a *mitzvah beyond the demands of the letter of the law
Beis HaMikdashthe (First or Second) Temple in Jerusalem
berachahblessing or benediction
bitachontrust in G-d
bris(lit., "covenant"): circumcision
bubbe (or: bobbe; Yid.)grandmother
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
Chabad Housean outreach center established by the Chabad-Lubavitch chassidic movement
chassidadherent of the chassidic movement and follower of a Rebbe
Chassiduschassidic thought
cheder (pl., chadarim)school in which young children learn reading skills and begin the study of the Torah
Chessedthe Divine or mortal attribute of lovingkindness
Chol HaMoedthe semi-festive intermediate days of *Pesach or *Sukkos
daven(Yid.): to pray
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
erevthe day preceding
farbrengena gathering of chassidim
gabbaithe person responsible for the proper functioning of a synagogue or communal body
gartl(Yid.): belt worn during prayer
gmachan acronym for the Heb. words gemilus chessed which mean "deed of kindness," esp. an interest-free loan, or a fund which distributes such loans
getbill of divorce
Gevurahthe Divine or mortal attribute of strict justice
halachah (pl., halachos; Eng. adj.halachic): (a) the body of Torah law; (b) a particular law
Havdalah(lit., "distinction"): the blessings recited over a cup of wine at the conclusion of a Sabbath or festival to distinguish it from the ordinary weekdays that follow
ikvesa diMeshicha(Aram.): the era in which the approaching footsteps of *Mashiach can be heard
Kabbalahthe mystical dimension of the Torah
kashrusthe state of being *kosher
Kiddush(lit., "sanctification"): (a) a blessing recited over a cup of wine expressing the sanctity of the Sabbath or of a festival; (b) refreshments served in the synagogue after the recital of Kiddush, the occasion being usually graced by the sharing of Torah thoughts and song
Kiddush Levanah(lit., "the sanctification of the moon"): prayers recited in the first half of each month and related to the appearance of the New Moon
Kislevthe ninth month of the Jewish year when counting from Nissan (or the third when counting from Tishrei); the month in which Chanukah begins
kohenpriest, descendant of Aaron
kollel*yeshivah for advanced adult students
kosher(lit., "fit for use"): (of food or religious articles:) meeting the standards prescribed by Torah law
kos shel berachahthe cup of wine over which the Grace after Meals has been recited
Lag BaOmerthe thirty-third day of the Omer, a minor festival falling between *Pesach and *Shavuos
LeChaim!(lit., "to life"): toast exchanged over strong drink
lekach(Yid.): cake
lishmah(lit., "for its own sake"): altruistically
Lubavitch(lit., "town of love"; Rus.): townlet in White Russia which from 1813-1915 was the center of *Chabad *Chassidism, and whose name has remained a synonym for it
maamara formal chassidic discourse first delivered by a *Rebbe
Maarivthe evening prayer service
Machzorprayer book used on holidays
Mashiach(lit., "the anointed one"): the Messiah
Mashiach's Seudahfestive meal instituted by the Baal Shem Tov and held on the Last Day of Pesach in anticipation of the coming of *Mashiach
mashpia(lit., "source of influence"): spiritual mentor serving in a *yeshivah or chassidic community
matzah (pl., matzos)the unleavened bread eaten on Passover
mechitzahthe partition separating the men's and women's sections in a synagogue
Melaveh Malkahfestive meal held on Saturday night to usher out the Sabbath Queen
memthirteenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet
Menorah(a) the seven-branched gold candelabra in the Temple; (b) the eight lights lit on Chanukah
mesirus nefeshself-sacrifice
mezuzah (pl., mezuzos; lit., "doorpost")a small parchment scroll affixed to a doorpost which contains the first two paragraphs of the Shema (Devarim 6:4-9 and 11:13-21)
Midrashclassical collection of the Sages' homiletical teachings on the Torah, on the non-literal level of derush
mikveh (pl., mikvaos)a 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
Minchahthe afternoon prayer service
minyan(lit., "number"): the quorum necessary for communal prayer
mitzvah (pl., mitzvos; lit., "command")a religious obligation; one of the Torah's 613 Commandments
Modeh anifirst two words of a Jew's daily statement of faith and thanksgiving immediately upon wakening
mohel (pl., mohalim)circumcisor
Moshe RabbeinuMoses our teacher
Motzaei ShabbosSaturday evening after the close of *Shabbos
nadn(Heb./Yid.): dowry
Negevthe south of *Eretz Yisrael
niggun (pl., niggunim)melody, esp. one figuring in divine service
nigleh(lit., "the revealed [knowledge]"): the study of the Jewish law as reflected in the *Talmud, and in the works of the subsequent commentaries and codifiers; cf. *nistar
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
nistar(lit., "the hidden [knowledge]"): the Jewish mystical tradition, viz., the Kabbalah; cf. *nigleh
PesachPassover, festival of seven days (eight in the Diaspora) 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 haTorahthe inner (i.e., mystical) dimension of the Torah, viz., *Kabbalah and *Chassidus
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.
Rabbeinu TamR. Yaakov Tam, grandson of Rashi; one of the earliest authors of the Tosafos commenting on the *Talmud
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): author of the commentaries which have become the classic guides to the Torah and *Talmud
rav("rabbi"): halachic authority and spiritual guide of a community
Reb(Yid.): Mr.
Rebbe(lit., "my teacher [or master]"): saintly Torah leader who serves as spiritual guide to a following of chassidim
rebbitzinthe wife of a rabbi or Rebbe
Rosh HaShanah(lit., "head of the year"): the New Year festival, falling on [1] and [2] Tishrei
rosh *yeshivahacademic head of a Talmudic academy
Seder(lit., "order"): the order of service observed at home on the first night (first two nights in the Diaspora) of Passover (see *Pesach)
semichahRabbinic ordination
Shabbosthe Sabbath
Shacharisthe morning prayer service
shaliach (pl., shluchim; fem., shluchah)an emissary of the Lubavitcher Rebbe involved in Jewish outreach work
Shalom Aleichem(lit., "Peace upon you!"): (a) a common greeting; (b) hymn of welcome to the ministering angels who visit every Jewish home on Friday eve; see Siddur Tehillat HaShem, p. 144
Shalosh Seudos(lit., "three meals"): i.e., Seudah Shelishis, the Third Meal of *Shabbos
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
Shemafirst word of the verse beginning Shema Yisrael ("Hear O Israel..."), the daily declaration of faith in the Unity of G-d; see Siddur Tehillat HaShem, p. 46
Sheva Berachosthe seven blessings recited at a wedding celebration and after the Grace after Meals at the festivities held during the following week
Shimusha Rabbahauthor of one of the views as to the order in which four prescribed Scriptural passages should be placed within the *tefillin
Shivahthe seven-day period of mourning following a bereavement
Shlitaan acronym for the Hebrew words meaning, "May he live a long and good life"
shochetritual slaughterer
Shofarram's horn sounded on *Rosh HaShanah
shomer ShabbosSabbath-observant
shtetl(Yid.): an Eastern European township of the kind in which many Jews lived in recent centuries
Shulchan Aruch(lit., "a set table"): the standard Code of Jewish Law compiled by R. Yosef Caro in the mid-sixteenth century
sichah (pl., sichos; lit., "a talk")an informal Torah discourse (as delivered by the Rebbe)
Siddur (pl., Siddurim)prayer book
Simchas Torah(lit., "the rejoicing of the Torah"): a day appended to the festival of *Sukkos (in *Eretz Yisrael, the eighth day; in the Diaspora, the ninth), on which the annual cycle of weekly Torah readings is completed, and celebrated exuberantly
Sivanthe third month of the Jewish year when counting from Nissan (or the ninth when counting from Tishrei); includes the festival of *Shavuos
Sukkos(lit., "booths"): festival of seven days (eight in the Diaspora) beginning on 15 Tishrei, taking its name from the temporary dwelling in which one lives during this period
tallisprayer shawl fringed with tzitzis and worn by men during prayer
Talmudthe basic compendium of Jewish law, thought, and Biblical commentary; when unspecified refers to the Talmud Bavli, the edition developed and edited in Babylonia at the end of the fifth century C.E.
Tammuzthe fourth month of the Jewish year when counting from Nissan (or the tenth when counting from Tishrei)
Tanyathe classic text of *Chabad chassidic thought authored by the Alter Rebbe
tefillinsmall black leather cubes containing parchment scrolls inscribed with the *Shema and other Biblical passages, bound to the forearm and head and worn by men during weekday morning prayers
Tehillimthe Book of Psalms
tekiosthe blasts of the *Shofar
teshuvah(lit., "return"): repentance
Tevesthe tenth month of the Jewish year when counting from Nissan (or the fourth when counting from Tishrei)
Tiferesthe Divine or mortal attribute of beauty, fusing *Chessed and *Gevurah
tish("table"; Yid.): i.e., the ceremonial Sabbath meal which a chassidic Rebbe conducts in the company of his chassidim
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
Toldos Yaakov Yosefthe earliest written record of the teachings of the Baal Shem Tov, by his disciple R. Yaakov Yosef of Polonnoye
Torah Shebiksav(lit., "the Written Torah"): Scripture
tzaddik (pl., tzaddikim)righteous man, often used as a synonym for Rebbe
tzitzisfringes on the corner of a *tallis (see Bamidbar 15:37-40)
Ufaratza(lit., "and you shall spread out"): the Biblical word that has become a byline for Lubavitch outreach efforts
yahrzeit(Yid.): anniversary of a person's passing
yarmulka(Yid.): skullcap
Yechidahthe highest of the five levels of the soul, the rung at which the soul is in absolute unity with G-d
yechidusprivate meeting with a Rebbe
yeshivah (pl., yeshivos)Rabbinical academy
Yid(Yid.): Jew
Yiddishkeit(lit., "Jewishness"; Yid.): the Torah way of life
yiras shamayimthe fear (or awe) of heaven
Yom Kippurthe Day of Atonement, fast day falling on 10 Tishrei and climaxing the Days of Awe
Yom-Tova festival
Yud-Beis Tammuz("the Twelfth of Tammuz"): the Previous Rebbe's birthday (1880) and the anniversary of his release from capital sentence and imprisonment in Soviet Russia in 1927
Yud Shvat("the Tenth of Shvat"): anniversary of the passing of the Previous Rebbe in 1950
Yud-Tes Kislev("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
zeide("grandfather"; Yid.)
Zohar(lit., "radiance"): classical work embodying the mystical teachings of the *Kabbalah

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