Jewish Knowledgebase

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  • Radak

    ר”דק – ר’ דוד קמחי – R. David b. Yosef Kimchi (c. 1160-c. 1235) lived in Narbonne, Provence (southern France) and is best known for his Tanakh commentaries to BeReshit, Neviim, Tehillim, and Divrei Ha-Yamim. Radak was the son of R. Yosef Kimchi, a Sefardi émigré to Provence notable as an early translator of rationalistic […]

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  • Rashba

    רשב”א – ר’ שלמה בן אברהם אבן אדרת – R. Shelomo b. Avraham Ibn Adret – c. 1235 to c. 1310 in Barcelona (in the region of Catalunya in northeastern Iberia), was a major Sefardi posek (decisor) and respected scholar, and the successor of Ramban, with whom he studied, although his principal teacher was Rabbenu […]

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  • Rashi

    Rashi – R. Shlomo Yitzchaki | רש”י – ר’ שלמה יצחקי (c. 1040-1105, Troyes, northern France) is among the foremost Talmud and Tanach commentators, ushering in the classical period of line commentaries on foundational texts. He studied in the yeshivot of the Rhineland Valeyy (Worms and Mainz), the first centers of Jewish life in medieval […]

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  • Zaragoza (Saragossa)

    Zaragoza, a city in the region of Aragon in northeastern Spain, is commonly known as Saragossa in English, סרקרסטה or סרקסטה in medieval Hebrew. It had a notable Jewish community in the medieval period, both under Muslim and Christian rule. A Roman city in antiquity, Zaragoza was conquered by Muslims in the seventh century and […]

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  • Shas

    ש”ס – An acronym for the Talmud, from shishah sedarim (שישה סדרים), the six orders into which both Mishnah and the Gemara on it are divided. Each order of the Mishnah contains multiple massekhtot (tractates, sing. massekhet), not all of which have commentary (Gemara) on them.

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  • Talmud

    Commonly refers to the Talmud Bavli, meaning the Mishnah (redacted Oral Law) with the Gemara (commentary) as redacted in Bavel (Babylon). It is also called by the acronym Shas, referring to the six orders (sedarim, sing. seder) into which the tractates (massekhtot, sing. massekhet) of the Mishnah and Gemara on it are divided. Today, there […]

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  • Tannaitic

    Belonging to the era of the Tannaim (sing. Tanna – תנא), the rabbis who formulated and transmitted the Oral Law that became the Mishnah in the 1st to 3rd centuries CE. There are seven generations of Tannaim.

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  • Piyut

    פיוט – pl. piyutim – Hebrew, and occasionally Aramaic, liturgical poetry, meaning poems added to the prayer service. Piyutim appear especially in the machzor (holiday prayerbook), but also in the daily siddur, especially in the earlier period of their composition. The earliest piyyutim were written in Eretz Yisrael during the Byzantine period when the form […]

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  • Shabbat Chazon

    The third of three special Shabbatot before Tish’ah be-Av, known as the Three of Rebuke (Telata de-Puranuta – תלתא דפורענותא), when the haftarah read is Chazon Yeshayahu, Yeshayahu 1:1–27.

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  • Shabbat ha-Chodesh

    A special Shabbat and the last of the Four Parshiyot, Shabbat ha-Chodesh (שבת החודש) is the Shabbat before on on the first of Nisan. The maftir comes from Parashat Bo, describing the first month of the year (Chodesh Nisan); the hatarah is Yechezkel 45:16-46:18. It is distinct from Shabbat Rosh Chodesh. Rarely, when one of […]

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