Knowledgebase

  • Achronim

    Achronim

    אחרונים – Latter authorities, literally, “Last Ones,” meaning Torah scholars who lived after the compilation of the Shulchan ‘Arukh in 1563, and continuing on to the present day. The Achronim were preceded by the Rishonim, former authorities of “First Ones,” c. 1038 CE -1563; by the Geonim, c. 650-1038 CE; by Hazal, c. 250 BCE-625 […]

  • Amoraic

    Amoraic

    Belonging to the era of the Amoraim (sing. Amora – אמורא)⁠. The Amoraim are the rabbis who formulated and transmitted the Gemara, or commentary on the Mishnah known collectively as Talmud, in the 3rd through 5th centuries CE. Amoraim lived in both Eretz Yisrael and Bavel (Babylonia, which is how Jews referred to Sassanian Persia […]

  • Bavel

    Bavel

    Bavel – בבל (Babylonia) is what Jews called the region of present-day Iraq ruled in the Talmudic period by Sassanian Persia and later, in the period of the Geonim, by the Abbasid Muslim caliphate.

  • Bavli

    Bavli

    The Babylonian Talmud, referring to the Gemara as redacted in Bavel, the major Jewish community of antiquity outside of Eretz Yisrael. Also refered to as Shas.

  • Bereshit Rabbati

    Bereshit Rabbati

    בראשית רבתי – A late midrash on Sefer Bereshit that is attributed to the school of Moshe ha-Darshan of Narbonne in Provence, who was active during the first half of the 11th century. Bereshit Rabbati was known only by references to it until modernity, when a single Hebrew manuscript of it surfaced, which was published […]

  • Birkat ha-Ilanot

    Birkat ha-Ilanot

    ברכת האילנות – A blessing said upon seeing blossoming fruit trees in Nisan, or first time one sees flowering trees in the season. The words of the blessing are: בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה’ אֱלֹקינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם שֶׁלֹּא חִסַּר בְּעוֹלָמוֹ כְּלוּם וּבָרָא בוֹ בְּרִיּוֹת טוֹבוֹת וְאִילָנוֹת טוֹבוֹת לֵהָנוֹת בָּהֶם בְּנֵי אָדָם. Blessed are You, the Lrd our […]

  • Chazal

    Chazal

    חז”ל – “our Sages, of blessed memory,” the abbreviation for חכמנו זכרונם לברכה – Chakhmenu zikhronam li-verakhah, meaning the rabbis of the Mishnah and Talmud, the Tannaim and Amoraim, respectively. Variations are also used, such as רז”ל – Rabbotenu zichronam li-verakhah, “our Rabbis, of blessed memory.”

  • Chumash

    Chumash

    חומש – The five books of the Torah, the first five of Tanach: Bereshit, Shemot, Vayikra, Bemidbar, and Devarim; in English, via Greek and Latin: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. As the Written Torah (Torah she-be-khetav), the words of these five books have a high degree of sanctity, in distinction to those books composed […]

  • Four Parshiyot

    Four Parshiyot

    Among the special Shabbatot in the calendar year, there are four preceding Pesach known as the Four Parshiyot (Arba Parshiyot – ארבע פרשיות), during which special maftir and haftarah portions are read. In distinction to special Shabbatot that coincide with holidays, the Four Parshiyot do not have a coinciding occasion. Rather, they are tied to […]

  • Gaon

    Gaon

    גאון – pl. גאונים – Geonim – the formal title of the head of one of the yeshivot (academies) of Bavel (Babylon, or present-day Iraq). See also Geonim.