Knowledgebase

A B C F G H I M P R S T W Z
  • 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. In the Talmudic period it included Persia and was ruled in Sasanians. 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 the first time one sees flowering trees in the season. For more details, see the Birkat ha-Ilanot Source Sheet. The words of the blessing are: בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה’ אֱלֹקינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם שֶׁלֹּא חִסַּר בְּעוֹלָמוֹ כְּלוּם וּבָרָא בוֹ בְּרִיּוֹת טוֹבוֹת וְאִילָנוֹת טוֹבוֹת…

  • Chachamim

    חכמים – The sages is the term used by the Mishna for those we have come to call in Tannaim, the rabbis from the time of the Mishna (and baraitot). When “the Chachamim say,” this reflects a consensus opinion which the halacha generally follows. Today, we usually refer to “our sages of blessed memory” by…

  • Chazal

    Chazal

    חז”ל – “our Sages, of blessed memory,” the abbreviation for חכמנו זכרונם לברכה – Chachmenu zichronam li-veracha, meaning the Tannaim (rabbis of the Mishnah period) and Amoraim (rabbis of the Gemara period). Variations are also used, such as רז”ל – Rabbotenu zichronam li-veracha, “our teachers, of blessed memory.”

  • Chumash

    Chumash

    חומש – The five books of the Torah, the first five of Tanach: Bereshit, Shemot, Vayikra, Bemidbar, and Devarim (as we call them today); in English, via Greek and Latin: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. On other terms used for Chumash and its books, see my Introduction to Sefer Bereshit. As the Written Torah…

  • 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…