Knowledgebase

A B C F G H I M P R S T W Z
  • Geonim

    Geonim

    גאונים – sing. גאון (Gaon) – the formal title of the head of one of the yeshivot (academies) of Bavel (Babylon, or present-day Iraq), which was also known as Rosh Yeshiva (Gaon Yaakov) or Reish Metivta. The office itself is referred to as the gaonate and stood in contrast to the Reish Galuta, “Head of…

  • Haftarah

    Haftarah

    Haftarah refers to an additional selection of text from the Neviim (Prophets), the second division of books of Tanakh (the Hebrew Bible), read after the parashah (Torah portion of the week). The haftarah is thematically tied either to the parashah or events on the Jewish calendar. Seeking out the thematic connection is one of the…

  • Ibn Ezra

    Ibn Ezra

    Avraham Ibn Ezra | ר’ אברהם אבן עזרא – ראב”ע was born in 1089 in Tudela, Spain and died 1164 in northern Europe, possibly England. He is best known for his commentary on Tanach, in which he brings into Hebrew the fruits of generations of Sefardi philological and contextual (peshat) Biblical exegesis. However, he was…

  • Mikraot Gedolot

    Mikraot Gedolot

    The “Rabbinic Bible” or Tanach with multiple commentaries printed on the page alongside the text. Mikra (“scripture” or “verse”) refers in Hebrew to Kitvei Kodesh, writings that have sanctity, either as a whole (the way we use the terms Tanach or Bible) or in part (the way we use the terms pasuk or verse). Mikraot…

  • Moshe ha-Darshan

    Moshe ha-Darshan

    משה הדרשן – Moshe ha-Darshan (11th cen., southern France) was a medieval compiler of midrash. The appellation ha-darshan probably pertains to this activity rather than preaching. He was active during the first half of the 11th century in Narbonne, Provence (southern France) Life Moshe ha-Darshan almost certainly headed a beit midrash in his home city,…

  • Parsha

    Parsha

    The common meaning of parashah (plural: parshiyot; colloquially, “parsha”) is the weekly Torah portion. The Torah (also called Chumash, or the first five books of the Bible) is divided into sections read cyclically. Reading Cycles There are two cycles for reading: (1) An annual cycle of 54 portions, meaning that you read the entire Torah…

  • Piyut

    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…

  • Provence

    Provence

    The term used by Jews to refer to the Jewish communities of what is today the southern third of modern France, encompassing the regions today called Provence, Languedoc, and the Rousillon. Major cities of Jewish Provence in the medieval period include Narbonne, Lunel, Béziers, Montpellier, Perpignan, and Avignon, among others that where home to renowned…

  • Rabbenu Chananel

    Rabbenu Chananel

    Rabbenu Chananel ben Chushiel – רבנו חננאל בן חושיאל (d. 1055/56) was the first Talmud commentator in the Sefardi tradition. His commentary was widely used and admired, and is today printed on the outer margin of the standard Vilna Shas. Name(s) Rabbenu Chananel ben Chushielרבנו חננאל בן חושיאל Dates died 1055/56 Region Sefardi – Tunisia…

  • Radak

    Radak

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