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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
ראשונים – “Former authorities” (c. 1000-1550), meaning Torah scholars who lived in the medieval period. According to traditional Jewish periodization, the era of the Rishonim begins in 1038 CE, at the conclusion of the period of the Geonim. The era of the Rishonim ends roughly with the compilation of the Shulchan Aruch, the definitive code […]
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.
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 […]
Shabbat ha-Gadol (שבת הגדול) is the Shabbat before Pesach, during which it is traditional for the rabbi to deliver a special derash (sermon). The haftarah is Malakhi 3:4-24.
One of the special Shabbatot, Shabbat Nachamu (שבת נחמו) is the first Shabbat following Tish’ah Be-Av, and the first of the Seven Shabbatot of Consolation (Shev de-Nechamata) leading up to Rosh ha-Shannah. The haftarah, from which it gets its name, is Nachamu, Nachamu Ami, Yeshayahu 40:1-26.