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Glossary

Glossary

I will try to keep this page up to date with definitions of all Hebrew, Aramaic, and Yiddish terms that I use in the posts.

Don’t know a word and can’t find it here? Please ask. Use the comments or the Contact form.

Chumash – The five books of Moshe: Bereshit, Shemot, Vayikra, Bamidbar, Devarim. This is the Written Torah that Moshe Rabbeinu received at Har Sinai.

derash – One of the four major methods for explaining verses in the Torah (peshat, derash, remez and sod). This is a less obvious meaning of the text often taking into account information from outside the text.

gematria – A system of assigning numerical values to each Hebrew letter and comparing words and phrases based on these values.

Oral Torah / Tradition – When Moshe Rabbeinu received the Written Torah on Har Sinai, he also received a detailed explanation of the Torah. This detailed explanation was not meant to be written down, but rather passed on verbally from one generation to the next. Over the centuries many parts of the Oral Torah have been written down, such as Mishnah, Talmud, Midrash, and Kabbalah.

Pentateuch – Chumash – The five books of Moshe: Bereshit, Shemot, Vayikra, Bamidbar, Devarim. This is the Written Torah that Moshe Rabbeinu received at Har Sinai.

peshat – One of the four major methods for explaining verses in the Torah (peshat, derash, remez and sod). Peshat is the simple meaning or plain sense of the text.

remez – One of the four major methods for explaining verses in the Torah (peshat, derash, remez and sod). Remez is the interpretation of a verse based on ideas that hinted at or alluded to by the text.

sod – One of the four major methods for explaining verses in the Torah (peshat, derash, remez and sod). Sod is the interpretation of a verse based on the secret (sod) which is reveled in the mystical teaching of Kabbalah.

supercommentary – A commentary on a commentary. For example, Rashi wrote a commentary on Chumash. The Maharal wrote a supercommentary on Rashi.

Written Torah – Chumash – The five books of Moshe: Bereshit, Shemot, Vayikra, Bamidbar, Devarim. This is the Written Torah that Moshe Rabbeinu received at Har Sinai.

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