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Jewish Terms and their Meanings

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B'nai B'rith Sons of the Covenant
Ba'al ha-bayit Head of the household.
Ba'al Keri One who has suffered a night-time impurity.
Ba'al Shem "Master of the Divine Name"; literally "Possessor of the Name"; a title given in popular usage and in Jewish literature (especially in kabbalistic and hasidic works from the Middle Ages onward), to one who possessed the secret knowledge of the Tetragrammaton and the other "Holy Names".
Ba'alei Teshuvah "Masters of Repentance"; eloquent praise for the true penitent who returns to a full commitment to the practice and observance of Judaism.
Ba'alut Ownership
Ba-Midbar Book of Numbers; in the Talmud it is called Hummash ha-Pekudim, which corresponds to its name in English.
Babylonian Talmud The interpretation and elaboration of the Mishnah as it was carried on in the great academies of Babylon.
Badhan, Badhanim "Entertainer", especially at weddings.
Bahur A young man, those selected for military fitness.
Baki "Expert"; person possessing expertise in a particular field of ritual law.
Baki be-Shas u-Fosekim A person well versed in Talmud and rabbinic literature.
Baki be-tiv Gittin A person well versed in divorce law.
Baki bi-terefot A person well versed in dietary laws.
Bamah, Bamot High places where sacrifices were offered.
Bar Mitzvah "Son of the commandment"; a term denoting both the attainment of religious and legal maturity, as well as the occasion at which this status is formally assumed for boys at the age of 13 plus one day.
Baraita, Beraitot The Aramaic for the Hebrew "hizonah", meaning "outside". A baraita is thus a Mishnah hizonah, i.e. an outside Mishnah. This term covers every halakhah, halakhic Midrash, and historical or aggadic tradition, which is "outside" of Judah ha-Nasi's Mishnah.
Barukh she-Amar "Blessed be He who spoke", benediction opening the section of Shaharit called "passages of song".
Basar be-halav Dietary laws; also called "Kashrut".
Bashert Soul mate, the ideal spouse.
Bassar shamen Fat meat
Bat Mitzvah "Daughter of the commandment", term denoting both the attainment of religious and legal maturity, as well as the occasion at which this status is formally assumed for girls at age 12 years plus one day.
Batlanim "Men of leisure"; originally an honourable title conferred on those who either wholly or partly abstained from work to free themselves for community service. Same as "Asarah Batlanim".
Bava Kamma "The first gate"; tractate of the Talmud; the first of the order Nezikin.
Bava Mezia "The middle gate"; tractate of the Talmud; the second of the order Nezikin.
Bedikoth and Hakiroth Cross-examination of witnesses. In "Hakiroth" the focus is on time and place; in "Bedikoth" the focus is on the accompanying circumstances of the crime, such as the weapon, the clothes worn, etc.
Bein ha-Arbayim Twilight; first part of the new day; period starting at sunset and ending with full darkness.
Bein ha-Mezarim "Between the straits"; the three weeks between two fasts, 17th of Tammuz to 9th of Av, a time of mourning.
Bein ha-Shemashot Rabbinic term for twilight, the transition period between sunset and night; the first part of the new day, called "bein ha-arbayim" in Exodus 12:6.
Beinonit "Medium land"; used in the context of creditors recovering a debt.
Beit Yosef A Commentary on Arba'ah Turim, written by Joseph b. Ephraim Caro. The four parts of this work are: Orah Hayyim, Yoreh De'ah, Even ha-Ezer, and hoshen Mishpat.
Bekhor, Bekhorot The firstborn
Belial, Beliar Worthlessness; used to refer to Satan.
Ben sorer u-moreh A rebellious son
Ben Temalyon The name of a demon who accompanied Simeon b. Yohai to Rome to intervene before the Roman emperor on behalf of the Jews.
Benei adam sons of men, human race
Benei Bathyra The elders of Bathyra
Benei ha-Medinah Self-governing institutions for the Jews, set up in almost all territories of the Holy Roman Empire where, during the second half of the 16th and the first half of the 17th century, Jewish communities either still existed or had been reestablished after the expulsions at the end of the Middle Ages. Also called "Kehal Medinah".
Benei Hoshekh "Sons of darkness"; expression used in the Dead Sea scrolls.
Benei Hushim Christian reform movement, the Hussites; also called "Avazim".
Benei Meheimnuta Sons of faith.
Benei Mikra Sons of the Scriptures, name for the Karaites
Benei Or "Sons of light"; expression used in the Dead Sea scrolls.
Benei Yisrael Sons of Israel
Benshen "Bless", term used by the Ashkenazi
Bentsch A blessing commonly said after a meal.
Berah Dodi "Make haste my beloved"; Hebrew liturgical poetry used in the morning prayer of the first day of Passover in the Ashkenazi rituals.
Berakhah Aharonah A prayer of thanks after a meal.
Berakhah, Berakhot Benedictions; formulas of blessing or thanksgiving.
Bere'shit The Book of Genesis.
Berel and Shmerel The "John Doe" of Judaism; also used in jokes.
Berit Covenant
Berit Milah Covenant of circumcision.
Bet Din, Battei Din House of judgment; a Jewish court of law.
Bet ha-Mikdash The temple, the sanctuary.
Bet Hatunot A wedding hall.
Bet Hillel School of Hillel.
Bet Shammai School of Shammai.
Beta Israel The black Jews of Ethiopia; also called "Falashas".
Beth din haggadol The Great Court of Justice, where the full Sanhedrin met
Betulah Virgin, maiden.
Bezim Eggs
Bia The Talmudic term for sex.
Bikkur holim Visiting the sick.
Bikkurim First fruits.
Bimah Elevated place, platform, the pulpit used for reading the Torah.
Binah Intuition, understanding.
Birkat ha-Chama Blessing of the sun; a prayer said once every 10,227 days, at the end of the sun's 28-year cycle. It is always said on a Wednesday morning when the sun is visible. See also "Machzor Gadol".
Birkat ha-Hodesh Announcement of the new moon.
Birkat ha-Levanah Blessing of the moon.
Birkat ha-Mazon Final prayer after meals.
Birkat ha-Minim Benediction concerning heretics; invoking divine wrath upon slanderers, enemies, etc.
Birkat ha-Shir A prayer recited at Sabbath services.
Birkat ha-Torah The blessing over the law.
Birkat Kohanim Priestly blessing.
Bisula Talmudic term for a virgin.
Bittul ha-Tamid Literally "abolition of the daily offering"; used to refer to interruption of prayers and of Torah reading in the synagogue, to seek redress of a wrong, mainly a judicial or moral one. This is also called "ikkuv ha-keri'ah" and "ikkuv ha-tefillah".
Bochur An unmarried man learning in a yeshiva, a Jewish orthodox school.
Bogeret A girl above the age of 12 years and 6 months.
Brit Milah, Bris The covenant of circumcision, circumcision.