Click to Show/Hide Menu

Jewish Terms and their Meanings

Select a button to view information




Ta'amei ha-Mikra "Reasons for the Pentateuch"; in Talmudic writings "mikra" is the equivalent term for the Hebrew word "hummash" (five), the Pentateuch.
Ta'amei ha-Mitzvot "Reasons for Commandments"; the search for "reasons" for the commandments of the Torah springs from a tendency to transcend mere obedience to them by investing them with some intrinsic meaning.
Ta'anit, Ta'aniyyot "Fast"; tractate of the Mishnah.
Tahanun "Supplication"; name of a prayer which is a confession of sins and a petition for mercy.
Taharah Ritual purity; opposite of tumah.
Taharat ha-Mishpahah, Tohorat "Family purity"; the term popularly given to the laws of niddah, which involve a married couple's abstinence from sexual relations during the period of menstruation until the wife's immersion in the mikveh.
Tahash An unidentified animal mentioned in the Bible.
Takkanah, Takkanot Halakhic directives.
Takkanot ha-Kahal That part of legislation in Jewish law which is enacted by the public or its representatives in contradistinction to the takkanot enacted by a halakhic authority, i.e. by the court and halakhic scholars.
Taless Prayer shawl; same as "Tallit".
Tallit katan "Small tallit"; worn by men with their daily dress.
Tallit, Tallis Prayer shawl, a larger version of the tzitzis.
Talmid hakham "A disciple of the wise"; the appellation given to a rabbinical scholar.
Talmud an interpretation and elaboration of the Mishnah; compiled from about the 220's A.D. to about 500 A.D.; basically the same as "the Oral Law"
Tamid Abbreviation for "Olat Tamid", meaning "Daily Burnt-offering"; tractate of the Mishnah.
Tammuz Pagan deity; name of 4th month of the Jewish year.
Tanakh The Old Testament.
Tanna, Tannaim From the Aramaic for "to hand down orally"; the sages from the period of Hillel to the compilation of the Mishnah, i.e., the first and second centuries.
Targum "Translation"; in rabbinical literature this word refers almost exclusively to both, the translation of the Bible into Aramaic, and the Aramaic portions of the Bible.
Targum Sheni "Second Translation"; a collection of homilies in Aramaic on the Book of Esther.
Tarkab A measure of volume, half a "Se'ah".
Taryag Mitzvot The 613 commandments given to Moses; "taryag" is a Hebrew mnemonic for the number "613" (400, 200, 10, 3).
Tashlikh Literally "you shall cast"; ceremony held near a sea or a running stream on the first day of Rosh Ha-Shanah, usually late in the afternoon, symbolically casting one's sins into the water.
Tefillah, Tefilloth,Tefillin, Tefillim Phylacteries; two black leather boxes containing scriptural passages which are bound by black leather straps on the left hand and on the head and worn for the morning services on all days of the year except Sabbaths and scriptural Holy Days. The word also means "prayers".
Tefillat Geshem Prayer for rain.
Tefillat ha-Derekh Prayer for safe travel.
Tefillat Tal Prayer for dew.
Tefuzot Hebrew word for "Diaspora"
Tehillim Book of psalms
Tehinnah, Tahanunim Hebrew liturgical poetry; Tehinnah originated in the tahanun prayer for the Pharisaical fasts of Monday and Thursday. Same as "Devarim".
Tehum Shabbat Term applied to various symbolical acts which facilitate the accomplishment of otherwise forbidden acts on the Sabbath and festivals. Same as "Eruv".
Tekhelet A blue dye.
Teki'ata, Teki'ot Three series of scriptural verses included in the Musaf service of Rosh Ha-Shanah.
Tekumah Resurrection
Telammedennu "You teach him"
Telammedenu "You teach us"
Telamyon Name of a demon; same as "Ben Temalyon".
Teraphim Idols, household gods.
Terefah "Torn" by a beast of prey; an animal whose death is due to physical defects or injuries is said to be "terefah".
Terumah gedolah The great Terumah, for the priest.
Terumah, Terumot, Terumoth Heave offerings.
Terumot A tractate of the Mishnah.
Teshuvah Repentance; the word came to mean “objection”, in which sense it was applied to the discovery of a fallacy in making a logical deduction. This was also called “pirka” by the amoraim.
Teshuvot Queries and replies; same as "She'elot u' Teshuvot"
Tevah Noah's ark.
Tevel Something edible from which the heave offering & the tithe have not yet been taken.
Teven Chaff, straw.
Teveryah, Tivveryah Name for "Tiberias".
Tevet Name of the 10th month in the Jewish year,
Tevilah "Immersion"; act of washing performed to correct a condition of ritual impurity.
Tevul Yom "One who has bathed that day"; tractate of the Mishnah.
Tikkun Used by the kabbalists to mean "restoration".
Tikkun ha-Geshem Prayer for rain.
Tikkun Hazot Prayers recited at midnight in memory of the destruction of the Temple and for the restoration to the Land of Israel.
Tikkun shovevim An acrostic composed of the initial letters of the names of the first eight weekly Torah portions of the Book of Exodus, which are read in the winter months between Hanukkah and Purim. See also "Sidrot" and "Shovavim tat".
Tikkun Soferim Certain changes in the text of the Bible made by the early soferim in places which are supposedly offensive or show lack of respect to God.
Tillim Book of Psalms.
Tisha be-Av 9th of Av, a fast day, mourning the destruction of the Temple.
To'evah Abomination
Tohorah, Taharah "Cleansing" and "purification"; the ceremony of washing the dead before burial. See also "Mit'assekim".
Tohorot "Cleannesses"; tractate of the Mishnah.
Tohorot ha-Kodesh An important work of ethical literature; first printed in Amsterdam in 1733.
Tokhahah Rebuke and reproof; admonition and chastisement for the purpose of restraint or correction.
Tokhehah "Reproof"; name given to two passages of warnings from God, the "blessings and curses" in Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28.
Tola'at shani Crimson worm which yields a dye.
Torah "To Teach"; the written Law of God.
Torah aliyah Reading of the Torah.
Torah she-be-al peh "The Oral Torah", meaning the Talmud.
Torah she-bi-khetav "The Written Torah", meaning the Old Testament.
Torat Kohanim Book of Leviticus.
Tosafist Writers of the Tosafot.
Tosafot "Additions"; collections of comments on the Talmud arranged according to the order of the talmudic tractates. In general the point of departure of the tosafot is not the Talmud itself but the comments on it by the earlier authorities, principally Rashi.
Tosefta A collection of statements by the tannaim which are not found in the Mishnah.
Tov Good
Trimma A brew made out of pounded fruit, not as strong as mead. See also "Hashilta".
Tu Bi-Shevat Name for the festival of the New Year of Trees.
Tumah Ritual impurity; opposite of taharah.
Tumah ve-Tohorah Ritual of purity and impurity.
Tumtum A person whose genitals are hidden or undeveloped, so that his sex is doubtful.
Tzitzit Fringes of garments.