Glossary

Since many of the sounds of Hebrew words are not carried over to the English language there are many variant spellings for words; Such as the word Mezuzah, mezuzahs, mezuzas, mezuzot, mezuzah, mezuza, mezzuzzahs, mezzuzzas, mezuzzahs, mezuzzas, mezzuzahs, mezzuzas also the word Tefillin, tefillin, tefilin, teffillin, teffilin, tfillin,tephilin, tephillin


Definitions to the following names and terms were retrieved from Aish HaTorah, The Sofer, Wikipedia, Jewish Encyclopedia, Jewish Virtual Library, and Judaism 101


Afatsa:
Gallnuts, used in ink.


Aaron ben Moses ben Asher:
He lived in Tiberius, Israel during the 10th century. His family had been involved in creating and maintaining the Masorah for either five or six generations. Ben-Asher rapidly gained fame as the most authoritative of the Tiberias masoretes, and, even after his death, his name continued to hold respect.


Amud:
a column of text


Etz Chaim:
Tree of Life


Bema:
The pedestal on which the scrolls are placed when they are being read


Beracha:
a blessing (plural. brachot)


Beit ha’Mikdash:
holy temple


Chok Tochot:
The law requiring every letter to be formed by writing only and not through the act of erasure or scraping out.


Codex:
Latin for block of wood, book


Devarim:
Deuteronomy


Duchsustos:
the lower part of split parchment on the flesh side.


D’yo:
special black ink made from gallnuts and vitriol for use in sofrut.


Ets Chayim:
a wooden roller (plural. atsey chayim).:


Gaon:
A title bestowed upon the head of the Babylonian Jewish academy and subsequently used to refer to distinguished talmudic scholars in the 6th to 12th centuries.


Giddin:
Gid – threads made from animal sinew from the thigh or foot used for sewing in sofrut, also animal veins from a kosher animal used to sew Sefri.


G’vil:
Unsplit parchment.


Haftorah:
(Heb. Parting) Selected section from the biblical books of the Prophets (Nevi’im) which is traditionally recited after the Torah reading on the Sabbath or on a festival. The Haftorah is read to a different tune than the Torah and is usually thematically related to the Torah reading.


HaShem:
(Heb. The Name) commonly used to refer to God in order to avoid using his name


Halachah:
Jewish law, derived from the root ‘to walk’ as the path one should follow.


Kabala:
(Kabalism) (Heb. qabbala, receiving tradition). Jewish Mysticism; basic book is the Zohar, written by Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai in the 2nd century CE.


Kankatum:
vitriol, used in ink, usually iron or copper sulphate.


Kether, Keter:
Hebrew Crown


Ketivah tamah:
the requirement for each letter to be formed according to the laws and have its proper shape.


K’laf:
K’laf parchment as it is now generally known, though it was originally the upper part of slit parchment towards the hair side.


Kosher:
Kasher: valid under Jewish law.


Kulmus:
feather quill


Kuzo:
kabbalistic writing found upside down on the reverse of a mezuzah.


Ketuvim:
(Heb. writings). The third and last division of the classical Jewish Bible (TaNaK), including large poetic and epigrammatic works such as Psalms and Proverbs and Job as well as a miscellany of other writings (Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel, Ezra-Nehemiah, Chronicles).


L’shem k’dushat…:
for the sake of the holiness. To be expressly verbalized by the scribe before starting work


L’shem k’dushat Hashem:
for the sake of the holiness of the Name. To be expressly verbalised before the scribe writes a name of God.


Manuscript:
a recording of information that has been manually created by someone or some people, such as a hand-written letter, as opposed to being printed or reproduced some other way


Masoretic Text:
Derived from masorah, meaning “tradition”; the Masoretes were the rabbis in ninth-century Palestine who sought to preserve the traditional text of the Bible (hence called the Masoretic text), which is still used in contemporary synagogues. The Masoretes were scholars who encouraged Bible study and attempted to achieve uniformity by establishing rules for correcting the text in matters of spelling, grammar and pronunciation. Masoretic (adj.) means that something is in accordance with the masorah.


Megillah:
derived from the Hebrew “mìgillâh”, meaning “scroll.”


Mezuzah:
a piece of parchment with two passages from Deuteronomy written on it. Not the container which is a bayit (plural. mezuzot).


Mikveh:
A Jewish communal bath for washing away spiritual impurity by immersion.


Mishna:
(Heb., “teaching”). The digest of the recommended Jewish oral halakha as it existed at the end of the 2nd century and was collated, edited and revised by Rabbi Judah the Prince. The code is divided into six major units and sixty-three minor ones. The work is the authoritative legal tradition of the early sages and is the basis of the legal discussions of the Talmud.


Mitsvah:
a commandment (plural. mitsvot)


Papyrus:
a thick paper-like material produced from the pith of the papyrus plant


Parchment:
a thin material made from calfskin, sheepskin or goatskin, often split. Its most common use was as a material for writing on, for documents


Paroshet:
The curtain in front of the Aron


HaKodesh:
passage from the torah used in tefillin and mezuzot (plural. parshiyot).(h): (Heb. section) Prescribed weekly section of biblical Torah Pentateuch read in Jewish synagogue liturgy ordinarily on an annual cycle.


Pasul:
not kosher


Phylacteries:
Tfillin: Usually translated as “phylacteries.” Box-like appurtenances that accompany prayer, worn by Jewish adult males at the weekday morning services. The boxes have leather thongs attached and contain scriptural excerpts. One box (with four sections) is placed on the head, the other (with one section) is placed (customarily) on the left arm, near the heart.


RamBam:
Maimonides was the preeminent medieval Jewish philosopher and one of the greatest Torah scholars of the Middle Ages. He is also known by the names Moses Maimonides, Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon or the acronym the Rambam


Rimmon:
(Heb. pomegranates) Decorations on top of wooden rollers of Torah.


Shabbat:
the Sabbath sundown Friday to sundown Saturday.


Shel yad:
the tefillin bound to the arm


Shema:
the third passage in tefillin and the first passage in mezuzot (Deut. 6:4-9) Usually only Deuteronomy 6:4


Exodus:
the second book of the Torah.


Shin:
the twenty-first letter of the Hebrew alphabet and a feature on the head tefillin.


Sofer:
a scribe (plural. sofrim).


STAM:
an acronym formed from the initial letters of sefer torah, tefillin and mezuzah, the three main tasks of a scribe.


Talmud:
(Heb. study, learning) Rabbinic Judaism produced two Talmuds: the one known as the “Babylonian” is the most famous in the western world, and was completed around the fifth century CE; the other, known as the “Palestinian” or “Jerusalem” Talmud, was edited perhaps in the early fourth century CE. Both have as their common core the Mishnah collection of the tannaim, to which are added commentary and discussion (gemara) by the amoraim (teachers) of the respective locales. Gemara thus has also become a colloquial, generic term for the Talmud and its study.


Taggin:
Taggin are the distinct crown like serifs affixed atop the letters. Absent the Taggin the writing is invalidated. According to Rabbi Akiva in the Talmud, not only can one learn something from every letter in the Torah, but one can also learn something from the placement of the Taggin.


Tanakh:
A relatively modern acronym for the Jewish Bible, made up of the names of the three parts of the Torah (Pentateuch or Law), Nevi’im (Prophets), and Ketuvim (Writings)—thus TNK pronounced TaNaK.


Tfillin:
see Phylacteries


Tikkun:
In ancient times a codex with a perfect copy of the Torah from which other Torah scrolls were written. Also, printed edition of the Torah which has vocalized and pointed text in one column, and a photographic representation of a Sefer Torah next to it, used to learn to chant Torah.


Tsadik:
(Hebrew:righteous one) is a title which is generally given to those who are considered to be righteous such as a spiritual master or rebbe. The root of the word tzadik, is tzedek which means justice or righteousness. This term thus refers to one who pursues justice.


Torah:
written and oral laws of Judaism.


Vellum:
(from the Old French Vélin, for “calfskin”)[1] is mammal skin prepared for writing or printing on,


Yad:
(Hebrew: hand) an instrument in the form of a hand used to aid reading of scrolls