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HALAKHAH (28)  


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Halakhah (huh-LUHKH-khuh)
Lit. the path that one walks. Jewish law. The complete body of rules and practices that Jews are bound to follow, including biblical commandments, commandments instituted by the rabbis, and binding customs. See also Torah; A List of the 613 Mitzvot.


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613 Commandments
Judaism teaches that G-d gave the Jews 613 commandments, which are binding on Jews but not on non-Jews. See Halakhah: Jewish Law; A List of the 613 Mitzvot.
Bar Mitzvah (BAHR MITS-vuh)
Lit. son of the commandment. A boy who has achieved the age of 13 and is consequently obligated to observe the commandments. Also, a ceremony marking the fact that a boy has achieved this age.
Bat Mitzvah (BAHT MITS-vuh)
Lit. daughter of the commandment. A girl who has achieved the age of 12 and is consequently obligated to observe the commandments. Also, a ceremony marking the fact that a girl has achieved this age.
Berurya
A woman of great learning, and the wife of Rabbi Meir. The Talmud records several instances where her opinions on Jewish Law were accepted over those of her male contemporaries. See The Role of Women.
Birkat Hachamah (BEER-kaht hah-chah-MAH)
The Blessing of the Sun, once every 28 years, when the halakhic vernal equinox occurs on the fourth day at the 0 hour of the day (6 PM Tuesday). The blessing is recited at dawn of that day on the Jewish calendar, which is Wednesday morning (a Jewish day starts at sunset and continues until sunset on the next secular day).
B'nai Mitzvah (b'NEHY MITS-vuh)
Lit. children of the commandment. Plural of Bar Mitzvah. Children who have achieved the age of 13 and are consequently obligated to observe the commandments. Also, a ceremony marking the fact that children have achieved this age.
Commandments
Judaism teaches that G-d gave the Jews 613 commandments, which are binding on Jews but not on non-Jews. See Halakhah: Jewish Law; A List of the 613 Mitzvot; Aseret ha-Dibrot: The "Ten Commandments".
Conservative
One of the major movements of Judaism, accepting the binding nature of Jewish law but believing that the law can change. See Movements of Judaism in the United States Today.
D'Oraita (d'awr-AHY-tah)
A law that comes come directly from the Torah (either explicitly or implicitly). Distinguished from d'rabbanan, laws instituted by the rabbis.
D'Rabbanan (d'-rah-bah-NAHN)
A law instituted by the rabbis. Distinguished from d'oraita, laws
Gezeirah (g'-ZAY-ruh)
A law instituted by the rabbis to prevent people from unintentionally violating commandments.
Halakhah (huh-LUHKH-khuh)
Lit. the path that one walks. Jewish law. The complete body of rules and practices that Jews are bound to follow, including biblical commandments, commandments instituted by the rabbis, and binding customs. See also Torah; A List of the 613 Mitzvot.
Jewish Law
The complete body of rules and practices that Jews are bound to follow, including biblical commandments, commandments instituted by the rabbis, and binding customs.
Machmir (makh-MEER)
Strict application of Jewish law in cases of doubt. When there is a doubt in a matter of Torah law, you must be machmir (strict); when there is a doubt in a matter of rabbinic law, you may be makil (lenient). See The Difference Between Torah Law and Rabbinic Law
Makil (mah-KEEL)
Lenient application of Jewish law in cases of doubt. When there is a doubt in a matter of Torah law, you must be machmir (strict); when there is a doubt in a matter of rabbinic law, you may be makil (lenient). See The Difference Between Torah Law and Rabbinic Law
Minhag (MIN-hahg)
Lit. custom. A custom that evolved for worthy religious reasons and has continued long enough to become a binding religious practice. The word is also used more loosely to describe any customary religious practice.
Mitzvah (MITS-vuh); pl: Mitzvot (mits-VOHT)
Lit. commandment. Any of the 613 commandments that Jews are obligated to observe. It can also refer to any Jewish religious obligation, or more generally to any good deed. See Halakhah: Jewish Law; A List of the 613 Mitzvot.
Mitzvot Aseh (mits-VOHT ah-SEH)
Commandments to do something, such as the commandment to honor your mother and father. In English, these are called positive commandments. See Halakhah: Jewish Law.
Mitzvot Lo Ta'aseh (mits-VOHT loh tah-ah-SEH)
Commandments not to do something, such as the commandment not to murder. In English, these are called negative commandments. See Halakhah: Jewish Law.
Negative Commandments
Commandments not to do something, such as the commandment not to murder. In Hebrew, these are called mitzvot lo ta'aseh (commandments not to do). See Halakhah: Jewish Law.
Positive Commandments
Commandments to do something, such as the commandment to honor your mother and father. In Hebrew, these are called mitzvot aseh (commandments to do). See Halakhah: Jewish Law.
Rabbi (RA-bahy)
A religious teacher and person authorized to make decisions on issues of Jewish law. Also performs many of the same functions as a Protestant minister. When I speak generally of things that were said or decided by "the rabbis," I am speaking of matters that have been generally agreed upon by authoritative Jewish scholars over the centuries.
Rules
See Halakhah: Jewish Law, A List of the 613 Mitzvot (Commandments), or pages dealing with specific rules, such as Shabbat or Kashrut.
Safek (sah-FEHK)
Doubt or uncertainty in a matter of Jewish law. When there is safek in a matter of Torah law, you must be machmir (strict); when there is safek in a matter of rabbinic law, you may be makil (lenient). See The Difference Between Torah Law and Rabbinic Law.
Semikhah (s'-MIKH-uh)
Essentially, a rabbinical degree, authorizing a person to answer questions and resolve disputes regarding Jewish law.
Takkanah (t'-KAH-nuh)
A law instituted by the rabbis and not derived from any biblical commandment.
Taryag Mitzvot
613 Commandments. "Taryag" is a way of pronouncing the numeral 613, which is made up of the letters Tav (numerical value 400), Reish (200), Yod (10) and Gimmel (3). See A List of the 613 Mitzvot (Commandments); Halakhah: Jewish Law; Hebrew Alphabet: Numerical Values.
Yasher koach (YAH-shehyr KOH-ahkh)
Hebrew. Literally, straight strength. Figuratively, may you have strength, or may your strength be increased. A way of congratulating someone for performing a mitzvah or other good deed. See Common Expressions and Greetings.


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