B’nai Noach Torah Institute


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A Jewish vocabulary containing glossary terms of Hebrew, Yiddish and English dicitionary explanations of words, terms, phrases, and Jewish, Yiddish and Hebrew expressions.

An asterisk indicates a cross reference within this Glossary. All non-English entries are Hebrew unless otherwise indicated.

Parsha: {pl., parshiyos} Portion of the Torah read publicly each week, one of fifty-four weekly portions of Torah

Parshas: The parsha of...

Parshas Bereishis: The first parsha of the Book of Bereishis {Genesis}. Genesis 1:1 - 6:8

Parshas Noach: The second parsha of the Book of Bereishis {Genesis}. Genesis 6:9 - 11:32

Passover: See Pesach

Paw Neem: Face

Pentateuch: The Torah, the five books of Moshe

Pesach: Passover, an eight day festival, one day of Pesach and seven days of the Festival of Matzos {Unleavened Bread}. Presently the first two days and the last two days of Pesach are observed as holy days. The in-between days are termed Chol Hamoed {intermediate days}. On the tenth of Nisan a pure lamb under one year of age was obtained. {10 Nisan originally occurred on Shabbos and as a result the Shabbos before Pesach is called Shabbos Godal meaning the Great Shabbos.} The Lamb was tied to the bedpost in the family home. On the fourteenth of Nisan in the late afternoon the lamb was sacrificed. Before the lamb could be sacrificed all chometz {five fermented grains: wheat, barley, spelt, rye, and oats} had to be removed from the family home since the next day was the Festival of Matzos. A search for chometz using a wooden spoon and a feather is conducted on the evening before Pesach begins. The next morning the remaining chometz is burned and a special prayer is said denying ownership of any chometz.
The Pesach Seder is observed on 14 Nisan and 15 Nisan. The Haggadah {meaning telling} is used to guide the leader conducting the Pesach Seder. Family and friends gather to observe the Seder. In some families the Seder lasts all night. The best china, silverware and utensils are used for the Pesach meal. The father dons the kittel, a long white coat. The youngest child asks the four questions, the first of which is,"Why is this night different from all other nights?" Four glasses of wine are drunk. The Seder plate includes Maror {bitter herbs}, Charoset {an apple nut mixture resembling mortar}, Zero'a {a shankbone from a kosher animal, nowadays a chicken}, Baytza {a roasted egg}, Karpas {a vegetable like parsley} and Chazaret {a second vegetable like lettuce or watercress}.
During the Pesach Seder it is a great mitzvah to retell the story of Kal Yisroel's deliverance from Mitzriam, to sing the songs of deliverance and to conclude by saying, "Next year in Jerusalem!"

Parshah; pl., parshiyos): portion of the Torah read publicly each week, one of fifty-four weekly divisions of Torah

Parshas...: the parshah of...

Patriarch: Avraham, Yitzchok and Yaakov are each patriachs of Yisroel. Each one is regarded as the founder or head of the nation of Yisroel.

Pinchas: The grandson of Aaron. The eighth Parsha of Numbers, Pinchas 25:10 - 30:1

Pirkei Avos; lit., `chapters of the fathers': tractate in the * Mishnah reprinted in most * Siddurim and commonly known as `Ethics of the Fathers'

Plotz: fall over with despair

Pnimiyus haTorah: the innermost, mystical dimension of the Torah; cf. * nistar

Posek; pl., poskim): decisors; rabbis whose legal decisions are authoritative

Potch: A light slap

Prophet: {Naw Vee} - one who is a seer, a mouthpiece... See Novie... Nevi'im:

Prophetess: Ni Ve Aw, A woman (from the past) who speaks by divine inspiration

Pshat: the plain meaning of (e.g.) a Scriptural passage

Purim: The holy day Purim is not found in the Torah. Purim is a post Torah holy day recorded in Sefer Esther. Even though Purim represents a very significant event it is considered a minor holy day since it is not part of the Torah. It centers on the plot by the wicked Haman to murder all the Jews in King Ahasuerus 123 provinces {Esther 8:} and how Hashem used Queen Esther and Ha Rav Mordechai to bring relief and deliverance to the Jewish people.

The celebration of Purim includes the Fast of Esther on 13 Adar {13th day of 2 Adar on leap years} {listening to} the reading of Megilla Esther twice on Purim, Booing and making noise with a grogger when the name Haman is read from the Megilla, giving of shalach-mones {two eatables gifts to friends}, giving charity to the poor, wearing costumes and dancing in celebration and on the afternoon of Purim enjoying Se'udot Purim {a festive meal} in which it is a mitzvah for Jewish men to get shikkered, drunk.

Pushkeh: Poor box that Orthodox / traditional Jewish homes place odd coins particularly on Friday before Shabbos begins to assist with support of philanthropic and educational institutions.