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Each answer to this post should contain one of the following supplementary materials for Days of Awe - Mi Yodeya?:

  • Introduction

  • Glossary
    The glossary should contain translations of all non-English terms that some of our readers may not be familiar with. It should also contain basic biographical and/or bibliographical information about all authorities quoted.
    For convenience, the as-printed glossary from Purim - Mi Yodeya? is copied below; feel free to copy, paste, and adapt. The Mi Yodeya Glossary may also be helpful.
    Please try to keep entries concise, preferably to one printed line, and no more than two. To help gauge line length, note that the entry for "Bigthan and Teresh" took almost exactly one line, and the entry for "Parashas Zachor" took almost exactly two. Please do not try to account for every possible alternative transliteration of each term.


Adar: The twelfth month of the Hebrew calendar. Purim occurs on the 14th of this month.

Achashverosh: An emperor of Persia who was a main character in the book of Esther (see 1:1).

Aruch Hashulchan: A summary of the great code of Jewish law, the Shulchan Aruch, written by Rabbi Yehiel Mihel Epstein, who lived in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Avos (pirkei): A book of the Talmud, full of morality teachings.

Benjamin: A son of Jacob, in Genesis; also, the tribe descended from him.

Bach: Rabbi Yoel Sirkis (1561–1640); also, his book of Jewish law.

Bava Basra: A section of the Talmud that discusses Jewish monetary law, specifically with regard to property, inheritance, and documentation.

Beit Yosef: Rabbi Yosef Caro (1488–1575); also, one of his books of Jewish law.

Bigthan and Teresh: Minor characters in the book of Esther who plotted to kill Achashverosh. 

Chanuka: A rabbinic holiday celebrating the Hasmonean triumph over the religiously repressive Seleucid occupation during the Second Temple Period.

Charvona: A Persian royal advisor from the Purim story. 

Chida: Rabbi Hayim Joseph David Azulai. Born in Jerusalem. Died in the early 19th century. 

Chametz: Risen dough, forbidden to eat or own on Passover.

David, King: The founder of the messianic line of Judite Kings. A leader, soldier, and psalmist.

Devarim: Deuteronomy, the final book of the Pentateuch.

Eliyahu: Elijah, a prophet in the biblical book of Kings. He didn’t die, and Jewish tradition places him at many later events.

Esther: A book of the Bible; also, one of its main characters, the empress consort of Persia.

Elya Zuta: The second portion of Tanna Dvei Eliyahu, a midrashic work.

Ezekiel: A book in the Jewish Bible, containing prophecies by a prophet of the same name.

Gemara: The Talmud. An analytic and practical analysis of Jewish Oral Tradition, compiled between the 4th and 6th centuries in two different collections from Jerusalem and Babylonia.

Gra: Rabbi Elijah son of Solomon Zalman Kremer, the Vilna Gaon, a leader of European Jewry who lived in the 18th century.

Hagaos Maimonios: A commentary on Maimonides’ code of Jewish law.

Haman: A Persian noble, descended from Amalek. Instigator of the decree against Persian Jewry; the primary antagonist of the Purim story.

Hegai: A Eunuch in Achashverosh’s court, appointed to the king’s concubines. Fond of Esther.

Isaiah: A book in the Jewish Bible, containing prophecies by a prophet of the same name.

Jebusite: Member of one of the seven nations of the land of Canaan (modern-day Israel).

Judges: A book in the Jewish Bible, written by the prophet and judge, Samuel.

Joshua: A book in the Jewish Bible, written by Joshua, the primary disciple of Moses and his successor, who lead the Israelites in their conquest of the Promised Land of Canaan.

Judah: The fourth son of Jacob by Leah. May also refer to the tribe of his descendents.

Kavyachol: “So to speak,” a term added to colloquial descriptions of God that seem to anthropomorphize Him, to clarify that the description in conceptual, not physical or human.

Kol Bo: A compilation of Jewish law of unknown authorship. Speculated to have been published as early as the 15th century.

Ksav Sofer: Rabbi Avraham Shemuel Binyamin Sofer (1815-1872, Bratislava); also, the books he wrote.

Malbim: Meir Leibush son of Yehiel Michel Wisser. Rabbi, gramarian, commentator. Lived in the 19th century.

Matanot leevyonim: A special commandment on Purim to give charity to the poor.

Mishloach Manos A special commandment on Purim to give packages of food to fellow Jews.

Maharil: Jacob son of Moses Levi Moelin. Lived in the 14th and 15th centuries in Germany. 

Meam Loez: Commentary on Tanakh, written in Ladino by Rabbi Jacob Culi in 1730.

Megilla: Megillat Esther, the Scroll of Esther. Also, a section of the Talmud that discusses the reading of Megillat Esther, and the rabbinic holiday of Purim.

Midrash: A vast body of Rabbinic teachings that expound upon the Jewish Bible.

Midrash Rabah: A midrashic work on the Pentateuch and the Five Scrolls (Canticles, Ruth, Ecclesiastes, Lamentations, and Esther).

Mishlei: Proverbs, a book of the Jewish Bible composed by King Solomon, son of King David, and under King Hezekiah of the Judean Kingdom.

Mordechai: A member of the High Courts and a leader of Persian Jewry, Esther’s cousin.

Mordechai, The: Mordechai son of Hillel. A Rabbi in Germany. Lived during the 13th century.

Nitei Gavriel: A collection of books about Jewish Law, written by Rabbi Gavriel Zinner, contemporary, of New York.

Orach Chaim: The section of the Shulchan Aruch code of Jewish law that deals with general laws of Jewish life throughout the calendar year, such as prayers, sabbath, and holidays.

Pesachim: A section of the Talmud that discusses the festival of Passover and its laws.

Pirsumei nissa: Publicizing the miracle.

Parashas Zachor: A portion of the Pentateuch that is read every year on the Sabbath before Purim, and is meant to remind every Jew of the biblical obligation to erase the nation of Amalek.

Purim: Literally, “lots.” A celebration of the Divine Providence surrounding the genocidal decree against Persian Jewry by Haman, and the subsequent salvation that took place.

Raavyah: Eliezer son of Joel the Levite. German rabbi who lived in the 12th and 13th centuries.

Radak: Rabbi David Kimhi, a medieval commentator from southern France who lived in the 12th and 13th centuries.

Rama: Rabbi Moses Isserles. Born in Krakow, Poland. Wrote commentary on Shulchan Aruch that appears within the original text. Lived in the 16th century.

Rashi: Rabbi Solomon Isaacides, a beloved and prolific commentator on the Jewish Bible and the Babylonian Talmud. Lived in the 11th and 12th centuries in Troyes, France.

Rav Hai Gaon: Hai son of Sherira. Head of Pumpedita Academy in modern-day Iraq. Lived in the 10th and 11th centuries.

Shushan Purim: 15th of Adar, a second day of Purim celebrated in historically walled cities.

Talmud: See Gemara.

Tora T’mima: Commentary on the Pentateuch and Five Scrolls by Rabbi Baruch Epstein, a 

Lithuanian rabbi who lived in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Vashti: Ahauserus’ first wife, put to death for refusing a royal command.

Yehoshua: See Joshua.

Zephania: A book in the Prophets section of the Jewish Bible, composed by a prophet of the same name.
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Glossary

Abarbanel: Isaac ben Judah Abravanel, 15th-century Portuguese philosopher and Bible commentator.

Arizal: Isaac (ben Solomon) Luria. 16th-century Galilean leading rabbi and Halachic authority.

Avinu Malkeinu: A prayer said during the Ten Days of Repentance where each line begins with "Our Father, Our King".

Ben Ish Chai: Yosef Chaim. 19th-century Iraqi Halachic authority and Kabbalist.

Birkat Hamazon/Bentching: Grace After Meals. (Hebrew, Americanized Yiddish, respectively)

Chayei Adam: A work of Jewish law for the layman, based on the Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim, by the 18th-century Rabbi Avraham Danzig.

Elul: Month on the Jewish calendar that precedes Rosh Hashana, traditionally time to begin repentance.

Gemara: The Talmud. An analytic and practical analysis of Jewish Oral Tradition, compiled between the 4th and 6th centuries in two different collections from Jerusalem and Babylonia.

Gra: Rabbi Elijah son of Solomon Zalman Kremer, the Vilna Gaon, a leader of European Jewry who lived in the 18th century.

Haftarah: Any of various sections from the books of the prophets read publicly in the synagogue on various red-letter days.

Halacha: Jewish law.

Hashem: Literally "the Name," a respectful stand-in for referring to God by name.

Hallel: Recitation of joyous Psalms on certain holidays.

Imrei Noam: 19th-century Hasidic Torah commentary by Rabbi Meir Horowitz of Dzikov, Poland).

Kedusha: Section of the cantor's repetition of central prayers that meditates on God's holiness.

Kiddush: Literally "sanctification". Scriptural verses and a blessing said before drinking wine on Shabbat and Yom Yov.

Kol Nidrei: Aramaic, literally "all vows". The opening words of a declaration made before Yom Kippur anulling vows.

Levush: Mordecai ben Avraham Yoffe. 16th-century Ashkenazic rabbinic authority and codifier.

Machzor: A High Holidays prayerbook.

Magen Avraham: A commentary on the Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim by R' Avraham Gombiner, written in the late 17th century.

Maharil: Yaakov ben Moshe Levi Moelin. Late 14th-century German Talmudist and Halachic authority.

Mateh Efrayim: A 19th-century work on the laws of the High Holidays season by the Galician Rabbi Ephraim Zalman Margolis.

Metzudas Tzion: 18th-century Galician commentary-style glossary of difficult words in the Bible, by R' David Altshuler.

Midrash: A vast body of Rabbinic teachings that expound upon the Jewish Bible.

Minyan: Ten men who make up a prayer quorum.

Mishnah: Redaction of Oral Tradition laws, compiled in the first two centuries, CE.

Mishnah Berurah: "Clarified Teaching", a late-19th-century halachic commentary on the Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim by Rabbi Yisrael Meir Kagan.

Mitzvah: Commandment.

Mussaf: Additional offerings brought in the Temple - or prayers said - on Sabbath and holidays.

Orach Chaim: (also: OC) The section of codes of Jewish law that deals with general laws of Jewish life throughout the calendar year, such as prayers, sabbath, and holidays.

Pirkei D'Rebbi Eliezer: 1st-century, CE collection of midrashic exegesis and retelling of Biblical stories.

Rada"l: R' Dovid Luria, 19th-century Lithuanian rabbi and commentator.

Rabbeynu Yona: Yonah ben Abraham Gerondi. 13th-century Catalan rabbi and moralist. Author of The Gates of Repentance.

Rama: R' Moses Isserles. 16th-century Polish codifier of Jewish law. Wrote the Ashkenazic gloss on Shulchan Aruch that appears within the original text.

Rambam: Moses Maimonides. 12th-century Sephardic rabbi, philosopher, and codifier of Jewish law.

Rashi: Rabbi Solomon Isaacides, a beloved and prolific commentator on the Jewish Bible and the Babylonian Talmud. Lived in the 11th and 12th centuries in Troyes, France.

Rav Hai Gaon: Hai ben Sherira. Early 11th-century theologian and head of Pumpedita Academy in Bablyon.

Rav Saadia Gaon: Saadia ben Joseph. Early 10th-century Arabian-Jewish rabbi, linguist, and philosopher.

Rosh: Asher ben Jehiel. 13th-century German rabbi who wrote an influential abstract of the Talmud.

Sefer Hachinuch: "Book of Education." 13th-century anonymous Spanish codification of the 613 commandments.

Selichot/Slichos: Penitential poems and prayers said during the Ten Days of Repentance and the season leading up to it, with different customs on when to start.

Shem Mishmuel: Early 20th-century collection of Hasidic lessons about the Torah and Jewish holidays, by Rabbi Shmuel Bornsztain, the second Sochatchover Rebbe.

Shibolei Haleket: A compilation of laws by Zedekiah ben Abraham Anav, who lived in Rome in the 13th century.

Shabbos: The Sabbath.

Shacharis: Morning prayers.

Shulchan Aruch: "Code of Jewish Law", written by R' Yosef Karo in the 16th century. It plus its commentaries remain one of the most authoritative and accepted halachic books ever written.

Shulchan Aruch Harav: "Code of Jewish Law by the Rabbi," codified by R' Shneur Zalman of Liadi, the founding Rebbe of the Chabad Chassidic sect, around the turn of the 19th century, CE.

Taamei Haminhagim: Collection of questions and answers about the meaning of Jewish practices, by Rabbi Abraham Isaac Sperling, Jerusalem, early 20th century.

Talmud: See Gemara.

Tanach: The Jewish Bible.

Tishrei: Month of the Jewish calendar that includes Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot.

Teshuvah: Repentance; return to God, to the correct way of life.

Tosfos: Medieval, Franco-German gloss on the Talmud.

Tzemach Tzedek: Menachem Mendel Schneersohn, the third Rebbe of the Chabad Chassidic sect. Died 1866.

Yaaleh Veyavo: A paragraph added to both Shemoneh Esrei and bentching on Rosh Chodesh and holidays.

Yom Tov: Festival day on which creative work is prohibited, similar to on the Sabbath.

Zohar: The central text in Kabala (mysticism) literature.

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Introduction

Essential concepts to express in the Introduction, as a placeholder for now:

  • Topics in the book: RH, YK, Liturgy, Practices, Lore

  • Format of the content: Crowd-sourced Q&A. Links. Glossary.

  • Source: Mi Yodeya, online Q&A community. How this works.

  • Please share.

  • Please visit Mi Yodeya for more information (including links to online resources related to Q&A here) and to join the enterprise

  • Diversity of writing, transliteration, translation styles.

  • MY offers information as if from a crowd of your friends. For professional practical advice, consult your rabbi.

  • Shanna Tova!

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