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Glossary of Shabbat Buzz-words

Glossary of Shabbat Buzz-words

Get your lingo down pat, and don't be left in the dark.

by Aish.com Staff

Aliyah ― To be "called up" to the Torah. Common usage: "I got an aliyah," or "This is the last aliyah." (Also refers to the act of moving to Israel ― as in, "The Greenbergs have decided to make aliyah.")

Amidah (also called Shemoneh Esrei) ― The silent prayer said as part of every prayer service.

Eishes Chayil ― "The Woman of Valor," a song in praise of the Jewish woman, written by King Solomon. Traditionally sung Friday night, after Shalom Aleichem.

Bentching (Yiddish, meaning "to bless") ― Grace After Meals recited at the conclusion of the three meals, if one has "washed" and eaten bread. Common usage: "Let's bentch" or "I already bentched."

Blech ― The covering for the stove top, usually made of sheet metal. This avoids some of the prohibitions against cooking on Shabbat.

Bracha ― blessing. Common usage: "It's time for the children's bracha," or "This beautiful day is a real bracha."

Challah ― Bread traditionally used on Shabbat, often braided. Can be white, whole wheat, or rye!

Chollent ― A Shabbat stew, usually served for lunch Shabbat day (Saturday after shul).

Davening ― Prayer service, or, praying. Common usage: "I'm late for davening," or "It was so nice to daven."

Devar Torah ― "Word of Torah" (sometimes called a vort,Yiddish for a "word"). A short talk or discussion at the Shabbat table, usually centered on the Torah portion of the week. Common usage: "Shhh... David is giving a Devar Torah," or "Do you have a vort?"

Erev ― eve. Common usage: "I'll drop the flowers off at our hosts erev Shabbat" ― as in the hours just before Shabbat.

"Good Shabbos" ― Traditional Shabbat salutation, said upon meeting or departing. Can be said as early as Thursday, meaning "Hope you have a Good Shabbos!" Also expressed as Shabbat Shalom, meaning a "Peaceful Sabbath."

["Good Shabbos" is really from the Yiddish, "Gut Shabbos" and uses the Ashkenazi pronunciation, with the "s" sound at the end of Shabbos. "Shabbat Shalom" is Hebrew, using the Sephardi pronunciation, with the "t" sound at the end of "Shabbat."]

Ha-motzi ― The blessing over bread.

Havdalah ― The ceremony that ends Shabbat. Performed with a braided candle, wine, and sweet scent.

Kiddush ― Blessing over the wine at the First Meal (Friday night), in shul Shabbat morning, and/or at home at the Second Meal (Saturday lunch).

Kippah (Yiddish, "yarmulka") ― Head covering for a Jewish male.

Lechem Mishneh ― "Two Breads," the two challahs used for ha-motzi.

Ma'ariv ― The evening prayer service, said after sundown every evening.

Mayim Acharonim ― Literally, "final waters," the washing of one's fingertips at the conclusion of the meal, so as to have clean hands for bentching.

Mazel Tov! ― Congratulations! (Literally, "Good Luck!") Common usage: "Mazel Tov to the Greens on the birth of their daughter!"

Melaveh Malkah ― Saturday night post-Shabbat celebration, in honor of King David.

Minchah ― The afternoon prayer service, said just before sundown.

Minyan ― A quorum for prayer. Usage: "We need a minyan," or "I'm going to minyan" (meaning, "I'm going to shul").

Mitzvah ― A commandment. Also used to describe an act that is good or praiseworthy.

Motzei Shabbat ― Saturday night, after Shabbat is over.

Muktzah (Literally, "set aside") ― Objects whose handling is subject to restrictions on Shabbat. Generally refers to things that have no use on Shabbat and therefore are prohibited (e.g. money, pens).

Parsha ― Torah portion of the week.

Sefer ― A book containing words of Torah.

Sefer Torah ― The handwritten scroll containing the Five Books of Moses.

Seudah Shelishit ― The Third Meal of Shabbat, eaten late Saturday afternoon (also called Shalosh Seudos).

Shacharit ― The morning prayer service. On Shabbat, usually followed by kiddush.

Shalom Aleichem ― First song at the Friday night meal, welcoming the visiting "angels." Also a greeting, meaning "Peace be with you," answered with "Aleichem Shalom ― And with you, peace."

Shavuah Tov ― Literally, "Good week," said to one another at the end of Shabbat. Also sometimes expressed as "Gut Voch" ― Yiddish, meaning "Good Week."

Shkoyach ― A mashed together version of Yasher Koach, literally, "May your strength be straightened." Loosely translated as "Way to go," or "More power to ya"! Often said at the conclusion of a Devar Torah or Aliyah.

Shul ― Yiddish for synagogue, house of prayer.

Siddur ― Book containing formal prayer service.

Tallit ― Prayer shawl.

Washing ― the ritual cleansing of hands before the blessing over bread. (as in "Let's wash," or "Did you wash for bread?") Usually performed with a two-handled washing cup, pouring water over each hand, followed by a blessing.

Zemirot ― Shabbat songs.

Published: May 15, 2004


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Visitor Comments: 2

(2) Dror, September 21, 2008 6:39 AM

Challah

"...Can be white, whole wheat, or rye!" - My wife bakes delicious SPELT challah! :)

(1) Mrs. Jyoti Raylon, July 29, 2005 12:00 AM

I was happy to browse through the site

Good site

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