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Hebrew Glossary - Ch



































(kha-BAHD) n. A Hebrew acronym for Chokhmah, Binah and Da'at, (wisdom, understanding and knowledge, respectively). These words translate to three core mental functions in the process of what is commonly known as thought: that first flash of insight (chokhmah), the cogitation and rumination that follows (binah), and thirdly, the ability to process an idea so that it becomes part of your heart and soul (da'at).

Chabad is also known as Lubavitch, the name of the Russian city that housed the Chabad movement until the early 1900's. Today Chabad refers to the international network of Lubavitch outreach centers, the world's largest Jewish outreach and social-services organization.


(khah-KHAM) adj. Wise; sagacious; n. wise man; sage (note that Hebrew uses the word sakhal for prudence or circumspection; binah for discernment (or tevunah); arum for craftiness, and so on).  A talmid chacham is a title given to one who is well-versed in Torah or Talmud.

Who are wise?
Those who learn from all people. (Avot 4:1)


(kha-khah-MEEM) n. pl. The sages, esp. the Rabbis of the Talmud. Talmidei chachamim are Torah scholars.


(kha-da-SHAH) n. News. adj. New. B'rit Chadashah refers to the New Covenant.

Chad Gadiah

(khad ga-dee-YAH) n. ("one little goat") A playful song that is traditionally the next to last song of the Passover Seder (sung before "L'shana Ha'ba'ah Birushalayim"). The lyrics are in Aramaic and Hebrew and begin: chad gadya, chad gadya (One little goat, one little goat), dizabin abah bitrei zuzei (Which my father bought for two zuzim). The song is cumulative, progressively building on previous verses as it moves through the song. Note that the song is often transliterated as Had Gadia, Had Gadya, etc.


(khag) n. Jewish Festival, Feast, or holiday (see the Jewish calendar for a list of the chaggim). Chagigiyut means festivity.

Chag Ha'asif

(khag ha-ah-SEEF) n. Festival of Ingathering.  Fall festival; Also referred to as Chag Ha-Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles).

Feast of Firstfruits

(khag hab-beek-koo-REEM) n. "The Festival of the Firstfruits (בִּכּוּרִים)" or "Chag Shavuot" (the Feast of Weeks). Shavuot (or "Pentecost") is a festival that marks the end of counting of the omer sheaves (sefirat ha'omer) that began on the second evening of Passover (called Yom Habikkurim, or the "Day of Firstfruits" which symbolized the resurrection of the Messiah Yeshua from the dead). The 49 period of time that bridged the first barley and first wheat harvests required sample offerings from the harvests to the LORD at the Temple. Note that Chag Habikkurim is associated with Shavuot and the giving of the Torah as well. The sages determined the day of Shavuot occured on the 6th day of Sivan, 50 days after the Passover from Egypt, and this marked the time when the Israelites received the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai. Thus, Shavuot became the festival of mattan Torah, the reception of Torah. For more on this see the Shavuot pages.

Chag HaMatzot

(khag ham-matz-TZOHT) n. Feast of Unleavened Bread. Directly following Passover is Chag HaMatzot, or the Festival of Unleavened Bread, when no chametz may be eaten or possessed for a full seven days.

Since the Jewish calendar reckons the start of a day at evening, it is sometimes confusing determining when a festival begins and ends. For example, Passover begins on Nisan 14 at evening, that is, between 3:00 pm to sundown, and continues through Nisan 15. Strictly speaking, then, Passover begins on Nisan 14th and ends on Nisan 15th.

In Exodus chapter 12:15-20 God instructed the Jews to eat unleavened bread for seven days, from Nisan 14th at evening until Nisan 21 at evening, but in Leviticus 23:6 the seven day festival of Unleavened Bread is said to begin on Nisan 15, following Passover, and therefore would end on Nisan 22. This apparent inconsistency is reconciled once we understand that the new day begins at sundown, that is, when the end of one day and the start of a new day both occur.

The Festival of Unleavened Bread, then, begins on the 15th of Nisan, which is also a High Sabbath day, and ends on Nisan 22. Chag HaMatzot represents a holy week spent without leaven in our lives, a picture of our response to the redemption of the LORD (Matthew 16:12; Mark 8:14-15; Luke 12:1; Romans 6:13-22; 1 Corinthians 5:6-8).

Note that in modern Judaism, Passover and Chag HaMatzot are collectively considered as a single holiday, usually referred together as "Passover."

Chag HaSukkot

(khag ha-sook-KOHT) n. Feast of Tabernacles. Feast of Booths. Sukkot. Fall festival; celebrating the forty years when the people of Israel lived in booths or tents in the desert. Sukkot is one of three pilgrim festivals when Jews were expected to go up to Jerusalem. Also referred to as Chag Ha-Asif.  Jewish calendar

Chag Sameach

(khag sa-MAY-ach)  phr. "Happy Holiday!" Said to express best wishes on a Jewish holiday.


(khag-GAI) n. Haggai. Tenth book of the Minor Prophets. Haggai ministered to the exiles and spoke of the rebuilding of the Temple and the coming kingdom of Messiah Yeshua. Chagai means "Festive."

Chaggim U'zmanim

(khag-GEEM oo-ze-man-NEEM) n. pl. Feasts and Festivals. See the Jewish calendar for a list of the Jewish holidays.


(KHAI) adj. 1) Alive; living; Fresh; new; creation. 2) n. A pendant with these letters worn as jewelry.


(kha-KHAM) n. Wise man; learned man; Torah scholar. Also transliterated as "Chacham" or "Chochem."


(kha-lee-TSAH) n. "Release from limits" (חֲלִיצָה is derived from חלצ, "release"), see Ruth 4:7. The word chalitzah refers to a public ceremony ("removing of the shoe") in the case of a brother-in-law who is unwilling to marry the wife of his deceased brother, thereby scorning the laws of yibbum (יִבּוּם), or "levirate marriage" (i.e., if a man dies, leaving a widow without children, his brother should marry the woman in order to produce an heir for the deceased brother; this process of is sometimes called geulah (גְּאֻלָּה), "redemption" and the man is called a go'el (גּאֵל), or kinsman "redeemer").


(KHAL-lah) n. "Cake," "loaf." A braided loaf of egg bread, traditionally used for Shabbat and the holidays. Challah is meant to remind us of the manna that fell from the sky during the time of the Exodus from Egypt, and since a double portion fell the day before the Sabbath, it is customary to use two loaves of bread during holiday observances.

The word "challah" comes from the Scriptures. The Torah commands that a loaf of bread made from "the first of your dough" was to be given as a contribution (terumah) to the priests: "Of the first of your dough you shall present a loaf (i.e., challah: חַלָּה) as a contribution; like a contribution from the threshing floor, so shall you present it" (Num. 15:18-21). After the destruction of the Second Temple, it became customary for Jews to twist off a small portion of dough (minimally the size of an olive) to burn in an open flame as an offering to God (this custom is called "hafrashat challah"). Technically speaking, the separated piece of dough is the "challah," though most people call the bread on the Sabbath table "challah" as well...

The "twists" or "braids" you see in the bread used for the Sabbath are meant to remind us that the loaf was made from a batch of dough that was first offered to God. In this way, the "challah loaf" on the Shabbat Table represents a firstfruit offering (bikkurim) before the LORD, which is another symbol of Yeshua and his sacrifice for us (1 Cor. 15:20). As the Bread of Life - lechem ha-chayim - Yeshua is our everlasting sustenance (John 6:35). Only Yeshua can truly satisfy the spiritual hunger within our hearts...

Chamesh Megillot

(kha-MAYSH me-geel-LOHT) n. The Five Scrolls (often referred to as simply megillot) containing Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, and Esther.


(KHA-mayts) n. Leavening. Yeast, baking powder, mixes with a leavening agent, bread and bread crumbs. Literally "sour." Food prepared with leavening, not eaten during the Passover holiday; anything which is not kosher for Passover. The search for Chametz is called bedikat chametz.

Chamishah Chumshei Torah

(kha-mish-SHAH choom-SHAY  TOH-rah) n. The five books of the Torah. "Five fifths of the Torah." Chumash.


(kha-moo-DEE) n. My cute one; my dear! (from chamud - cute, charming, etc.)

Chanokh lana'ar

(kha-nokh lan-na-ar) Phr. "Train up a child." From Proverbs 22:6: "Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it."

Chanukat ha-Bayit

(cha-noo-KAT hab-BIE-yeet) n. The dedication of a house; the minhag (custom) of dedicating a new house by affixing a mezzuah to the doorpost.  Often an oneg is held and friends come over to see the new place. For the blessing, click here.

Chanukat ha-Mizbe'ach

(cha-noo-KAT ham-meez-BAY-akh) n. The dedication of the altar. Num. 7:10, 84, 88; 2 Chr. 7:9


(kha-nook-KEY-yah) n. Chanukiyah; The eight-branched menorah, with a place for a ninth candle (shamash) that lights the others, especially designed for Chanukah.


(kha-nook-KAH) n. Chanukah. "Dedication." Often called Festival of Lights. Begins on Kislev 25 and lasts for eight days. The holiday recognizes the Maccabean victory of a small army over the Assyrian-Greek forces in 164 B.C.E. and the rededication of the Temple. The celebration is marked by lighting candles in a chanukiyah, spinning dreidels, eating latkes, and retelling the story of the power of the spirit. Also transliterated as Hanukah, Hanukkah, and Chanukah.  The word derives from chanakh, to dedicate, consecrate, train.

Chanukat HaBayit

(kha-nook-KAHT ha-BAI-yeet) n. Dedication of the home; the ceremony affixing the mezuzah. Informally, a Chanukat Bayit is a house-warming ceremony. In Deuteronomy one is commanded to dedicate a new home as an official endorsement of its new place and purpose. "Is there anyone who has built a new house but has not dedicated it? Let him go back to his home, lest he die in battle and another dedicate it." (Deut. 20:5).

Upon first moving into your new house, it is customary to leave a certain space or wall free of decoration and furnishing as a remembrance of the destruction of the Temple.
It has also been known for Jewish people to use bread, salt and candles to initiate their new home. The bread represents the hope that there will always be enough food; the candles are a symbol of light and joy; and the salt is a reminder of the Temple sacrifices and tears shed.


(khar-ree-ZOOT) n. Diligence; conscientiousness; meticulousness; attentiveness.


(tse-dah-KAH) n. Righteousness; Charity; Benevolence; Justice. Tzedakah generally refers to the giving of money to help support those in need and the helping institutions of one's community and is considered a religious obligation, distinct from the notions of charity or philanthropy, which are related to the concept of chesed.


(khah-RO-set) n. n. Sweet spread eaten at Pesach during seder. A mixture of apples, raisons, nuts, and wine served at the seder to represent mortar on the seder plate. Charoset is said to symbolise the mortar the Jews used to prepare bricks for the Egyptians.

Chas VeShalom!

(khas ve-sha-LOHM) Excl. "God forbid!" "Perish the thought!" Lit. "Mercy and peace!"

Chasidei Umot Haolam

(kha-see-DAY oom-MOTE ha-oh-lam) n. pl. (phr.) "Benevolent Gentiles." Non-Jews who have protected and helped the Jewish people, especially in times of persecution or suffering, such as the Holocaust.


(khas-SEED) n. Chassid. Pious man.


(khas-see-DEEM) n. Eighteenth-century mystical revival movement. Modern movement from the teachings of the Besht (Ba'al Shem Tov (1700-1760)) stressing personal heartfelt experience of God. The yetser ha ra (evil impulse) must be mastered by chokhmah, binah, and da'at.  Also called Chassidism or chassidut (see below).


(kha-see-DOOT) n. (חֲסִידוּת) "Piety" or "lovingkindness" as way of life that goes beyond the letter of the law. The 18th centurey movement within Judaism founded by the Ba'al Shem Tov intended to awaken the the inner dimension of the Torah and prepare the way for the advent of Mashiach. Note that Chassidism is a synoynm for chassidut.

Some of the main features of chassidut include the following:

  1. Avodat simchah (עבודת שמחה) - Joyful service to God, inclusing joyous praise
  2. Kavannah (כַּוָנָה) - Concentration; focus; intention; serving God in all things
  3. Penimiyyut (פְּנִימִיוּת) - Inwardness; intensity; passion; devakut (attachment to God)
  4. Tzimtzum (צמצום) - God hides (withdraws) so that we will seek him; separateness
  5. Nitzorot (ניצוצות) - "sparks"; God's glory pervades all things but is trapped and needs to be released by faith (i.e., "raising the sparks"); encouragement to others;
  6. Tefillah - Prayer; words, thoughts; study of Torah for the sake of worship
  7. Tikkun Olam (תיקון עולם) - Repair of the world; doing maasim tovim (good deeds) for the sake of returning the world to God.
  8. Middot (מידות הלב) - Transforming the heart's qualities to revere and love God.
  9. Tzaddik (צדיק) - Living as a channel of God's voice; godliness

Chatan Bereshit

(kha-tahn be-ray-SHEET) n. "Bridegroom (chatan) of Genesis"; honor of being called up to open the Torah reading cycle on Simchat Torah, usually given to a strong member of the synagogue. The Chatan Torah "Bridegroom of Torah" is the one chosen to close the Torah reading cycle at the synagogue. Both Chatan Bereshit and Chatan Torah are honorary Torah readings for recognized members of a synagogue.


(kha-too-NAH) n. Jewish wedding. Chatan is the groom; Kalah is the bride; Edim are witnesses. The elements of a Jewish wedding normally include the following: one chosson (the groom), one kallah (the bride), and a ceremony sometimes referred to as kiddushin. Separate steps usually accompany a traditional wedding:

  1. Shidduch - it's a match!
  2. Vort - formal engagement
  3. Ketubah - marriage contract
  4. Bedekin - the visit from the chosson to the veiled bride (after a week of no contact after the engagement)
  5. Chuppah - the wedding canopy
  6. Kiddushin - The giving of the ring
  7. Sheva brachot - seven blessings recited over the couple
  8. Breaking of the glass - remembering the exile even in our joy
  9. Cheder yichud - "room of privacy" - the closed room where bride and groom are together for the first time. Normally they share a meal here, directly after the ceremony.
  10. The reception - dancing, music, etc.

Chatunat Ha-Seh

(kha-too-NAHT ha-SAY) n. The "Marriage of the Lamb" (Rev. 19:9): And the angel said to me, "Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb." And he said to me, "These are the true words of God."


(khav-VAH) n. Eve. Gen 3:20; The primordial mother and first created female human being by Adonai.


(kha-vak-KOOK) n. 1) Habakkuk. Eighth book of the Minor Prophets in the Nevi'im. 2) A messenger to Judah regarding her judgment by the Chaldeans. Chavakkuk means "Embracer."


(kha-VAIR) n. Friend (plural is chaverim). Comrade; Chaverut means friendship.


(kha-vay-ROOT) n. Friendship; membership (in a chavurah); society.


(khav-roo-TAH) n. Study (of Torah or Talmud) in pairs, considered an integral part of traditional Jewish study. Often a chavrutah studies in the bet midrash (a study hall) together with other chavrutot (n pl.).


(khah-voo-RAH) n. Also spelled Havurah. Small, participatory groups that meet for prayer, study and celebration. Fellowship group. Hebrew for "fellowship." (Plural is chavurot).


(KHAI-yeem) n. Life. (L'chayim means "to life!"). Also transliterated as chaiyim.


(kha-ZAHK) Excl. "Well done!" – said on completing a book of Scripture; also: "Courage!" Chazak v'ematz means "be strong and of good courage." Note: Chazak also means "strong," as in dagesh chazak.

Chazak Chazak v'nitchazek

(kha-ZAHK kha-ZAHK ve-neet-kha-ZAYK) Excl. "Chazak, chazak, v'nitchazek - Be strong, be strong, and may we be strengthened!" - the traditional praise recited at the conclusion of the reading of each of the Five Books of the Torah (Ashkenaz tradition). The Sefardic  custom is to say "chazak u'barukh" at the end of every single individual Torah reading (Monday morning, Thursday morning, or Shabbat morning).

Chazak u'Baruch!

(kha-ZAHK) Excl. "Strength and Blessing!" – said on completing a reading (parashah) of Scripture (Sephardic custom only).


(kha-zal) Hebrew acronym for חכמינו זכרונם לברכה: Chochmenu Zichrona Levaracha ("Our sages of blessed memory"), and often used to refer to Rabbis of the Talmud.  Note that the Tannaim (pl; sing. is tanna) are the sages of the Mishnah, whereas the Amoraim (pl; sing. is amora) are the sages of the Gemara. Collectively the Tannaim and Amoraim are referred to as Chazal in later rabbinical writing.


(khaz-ZAHN) n. Cantor. Singer or chanter of the Torah and b'rachot in the synagogue.. Chazzanut is the art of cantillation or singing prayers and chanting Torah.


(kha-ZOHN) n. Revelation; vision; prophecy.


(KHE-der) n. Room. The schoolroom of the ghetto, briefly used during the early twentieth century, replaced by Talmudic Torah and day-school systems.


(khem-lah) n. Mercy; Pity; Compassion. God was merciful to Lot's family in leading them by the hand from Sodom (Gen 19:16). In Isa 63:9 chemlah is parallel to ahavah (love), as God's pity for Israel comes from his love. A synonymous word is rachamim.


(KHEN) n. Grace; Favor; loveliness.


(KHE-rem) n. Ban; destruction; object consecrated to te Temple; excommunication. Cherem is the most severe censure in the Jewish community, involving the total exclusion of a person from Jewish corporate life. It is a form of shunning, and is similar to excommunication in the Catholic Church. A milder form than cherem is the "nezifah" ban, where an offender needed to express remorse and repentance. This ban generally only lasted one day.


(ke-ROOV, ke-roo-VEEM) n. Cherub/ Cherubim. Heavenly creatures (angels) who guarded the way to the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3:24).


(khay-ROOT) n. Freedom; liberty; Passover (Pesach) is called chag haCheirut - the Festival of Freedom or Redemption. Zman Cheruteinu is the season of our freedom (Passover). The Hebrew word chofesh (חפֵשׁ) connotes freedom from external restraints, or the freedom to "do your own thing." The word cherut (חֵרוּת), on the other hand, suggests freedom to do what you should, or the freedom to act responsibly. In other words, Passover redemption leads to liberty to serve God, not indiscriminate freedom to act according to whim or impulse.


(KHE-sed) n. Grace; favor; lovingkindness; covenantal faithfulness; loyal love. Chesed includes the concepts of loyalty and fidelity along with love; it therefore represents faithful love, and so on. Chesed also refers to an act of lovingkindness or gracious action, i.e., the giving of oneself to help others without regard to repayment or personal benefit. Chesed is therefore the essense of the great mitzvah to "love your neighbor as yourself." עוֹלָם חֶסֶד יִבָּנֶה - olam chesed yibaneh - "The world is built with chesed" (Psalm 89:3).

The sages compared chesed with charity, saying that in three ways is chesed greater. Charity is done with money; chesed can be either with one's person or one's money. Charity is for the poor; chesed can be done for either the poor or the rich. Charity is for the living; chesed can be done for the living or the dead (Sukkah 49b). The act of burying a dead person is called chesed shel emet -- "true kindness" -- since this is an altrusitic act done when the other person is powerless to repay. And of course gemilut chasidim refers to acts of lovingkindness or benevolence.

Chesed shel Emet

(KHE-sed shel E-met) n. Unselfish act of kindness, especially towards the dead who can never repay.

Cheshbon Hanefesh

(khesh-bone ha-NE-fesh) n. Soul-searching; self-accounting; spiritual accounting; traditionally associated with the teshuvah season between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.


(khesh-vahn) n. Second month; See Jewish calendar.


(khayt) n. Chet. 8th letter of the Hebrew alphabet having a guttural sound of "ch" as in Bach. Originally represented by a pictograph meaning "tent wall" or "fence."
Gematria = 8.


(khayt) n. Sin; "missing the mark;" a turning away from obedience. The noun appears thirty five times in the Tanakh.

Chet HaEgel

(khet hah-AY-gel) n. The Sin of the Calf. The "golden calf" (עֵגֶּל הַזָהָב) or "molten calf" (egel maseikhah) was an idol made by Aaron to satisfy the Israelites during Moses' absence when he ascended Mount Sinai. Along with the sin of the spies (chet hameraglim), this is one of the most disasterous national sins of ancient Israel. See Parashat Ki Tisa for more information.

Chet HaMeraglim

(khet ha-me-ra-glim) n. The Sin of the Spies. Chet Ha-Meraglim (חֵטְא הַמְרַגְּלִים). The Sin of the Spies occurred when ten of the tribal leaders of the Exodus generation were commissioned to "scout the land" but returned with a pessimistic and negative report, insisting that it would be impossible for the Jewish People to conquer and occupy the Promised Land. Only Yehoshua and Calev keep faith in the LORD's promise and did not suffer judgment from this act of lashon hara (against God).

Chevlei Ha-Mashiach

(khev-LAY ham-ma-SHEE-akh) n. "The Birthpangs of the Messiah." Judaism teaches that the arrival of Mashiach is accompanied by birth pangs, Chevlei Mashiach. This is also sometimes referred to as the "Time of Jacob's Trouble."  Note how the following account corresponds with the teaching on the New Testament regarding the Second Coming of Yeshua as Mashiach ben David:

    The seven years preceding the coming of the Son of David will be distinguished by the following signs: The first year rain will be scarce and partial; in the second year pangs of hunger will be felt; during the third year a severe famine will be experienced, and many human beings will die; men of renown and piety will perish, so that the Torah will be forgotten in Israel. This famine will be the last of the ten predestined for the world; the other nine occurred during the lives of Adam, Lemech, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Elijah, Elisha, the Judges, and King David. The fourth year will be marked neither by famine nor by plenty, but the fifth year will be one of prosperity, when the earth will bring forth abundance. There will then be joy in all parts of the earth, and a revival of study and knowledge of the Torah will be noticeable in the ranks of Israel. The sixth year will be full of rumours of war, and the seventh year will see the actual dread visitation of war. After all these signs have come to pass, at the end of the seventh year, the Son of David will make His appearance. According to other opinions, prior to the coming of Messiah the world will be terribly corrupt; there will be no compassion amongst men, great derision and contempt for the Torah and for piety will be universal, and truth will be almost unknown. Men will be as shameless of their evil doings as the very animals, and the few righteous who still exist will be in exceeding great distress. Persecution will be rife everywhere, the youth will have no respect for the aged, so that the aged will even rise before the presence of the young. The daughter will rebel against her mother, and a man's worst enemies will be those of his own household. The reigning powers will become infidel, and none will be found to raise his voice in protest, so that mankind will seem to merit nought but extermination. If, therefore, we behold the generations becoming ever more corrupt, there is therein good reason to anticipate the advent of Messiah (Midrash Song of Songs 2).


(KHEV-rah) n. Society; association. A Chevrah Kadishah is a burial society; sociology is called torat-ha'chevrah. A chevrayah is a group of friends.


(khee-DOOSH) n. (חִדּוּשׁ); the plural is chiddushim (חִדּוּשִׁים). Something novel or new. A new explanation or idea, especially regarding the study of the Torah. New insights about the Torah are called chiddushei Torah (חִדּוּשֵׁי תּוֹרָה). Also spelled chidush, chidushim, etc.

Chillul Hashem

(kheel-LOOL ha-SHEM) n. Bringing God's Name into disgrace; scandal; this is the opposite of Kiddush Hashem (קִדּוּשׁ הַשֵּׁם), honoring the Name (through doing mitzvot or by martyrdom). The concept of chilul HaShem (חִלוּל הַשֵּׁם) comes from Lev. 22:32: "And you shall not profane My holy name; but I will be hallowed among the children of Israel: I am the Lord who hallows you."


(kheen-NOOK) n. "Education," a word that shares the same root as the word "chanukah"
(חֲנֻכָּה, dedication). Unlike the ancient Greek view that pragmatically saw education as a humanistic process of escaping from "the cave of ignorance" to better one's personal power or happiness, the Jewish idea implies dedication to God and His concrete purposes on the earth.  Rambam (Maimonides) notes that the word chinukh is borrowed from the Torah's description of dedicating a tool for use with the Holy Altar, "habituating the tool for its work." In other words, godly education is a process of being made a "fit vessel" for the service of God in the world. All other ends of knowledge ultimately exist for this purpose, and rightly understood, education is a form of worship. "The world exists because of the breath of the schoolchildren who study Torah" (Talmud Bavli Shabbat 119b).


(kheez-ZOOK) n. Encouragement. Giving chazak to someone. (Give the guy some ~).


(KHOH-desh; kho-da-SHEEM) n. Month(s); see the Jewish calendar for a list of the Jewish months; Rosh Chodesh is the first of the month. The names of the months are Babylonian in origin.

Chodesh Ha-Aviv

(KHOH-desh hah-ah-VEEV) n. The "month of spring;" i.e., the Torah's original name for the first month of the calendar (Exod. 13:3-4; 23:15; 34:18; Deut. 16:1) that was later renamed to Nisan (Esther 3:7; Neh. 2:1).

Chodesh HaGeulah

(KHOH-desh ha-ge-oo-LAH) n. Nisan, the "month of redemption;" see the Jewish calendar for a list of the Jewish months. Rosh Chodashim is the start of the Biblical calendar. The Babylonian Talmud (Tractate Rosh Hashanah 11a) states that, "In Nisan our forefathers were redeemed from Egypt and in Nisan we will be redeemed."


(KHOH-fesh) n. Freedom. The adj form is choshi (m) and chofshit (f).  Am chofshi is a free people; chofesh hadibur is freedom of speech; etc.  A near synonym is cherut.  Note that in modern Hebrew, chofesh can mean "vacation."  The Hebrew word chofesh (חפֵשׁ) connotes freedom from external restraints, or the freedom to "do your own thing." The word cherut (חֵרוּת), on the other hand, suggests freedom to do what you should, or the freedom to act responsibly. In other words, Passover redemption leads to liberty to serve God, not indiscriminate freedom to act according to whim or impulse.

Chofetz Chaim

(khoh-fets KHAI-yeem) n. "Desirer of Life," from the use of this phrase in Psalm 34:12. A book on the laws that govern good speech and the avoidance of lashon hara (gossip, slander, etc.) written by R' Yisrael Meir Kagan (1838-1933). Rabbi Kagan is sometimes himself referred to as the Chofetz Chaim.


(khohkh-mah) n. Wisdom; cleverness; cp. binah and da'at.

Chokhmat Elohim

(khohkh-mat e-loh-HEEM) n. The wisdom of God.

Chokhmat Lev

(khohkh-mat LAYV) n. A wise heart; "Who is like the wise? And who knows the interpretation of a thing? A man's wisdom makes his face shine, and the hardness of his face is changed" (Eccl. 8:1)

Chokhmat Shlomo

(khohkh-mat she-LOH-moh) n. The wisdom of Solomon.


(khohl) adj. Profane; ordinary; a yom chol is an ordinary day, as opposed to a sacred day.

Chol Hamo'ed

(khol ha-moh-ed) n. Intermediate day during a festival; "semi-festival" days.

Chosen People

(ahm ha-neev-KHAHR) n. A chosen people. Chosenness is the belief that the Jews are chosen to be in a covenant with God. This idea is first found in the Torah (five books of Moses) and is elaborated on in later books of the Hebrew Bible. See Deuteronomy 14:2; Exodus 19:5-6; Deuteronomy 7:7-8; Amos 3:2.  A related term is am segullah, a treasured people.

Note that chosenness does not imply superiority. "Choosing" is invariably perceived as a verb and part of what it means to be such a people. That is, the ones who are choosing Adonai and His ways are both am hanivchar and am segullah. Therefore the Apostle Peter refers to Christians as "a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession" (1 Peter 2:9, cp. Ex. 19:6, Deut. 7:6). This is clearly a reference to Gentiles who come to faith in Yeshua, since he adds: "Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people" (1 Pet. 2:9-10), something he would not have said to ethnic Jews. The Apostle Paul likewise understands true Christians to be "chosen people" (Eph 1:4; 2 Thess. 2:13). All true Christians are in b'kehunat Mashiach - in the priesthood of Messiah Yeshua and therefore have direct access to God. This priestly lineage began with Malki-Tzedek (Melchizedek), culminated in Yeshua, and is passed directly to the believer by means of his or her justification and identification with the Lord, "who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people (am segulah), zealous of good works" (Titus 2:14).


(KHOH-shen) n. Breastplate (of the high priest), worn over the ephod (linen apron). This sacred vestment contained two special gemstones called the urim v'tummin ("lights and perfections"; Ex. 28:30; Lev. 8:8; Num. 27:21; Deut. 33:8).  These stones were used to discern the will of God in some cases (1 Sam. 14:41; 28:6; Ezr. 2:63; Neh. 7:65). Some have claimed that the Shekhinah would cause the urim and tummim to light up and shine upon the avnei choshen (the 12 gemstones in the choshen that represented the 12 tribes of Israel). Since each stone was inscribed with a name of a tribe of Israel, the letters illuminated on the choshen would reveal an answer to a question posed by the High Priest.

The choshen was arranged with four rows of three stones. Each stone was inscribed with six letters representing a name of a tribe of Israel (for a total of 72 letters).  The first row was: Reuben (ruby), Simeon (topaz), and Levi (garfinkel); the second row was: Judah (carbuncle), Issachar (sapphire), and Zebulun (pearl); the third row was Dan (jacinth), Naphtali (agate) and Gad (crystal); and the fourth row was Asher (emerald), Joseph (onyx), and Benjamin (yashneh- an unknown stone).  According to the Gemara (Sotah), the "shamir" was a miraculous worm, as small as a grain of barley, that was used to engrave the names of the tribes on the stones.

Believers in the Mashiach Yeshua are likewise appointed to be a kingdom of priests (1 Pet 2:9) and have access to the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) to discern the will of God. This is done through faith, asking the LORD for wisdom, and trusting in His Light and Perfection to guide us into all truth (John 16:3).


(kris-TOHS) n. From "Christos," the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew term "Messiah." Both words literally mean "Anointed One." This was the word used in the Septuagint (LXX), the ancient Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures as prepared by Jewish translators three centuries before the time of Jesus. When early Christians believed they had found their Messiah, they naturally referred to him as "the Christ." When Christians say "Jesus Christ" they are actually saying "Jesus the Messiah." For example, check the LXX for these references Lev 4:5, 6:15, 1 Sam 24:7, 24:11, Lam 4:20, Psalm 20:6. Click here for more information.


(nohts-REE) adj. Christian (lit. from Nazareth). Jesus is sometimes referred to as Yeshua ha-Notsri. This is the common term in Israel (i.e., modern Ivrit).


(ma-a-MEEM me-shee-KHEE) n. Messianic believer; Christian; a person who is trusting that Yeshua is the promised Messiah and Savior of Israel and the world.  This is the preferred term.  The plural of this is ma'aminim meshichim.


(nats-ROOT) n. Christianity. The religion that evolved from the tenets given by Yeshua ha Mashiach.


(khook-KEEM) n. (sing. chok) Divine decrees; Statutes given without a reason (i.e., fiats or statutes). As such they are sometimes called "supra-rational" decrees. The classic example is the chok (sing.) regarding the Red Heifer, which, legend has it, defied even the wisdom of King Solomon. Other examples include dietary law or the laws concerning family purity. These laws can seem irrational to human reason. The chukkim are one of the two main subcategories of the concept of mitzvot (commandments).


(KHOO-mahsh) n. Chumash; Pentateuch; the first five books of Moses, usually bound in a codex (book) form and accompanied with Rashi commentary.


(KHOOP-pah) n. Chuppah. Wedding canopy. Used during the wedding ceremony and forming a sacred space in the center of the Bimah. It symbolically represents the bridal chamber, where the couple would go after the wedding to consummate the marriage.


(ke-NAY-seey-yah) n. Church. A small k'nesset.

Chut Shani

(khoot shah-NEE) n. The scarlet cord that Rachav (Rahab) dangled from her window to be delivered from God's judgment. The theme of the "scarlet cord" runs from Gen. 3 to the Cross of Yeshua to Revelation.

Dr. W. A. Criswell said, "Rahab the harlot is an example of the grace of God at work. Her salvation was not based on her character or merits: she lived in a doomed city, practiced a condemned profession, engaged in subversive activities, and falsified [lied about] her actions. Nevertheless she…acted upon faith, and was spared the judgment of God which was executed at the hands of the Israelites. In addition to her deliverance, Rahab was rewarded beyond measure when she married into the household of Nahshon…By Salmon, Rahab became the mother of Boaz and ancestress of David in the Messianic line [of those who were the ancestors of Jesus]. As one of four women listed in the genealogy of Matthew 1, Rahab is in the company of Tamar, who was also a harlot, and Ruth, who was a virtuous Ger Tzedek." 


(KHOOTS-pah) n. Nerve; insolence; presumption and arrogance (that quality of a man who, having murdered his parents, pleads with the court to show him mercy on account of being an orphan).

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