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Hebrew Glossary - B



































(BA-ahl) n. Master; owner; husband; lord; possessor, "Baal." The Ugaritic term has the double use of master and the name of a deity. The root in most semitic languages means either "lord" or, when followed by a genitive, "owner." In addition to ba'al as the owner of things, the noun in the plural (ba'alim) is used for citizens of a city (Josh 24:11).

Baal Korei

(ba-al koh-RAY) n. "Master of Reading." A professional Torah Reader in the synagogue.  Chazzan (חָזָּן). The Baal Korei is trained in trope (cantillation) and melodies for traditional chanting of the Hebrew Text. He (or she) uses a Tikkun l'korei -- a handbook with both pointed and unpointed Hebrew text -- to practice reciting the various Torah portions, though when reading from the Sefer Torah itself, must look at each word as it is recited (based on the admonition found in Deut. 4:2). Note that this term is sometimes used interchangeably with baal tefillah (בַּעַל־תְּפִלָּה), a "Master of Prayer" (though see the entry below).  Chazzanut is the art of chanting.

Tikkun L'Korim

Baal Nes

(ba-ahl NAYES) n. A miracle worker. Wonder worker. Baal Nes.

Baal Peor

(ba-ahl pe-OHR) n. "Lord of Peor," referring to Mount Peor on the east of the river Jordan. A false local semitic deity worshipped by the ancient Canaanite nations as well as other Mesopotamian cultures. Ba'al Pe'or could mean 'Lord of the Opening,' referring to rites involving defecation and other practices. The god is himself also called "Peor" by abbreviation. Peor was the name of a mountain in Moab from which the rasha Bil'am vainly attempted to curse the people of Israel.

Baal Shem Tov

(ba-ahl shem TOHV) n. An honorary name given to Rabbi Israel ben Eliezer, the founder of Chasidism, the 18th century mystical revival movement. Hebrew for "master of the good name." Founder of the Chassidus movement. He is often referred to as the "BeSHT," an acronym for Baal SHem Tov.

Baal Tefillah

(ba-ahl te-fee-LAH) n. "Master of Prayer." Someone who leads traditional Jewish services or who is asked to read prayers on special occasions.

Baal Teki'ah

(ba-ahl te-kee-AH) n. The one who blows the Shofar during High Holiday services; Shofar blower.

Ba'al Teshuva

(ba-al te-shu-VAH) n. "Master of Repentance." A newly religious Jew; a penitent; a Jew who returns to the way of the Torah.

Ba'al Zephon

(ba-al ze-FONE) n. "Lord of the north," refers both to a god the Hellenes knew as Zeus who abode atop Mount Aqraa (in Syria) on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea and to a place named described as being near Migdol and Pi-hahiroth where the Israelites crossed the Sea of Reeds following their Exodus from Egypt. It is unclear if there is any direct connection between the Canaanite god and the location of the crossing of the sea (see below).

According to Ugaritic texts Baal-Zephon was the sacred mountain of the storm god Baal (Baal-Hadad in ancient Canaanite mythology), located on the Syrian coast. The cult of the god of the mountain was "transferred" or reinterpreted to be Zeus Kasios, the "Zeus of Mount Kasios." According to Isaiah 14:13, Mount Zaphon is associated with the palace of Satan, the devil.

Ba'al Zevuv (Beelzebub)

(ba-al ze-VOOV) n. Beelzebub; Philistine god (2 Kings 1:2). "Lord of the flies." Derogatory name for Satan. See Matt. 10:25; 12:24, 27; Mk. 3:22; Lk. 11:15, 18f.


(bah-VEL) n. Babylonia (modern day Iraq); Abraham left Sumerian city of Ur (in southern Babylonia) for the Promised Land. After the fall of Jerusalem in the year 70, Bavel became a center of Jewish scholarship devoted to the study and interpretation of the Torah.


(SE-fer ha-ba-HEER) n. An anonymous mystical work, first published in the 12th century, and perhaps authored by Isaac the Blind (1160-1235). The Bahir first appeared in the Middle Ages, around 1200 CE in France. It discusses a number of ideas that became important for Kabbalah. The Bahir is sometimes called the Midrash R' Nehunya ben ha-Kanah. It assumes the form of an exegetic midrash on the first chapters of Genesis.

Bakesh Shalom

(ba-KAYSH shah-lohm ve-ra-de-FAY-hoo) phr. "seek peace and pursue it" (Psalm 34:14b). This is not a passive state, but calls for dynamic, positive and restorative action. A bakashah is a petition, a request. We must pray and ask God for peace.

Balaam (son of Beor)

(beel-ahm) n. Bil'am (Balaam). A name that may mean "not of the people," a "mad man," or a "corrupter of the people."  Balaam was a renowned sorcerer from Pethor in Mesopotamia (Deut 23:4), who, though aware of the God of Israel, made his esoteric services available to others for a fee. When Israel arrived along the border of Moab near the end of their wanderings, King Balak of Moab hired Balaam to "curse Israel" so they would not be able to take possession of the land. He is first mentioned in parashat Balak (Numbers 22:5).

Balaam is mentioned no less than fifty-one times in Kitvei HaKodesh, beginning with the account given in Parashat Balak (Numbers 22-24). He was later killed in a battle between Israel and the Midianites (Numbers 31:8). He is also mentioned in Deut 23:5-6; Joshua 13:22; 24:9-10; Micah 6:5; and Nehemiah 13:2.

Although at first glance Bil'am might appear to be a man of God, a true prophet, both the Scriptures and Jewish tradition are emphatic that he was an adversary of the LORD and an ememy of the children of Israel. His so-called sorcery led to folly and death. The New Testament Scriptures speak of "the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved gain from wrongdoing" (2 Pet 2:15), "Balaam's error" (Jude 1:11), and "the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel" (Rev 2:14).

Perhaps paradoxically, or at least ironically, the blessing that Bil'am was constrained to confess over Israel was integrated into the daily Shacharit service as the Mah Tovu.

Bal Tashchit

(bal tash-KHEET) phr. "Don't be destructive or wasteful." The principle not to destroy anything needlessly; i.e., preservation of environment.  The foundation for most Jewish views regarding ecology.

Bal Tashchit comes from Deut. 20:19-20 where the LORD commands the Israelites not to destroy fruit bearing trees during warfare. From this mitzvah comes the general principle against destroying things needlessly, or destroying things that might benefit people. Rambam (Maimonides) takes this a step further and extends bal tashchit to include the breaking of vessels, the tearing of garments, the stopping of a well, and throwing away food (Mishneh Torah, Melachim).  The principle of bal tashchit implies that we respect God's creation and seek to help sustain it (tikkun olam). Since God is the Creator and Owner of all the heavens and earth (Lev. 25:23), any act that needlessly destroys of the world is regarded as an affront to God Himself.

Banim Lelohim

(ba-neem lay-loh-HEEM) n. pl. Sons of God; children of God;  (John 1:12).


(te-vee-LAH) n. Tevilah. Baptism; Immersion. The act of taking a ritual bath in a mikveh of running water, usually to cleanse from impurity (e.g., after menstruation). Complete immersion is also normally required for proselytes on being accepted into Judaism. Tevilah is the act of immersing oneself in a natural water source (i.e., a stream or river). In modern times a specially constructed pool called a mikveh is used. Today, in Judaism, the terms are used somewhat interchangeably. The "trinitarian" baptismal formula given in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19) implies that the Christian (or Messianic Jew) has the God-given responsibility to "make talmidim" - i.e., make disciples of the doctrine of the Mashiach.  This includes the ritual of "tevilah" - baptism, which is prefigured in the Jewish mikveh rituals.  It is not, therefore, to be associated (as is done in so-called "Covenant Theology") with the Jewish ritual of circumcision.


(ba-RYE-tah) n.  Plural is Baraitot. An Aramaic word meaning "external" or "outside" that designates a tannaite tradition (i.e., view of a sage from the time of the Mishnah, c. 70-200 AD) that was not incorporated into the six orders of the Mishnah. Generally speaking, baraita refers to a tradition in the Jewish oral law not incorporated in the Mishnah/Talmud. The main collections of Baraita are the Tosefta and the Midrashim. The authority of the Baraita is less than that of the Mishnah/Talmud, though the Mishnah itself uses baraitot as proof-texts for some arguments.


(bar-eh-KHOO) n. Barechu. The call to worship in the synagogue; The opening word of a well-established formula, preceding the Shema and the Shemoneh Esreh. Click here for more.

Bar Enosh

(bar e-nash) n. (Aramaic) Son of Man; The Messiah as seen by Daniel the prophet (Daniel 7:13-14), who "was given dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations, and languages should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed." One of the titles of the Messiah. Bar enosh, like Hebrew ben adam, can also mean "son of man," or "typical man," or simply "man." Yeshua is all of these: the Messiah, a typical (ideal) man, one schooled both in heaven and on earth to be a man. Yeshua refers to himself frequently by this title, stressing his full identification with the human condition, as taught in Rom.5.12-21, 8.3-39; 1 Cor. 15.21-49; Phil. 2.5-11; Heb. 2.5-18, 4.15.

Bar Mitzvah

(bar MITS-vah) n. A son (bar) of the commandment; a man of duty. Normally at the age of 13, the Jewish boy reaches maturity and is thereafter considered responsible for his religious acts. A Bar Mitzvah can be called up to the read the Torah, use Tefillin in weekday prayers each morning, and be counted as one of the ten men necessary for minyan, the minimum number required for congregational worship service

The Bar Mitzvah ceremony. The Bar Mitzvah is generally called up to make a b'rakha over the Torah at the first opportunity after he reaches this status, and may read the Parashah and/or the Haftarah. The father is also given an aliyah after his son's, at which he recites the additional blessing, "Blessed is He Who has relieved me of the punishment of this boy." An oneg or festive meal is often celebrated in honor of this event.

Barukh atah Adonai

(bah-ROOKH at-TAH ah-doh-NIGH) phr. Words that begin Hebrew blessings, commonly rendered in English as "Blessed art Thou, Lord our God, King of the Universe." This phrase is sometimes called the Shem umalkhut (the name and the sovereignty) and constitutes the affirmation that God is King over the entire universe.

Barukh Haba

(bah-ROOKH ha-bah) phr. "Welcome!"(also transliterated as "Baruch Haba"); Baruch haba b'shem Adonai ("Blessed is he who comes in the Name of the LORD").

Barukh Hashem

(bah-ROOKH ha-SHEM) phr. "Thank God!" Abbreviated as B"H. Also spelled Baruch Hashem.


(ba-SAR) n. Flesh; meat; body. Basar echad means "one flesh"; basar v'dam means "flesh and blood."


(ba-shert) n. (Yiddish) Fate; Destiny; also used to romantically one's beloved or fiance, i.e., "my destined one."

Baseless Hatred

(seen-at kheen-NAHM) n. Sinat Chinam. Baseless hatred; literally, "hatred of [their] grace (chen)." The Talmud (Yoma 9b) says: מפני מה חרב מפני שהיתה בו שנאת חנם, "Because of what was (the Second Temple) destroyed? Because sinat chinam was in it." Baseless hatred is considered as bad as the three cardinal sins of idolatry, immorality, and bloodshed which destroyed the First Temple. In essence, sinat chinam is the rejection of God's grace, especially as it is evidenced in the lives of those He created....

Bat Kol

(bat KOHL) n. Voice from heaven. Bat Kol has been defined as a mysterious voice by which God on occasion communicated to men. The sages taught that the bat kol was frequently heard among the ancient Israelites and became the only unequivocal means of communication between God and his people after prophecy had ceased.

Bat Mitzvah

(bat mits-vah) n. A girl of 13 who has reached the age of religious majority; also the ceremony marking that event. Hebrew for "daughter of the commandment."

Battle Belongs to the LORD

(kee la-Adonai ham-meel-khah-MAH) phr. "For the battle belongs to the LORD" (1 Sam. 17:47).

Bavat Eino

(bah-vat AYE-noh) phr. The apple of His eye. The pupil of God's eye.  His central focus and object of love.  A reference to the Jewish people (Deut. 32:10; Ps. 17:8; Prov. 7:2; Lam. 2:18; Zech. 2:8).

Beautifying the Commandments

(heed-DUR meetz-VAH) phr. "Beautifying the commandment." The custom of making beautiful ritual objects. An action or ritual intended to make a religious act or object as beautiful as possible.

Bechirah Chofshit

(be-khi-rah khof-sheet) n. Free will; also transliterated as bechira chofshit. The doctrine that the human will is able to choose between alternative possibilities of action in accordance with the inner motives and ideals of the agent. According to the Jewish sages, God foresees everything yet humans have free choice - and therefore responsibility (this is a form of theological compatibilism). For example, Rabbi Akiva is reported to have said: "Though everything is foreseen by God, yet free will is granted to man" (Avot 3:19). Bechirah Chofshit is considered a basic principle of Judaism, a starting point for the doctrine of earning merit before Heaven.


(be-dee-DOOT) n. Solitude; silence; shtikah.

Bedikat Chametz

(be-dee-kaht KHA-mets) n. Search for chametz (leaven) as part of the preparation for Pesach; the yester ha ra' (evil impulse) has long been associated with chametz. (bedikah refers to the careful inspection to which a human being or an object is submitted in keeping with religious requirements).

Be'ezrat Hashem (B"H)

(be'ez-raht ha-SHEM) phr. "With the Help of God"; phrase said before making any future undertaking. Abbr. B"H.

Before the Blind

(leef-nay ee-ver) A hortatory phrase meaning "before the blind" derived from the Torah commandment: וְלִפְנֵי עִוֵּר לא תִתֵּן מִכְשׁל, "You shall not put a stumbling block (i.e., mikshol: מִכְשׁל) before the blind (Lev. 19:14). Causing another person to stumble - literally or metaphorically - is considered a serious sin in Jewish ethical thought. Seducing others, lying, deceiving, flattering others, etc., all are species of the principle of lifnei iver.

Bein Adam L'chavero

(bayn ah-dahm le-kha-ve-ROH) phr. "Between a man and his friend"; laws (of justice) between man and man. A phrase referring to the set of Torah commandments between man and his neighbor. Mitzvot bein Adam l'chavero (מִצְווֹת בֵּין אָדָם לְחֲבֵרוֹ) are important and include the duty to extend selichah (forgiveness) to another if they demonstrate genuine teshuvah.

Bein Adam Lamakom

(bayn ah-dahm la-mah-KOHM) phr. "Between a man and God [lit. 'the place']"; laws and duties between man and God. Ritual duties or commandments. Mitzvot bein Adam lamakon (מִצְווֹת בֵּין אָדָם לָמָקוֹם) refer to the set of Torah commandments between man and God.


(ah-HOOV) n. Beloved; ahuvi means "my beloved," as in Atah Adonai ahuvi: You are Lord, my Beloved.


(be-meed-BAR) n. Numbers; the 4th book of Torah, so named (in English) because of the account of the census of the people in chapters 1, 3, 4 and 26. Bemidbar means "in the wilderness."

Ben Adam

(ben ah-DAHM) n. Human being; person; man. "Son of man."


(been-ya-MEEN) n. Benjamin; 12th son of Jacob. one of the twelve tribes of Israel. Binyamim means "son of (the) right (hand)." (Gen. 35:18; Rom. 11:1).

Ben B'rit

(ben b'reet) n. Participant in the covenant; "son of the covenant"; fellow-Jew; ally.

Ben Yachid

(ben ya-KHEED) n. Only begotten Son; unique son (John 1:14). Referring to Yeshua the Mashiach as God the Son.

Benei Israel

(be-NAY yis-ra-AYL) n. The children of Israel. Also transliterated as B'nai Israel.


(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." "The world is built with chesed." (Psalm 89:3)

The sages compared chesed with charity, saying that in three ways is chesed greater charity. 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"].


(be-ray-SHEET) n. "In the beginning."  The 1st Torah portion of the Jewish Calendar: Gen 1:1-6:8; Haftarah: Isa 42:5-43:11.  For a summary of this portion of Scripture, click here. Bereshit also refers to the first book of the Torah, called Genesis.


(be-sah-MEEM) n. Spices used for the Havdalah ceremony.


(be-SAY-der) idiom. OK.  In order. Hakol beseder means "everything's fine."

Beseder Gamur

(be-say-der gah-MOOR) phr. In perfect order; absolutely perfect order.


(be-so-RAHT hag-ge-'ool-LAH) n. Good News of Redemption. Gospels. The four portraits of the Messiah of Israel as given by His messengers. Besorah means "good news" and Ge'ulah means "redemption."


(bet) n. Bet. The second letter of the Aleph-Bet having a "b" as in boy sound (without the dagesh, "v" as in vine). Originally represented by a pictograph meaning "tent," "house," or "in." Gematria = 2.

Bet Din

(bayt DEEN) n. Court; House of Justice. Religious court. Literally "house of judgment." A rabbinical court made up of three rabbis who resolve business disputes under Jewish law and determine whether a prospective convert is ready for conversion.

Bet ha-Elohim

(bayt ha-e-loh-HEEM) n.  The House of God; bet Hamikdash; Temple; synagogue.

Bet HaMidrash

(bayt ham-meed-DRAHSH) n. "House of Study"; The term applied to a room (usually attached to a synagogue) used for study purposes.

Bet HaMikdash

(bayt ham-meek-DAHSH) n. "House of Sanctity"; synagogue. The sanctuary or Temple in Jerusalem. Note that God's dwelling place is often called hechal (see entry).

Bet K'nesset

(bayt k'NES-set) n. Synagogue; Also the name for the Israeli Parliament.

Bet Lechem

(bayt LE-khem) n. Bethlehem. "House of bread." Birthplace of Yeshua and King David; 
(Gen 35:19; Mic 5:2; Matt 2:1; Luke 2:4).

Bet Midrash

(bayt meed-RAHSH) n. n. School; shul; place of study, esp. For Talmud Torah studies (cp. shas).

Bet Sefer

(bayt SE-fer) n. School; schoolhouse; "house of books."

Bet Shalom

(bayt shah-LOHM) n. "House of Peace." A common name for a synagogue.

Bet Tefillah

(bayt te-feel-LAH) n. House of Prayer. Synagogue.

Betzelem Elohim

(be-TZE-lem e-loh-HEEM) n. The doctrine that every person is made in the image of God and therefore of infinite value and worth. Gen. 1:26.


(be-vak-ka-shah) interj. Please! Also, "You're welcome."

Bikkur Cholim

(beek-koor khoh-LEEM) phr. "Visting the sick." One of the mitzvot under the wider rubric of chesed. "These are the precepts whose fruits a person enjoys in this world, but whose principal remains intact for him in the World To Come. "Thus we see the how performing such a simple task can reap great rewards." Tractate Sabbath 127a.


(beek-koo-REEM) n. First Fruits; According to the same principle that the firstborn of man and beast (bechor) belonged to the LORD and were consecrated to him, the first fruits to ripen each season were to be brought as an offering to God.

The offering of bikkurim occurred a few times in the agricultural season. A sheaf of the new barley harvest (omer) was offered (waved) on the second day of Pesach (called Yom Bikkurim or sometimes Reishit Katzir). Seven weeks later, bikkurim were offered again during the celebration of Shavuot, also called Chag ha-Bikkurim — "the first fruits festival" (though according to the Mishnah (Bikkurim 1, 6, 9), in Second Temple times the pilgrimage to the Temple for this purpose could happen anytime from the late spring until Sukkot in the fall). For more se the entry on Chag Habikkurim. In other words, the Day of Firstfruits or Reishit Katzir, provides a picture of the resurrection of the Messiah whereas Shavuot (bikkurim) represents the giving of the Torah and the giving of the Holy Spirit...

"The Day of the Firstfruits (בִּכּוּרִים)" which begins on the second evening of Passover (called Yom Habikkurim, or the "Day of Firstfruits" which marks the first of the spring havest, observed by waving a barley sheaf before the altar of the LORD, and that symbolized the resurrection of the Messiah Yeshua from the dead on the third day after Passover. Note that the Day of Firstfruits is not to be confused with Chag Habikkurim, or the "Festival of Firstfruits," which is also called "Chag Shavuot" (the Feast of Weeks or "Pentecost"). Shavuot is a festival that marks the end of counting of the omer sheaves (sefirat ha'omer) that began on Yom Habikkurim. The 49 period of time that bridges the first barley harvest and the first wheat harvest required sample offerings to be brought the LORD and waved before the altar at the Temple. Note that Chag Habikkurim (or Shavuot) is associated with 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.

Bil'am (Balaam)

(beel-ahm) n. Bil'am (Balaam). A name that may mean "not of the people," a "mad man," or a "corrupter of the people."  Balaam was a renowned sorcerer from Pethor in Mesopotamia (Deut 23:4), who, though aware of the God of Israel, made his esoteric services available to others for a fee. When Israel arrived along the border of Moab near the end of their wanderings, King Balak of Moab hired Balaam to "curse Israel" so they would not be able to take possession of the land. He is first mentioned in parashat Balak (Numbers 22:5).

Balaam is mentioned no less than fifty-one times in Kitvei HaKodesh, beginning with the account given in Parashat Balak (Numbers 22-24). He was later killed in a battle between Israel and the Midianites (Numbers 31:8). He is also mentioned in Deut 23:5-6; Joshua 13:22; 24:9-10; Micah 6:5; and Nehemiah 13:2.

Although at first glance Bil'am might appear to be a man of God, a true prophet, both the Scriptures and Jewish tradition are emphatic that he was an adversary of the LORD and an ememy of the children of Israel. His so-called sorcery led to folly and death. The New Testament Scriptures speak of "the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved gain from wrongdoing" (2 Pet 2:15), "Balaam's error" (Jude 1:11), and "the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel" (Rev 2:14).

Perhaps paradoxically, or at least ironically, the blessing that Bil'am was constrained to confess over Israel was integrated into the daily Shacharit service as the Mah Tovu.


(BEEL-hah) n. n. Bilhah. Rachel's handmaid whom she gave to Jacob as a concubine, mother to two of Jacob's children, Dan and Naphtali. One of the four Matriarchs of the 12 tribes of Israel. Bilhah means "troubled."


(BEE-mah) n. Platform; pulpit; elevated platform in middle of synagogue.


(bee-NAH) n. Understanding; Insight. Discernment. (Chabad is an acronym that comes from CHokhmah, Binah, and Da'at). Note that binah is formed from the preposition bein, between, indicating discernment.

Avot 3:21

Without knowledge, there is no understanding;
Without understanding, there is no knowledge. (Avot 3:21)

Binding of Isaac

(ah-kee-DAHT yeetz-KHAHK) n. "The binding of Issac (Gen. 22:1-19). The Akedah (sometimes called Akedat Yitzchak) is the story of how Abraham was tested by God to bind his beloved son Isaac and offer him as a sacrifice on Mount Moriah. At the last moment, God stopped Abraham from going through with the sacrifice and provided a substitute (see Genesis 22). It is one of the most widely read passages of Scripture in the Jewish liturgy, recited during every morning service and also during Rosh Hashanah.

As Messianic believers, we understand the Akedah as a foreshadowing of the ultimate sacrifice the heavenly Father would give on our behalf: unlike Abraham, God the Father actually offered His only Son in order to make salvation available to all who believe (see John 3:16). As Abraham said, "God Himself will provide a lamb" (Genesis 22:8).

Consider how the Akedah provides a prophetic picture of the Lord Jesus as the "Lamb of God" (Seh haElohim) who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29). Both Isaac and Jesus were born miraculously; both were "only begotten sons"; both were to be sacrificed by their fathers at Mount Moriah; both were to be resurrected on the third day (Genesis 22:5, Hebrews 11:17-19); both willingly took up the means of his execution; and both demonstrate that one life can be sacrificed for another – the ram for Isaac, and Jesus for all of mankind.

Indeed, the first occurrence of the word love in the Scriptures (ahavah) (Gen 22:2) refers to a father's love for his "only" son who was offered as a sacrifice on Moriah (the very place of the crucifixion of Jesus), a clear reference to the gospel message (John 3:16).

Birkat Hammazon

(beer-kaht ham-ma-ZOHN) n. Grace after meals. "And you shall eat and you shall be satisfied. And you shall bless YHVH, your God, for the good land he has given you."
(Deut. 8:10)

Birkat Kohanim

(beer-kaht koh-ha-NEEM) n. Priestly blessing. Also called the "Aaronic" blessing (see Num. 6:24-6). Click here.

Birthpangs of the Messiah

(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).


(beet-ta-KHOHN) n. Trust, security; confidence; rest; also: Trust in God.  The verb batakh means to lean on, to trust, to rest securely.  Trust in God implies the idea of gam zu l'tovah - that all things work for good in the universe and that nothing happens without God's consent and will. Bittachon is an affirmation that God is perfect, full of infinite wisdom and love.  Understood as "trust," bittachon expresses a sense of optimism and confidence not based on anything other than spiritual revelation and inward truth.  It is therefore sometimes described as "supra-rational." "It is not an attitude based on experience, but one that creates experience."  It is a mode of expressing trust that God will bless you, and even if "the fig tree does not blossom," this too is part of God's good plan for your life.

Betakh ba-Adonai va'asei-tov - Trust in the LORD and do good (Psalm 37:3)

Bittul Torah

(beet-tool TO-rah) n. (בִּטּוּל תּוֹרָה) The neglect of Torah study and observance. The idea of bittul Torah comes from the Psalms of David: "Fortunate is the person whom You, God, afflict; You teach him from Your Torah" (Psalm 119:71). Also spelled bitul Torah.


(boh-gayd) n. Traitor (esp. a traitor to the Jewish people).


(SE-fer / se-fah-REEM) n. Book(s). The Jews are sometimes referred to as Am haSefer: People of the book.

Book of Books

(SE-fer ha-se-fah-REEM)  n. The Book of Books -- the Bible; Kitvei HaKodesh; the Jewish Scriptures.

Book of Life

(SE-fer ha-CHA-yeem) n. The allegorical book in which God records the names and lives of the righteous (tzaddikim). According to the Talmud it is open on Rosh Hashanah (the Book of the Dead, sefer hametim, is open on this date as well) and God then examines each soul to see if teshuvah is sh'leimah (complete). If a person turns to God and makes amends to those whom he has harmed, he will be given another year to live in the following (Jewish) year. On the other hand, if he does not repent, then the decree may be given that he will die during the coming year... In Jewish tradition, Yom Kippur is essentially your last appeal, your last chance to change "the judgment of God" and to demonstrate your repentance and make amends. The books are "written" on Rosh Hashanah, but our deeds during the Ten Days of Awe can alter God's decree. The actions that change the decree are teshuvah (repentance), tefilah (prayer) and tzedakah (good deeds). The books are then "sealed" on Yom Kippur.

The Psalmist speaks of the Book of Life in which only the names of the righteous are written and from which the unrighteous are blotted out (Ps. 69:28). The prophet Daniel wrote: "Every one that shall be found written in the book . . . shall awake to everlasting life" (Dan. 12:1). Other references include:

"And the LORD said to Moses, "Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book." If one dies without forgiveness of their sins their name vanishes out of the record book of life." Exod. 32:33

"Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them." God knows who are his, even before they are born, everyone who lives is written in the book of life." Ps. 139:16

Paul recognized those who labored with him in the gospel, "with Clement also, and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the Book of Life." Phil 4:3

"He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels." Rev.3:5

All those who truly belong to Yeshua are written in the "Lamb's book of life " (Phil. 4:3; Rev. 3:5; 13:8; 17:8; 20:12, 15; 21:27; 22:19).

B'rakha / B'rakhot

(be-ra-KHAH) n. Blessing(s). Formula of thanksgiving in Jewish prayers. Also transliterated bracha, beracha, b'racha, etc. The plural is b'rakhot.

Branch (Righteous)

(TZE-makh tze-dah-KAH) n. The Righteous Branch ( Jer. 33:15; Isa. 4:2, Zechaiah 3:8), that often remains underground, out of sight, for a long period of time before rising to the surface, as the Mashiach Yeshua who is an offshoot of King David.  In Zechariah 6:12 the prophet says, "Behold the Man" who is "a priest on his throne," a ruler, a counselor of peace, whose name is Tzemach. Zechariah sees the High Priest Joshua as a type of the promise, but only a pledge of God's future fulfillment in Yeshua the coming Mashiach. The Tzemach Tzedakah (Branch of Righteousness) is a prophetic image of Yeshua our Mashiach (see Jer. 33:15; cp. Isaiah 4:2).


(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).

Breath of Life

(ROO-akh KAI-yeem) n. Breath of Life.

Briah Chadashah

(be-ree-ah kha-dah-SHAH) n. New Creation: "From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come" (2 Cor. 5:16-17).

Briat HaOlam

(b'ree-AT ha-oh-LAHM) n. B'riat Ha-Olam. The creation of the world by God.


(KAHL-lah) n. Bride; Engaged girl.


(be-REET) n. B'rit. Covenant.  Often refers to the covenant of circumcision (b'rit milah).

Brit Bein Habetarim

(be-REET bayn ha-b'ta-REEM) n. "Covenant between the pieces" (Gen. 15:9-21). The unconditional covenant given by God to Abraham and his descendants to inherit the land of Israel (i.e., the Promised Land). A smoking furnace and a flaming torch עבר (over, crossed) between the parts before God כרת (cut) the covenant with Abraham. בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא כָּרַת יְהוָה אֶת־אַבְרָם בְּרִית / "On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, "To your offspring I assign this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates" (Gen. 15:18).

Brit Chadashah (New Testament)

(be-REET kha-da-SHAH) n. B'rit Chadashah. New Testament. B'rit Chadashah means "New Covenant." Like the Tanakh, it can be divided into three main parts: Gospels/Acts (corresponding to Torah), Letters (corresponding to Ketuvim), and Revelation (corresponding to Nevi'im). The "Old Testament" is called b'rit  yeshanah.

Brit Melach

(be-REET mel-AKH) n. Covenant of Salt (Num. 18:19).  Metaphor of the preservative power of salt, an everlasting covenant, reliable. Salt is a symbol of eternity because of its preservative properties, opposed to chametz (leavening). Salt does not ferment and preserves food against rot.  Specifically, brit melach refers to the provision for the Kehuna (priesthood) of the Torah and their provision through ma'aser from the people.

Brit Milah

(be-REET mee-LAH) n. Ritual circumcision.  Also spelled b'rit milah.

Brit Olam

(be-REET oh-LAHM) n. B'rit Olam. Everlasting covenant. The exact nature of olam is subject to some dispute. For instance, the Sinai covenant is olam, yet it has been superceded by the brit chadashah.  The terms qua that covenant are eternal, but they apply only so long as the covenant itself is in force.

Brit Yeshanah (Old Testament)

(be-REET ye-shah-NAH) n. B'rit Yeshanah. "Old Testament" is the Christian term for the Jewish Scriptures. The word "testament" comes from the Latin word for will (as in last will and testament) and derives from the Greek word diatheke, which means covenant. The translators chose the word "testament" because God's covenant (like a will) is unilateral. The term comes from 2 Corinthians 3:14, where Rav Sha'ul refers to the old covenant. Note: It is better to use the acronym Tanakh among practitioners of Judaism and "former covenant" among Messianic believers.

Broken Heart

(layv-neesh-BAHR) n. Lev nishbar. A broken heart; contrition; spiritual regret; teshuvah.

zivchei elohim ruach nishbarah lev-nishbar v'nidkeh elohim lo tivzeh.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise (Psalm 51:17).

Broken Spirit (contrition)

(ROO-akh neesh-bah-RAH) n. Ruach Nishbarah. Contrition; contrite heart; sorrow; remorse; repentant state; teshuvah.


(a-kha-VAH) n. Brotherhood; fraternity

Brother's Keeper

(shoh-mer ah-KHEE) n. "My brother's keeper"; from Genesis 4:9 where Cain responds (after he murdered his brother Avel): הֲשֹׁמֵר אָחִי אָנֹכִי. To declare "I am my brother's keeper," remove the interrogative Hey at the beginning of the sentence: shomer achi anochi.


(be-si-YA-ta dish-MAI-ya). n. phr. Aramaic. "With the help of Heaven"; or, "With God's help." Abbreviated as BS"D.


(boo-shah). n. Shame, embarrassment (often the result of lashon hara).

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