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Hebrew Glossary - D



































(DAH-'at) n. Knowledge; cp. binah and chochmah. Also refers to the 4th blessing of Shemoneh Esreh. Da'at is also sometimes transliterated as Daat. Da'at comes from yode'a, to know, and madu'a is the Hebrew interrogative for Why?

Avot 3:21

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

Because there is no truth, nor mercy,
nor knowledge of God in the land (Hosea 4:1)

Da'at Torah

(DAH-'at TOH-rah) n. Torah perspective. Knowledge of Torah. Following a Torah mentality. Through Talmud Torah and the observance of the mitzvot (commandments), a person can develop the mind to have a great understanding of God's will.

Daf Yomi

(dahf YO-mee) n. "Daf Yomi" is a daily page of Talmud (i.e., both sides of a folio) assigned for a particular date. Assigning a daily portion of Talmud is actually new custom introduced by Rabbi Meir Shapiro in 1923. With 2,711 pages in the Talmud, reading straight through the six orders takes about 7 years, 5 months. A Daf Yomi calendar lists the readings. The completion of the Daf Yomi cycle is celebrated by a Siyum Ha-Shas ceremony (Shas = "Six Orders of the Mishnah"). For a current calendar, click here.


(dah-GESH) n. Dagesh; emphasis; stress. Any Hebrew letter (except the gutturals aleph, hey, chet, ayin and resh) can have a dot inside of it called a "dagesh mark." The presence of a dagesh mark may affect the way in which a word is divided into syllables and pronounced. Begedkephat letters may take a dagesh lene (weak stress) or dagesh forte (strong stress).


(DAH-let) n. Dalet. 4th letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The 4th letter of the Hebrew alphabet having a sound of "d" as in door. Originally represented by a pictograph meaning "tent door," or "pathway." Gematria = 4. Note that the word delet means "door" in Ivrit.


(ree-koo-DEEM) n. Jewish dances, such as the hora. Jewish folk dancing. Any dances.

Dan Kol Ha'adam l'Kaf Zechut

(dahn kol ha-a-dam le-kaf ze-KHOOT) n. Avot 1:6. "Judge everyone favorably"; give the benefit of the doubt (kaf zechut - the hand of merit). Judge righteous judgment.


(dah-nee-EL) n. Daniel; book of the Ketuvim in the Tanakh. 2) Adonai's messenger to the exiles who received portentous visions for the future. Dani'el means "God is Judge."


(da-VAHR) n. Word; thing; saying; Davar Adonai is the word of the Lord.
John 1:1

David Hamelekh

(da-VEED ha-ME-lekh) n. King David.


(DAHV-kah) The word "davka" (דווקא) means "despite everything," or stubbornly clinging (davak in Hebrew means "to glue" or "stick together") to an idea just to annoy or show some nerve... You do something davka when you do it emphatically or defiantly: They go shopping on Shabbat, davka! "There are 99 flavors of ice cream on the menu, davka, they don't have the flavor I want..." Or, "You're not going to tell me who to marry; I'm davka going to marry the man!" Or, "I asked for his help, and he went and did me a davka" (i.e., he did the opposite of what I asked).  Davka can also means "only" -- and no other. For example, a child who wants only a certain toy and will take no other is wanting davka (i.e., only) that toy. He sticks to his desire! Or when the Torah tells us to make a Menorah out of beaten gold we may ask why dakva (i.e., of all things!) beaten gold? Davka has a stubborn way about it (from davak, cling, glue - see entry for devakut below).


(DAI-yahn) n. Judge, esp. Rabbinical judge of a bet din (religious court). A din is a regulation.

Dayan HaEmet

(DAI-yahn ha-e-MET) n. The Righteous Judge, referring to the LORD as the Sovereign over the lives and fortunes of all people. Baruch Dayan HaEmet is an blessing of submission said at a time of bereavement for the Jew.


(dai-YAY-noo) "It would have been sufficient." A traditional Passover song that is over a thousand years old.  Here is an excerpt from the song:

    Song Lyrics

The Hebrew lyrics mean that if He (God) had only brought us out of Egypt it would have been enough. The second verse adds that if He had only given us Shabbat, it would have been enough; the third if He had only given us the Torah, it would have been sufficient. The song goes on and on recounting how the LORD has blessed His people Israel. Here is a transliterated excerpt from the song:

    Ilu hotzi, hotzianu
    Hotzianu miMitzrayim (2x)

    Dai, dai, yenu (3x)
    Dayenu dayenu.

    Ilu natan natan lanu
    Natan lanu et haShabbat (2x)


    Ilu natan natan lanu
    Natan lanu et haTorah (2x)

Day of Atonement

(yohm keep-POOR) n. Day of Atonement. Yom Kippur; 10th Tishri; Climax of the ten day period of repentance (Days of Awe) that begins with Rosh Hashannah and ends with the Day of Judgment. Click here for more information.

Days of Awe

(yah-MEEM noh-rah-EEM) n. Days of Awe (יָמִים נוֹרָאִים); the High Holidays. The Ten days from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur set apart for soul-searching and repentance (i.e., aseret yemei teshuvah: עֲשֶׁרֶת יְמֵי תְּשׁוּבָה). The process of teshuvah - literally "turning," calls us to rethink our goals and aspirations, our relationships with others and with the LORD, and take the steps necessary to repair what is broken.

Day of Firstfruits

(yohm hah-beek-oo-REEM) n. The day following the first day of Unleavened Bread is called Yom HaBikkurim (יוֹן הַבִּכּוּרִים), "the Day of Firstfruits" (or Reshit Katzir (רֵאשִׁית קָצִיר) the "beginning of the harvest"). In ancient times, on this day a sheaf (omer) of barley (the first grain crop to ripen) was waved before the LORD in a prescribed ceremony to mark the start of the counting of the omer, thereby initiating the forty nine day countdown to the jubilee harvest festival of Shavuot (Lev. 23:9-12).  The actual waving of the sheaf is called tenufat HaOmer which is a symbol of resurrection.

The Hebrew term bikkurim derives from the same root as bekhor - firstborn.  In the Torah, the general principle that the firstborn of man (and beast) belonged to the LORD is also applied to the first fruits to ripen each agricultural season, beginning with a sheaf of the new barley harvest (omer) on Reishit Katzir, and culminating in the celebration of Shavuot, also called Chag haBikkurim — "the first fruits festival." In other words, Reishit Katzir is a picture of the resurrection of the Messiah (Yom HaBikkurim) whereas Shavuot (Chag HaBikkurim) represents the the giving of the Torah at Sinai and the advent of the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) at Zion (Acts 2:1-4).

Days of Messiah

(ye-moht ham-mah-SHEE-akh) phr. "The days of the Messiah"
(יְמוֹת הַמָּשִׁיחַ); the Messianic era; Sometimes this refers to "The end of days" (acharit hayamim) or "The great and terrible day of YHVH" (Yom Adonai). The term can also refer to the days when Messiah is installed as King of kings, reigning in Jerusalem, and hence represents the millennial kingdom. In traditional Jewish eschatology, human history is usually divided into three distinct epochs of 2,000 years. The period of "tohu" (יְמֵי תּהוּ) occurred from the time of the fall of Adam until the call of Abraham; the period of "Torah" (יְמוֹת תּוֹרָה) occurred from Abraham until the time of the destruction of the Second Temple, and the period of the "Messiah" (יְמוֹת הַמָּשִׁיחַ) refers to the time when the Messiah could appear before the Kingdom is established in Zion.

Dead Sea Scrolls

(me-gee-LOHT yahm ham-me-lakh) n. Megillot Yam Hamelach. The Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS).
A collection of more than 800 manuscripts written on parchment, papyrus, and copper over 2,000 years ago by the Essenes. The Dead Sea Scrolls were found in 1947 in what is now Israel. The Scrolls contain many different kinds of texts, including the oldest known portions of the Tanakh. Considered by most scholars to have been written between mid-third century B.C. to 68 A.D., these manuscripts were discovered on the northwest shore of the Dead Sea by an Arab farmer. Excavation of 11 caves began in 1947 and was completed in 1960. Many scholars regard the scrolls as the greatest 20th century find, because shed insight on pivotal centuries of both Judaism and Christianity.


(makh-LOH-ket) n. Disagreement; Debate; Legal and spiritual disagreement between the sages regarding Talmud, Bible, etc. A "fight" for the sake of a religious cause. Pirkei Avot (chapter 5): "Any machloket which is for the sake of Heaven (l'shamayim) will stand. Any machloket which is not for the sake of Heaven will not stand."

Eilu v'eilu divrei elohim chayim

"These and these are the words of the Living God" (Talmud Eruvim 13b)

There are some arguments (regarding interpretation) that come from a person's pride, and there are others that are machloket l'shem shamayim, "a disagreement for the sake of Heaven"... Each of us needs wisdom and grace to discern which is which whenever we engage in such machloket (debate). The axiom eilu v'eilu appeals to a sense of charity we should exhibit whenever we encounter others who have views that differ from our own.

If you argue with and contradict others, you may sometimes win a battle, but you will never win the war, since the animosity that develops may alienate you from your friend. On the other hand, if you humble yourself and regard the other person's importance, peace will ensue. "A gentle response will turn back anger" (Proverbs15:1).

Dedication of a House

(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.


(mo-SHEE-ah) n. Deliverer. Savior. One who "makes wide" or "makes sufficient." One who gives freedom from distress and the ability to pursue one's way. Often understood in a "this-worldly" manner of political deliverance, the word is also used to ultimately portray Adonai's deliverance and salvation of the Israel of God. Derived from the Hebrew verb Yasha'. Note that the Name for Jesus - Yeshua - is derived from this same root (see the Names of God pages for more information). Related: Another term for deliverer is go'el, which is connected with the idea of ransom or redemption.  The verb palat is used (mostly in the Psalms) to express the idea of being rescued.


(de-RAHSH) n. Religious insight, often based on a text from the Torah. Interpretation; exegesis. Sometimes transliterated "derash," or "drash." A d'rashah is a sermon on a Torah portion.

Four levels of interpretation of Scripture include: P'shat (literal reading), Remez (hint), D'rash (application) and Sod (mystery). Together these form the acronym PaRDeS (a Persian word meaning "garden" or "orchard"). Each level is supposedly deeper than the last -- somewhat like the layers of an onion.

Derech Chaim

(DE-rekh KHY-yeem) n. "The way (derekh) of life"; Salvation; Yeshuah; Yeshua (John 14:6).

Derech Eretz

(DE-rekh EH-rets) n. "The way (derekh) of the land"; correct behavior; good manners; consideration for others. Derekh eretz refers to the customs of the land in which you are sojourning. Derekh refers to way, path, or custom.

A commonly recognized axiom of the "godward life" may be summarized as "respect precedes Torah" (דרך ארץ קדמה לתורה), which means that we must esteem ourselves and others properly as image bearers of God. This is foundational to all else. We must first care; we must be willing to give up our sickness; we must want to be healed. This also means that we are willing to give up blaming others and confess the truth about how we have brought pain to our lives. After we learn to forgive ourselves, we can let go of the pain, give up the weary anger, and forgive others of their missteps, too. It is impossible to be joyful apart from such humility. Therefore each of us must rebuff demonic impulses and turn to God for healing. And we must beseech the Lord to help us stay awake and to resist being lulled back into the unconsciousness of the world and its delusions.

Devakut / Devekut

(de-vah-KOOT) n. Sometimes transliterated as devakut, devekut, etc.  The Hebrew word devakut means "cleaving" and refers to communion with God (in some Jewish thinking, devakut approximates the "beatific vision" in Christian mystical tradition). This word is derived from the Hebrew word davak (דבק), meaning devoted to God (the word for glue is devek which likewise comes from the same root). Davak is used to describe how a man cleaves to his wife so that they become basar echad – "one flesh" (see Gen. 2:24), and is also related to the word for bodily joint (debek), suggesting that we are to stick as closely to the LORD as our bones stick to our skin (Job 19:20). The devakim were those who "held fast" or "cleaved" to the LORD throughout the wilderness wanderings (Deut. 4:4) and all of us are likewise commanded to revere the LORD and cleave to Him (Deut. 10:20).

In the Kabbalah, devakut is considered the highest mystical step on the spiritual ladder back to God, though (in contradistinction to this) Yeshua emphasized that he is the true sullam, or Ladder, to God. Just as Jacob saw the ladder reaching to heaven with the angels of God ascending and descending upon it, so Yeshua told Nathanael that He is the sha'ar hashamayim - the Way into heaven (John 14:6).

Chaverim, יֵשׁ אֹהֵב דָּבֵק מֵאָח -- yesh ohev davek me'ach -- "there is a friend who sticks (davek) closer than a brother" (Prov. 18:24). His Name is Yeshua, the true Lover of our souls...


(de-vah-REEM) n. Deuteronomy. The renewal of the Mosaic covenant with blessings for obedience and consequences for disobedience. Devarim means "words" and is referred by Jews as the "repetition" of the Torah.

Devar Torah

(de-VAHR TOH-rah) n. Devar Torah: "a word of Torah"; a brief sermon or speech on a religious topic (plural is divrei Torah). Also transliterated as d'var Torah.


(sah-TAHN) n. Satan; Accuser. In the Tanakh, "the satan" appears as a prosecutor in the heavenly court among "the sons of God" (Job 1-2; Zech. 3:1-3) and later as a tempter (1 Chron. 21:1; cf. 2 Sam. 24:1). Although the Hebrew Bible says virtually nothing about Satan's origin, the pseudepigraphal writings contain much legendary material about his fall from heaven and the establishment of a hierarchy of demons and devils. By the time the New Testament was written, Satan was understood to head a kingdom of Evil and to seek the corruption of all people, including the Messiah (Matt. 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13). Satan (the "Opposer" or "Adversary") is also "the Evil One" (Matt. 6:13; 13:19; Eph. 6:16; 1 John 2:13; 5:18-19), "the Devil" (Matt. 4:1; 13:39; 25:41; John 8:44; Eph. 4:27), and the primordial serpent who tempted Eve (Rev. 12:9).


(ga-LOOT) n. Galut. Exile. The dwelling of Jews outside the land of Israel.


(dee-BAYR / dee-be-ROHT) n. Word(s); commandment(s).

Dibbuk Chaverim

(dee-BOOK kha-vay-REEM) n. "Cleaving to friends" One of the forty-eight virtues (middot) listed in Pirkei Avot. The word "dibbuk´ comes from the Hebrew root Dalet-Bet-Koof meaning "to cling, be attached, glued."

Dibbur Emet

(dee-boor EH-met) n. Speaking truth; honesty in communication. Dabru Emet means "Speak the truth!"


(deek-DOOK) n. Grammar. Hebrew grammar.


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

Dinei Shamyim

(dee-NAY sha-MAI-eem) n. pl. Laws of Heaven. Note that dinei is the construct form of the noun din, meaning justice or ruling.

Dirshu Mishpat

(deer-shoo meesh-PAHT) phr. Seek justice.  The obligation incumbent upon being a Jew to seek justice and equity for all that are oppressed.  This phrase comes from Isaiah 1:16-17: "Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow's cause."


(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)


(tal-MEED / tal-mee-DEEM) n. Pupil; learner; disciple. A talmid chakham is a wise student, or a learned man.

Divine Decrees

(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).

Divrei Hayamim

(deev-RAY hai-ya-MEEM) n. Chronicles, book of the Ketuvim in the Tanakh. Chronicles documents the history of Judah (i.e., the southern kingdom), and in particular emphasizes the role of King David as the establisher of Temple worship. Divrei Hayamim means the "things or words of the days." In the Tanakh,


(meets-vah de-oh-rie-TA) n. One of the 613 commandments given in the Torah (Taryag mitzvot); often contrasted with the laws developed up by the rabbis and the Talmudic tradition called mitzvot de'rabanan.


(meets-vah de-ra-bah-NAHN) n. One of the laws developed by the rabbis (halakhah). Mitzvot de'rabbanan are commonly divided into three categories: gezeirah (fence, hedge laws), takkanah (laws based on custom such as weekly Torah recitation) and minhag (established Jewish customs).

Drink Offering

(NE-sekh) n. Wine offering; drink offering; libation. Gen. 35:14; Num. 28:7.
From TWOT: "Jacob was the first to be referred to as presenting a drink offering (cf. Gen 35:14). But it was not until after the Exodus from Egypt that the laws governing the n¢sek were established. As a rule, a drink offering was to be presented along with burnt offerings and cereal offerings (Exo 29:40; Lev 23:13; Num 15:1-10). The amount of wine was specified at one-fourth hin for each lamb (Num 15:5), one-third hin for each ram (Num 15:6-7) and one-half hin for each bull (Num 15:8-10). Although King Ahaz built a new altar according to a pagan design, he seems to have conformed to pentateuchal legislation by pouring out his drink offering at the time he offered his burnt offering and cereal offering (2Kings 16:10-16)."

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