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Hebrew Glossary - I



































(ee-kha-VOHD) n. "without glory" or "no glory." A son of Phinehas, so named because of the capture of the Ark by the Philistines (1 Sam 4:21). Used metaphorically to represent the loss of God's favor or presence.


(ah-voh-DAH za-RAH) n. [עֲבוֹדָה זָרָה] Idol worship or, in general, worship of anything other than the one true God of Israel, the LORD YHVH (Lev. 19:4). The Mishnah, the 8th tractate in the order of Nezikin, deals with regulations related to idols and idolatry.


(eeg-GE-ret) n. Letter(s). In the B'rit Chadashah, there are eight "general" letters to Messianic Jewish communities and thirteen letters from Rav Shaul (Paul), the emissary to the Gentiles. Plural: iggarot.

Iggerot Meshichi

(eeg-ge-ROHT me-shee-KHEE) n. pl. Messianic letters; letters directed to the Messianic communities in the B'rit Chadashah.

Ikvot HaMashiach

(eek-VOHT hah-mah-SHEE-akh) n. (עִקְּבוֹת הַמָּשִׁיחַ); "The Footsteps of the Messiah." The time appointed by God for the Messianic redemption. The Time Immediately Before Mashiach. The term comes from Psalm 89:51.

Ikvot Meshicha

(eek-VOHT me-shee-KHA) n. Prelude to the Messiah. "Footsteps of the Messiah." The time appointed by God for the Messianic redemption. The Time Immediately Before Mashiach. The term comes from Psalm 89:51.

According to traditional Jewish sources (Pesachim 54b; Midrash Tehilim 9:2), no one knows the time when the Messiah will appear. This accords with the teachings of Jesus and His apostolic witnesses (Matt. 24:36-44; 1 Thess 5:1-3; 2 Pet. 3:10; Rev. 3:3). The condition of the world during acharit hayamim (the end of days) will be grossly evil (2 Pet. 3:3; 2 Thess. 2:3-4, 2 Tim. 3:1-5). The world will undergo various forms of tribulation, called chevlei Mashiach - the birthpangs of Mashiach (Sanhedrin 98a; Bereshit Rabba 42:4, Matt. 24:8). The Zohar (Zohar II:8a) notes that during this time there will be prosperity, technological discoveries and advances, propagation of mystical teachings, and many signs and miracles. This also accords with the teachings of the Brit Chadashah (i.e., the Olivet Discourse of Matt. 24-25).

Image of God

(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.

Im Yirtseh Hashem

(eem yir-TSEH hash-SHEM) phr. "God willing." Lit. "if it please God." Abbreviated in English as IY"H or IYH.


(EEM-mah) n. Aramaic. Mother. Mommy.

Immortality (of the soul)

(hash-ah-raht han-NE-fesh) n. Immortality. The Immortality of the soul.


(eem-MOHT ke-ree-AH) n. pl. "Mothers of Reading"; matres lectiones. The letters Yod, Hey, Vav, and sometimes Aleph when used as vowels rather than consonants.


(ats-mah-OOT) n. Independence.  Yom Ha'atzmaut is "Israeli Independence Day." The anniversary of the founding of the state of Israel in 1948, held on the 5th of Iyar (about 2 weeks after Passover). Atzma'i means "independent" in Hebrew; and atzmaut is the state of being independent. These words derive from atzmi - my bones (etzem).

Yom Ha'atzmaut
is felt with particular intensity due to the fact that it is preceded, the day before, by Yom Hazikaron, Israel's Memorial Day. Click here for more information.


(bee-NAH) n. Understanding; Insight. (Chabad is an acronym that comes from CHokhmah, Binah, and Da'at).


(yash-ROOT) n. Integrity. A fundamental precept on which Torah observance is based and which Torah observance furthers (kashrut comes from the same root.). Personal integrity and self-righteousness.


(maf-GEE-ah) n. The word mafgia (Isa. 59:16) comes from paga, a verb with various meanings based on tense (e.g., to encounter, to fall upon; to strike; to reach the mark; to entreat, make intercession). In the Hiphil it can mean "intercede" (to man: Jer 36:25 "to beg"; Jer 15:11; Isa 53:12; Isa 59:16).  An intercessor is therefore one who makes "contact" with God as opposed to someone simply dabbling in prayer. Through His work of redemption Jesus created a meeting (paga) between God and man (called the "ministry of reconciliation"). An awesome use of paga is found in Isaiah 53:6, "...the Lord laid on him (hifgia bo) the iniquity of us all," indicating that our sins "fell" on Jesus as He made intercession (yafgia) for us (Isaiah 53:12).  Paga is also a term for warfare or violent meetings, and hints at the violent meeting between the powers of hell and Jesus at the Cross at Moriah. Today, Jesus "ever lives to make intercession (paga) for us" (Heb. 7:25), indicating that He is still touched by our need and sinful condition.  From the believer's point of view, intercession is a work of the Ruach Ha-Kodesh (Rom 8:26-27) that induces a prayerful intervening, impinging, or "meeting with force." It is a vicarious standing in the place of another, somewhat like a defense attorney might argue in a court battle.  Best of all, Jesus is now seated at the right hand of God, making such intercession for us before the Father, and enabling us to likewise intercede on behalf of one another (Romans 8:34). Blessed be His Name forever.
Note: Another word used is melitz (me-LEETZ), usually translated as mediator (1 Tim 2:5; Job 32:23). In modern Hebrew, an intercessor is referred to as "ish kesher (liason)," "ish benayim (middleman), "metavekh (arbitartor)" etc.


(par-DEIS) (Persian) "Orchard, garden or park." Orchard; "Garden of knowledge." An acronym for Peshat, Remez, Drash, and Sod, indicating the four traditional levels of interpretation a given pasuk might have:

  1. P'shat (literal reading)
  2. Remez (hinted/alluded meanings)
  3. D'rash (homiletical or exegetical application)
  4. Sod ('secret' or mystical meaning hidden in the text (e.g., Gematria or Pictographic meanings).


(eer-hak-KOH-desh) n. The Holy City; Jerusalem.

Ish-Echad Chadash

(eesh-e-khad khah-DASH) n. "One new man." k'ish echad, b'lev echad means "like a single person with a single heart," though the Brit Chadashah goes beyond Rashi to point to a true, eternal identity. See Eph. 2:15; John 17.

Ish Elohim

(eesh ay-loh-HEEM) n. Man of God; prophet.

Ish Machovot

(eesh makh-oh-VOHT) n. Man of sorrows; a man of suffering. From Isaiah 53:3: He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not." A reference (given the context) to the Suffering Servant, Yeshua the Mashiach of Israel.


(ye-sha-YA-hoo) n. 1) The book of Isaiah, part of the Nevi'im in the Tanakh. Isaiah 53 is a chapter which refers to the Mashiach and foretells His suffering. 2) Adonai's messenger to Judah during her declining years regarding the coming Messiah and Israel's true King. Yesha'yahu means "Adonai is Salvation."


(yis-rah-AYL) n. (יִשְׂרָאֵל) In the Torah, Israel refers to the new name that the LORD gave to Ya'akov ("heel holder" or "supplanter"), son of Isaac, son of Abraham, and the father of the twelve patriarchs of the tribes of Israel. The name Israel (yisrael) is formed from a wordplay using the verb yisreh (the imperfect form of sara, meaning "will fight") combined with the suffix -el (God), which is used to indicate the subject of the verb. Etymologically, then, it means "God fights." The wordplay occurs in the phrase "for you have striven (sarita) as a prince (sar) with God and with men and have prevailed" (Gen 32:28). 

Israel further refers to the 70 descendants of Jacob who entered into Egypt (under the auspices of Joseph), and that later grew into a great nation during the time of the Pharaohs. During the time of Moses, the clan fathered by Jacob is collectively called "The Children of Israel" or the "Israelites." It is this group of 600,000 men (not including women and children) that Moses led out of Egypt during yetziat Mitzraim, the great Exodus from Egypt, and who established them as the covenant nation of the LORD under the terms of the Sinai covenant. It was this same group of people who, under the leadership of Joshua, began to take possession of the land originally promised to Abraham by God Almighty.

After Joshua led the Israelites to victory in the land of Canaan, the fledgling nation of Israel functioned as a sort of priestly theocracy with the mishkan (tabernacle) as the central point of worship.  In later centuries, after national apostasy, various shofetim (judges) arose that led battles against Philistine and Canaanite oppressors. Eventually, however, the people asked for a monarchy, and the prophet Samuel anointed Saul as Israel's first king. Later, King David succeeded him. It was King David who wanted to build the great Temple to honor the LORD God of Israel, and on account of his passion, to whom God made covenant by solemnly promising that one of his descendants would rule over Israel forever. David died, however, without building the Temple, though his son Solomon took the throne and completed the Temple project.

Shortly after the reign of Solomon, Israel became a divided kingdom. The southern kingdom, called Judah, included the city of Jerusalem and the Temple. The northern kingdom continued to be called Israel. The two kingdoms often fought with one another until the Assyrian Empire conquered the northern kingdom around 721 BC. The Assyrians forced 10 of the 12 tribes of Israel out of Israel (the first Diaspora) and brought in foreigners to resettle the land (Samaritans). Later, the Assyrians were overpowered by the Babylonian Empire, and under the reign of king Nebuchadnezzar, Babylonia sought to expand its influence by forcing Judah into submission. Later, the Babylonian army attacked Judah and took more captives to Babylon (the prophet Ezekiel, one of the captives, explained that God was allowing Babylon to punish Judah because the people had been unfaithful to God). The aggression of Babylon continued until they destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple that Solomon built (c. 586 BC). Most of the remaining Jews were taken as captives to Babylon.

After the death of Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonian Empire was conquered by Cyrus the Great (c. 539 BC), the king of the Medo-Persian Empire whom God anointed as a "messiah" by giving the Jews their freedom to return to Judah. A faithful remnant of the Jews returned to Judah and began to rebuild the Temple (c. 536 BC). The Temple was consecrated exactly 70 years after the Babylonians had destroyed it (c. 586 BC).

The Greeks began their rise to power under Alexander the Great, who defeated the Persian armies in Macedonia (333 BC) and eventually conquered the land of Palestine. Later, a Greek ruler named Antiochus Epiphanes ruled Syria (from about 175 BC to about 164 BC). Antiochus also ruled over Judah and tried to destroy the Jewish religion by defiling the Temple and burning copies the Torah. This led to the Maccabean revolt which opened the way for Jewish independence in Jerusalem and the surrounding area. This victory is commemorated during Chanukah.

After the death of Alexander the Great, the Greek empire was divided up among four generals, which weakened the empire. Eventually the Romans invaded (under the leadership of Pompey) and Jerusalem fell under Roman rule. Awhile later, Jesus the Messiah was born and performed His ministry to captive Israel. After being crucified, the Roman Army (under Titus) destroyed Jerusalem and Herod's Temple (70 AD), in fulfillment of Jesus' prophecy.  Later, in 135 AD, the Romans (under Hadrian) suppressed the Bar Kochba uprising, completely razing Jerusalem and sending all the Jews into exile (called the Galut, or Diaspora).

In the late 1800's the Zionist movement began in Europe. Theodor Herzl, a journalist from Vienna, Austria wrote "The Jewish State" which called for the creation of a Jewish nation as a solution to the Diaspora. Herzl also organized the first World Zionist Congress, unifying diverse Zionist groups into a worldwide movement.

During World War I, the British forces defeated the Turks (Ottoman Empire) and governed the area called "Palestine." Under the Balfour Declaration, the Jews were permitted to return to resettle their ancient homeland. Later, Hitler's reign of terror in Germany eventuated in the Holocaust - the Nazi's systematic murder of 6 million Jews - which caused worldwide support for the Jews to reestablish the state of Israel as a permanent homeland.  After further immigration to Palestine, on May 14, 1948, the Jews declared independence for the democratic state of Israel (medinat Yisrael), a modern miracle that revealed the providential care of God for the Jewish people of the millennia. The rebirth of the nation of Israel meant that after nearly 2900 years (since the time of King Solomon) the nation of Israel was both independent and united. Within hours of Israel's declaration of independence, however, the surrounding Arab countries launch an invasion of Israel. Israel was victorious, however, and the nation was born. Later, in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, Israeli forces recaptured more of their ancient Jewish homeland, and during the Six-Day War of 1967, Israel retook control of Jerusalem. During recent years, the Intifada and rise of Islamic militarism has again threatened to destroy the nation of Israel, despite various peace accords by world politicians.

Note: Kelal Yisrael (כְּלַל יִשְׂרָאֵל) refers to the worldwide Jewish community as a whole. There is a common responsibility, destiny, and kinship among of all Jews, and kelal Yisrael (sometimes spelled klal Yisrael) therefore represents Jewish solidarity. "Israel is one, though dispersed among the 70 nations" (Zohar).  The mitzvah of kelal Yisrael is often expressed as Kol Yisrael Arevim Zeh Lazeh: "All Israel is responsible for one another." The Jewish community is also sometimes called keneset Yisrael, i.e., "the community of Israel" as a spiritual entity in aggadic literature.

The sages say that Torah is a mirror of the Jewish soul, and the name Israel (יִשְׂרָאֵל) is an acronym for yesh shishim ribu otiyot la'torah (יֵשׁ שִׁשִׁים רִבּוּא אוֹתִיוֹת לַתּוֹרָה), "there are six hundred thousand letters in the Torah," each letter corresponding to one of hte 600,000 souls that form the heart of the Jewish people...

Israel Defense Force (IDF)

(tsa-va ha-hag-ga-nah yis-rah-AYL) n. Israel's armed forces (army, air force and navy). It was formed following the founding of Israel in 1948 to "defend the existence, territorial integrity and sovereignty of the state of Israel" and "to protect the inhabitants of Israel and to combat all forms of terrorism which threaten the daily life." Abbreviated as Tzahal (Tsade, Hey, Lamed).

Israel Independence Day

(yohm ha-ats-ma-OOT) n.  Israeli Independence Day. The anniversary of the founding of the state of Israel in 1948, held on the 5th of Iyar (about 2 weeks after Passover). Atzma'i means "independent" in Hebrew; and atzma'ut is the state of being independent. These words derive from atzmi - my bones (etzem).

Yom Ha'atzmaut
is felt with particular intensity due to the fact that it is preceded, the day before, by Yom Hazikaron, Israel's Memorial Day. Click here for more information.


(yis-sa-KHAR)  n. Issachar. One of the twelve tribes of Israel (Gen. 30:18). (Note: the second Sin is silent.)


(ees-SEEM) n. pl. Essenes; According to Josephus, one of the three major sects of first-century Judaism (the other two being the Sadduces and the Pharisees). The Essenes seem to have originated in the second century BCE and came to an end in the second century CE. Little is known of their life, but it is known that they were highly organized, ascetic, and communistic. It is speculated that almost all of the principal founders of Christianity were Essenes -- Elizabeth, Joseph and Mary, John the Baptist, Jesus, John the Evangelist, etc.


(eev-REEM) n. pl. Hebrews (as a people).


(eev-REET) n. The word "Hebrew" arises from "Ivri," or "other-sider," a Torah phrase describing Abraham, who immigrated to Israel from the eastern side of the Euphrates River. A Jew - Abraham's descendant - was thus called an Ivri until the word "Yehudi," or "Judaite" (from the Biblical Judah) developed and gave rise to the word "Jew." "Hebrew" can also mean "Jewish" or something pertaining to Jewishness or Judaism, i.e., Hebrew School.

Hebrew today has two forms: Lashon Hakodesh (the Holy Tongue) and Ivrit (modern Hebrew). Lashon Hakodesh is the language the prophets spoke and is the official language of the Tanakh and Jewish prayer. Ivrit is a Westernized version of the Holy Tongue and is the language of present-day Israel.

To the ancient Israelites, Hebrew was far more than just a language - it was a means by which they could interact with God. According to Jewish legend, the Torah was written before the Universe was created, and by implication, the letters themselves predated the Universe. The Torah is supposed to contain all possible truth; since the Torah is a relatively small book, it is believed that the Torah contains not just the "obvious" reading, but many, many different hidden meanings as well.


(eey-YAHR) n. The 8th month of the Hebrew calendar. See Jewish Calendar.


(ee-YOHV) n. Job. Book of the Ketuvim dealing with ultimate mysteries regarding evil and Gods existence. Iyyov means "persecuted" or "hated."

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