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M

Ma'amin



(ma-a-MEEN) n. [מַאֲמִין] Believer. Ma'amin Meshichi is a "Messianic believer."




Ma'amin Meshichi



(ma-a-MEEM me-shee-KHEE) n. [
מַאֲמִין מְשִׁיחִי] A messianic believer; a messianic Jew; a person who is trusting that Yeshua is the promised Messiah and Savior of Israel and even the entire world. The plural of this is ma'aminim meshichim.




Ma'ariv



(ma-a-REEV) n. Evening prayer; service for evening prayers. It is said that Abraham invented Shacharit by regularly praying to God in the morning; Issac is said to have invented Minchah (the afternoon service) by praying in the afternoon, and Jacob invented the Ma'ariv.




Ma'aseh Vereishit



(ma-a-SAY v'ray-SHEET) n. Creation. The creation of the universe by Adonai.




Ma'asei Hashichim




(ma-a-say hash-shee-KHEEM) n. Acts of the Apostles. The works of the Ruach Hakodesh (Holy Spirit) in the early church as reported by Luke (Luke 1:3. Acts 1:1). Ma'asei Hashelichim means "deeds of the sent ones" in Hebrew.




Ma'aser



(ma-a-SAYR) n. Tithe; "tenth." In addition to the yearly peia, leket, and shikchah gleanings that were to be left for the poor every farming cycle, there are several types of tithes mentioned in the Torah:

  1. Ma'aser behemah: All Kosher cattle were tithed and one tenth of the animals were brought to Jerusalem and offered as a sacrifice in the Mishkan or Temple.
  2. Ma'aser Rishon: A tenth of a farmer's produce was given to the Levite (who did not have their own portion of land in Israel) as a tithe. This amounted to supporting the priesthood of Israel.
  3. Ma'aser Sheni: The land itself was tithed a second (additional) time (after separating the Ma'aser Rishon) on the 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 5th year of the seven-year Sabbatical cycle. This produce was taken to Jerusalem and eaten there.
  4. Ma'aser Anni: In the 3rd and 6th year, the ma'aser sheni was given to the poor instead of being brought to the appointed place. The poor could then glean from the crops and enjoy the good of the land.
  5. Ma'aser Kesofim: Today most tithing is done in terms of money, called ma'aser kesofim (a tenth of money). This is the traditional term for the tithe on money income and is distinguished from agricultural and cattle tithes. Every Jew is obligated to give a tenth of his earnings to charity, a custom that goes back to Abraham (Gen 14:20) and Jacob (who pledged to God that "everything that You give me, I will surely tithe to You" (Gen. 28:22).





Ma'asim Tovim




(ma-'a-SEEM toh-VEEM) מַעֲשִׂים טוֹבִים n. pl. Good works. Good deeds, righteous actions. Often contrasted with ma'asim metim — dead works.




Ma'ot Chittim




(ma-'oht cheet-TEEM) n. pl. "Coins for Wheat". Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 429 states that money should be set aside for others to enjoy Pesach (Passover). Traditionally, maot chittim provided flour for the needy for baking matzah for Passover, however, this evolved into an all-inclusive charity for distributing food and clothing during Pesach.






Mabbul




(mab-BOOL) n. Flood; the global flood described in the book of Genesis, chapters 6 and 7.




Machaneh Yisrael



(ma-kha-NAY yees-rah-AYL) n. The arrangement of the camp of the Israelites as they were traveling in the wilderness with the mishkan (Tabernacle). Notice how the order of the camp of the Israelites resembled a cross, with the Kohanim next to the tribe of Judah, from whom would come Yeshua, our Kohen Gadol of the new covenant:







Machashava



(ma-kha-shah-VAH) n. (also machashavah, machshavah, etc., the plural is machashavot). Machashava means "thought" (from the Hebrew root חָשַׁב, to think, reckon), and the word is used colloquially to mean characteristically Jewish thought (hashkafah).




Machloket (l'shem Shamayim)



(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" (Proverbs 15:1).




Machpelah




(makh-pay-LAH) n. Machpelah. The location of a burial cave for the patriarchs, near Hebron (Gen. 23:9).




Machzor




(mahkh-ZOHR) n. "Cycle." Prayerbook for the festivals. A High Holiday prayerbook.





Madregah




(mad-ray-GAH) n. Spiritual "level."




Mafgia




(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.




Mafteach




(maf-TAY-ackh) n. Index (of a book).




Maftir




(maf-TEER) n. Maftir. Concluding section of a Torah reading. "He who concludes." The last call to the reading of the Torah on Sabbaths and holy days, which includes a reading of a selection from the prophets.




Magen David



(mah-gayn dah-VEED) n. Shield of David; The Hebrew name for the familiar six-pointed star which has (recently) become a universal sign of Judaism seen on the Israeli flag, jewelry, tombstones, etc.



The hexagram was not historically limited to use by Jews, but in the Middle Ages gained currency among Jewish mystics, who attached magical powers to King David's shield (just as earlier (non-Jewish) magical traditions had referred to the five-pointed star as the "Seal of Solomon").
 
During the Second World War Jews in countries controlled by the Nazis were forced to wear this symbol on their clothing as a method of identification. After WWII the Jews used costly materials to make it a symbol of pride in being Jewish.




Maggid



(mah-GEED) n. Preacher. The Maggid of Mezritch was a disciple of the Ba'al Shem Tov and leader of the Chassidic movement after him.




Maharal (The)



(mah-ha-rahl) Acronym for moreinu ha-Rav Loew: "Our Teacher the Rabbi Loew." Jewish philosopher, mystic and Talmud scholar (1525-1609) who served as a leading rabbi in Prague (thus he is called the Maharal of Prague). His works inspired the Polish branch of Hasidism. He is perhaps best known for his supposed creation of a golem by means of magical powers based on the esoteric knowledge of how God created Adam.




Mah Nishtanah




(mah neesh-ta-nah) n. Short for Mah nishtanah ha-lailah hazzeh mikol halaylot?
"Why (is this night) different (from all other nights)?" Four Questions asked at a Passover seder, traditionally asked by the youngest child at the outset of a Passover Seder, and used by the Passover host as a prompt to explain the significance of the Exodus from Egypt.




Mah Tovu




(mah toh-VOO) n. Mah Tovu; In the Siddur, speaks of how good it is for brothers to dwell in unity.




Maimonides



(ha-RAHM-bam) n. Rabbi Moshe Ben Maimon, also known as the Ramba'm (note the gerashayim indicates an abbreviation). Lived from 1135-1204 in Spain and North Africa. One of the great scholars and philosophers in Jewish history, he is best known for two works: the Mishneh Torah, and The Guide for the Perplexed. A medievalist who followed Aristotle and the general scholasticism of the Middle Ages (as did St. Thomas Aquinas). Famus quote: "Teach thy tongue to say "I do not know" and thou shalt progress."




Makot Mitzraim



(ma-koht meetz-RIE-eem) n. The plagues of Egypt. The ten calamities that befell Egypt by the hand of the God of Israel as recounted in the Book of Exodus, Chapters 7–12. The Plagues of Egypt are also called the "Ten Plagues" (i.e., eser ha-makot: עֶשֶׂר הַמַּכּוֹת). These include:

  1. Makat Dam (מַכַּת־דָם): Water turned to blood (Exod. 7:14–25)
  2. Makat Tzefarde'a (מַכַּת־צְפַרְדֵּעַ): Frogs from the Nile (Exod. 7:25–8:11)
  3. Makat Kinim (מַכַּת־כּנִּים): Gnats (or lice) from the dust (Exod. 8:12–15)
  4. Makat Arov (מַכַּת־עָרוֹב): Swarms of flies (or wild animals) (Exod. 8:20–32)
  5. Makat Dever (מַכַּת־דֶבֶר): Pestilence (Exod. 9:1-7)
  6. Makat Shechin (מַכַּת־שְׁחין): Boils (Exod. 9:8-12)
  7. Makat Barad (מַכַּת־בָּרָד): Hail and Fire (Exod. 9:13-35)
  8. Makat Arbeh (מַכַּת־אַרְבֶּה): Locusts (Exod. 10:1-20)
  9. Makat Choshekh (מַכַּת־חוֹשֶׁךְ): Darkness (Exod. 10:21-29)
  10. Makat Bechorot (מַכַּת בְּכוֹרוֹת): Death of the firstborn (Exod. 11:1-12:36)
     

Exodus 12:12 God says, "... on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments." Thus the plagues are thought to be symbolic of the defeat of various gods venerated in ancient Egyptian mythology (and occultism in general):
 

  1. Water turned to blood - Hapi and/or Khnum (god of the Nile)
  2. Frogs from the Nile River - Heket (goddess of fertility and water)
  3. Gnats from the dust  - Geb (god of the Earth)
  4. Swarms of Flies - Khepri (god of creation, lord of flies or beetles)
  5. Death of Livestock - Apis (goddess of animals depicted as a bull); Osiris
  6. Ashes to boils - Isis (goddess of nature, healing and peace)
  7. Hail and Fire - Nut (sky goddess and sister of Geb)
  8. Locusts sent from the winds - Set (god of storms, darkness, and disorder)
  9. Three days of darkness - Ra (the Sun god) and Set (god of darkness)
  10. Death of the firstborn - Pharoah ("son of Ra"); Khnum/ Amon (ram god)


     

Some commentators ask whether the plagues were intended more for the Israelites than for the Egyptians, since the Israelites had been oppressed by the powers of Egypt to the point of being "without the breath of hope."




Malachi




(mal-a-KHEE) n. 1) Malachi; one of the Minor prophets in the Nevi'im; 2) A prophet to the restored remnant who speaks of the Lord's love for His erring people and warns of judgment. Malachi means "Messenger of Adonai."




Malakh




(mal-AKH) n. Mal'akh.  Angel; messenger. Plural form: malakhim.




Malakh HaMavet




(mal-AKH ham-ma-VET) n. The angle of death (as mentioned in the Passover Seder).




Malakh Melitz




(mal-AKH may-LEETS) n. Advocate (1 John 2:1).




Malchut Haelohim




(mal-KHOOT ha-e-loh-HEEM) n. The kingdom of God (John 3:5).




Malchut Hashamayin




(mal-KHOOT hash-shah-MAI-yeem) n. The Kingdom of heaven (Matt: 4:17).




Malki-Tzedek




(mal-key TSE-dek) n. Melchizedek. Also spelled Malki-Tzedek. King of Righteousness, King of Salem; Gen. 14:18-20; Psalm 110:4; Heb. 5:6.




Mamlechet Kohanim




(mam-le-khet koh-ha-NEEM) n. "Royal Priesthood." From 1 Peter 2:9 - "But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light."




Mammash




(mam-MAHSH) n. Essential thing; reality; concreteness; 2) adv. Really; truly ("It was mammash a miracle!").




Mamzer




(MAM-zer) n. Illegitimate child; bastard (pejorative: use with caution).




Manna




(mahn) n. Manna, the name of a food eaten by the Jews during their travels in the desert.  Bread from Heaven. See Parashat Beshalach for more information about manna.




Manasseh




(me-NASH-shay) n. Manasseh. Son of Joseph, grandson of Jacob (Gen. 45:51). A half-tribe, as was Ephraim.




Man of Sorrows




(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.




Mappiq




(map-PEEK) n. Mappiq; Dagesh in final hey. A dot inserted in the consonant Hey at the end of a word. The Mappiq is used to indicate that the Hey retains its consonantal force instead of representing a silent sound (as part of a full vowel). Mappiq is also used to indicate the 3fs noun/pronoun suffix.




Maqqaf




(mak-KAF) n. Hyphen (in Ivrit, or secular Hebrew grammar).




Maqqef




(mak-KEF) n. The word Maqqef means means "binder," and functions much like a hyphen in English. That is, two words of a word pair are joined together to form a new word, and changes in the vocalization of the word unit often occurs. Sometimes transliterated as Makkef.




Maranatha




(mah-ran a-TAH) Excl. Aramaic. Maran Ata. Maranatha! "Our Lord, come!"




Marit Ayin




(ma-reet A-yeen) n. phr. (מַרְאַת עַיִן, lit. "appearance of the eye"). Sometimes transliterated as Ma'arat Ha'ayin, Ma'arit Ayin, Marat Ayin, maris ayin, and so on.  Refraining from a permitted action because it might appear to be forbidden or evil (1 Thess. 5:22).  Abstaining or refraining from doing something because it may a plausible suspicion of improper activity. A classic example from the Talmud is that "One may not hang wet clothes on Shabbat because neighbors might think that he washed them on Shabbat (Mishnah and Gemara Shabbos 146b). Another example: a pastor or rabbi should never meet with a young woman in his office without another person present. Of course, an observer of an action has a responsibility to use 'dan kol ha'adam l'kaf zechut,' to give the benefit of the doubt, but in many cases it is better to avoid any possibility of being misinterpreted by steering clear of questionable actions. 




Maror



(ma-ROAR) n. Maror.  Bitter herbs; usually horseradish during a Seder. Maror symbolizes bitterness, slavery, and oppression. These bitter herbs are eaten at the Passover seder to recall the slavery in Egypt.




Mark




(mar-KOHS) n. Mark. Emissary of Yeshua the Messiah and author of the gospel of Mark.




Marriage / Wedding



(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.




Marriage Contract




(ke-toob-BAH) n. Kettubot, pl. Marriage contract. Literally, a "written thing." Traditional Jewish marriage contract, which spells out the contractual responsibilities of the groom to the bride, often written in beautiful Hebrew calligraphy. Originally the Ketubbah was given to the wife at the time of marriage, which stipulated the husband's financial obligations to her both during the marriage and in case of the dissolution of the marriage (get).






Marriage of the Lamb



(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."




Martyrdom




(keed-DOOSH hash-SHEM) n. "Sanctifying the Name of God," i.e., martyrdom or dying for your faith. The opposite of this is Chillul Hashem (חִלוּל הַשֵּׁם), profaning the Name of God. There are instances when we must be willing to sacrifice our lives rather than to violate a commandment of Torah, such as being forced to murder someone upon pain of death. In other words, it is better to undergo kiddush Hashem (martyrdom) rather than to commit certain sins, such as murder, incest, or being forced to renounce our faith. In these cases the sages say yehareg ve'al ya'avor (יֵהָרֵג וְאַל יַעֲבוֹר), "be killed rather than transgress."




Mary / Miriam




(meer-YAHM) n. n. Mary. Miriam. Mother of Yeshua the Messiah (Matt. 1:16); also the sister of Moses and Aaron.




Mashal / Mishlei




(mah-SHAL / meesh-LAY) n. Proverb; Saying; Parable. n. pl. Proverbs of Solomon; part of the Ketuvim of the Tanakh.




Mashgiach



(mash-GEE-akh) n. Supervisor, as of a yeshivah (rabbinical school) or of a kosher establishment who certifies kashrut authenticity. The LORD God is Ha'Mashgiach (i.e., הַמַּשְׁגִיחַ, the supervisor) of all things - from the motions of subatomic particles to the great events of the cosmos. He not only calls each star by its own name (Psalm 147:4), but knows each particular lily and sparrow (Matt. 6:28-30, 10:29). As Yeshua said, even the hairs on your head are all numbered (Matt. 10:30). Each person is therefore under the direct, personal supervision of God Himself (הַשְׁגָּחָה פְּרָטִית) -- whether he or she is conscious of that fact or not.




Mashiach



(mah-SHEE-akh) n. Messiah; The Anointed. Yeshua ben Yosef is the promised Mashiach of Israel. See the Names of God.




Mashiach Ben David




(mah-SHEE-akh ben dah-VEED) n. Mashiach ben David. The final deliverer of the Jewish people. Descendant of King David, of the tribe of Judah. Yeshua the Messiah in His second coming. See the Messiah.




Mashiach Ben Yosef




(mah-SHEE-akh ben yoh-SAYF) n. The Messiah from the house of Joseph. One of two Messianic figures which are described in the written and oral traditions of Judaism. Mashiach ben Yosef is considered to be a forerunner and harbinger of the final deliverer, Mashiach ben David. Christians see Yeshua as the fulfillment of both portraits of Messiah in the Tanakh and the oral tradition. Yeshua the Messiah in His first coming as suffering Servant. See the Messiah.




Maskilim




(mas-kee-LEEM) n. pl. Adherents of the haskalah ("Enlightenment") movement in Judaism (late 18th century) that advocated getting out of the "ghetto" and becoming part of enlightened European culture. Haskalah (השכלה) was partly responsible for the formation of the idea of a secular Jewish identity and philosophy. Note that a maskil (sing.) is sometimes considered a "higher critic" of the Torah and Talmud and therefore a threat to Orthodox Jewish sentiments and philosophy.




Masorah




(MAH-so-rah) n. Massorah; also spelled Masora; the work of scribal transmission of the Tanakh (Masoretic text) One of the functions of a group of scribes in Tiberius was to mark the text with vowels, accents, and singing markings which followed the traditions of the sages. These sages were called Masoretes, and their process was called the Masorah. The text thus marked was called the Masoretic Text. The Masorah comprises a vast body of textual criticism of the Hebrew Scriptures including notes on features of writing and on the occurrence of certain words and on variant sources and instructions for pronunciation and other comments that were written between AD 600 and 900 by Jewish scribes in the margins or at the end of texts.

The Masoretic Text (MT)
The Hebrew text of the Tanakh approved for general use in Judaism. It was primarily compiled, edited and distributed by a group of Jews known as the Masoretes between the first and tenth centuries CE. It has numerous differences when compared to the Septuagint (LXX), of both little and great significance.

The Hebrew word Masorah refers to the transmission of a tradition. In fact, in a very broad sense it can refer to the entire chain of Jewish tradition. But in terms of the masoretic text the word mesorah has a very specific meaning: it refers to concise marginal notes in manuscripts (and later printings) of the Hebrew Bible which note textual details, usually about the precise spelling of words.

The oldest complete manuscripts of the Masoretic Text known to still exist date from approximately the ninth century, but there are many earlier fragments that appear to belong in the same textual family. For example, amongst the Dead Sea Scrolls and fragments found at other places in the Judean desert, there are some which differ from the Masoretic Text in only about 1 letter of each 1000 letters. 




Massah




(mas-SAH) n. "Temptation." The place in the wilderness where the Israelites tested the LORD by complaining for water. Exodus 17:7.  This is the place where Moses first struck the Rock, a symbol of Mashiach (1 Cor 10:4). Scripture also refers to Massah as Meribah (see entry, below). For more information, see parashat Beshalach.




Master of the Universe




(reeb-BOH-noh shel oh-LAHM) n. The LORD; the Master of the Universe.




Matchmaker



(shad-KHAN) n. Marraige broker. Matchmaker; one who assists in arranging marriages.




Mattan Torah




(mat-TAHN TOH-rah) n. Mattan Torah. The giving ("gift") of the Torah at Sinai. Normally celebrated at Shavu'ot.




Mattat Elohim




(mat-tat e-loh-HEEM) n. Gift of God (from natan); mattan Torah is the gift of Torah, but the greatest gift of God is the Person of His Son Yeshua the Mashiach. See Eccl. 3:13; 5:19; Jn. 4:10; Acts 8:20; Rom. 6:23; 1 Co. 7:7; Eph. 2:8; 2 Tim. 1:6, etc.




Matthew




(mat-teet-YAH-hoo) n. Matthew. Alternate spelling. Emissary of Yeshua the Messiah and author of the gospel of Matthew. Mattityahu means "gift of God." Abbreviated as Mattai.




Matzah



(MAH-tsah) n. Also spelled Matzo; Matzoh; Matza, etc. Flat, unleavened bread eaten during the Holiday of Pesach. Known as the "bread of affliction" (לֶחֶם ענִי) and the "bread of haste" (לֶחֶם חִפָּזוֹן). The plural is matzot.






Matzah Shmurah



(MAH-tsah shmoo-RAH) n. "Guarded" matzah (מַצָּה שְׁמוּרָה) for use with Passover that is made from grain that has been under supervision from the time it was harvested to ensure that no fermentation has occurred. Some people bake their own matzah shmurah using "shmurah flour," though it is more common to purchase machine-made shmurah matzah for use with Passover.






Matzeivah



(mats-tsay-VAH) n. Large stone or monument, usually used in Canaanite idolatry and forbidden for use in Temple worship. A pillar used for idolatry.  Totem pole, etc.




Mavet




(MAH-vet) n. Death.




Mayim Chayim




(MAI-yeem KHAI-yeem) n. n. Fresh water. Also: Living water: a title for Yeshua the Messiah (John 6).




Mazal Tov




(MA-zahl TOHV) Excl. Good luck; congratulations!




Mazzarot




(mah-zah-ROHT) n. Also spelled Mazzaroth. Zodiac. The Hebrew word mazzarot (מַזָּרוֹת, from Job 38:32) is said to refer to twelve astrological signs of the zodiac. (In modern Hebrew, astrology is called גַּלְגַּל הַמַּזָּלוֹת, or more simply, mazzalot (מזָּלוֹת), "lucks"). Originally God revealed to Adam his plan of redemption in the stars of the heavenlies, and this became embodied in the esoteric teaching of the mazzarot. (Later it was claimed that the divine zodiac was corrupted during the time of migdal Bavel (Tower of Babylon).






Mazon




(mah-ZOHN) n. Food. The Birkat hamazon, or Grace after Meals, is among the most ancient prayers in the Jewish liturgy.




Mechayil el Chayil




(me-KHAI-yeel el KHAI-yeel) phr. "From strength to strength."




Mechilah



(me-khee-LAH) n. Forgiveness. "Forgoing the other's indebtedness." A pardon granted to someone who has injured or offended you. Jewish tradition, however, is quite clear that the offended person is not obliged to offer mechilah if the offender is not sincerely repentant and has not taken concrete steps to correct the wrong done. Mechilah ought to be granted only if deserved, i.e., if the offender has sought forgiveness and shown indisputable signs of genuine remorse and repentance.  Note that mechilah is different than selichah, a biblical word, that means forgiveness from God. Both terms should be distinguished from kapparah, which refers to atonement for sin based on legal requirements.




Mechitzah




(me-kheet-TSAH) n. Mechitzah. A traditional fixture (partition or divider) separating men and women at the synagogue.  Some of these are very decorative, with the words of Eshet Chayil written upon them. The women's section of the synagogue is called Ezrat Nashim (women's area). According to the Talmud (Sukkah 51b, 52a), many Orthodox rabbis believe that the women's section was biblically ordained.

Mechitzah




Megillah



(me-geel-LAH) n. Scroll; from galal, to roll.  The scroll form of documents persisted through the days of the Qumran community (i.e. A. D. 68). The plural is meggilot.





Megillat Eichah



(me-geel-lat ay-KHAH) n. Lamentations; The scroll of Lamentations, read publicly in the synagogue at the beginning of the Ninth of Av (Tishah B'Av). Eichah is Jeremiah's lament over the destruction of the First Temple and Jerusalem by the Babylonians.




Megillat Ester



(me-geel-lat ES-tayr) n. Esther; one of the five scrolls (part of the Ketuvim). The story of God's providence in the affairs of the Jews during the time of Xerxes (486-465 B.C.), ruler of Persia. Read during Purim.




Megillot Yam Hamelach



(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.




Melakhah




(me-la'-KHAH) n. Lamed Tet Melakhot. Any of the categories of labor forbidden on the Shabbat. In the tractate of Shabbat the Mishna lists 39 prohibited tasks. These are the activities one is forbidden to do on Shabbat, and are based on the actions necessary for the erection of the Mishkan and its contents. The 39 categories of work which were performed in and for the Mishkan are called the Avot Melakhah, the fathers or primary categories, since they are the foundation, the original source for all secondary types of melakhah which are similar and derived from them.




Melakhim



(me-lah-KHEEM) n. Kings. The book of Kings, part of the Nevi'im in the Tanakh. English Bibles divide Kings into 1st and 2nd Kings (Melakhim Aleph and Bet, respectively).




Melamed



(me-lam-MED) n.
"One who teaches." Elementary Hebrew instructor in former times.




Melchizedek / Melchisedec




(mal-key TSE-dek) n. Melchizedek. Also spelled Malki-Tzedek. King of Righteousness, King of Salem; Gen. 14:18-20; Psalm 110:4; Heb. 5:6.




Melech Malchei Hamlachim




(ME-lekh mal-KHAY ham-me-lah-KHEEM) n. King of the king of kings. A Title for God. See the Names of God.




Mem




(mem) n. Mem. 13th letter of the Hebrew alphabet having a sound of "m" as in mom. Originally a pictograph representing water or chaos. Gematria = 40. Mem also has a sofit (final) form.




Memory



(zee-kah-ROHN) n. Memory. Memorial. Yom Zikaron is Israeli Memorial Day.




Memra




(MEM-rah) n. The Word [of the LORD]. The Jewish Encylopedia defines Memra (מֵמְרָא) as "ma'amar, dibbur, or logos - the Word, in the sense of the creative or directive word or speech of God manifesting His power in the world of matter or mind; a term used especially in the Targum as a substitute for "the Lord" when an anthropomorphic expression is to be avoided."  In short, Memra is the Personification of the Word of the LORD - the Voice of God Himself. This Divine Voice was none other than that of Yeshua Himself, the Divine Word of the LORD. The word occurs nowhere in the Tanakh, 328 times in the Babylonian Talmud, once in the Palestinian Talmud and 56 times in the Aggadic literature, at times as a noun, and at times as an element in the infinitive lememra.

The personification of the Word of God, or the "memra" (מֵמְרָא), is primarily associated with the 1st century AD Targum Onkelos, which undoubtedly popularized the cosmological concept of the divine logos (ΛΟΓΟΣ), or the underlying creative reason for all things in the universe, as first discussed by the ancient Greek pre-Socratic philosopher Heraclitus (6th cent. BC), and the ancient Ionian School of philosophy. The study of the Hellenistic idea of Logos, especially as it was understood by Philo and Hellenistic Jewish theologians, and the (later) Aramaic targum which translates the Hebrew verbs davar, amar, etc. as the personification of God makes an interesting study....




MENE MENE TEKEL UPHARSIN



(m'NAY m'NAY t'kel oo-far-SIN) Aramaic. Words written by a mysterious hand on the wall of Belshazzar's palace, and interpreted by Daniel as predicting the doom of the king and Babylon. God had numbered the kingdom of Belshazzar and brought it to an end; that the king had been weighed and found wanting; and that his kingdom was divided and given to the Medes and Persians (Dan. v. 1-28). Why could only Daniel read this?  Talmud claims this inscription was written in Paleo-Hebrew (pre-Ezra script) or, if not, in some sort of transposed form.




Menorah




(me-NOH-rah) n. Menorah; Candlestick. Lampstand. Seven-branched candelabrum that stood in the Temple.




Mercy




(ra-kha-MEEM) n. pl. Compassions; tender mercies; mercy. The Hebrew root for Rachamim comes from the word "rechem", which means "womb." To have compassion then means to express pity as we have for the love of an unborn child. The quality of compassion is called rachamanut. Note that chemlah (חמלה) is also a word for mercy.




Mercy Seat




(kap-POH-ret) n. The pure gold cover (or lid) over the Ark of the Covenant that held two cherubim at each end and from which God would manifest His Presence during times of the Mishkan and Temple; 2. The "Mercy Seat" or place where the blood was applied during Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. For more information, see the articles on the Mishkan and Yom Kippur.




Merciful




(ra-kha-mah-NOOT) n. Rachamanut means pity, mercy, empathy, and compassion. Since God is rachum ve-chanun, compassionate and gracious, we are to be likewise. The shoresh of this word (resh, chet, and mem) associates rechem, womb, with the idea of showing mercy.



As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him (Psalm 103:13)





Merciful and Gracious




(ra-KHOOM ve-khan-NOON) phr. Compassionate and gracious. Merciful and gracious. One of the first of the middot YHVH uses to describe Himself in the Shelosh Esrei Middot Rachamim - the 13 attributes of God's mercy (Exodus 34-6-7). God is described as El Rachum v'Chanun.




Meribah




(me-ree-VAH) n. "Quarreling." The place in the wilderness where the Israelites tested the LORD by complaining for water. Exodus 17:7.  This is the place where Moses first struck the Rock, a symbol of Mashiach (1 Cor 10:4). Scripture also refers to Meribah as Massah (see entry, above).  For more information, see parashat Beshalach.




Merits of the Fathers



(ze-KHOOT a-VOHT) n. Zechut Avot: "The merits of the fathers." The idea that the good deeds of the ancestors contribute to the welfare of their descendants. The ten tests of Abraham and his zechut are often appealed to as the basis for zechut for his descendants.




Meshichim Yehudim



(me-shee-KHEEM ye-hoo-DEEM) n. Messianic believers. Jewish believers in the Messiah Yeshua have been called by many names, including Notzrim (Nazarenes), ma'aminim (believers), minim (heretics), meshumadim (apostates), Hebrew Christians, and Jewish Christians. In the last thirty years, the term of choice that has gained ascendancy both in the Diaspora and in Israel is Meshichim Yehudim which both retains the identity of Yeshua as Messiah and personal Jewish identity as a Jew. The singular is Meshichi Yehudi.





Meshummad



(me-shoom-MAHD) n. Apostate (from Judaism). Shemad means one who has converted or been baptized.




Mesirat Nefesh




(me-see-raht NE-fesh) n. Total self-sacrifice, including death by martyrdom (kiddush HaShem). Three cases require a Jew to sacrifice his own life rather than violate a Torah prohibition: 1) forced worship of idols, 2) forced sexual immorality, and 3) murder - 'Rather than slay another person, you must permit yourself to be slain.' Maimonides adds that the public desecration of God's Name is another case where it is better to sacrifice your life than to obey. Mesirat Nefesh is sometimes contrasted with Pikuach nefesh, the saving of life even at the expense of other commandments given in Scripture.




Messenger




(shah-LEE-akh) n. Messenger; Delegate. Emissary. A person sent forth as an agent to perform a task for a Principal. In Jewish understanding the identity of the agent becomes that of the Principal when the agent performs the task given to him by the Principal. Plural form is Sh'lichim.




Messiah



(mah-SHEE-akh) n. Messiah; The Anointed. The long-awaited deliverer of the Jewish people, as foretold by the Hebrew prophets.  Yeshua ben Yosef is the promised Mashiach of Israel. See the Names of God.




Messianic Believer



(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. The plural of this is ma'aminim meshichim.





Messianic Jews



(ye-hoo-DEEM me-shee-KHEEM) n. Messianic believers. Jewish believers in the Messiah Yeshua have been called by many names, including Notzrim (Nazarenes), ma'aminim (believers), minim (heretics), meshumadim (apostates), Hebrew Christians, and Jewish Christians. In the last thirty years, the term of choice that has gained ascendancy both in the Diaspora and in Israel is Yehudim Meshichim which both retains the identity of Yeshua as Messiah and personal Jewish identity as a Jew. The singular is Yehudi Meshichi.




Mevin




(may-VEEN) n. Judge; one who can discriminate between (bein) things well; a maven (yiddish); an expert.




Mevinut



(me-vee-NOOT) n. Expertise; the quality of being mevin about something.




Mezuzah



(me-zoo-ZAH) n. n. Mezuzah; scroll (with the Shema written on it) placed on doorpost.




Michah




(mee-KHAH) n. n. 1) Micah. 6th of the Minor Prophets and part of the Nevi'im. 2) A messenger to Judah during her declining years, Micah warns of judgment and foretells the Messianic kingdom. Mikhah means "Who is like Adonai?"




Michael




(mee-kha-AYL) n. Michael. "Who is like God." Archangel mentioned in Daniel 10:21, Rev. 12:7.




Middah / Middot




(meed-DAH / meed-DOHT) n. Measure; quality; properity; characteristic; virtue. In the context of musar (ethics), middot refer to virtues or values. "The Torah is greater than the priesthood and than royalty, seeing that royalty is acquired through thirty virtues (middot), the priesthood twenty-four, while the Torah is acquired through forty-eight virtues (Pirke Avot 6:6). Middot tovot are the positive personal qualities of character, whereas middot ra'ot are bad qualities.




Middah Keneged Middah




(meed-dah ke-NE-ged meed-dah) n. (מִדָּה כְּנֶגֶד מִדָּה) "Measure for measure"; "like for like;" referring to the ethical/spiritual principle of reciprocity, or what you do to others is measured back to you. Loosely, the idea resembles karma, tit for tat, moral cause and effect; "what goes around comes around," and so on. Middah means "quality" or "characteristic;" ke'neged (כְּנֶגֶד) means "facing" or "opposite" (as + neged, against), so middah keneged middah suggests the mirroring of qualities, like-for-like...

In the Torah we read that Adam was given a companion, an ezer kenegdo (עֵזֶר כְּנֶגְדּוֹ), a "helper opposite to him." The sages note that Chavah ("Eve") could either function as Adam's helper (ezer) or his adversary (i.e., mitnaged: מִתנַגֵד) depending on his merit. Note that Eve was not created to be in subservience to Adam. On the contrary, Chavah was the "finishing touch" of Adam, a more refined and sensitive counterpart. Chavah would mirror back to Adam the middot (qualities) of himself. In this connection note that the Hebrew word for man (אִישׁ) and the word for woman (אִשָּׁה) share the same root word (אֵשׁ), meaning "fire." The words differ by just two letters - a Yod and a Hey (יה) - which together form the Divine Name YAH. If God is present between them, then they will be rightly related as man and woman, but if God is not present (symbolized by the absence of the Yod and Hey, respectively), there will only be a destructive fire (אֵשׁ).




Middot




(meed-DOHT) n. [] Rules of interpretation; Rabbinic hermeneutics. (Hebrew: "measure," or "norms" or "qualities"), in Jewish hermeneutics or biblical interpretation, methods or principles used to explicate the meaning of biblical words or passages to meet the exigencies of new situations. Though the rules, or norms, were probably developing in early Hellenistic Judaism, the first known middot were compiled by Rabbi Hillel in the 1st century BC. 

Middot also can refer to the character traits (middot ha-lev) that are at the core of moral and religious life. These middot include:

  • Tzedakah - philanthropy, in the sense of social justice and righteousness
  • Gemilut Chassadim – acts of loving kindness
  • Tikkun Olam – Improving the world and social responsibility
  • Hachnasat Orechim – hospitality
  • Bikur Cholim – Literally: visiting the sick
  • Derech Eretz – the way of the land (an ethical life)
  • Community Care - Kol Yisrael areivim zeh bazeh – all of Israel are responsible for one another (Sanhedrin 27b; Shavuot 39a)
  • Talmud Torah - Learnedness; Study of Scripture and tradition
  • Nedivut - Generosity
  • Tikvah - Hope
  • Simchah -- Joy
  • Chesed -- Lovingkindness
  • Anavah - Humility





Middot Ra'ot



(meed-DOHT rah-OHT) n. Bad qualities; bad character traits (i.e., pride, selfishness, and so on). Middot tovot are good qualities that are instilled by means of musar.




Middot Tovot



(meed-DOHT toh-VAH / meed-DOHT toh-VOHT) n. Good qualities; virtues; a baal middot tovot is a "master of good virtues," i.e., a mensch. Middot ra'ot are evil qualities.




Midrash




(meed-rahsh) n. Interpretation; commentary; exegesis; investigation. The plural is midrashim. The word "midrash" is a general term that simply means searching the text. There is no single book called "The Midrash" but only various compilations composed and edited over the course of more than a millennium. Midrash can apply to matters of Jewish law (called midrash halakhah) or various narrative matters (called midrash aggadah). Aggadic literature (from אגדה, aggadah, literally "telling" or "story") is intended to reinforce Jewish values, provide moral exhortation, instill a sense of reverence or inspiration, and to generally inculcate Jewish "hashkafah" (perspective).

The largest compilation of aggaidic literature is called the Midrash Rabbah. Each volume comments on one of the five books of the Torah (i.e., Bereshit Rabbah, Shemot Rabbah, etc.). A compilation of midrash that combines both legal and narrative material is the Midrash Tanhuma. When someone says, "It says in the midrash..." they usually mean midrash aggadah taken from the Midrash Rabbah. An individual text of midrashic material is also called a Midrash.




Migdal Bavel




(meeg-dal bah-VEL) n.  An original place for idol worship. A tall, fortified tower (ziggurat?) that gave the illusion that "the power of the gods" was on their side. A place "to make a name" and demonstrate human power and prowess. A symbol of humanism and the attempted apotheosis human beings. A symbol of hubris and arrogance.

Pieter Bruegel painting

(From Parashat Noach) The descendants of Noah remained a single people group with a single language (leshon hakodesh) for ten generations. However, they eventually returned to the evil ways of the "sons of Cain" by uniting in an idolatrous religion that led them to build a "tower with its top in the heavens." God confounded their evil religion, however, by "confusing their speech" and thereby dispersed the people into the seventy nations of the earth (the abandoned tower was called Bavel (Babel) and is considered by many to be the origin of "Mystery Babylon").




Mikdash




(meek-DAHSH) n. Temple; Sanctuary. A mikdash me'at is another name for a Jewish home or "little sanctuary." The Bet Hamikdash is the Temple.




Mikdash Me'at



(meek-DAHSH me-AT) n. "Little sanctuary."  According to Rabbinical Judaism, every Jewish home is intended to be a mikdash me'at, a "miniature sanctuary" or small "temple." The Sabbath table functions as an altar and the food as sacrifices upon the altar. The family's prayers and blessings around the table create the community of faith and the ability to heed the call, "you shall be holy" (Lev. 19:2-4).

Just as our hearts are to be mikdash me'at (מִקְּדָשׁ מְעַט), a little sanctuary for the Kingdom of heaven (Luke 17:20-21; Rom. 14:17; 1 Cor. 6:19), so each of us is given a unique sphere of influence that is to be yielded to God's authority, as His divinely appointed regent. The question remains: We will rule successfully over our own inner kingdom in agreement with what God expects of His kings and queens or not?




Mikra




(meek-RA') n. Bible; bible reading; recitation of the Bible. The Mikra'ot Gedolot is the "Great Bible" or Rabbinic Bible published by Daniel Bomberg in 1516-7. This is an amazing codex, with the Biblical text itself, the masoretic notes, the Onkelos Targum and Rashi's and Ibn Ezra's commentaries all inset one to another (column within column format).

Mikra'ot Gedolot




Mikveh



(meek-veh) Mikveh; purifying bath to remove ceremonial uncleanness; baptismal pool. Ritual bath. A ritual purification and cleansing bath that Orthodox Jews take on certain occasions (as before Sabbath or after menstruation).




Millah / Millot




(meel-LAH / meel-LEEM) n. word; pl. words.




Millon




(meel-LOHN) n. Dictionary. Word list. Lexicon.




Minchah




(meen-KHAH) n. ("meal offering"): This was a nedavah (freewill) offering of flour (prepared with fine flour, olive oil and frankincense), usually brought by a person of modest means. Part of the meal offering is burned on the altar, and the remaining part is eaten by the kohanim (the word "mincha" means gift). Note that any flour offering must be baked quickly to prevent the dough from rising (i.e., unleavened bread). Like the animal sacrifices, minchah offerings must also be salted.

The Kohen Gadol (High Priest) was required to offer minchah offerings. First, he was required to offer minchat chinuk, a special offering that was given in the morning and afternoon on the first day of his avodah (service) as High Priest. Second, he was required to offer daily minchah as long as he served as High Priest.

In later Judaism, the afternoon service is also called minchah. It is said that Abraham invented Shacharit by regularly praying to God in the morning; Issac is said to have invented Minchah by praying in the afternoon, and Jacob invented the Ma'ariv (evening service) by praying at night.




Minhag




(meen-HAHG) n. Custom; manner; ritual practice; (plural minhagim). An example of a minhag would be eating apples with honey on Rosh Hashanah (mitzvot de'rabbanan).




Minyan




(meen-YAHN) n. Minyan. A group of ten bar mitzvah adults necessary for the prayer service. A prayer quorum of ten or more.




Miracle(s)




(nays / nees-SEEM) n. Miracle(s). (A great nes happened there.)




Mishkan




(meesh-KAHN) n. Tabernacle; tent. The portable sanctuary described in great detail in the book of Exodus that served as the model for the Bet Hamikdash (Temple) in Jerusalem, and synagogues today. The word mishkan comes from the Hebrew word lishkon, meaning to rest, and was considered to be the resting place of the Shechinah (presence of the LORD). The mishkan is also called mishkan ha'eidut (see below).



Notice how the order of the camp of the Israelites (machaneh Yisrael) resembled a cross, with the Kohanim next to the tribe of Judah, from whom would come Yeshua, our Kohen Gadol of the new covenant:



Baruch HaShem - the camp of the LORD is itself a picture of the cross, the place of ultimate sacrifice, where the King of the Jews would lay down His life to ransom captive Israel!




Mishkan Ha'edut




(meesh-KAHN ha-ay-DOOT) n. Tabernacle of Testimony; another name for the Mishkan, so-named since it testified of God's forgiveness of the Jewish people for their idolatry with the egel maseikhah (Golden Calf).




Mishlei




(meesh-LAY) n. pl. The book of proverbs. Part of the wisdom literature of the Ketuvim.




Mishloach Manot




(meesh-LOH-akh mah-NOHT) phr. "sending of portions." A Purim basket. Gifts of food or sent to friends, relatives, etc. on Purim day.  Mishloach Manot is meant to ensure that everyone has enough festive food for the Purim seudah held later in the day. Note that tzedakah for Purim is called Mattanot La'evyonim (מַתָּנוֹת לָאֶבְיוֹנִים), "gifts for the poor," and is considered especially important at this time.


 



Mishnah




(meesh-nah) n. Mishnah; also spelled Mishna. Lit. "Repetition." The earlier part of the Talmud; divided into six orders or parts (sedarim) of sixty three tractates.  Each sedarim focuses on a different area of Jewish life: Agriculture, Shabbat and Holidays, Civil Law, Family Relations, Temple Sacrifices and Ritual Purity.






Mishneh Torah




(meesh-nay TOH-rah) n. 1) Mishneh Torah (derived from the phrase mishneh ha-Torah, in Deut. 17:18) is a code of Jewish religious law (halakhah) compiled by Moses Maimonides (Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon, also known by the abbreviation "Rambam") between 1170 and 1180 AD, while Maimonides lived in Egypt. The massive work consists of 14 volumes that details all of Jewish observance, including those laws which are only applicable when the Jewish Temple is in place. 2) Mishneh Torah ("Repetition of the Torah") is another name given to the last book of the Torah, Deuteronomy.




Mishpachah




(meesh-pah-KHAH) n. Family; By extension, a close association.






Mishpat




(meesh-PAHT) n. Judgment; justice. Mishpatim are ordinances that comprise the social mitzvot of the Torah.




Mishpatim



(meesh-pah-TEEM) n. pl. (sing. mishpat) Logical laws; Judgments; Laws given for a clearly specified reason. An example would be the commandment to give charity or the prohibitions against theft and murder. These mitzvot are inherently rational and appeal to the need for ethical unity (civil and moral life) within the community. The mishpatim are one of the two main subcategories of the concept of mitzvot (commandments). Mishpatim is also the name for a weekly Torah portion: Exodus 21:1-24:18.




Mishteh Chatunat Ha-Seh




(meesh-TAY cha-too-NAT ha-SAY) n. "The wedding feast of the Lamb" (Rev. 19:9). (Mishteh = feast; chatunah = wedding; and seh = Lamb). "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."




Mitzraim



(meets-RAI-yeem) Egypt. Also transliterated as Mitsraim, Mitsrayim. Mitzrayim, etc.




Mitzvah



(meets-VAH / meets-VOTE) n. Precept; Command; deed of piety or charity. Plural - mitzvot. The Torah is said to contains 613 mitzvot, 248 of which are termed "positive" commandments and 365 of which are "negative." Mitzvot are not for personal gain, "but to perfect moral character and to express love of God" (Siddur Miforash, p. 26A).




Mitzvah D'orata



(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.




Mitzvah D'rabbanan



(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).




Mitzvat Aseh



(meetz-vaht a-SAY) n. Mitzvah Aseh [plural: Mitzvot Aseh]. n. Positive commandment. A "thou shalt" (required) commandment given in the Torah considered binding on men (but of which women are exempt).  According to Maimonides and other sages, there are 248 of these, corresponding to the "number of the parts of the body." Most of these commandments are said to be focused on time and place, and their observance is aimed at helping the Jewish man grow. Women are exempt from these commandments, but not forbidden from performing them.  Note that Rabbinical Judaism has added certain positive commandments (such as praying in the synagogue three times a day) that are oblique inferences from Scripture. Note also that many negative commandments (mitzvot lo ta'aseh) correspond to the positive commandments (e.g., cp. Ex. 20:8, 20:10; 23:12).




Mitzvat lo Ta'aseh




(meets-vaht loh ta-'a-say) n. Negative commandment (of the 613 commandments of the Torah); prohibition. A "thou shall not" commandment or prohibition. These commandments are required for women to observe (except those explicitly identified for the kohanim). According to Maimonides, there are 365 of these commandments, corresponding to the number of days in the solar year.  Note also that many positive commandments (mitzvot aseh) correspond to the negative commandments (e.g., cp. Ex. 20:8, 20:10; 23:12).




Mizbe'ach




(meez-BAY-akh) n. Altar; place of sacrifice.




Mizmor




(meez-MOHR) n. Song; hymn; psalm.




Mizrach


Mizrach

(meez-RACH) n. "East"; "East") Many Jews keep a small section of an eastern wall in their house unplastered and unpainted as a sign of mourning for the destruction of the Temple. A Mizrach is an ornamental table or plaque hung on the eastern wall of your house, used to remind yourself of the Temple, of Jerusalem, and of the Land of Israel.

Mizrach - East





Modesty




(tse-nee-OOT) n. Sometimes transliterated as Zeniut (Yiddish: Tznius; also "tzniusdik").  The rules of modesty; chastity; opposite of shamelessness (pritzut). Women are required to be covered from the neck to the knee, and to have sleeves to the elbow. The Chasidim have a more stringent rules that require a woman to have sleeves to the wrist and to wear stockings. The laws of tzeniut also require a married woman to have her hair covered and to refrain from being touched by a man other than her husband (or immediate family members).



A story from the Babylonian Talmud (Shabbat 53b) expresses the idea of tzeniut: There once was a man who married a woman who had a stump for one hand, but the man never noticed the deformity until the day of her death. This woman was regarded to be of great modesty, since her husband never noticed her disfigurement; and yet her husband was likewise so regarded, since he never once examined his wife's body. "Love covers all offences" (Prov. 10:12).

Note: The opposite of Tzeniut is pritzut (sometimes spelled pritzus). "Sexy" clothing, for example, is considered pritzut and therefore inappropriate for a Jewish woman.





Mo'ed / Mo'edim



(mo-'ED / mo-a-DEEM) n. pl. Feasts; appointed times. See the Jewish calendar for a list of mo'adim. The customary greeting during a feast is Chag Same'ach (Joyful Feast!).
The mo'edim are as follows:

Weekly Mo'edim:

  • Shabbat

Monthly Mo'edim:

  • Rosh Chodesh

Springtime Mo'edim:

  1. Abib/Nisan 1: The Biblical Rosh HaShanah
  2. Shabbat HaGadol: the first Shabbat of the year
  3. Pesach (Passover)
  4. Chag Matzah (Feast of Unleavened Bread)
  5. Yom HaBikkurim (Day of First Fruits)
  6. Shavuot (Feast of Weeks)

Falltime Mo'edim:

  1. Yom Teruah (Day of Blowing/Shouting)
  2. Yom Kippur (Day of Covering/Atonement)
  3. Sukkot (Tabernacles)

Wintertime Mo'edim

  1. Chanukah (Dedication)
  2. Purim (Lots)
     

Rabbinic Judaism has established several other mo'edim, including:

  1. Fast of Esther
  2. Fast of the 17th of Tammuz
  3. Lag B'Omer
  4. Tish'ah B'Av
  5. Tu B'Av
  6. Tu BiSh'vat
  7. Tzom Gedaliah
  8. Yom Ha'atzma-ut
  9. Yom HaShoah
  10. Yom HaZikaron
  11. Yom Yerushalayim
     





Mohel




(MO-hayl) n. A person trained in the rituals and procedures of B'rit Milah, or Jewish circumcision. The Yiddish pronunciation is "MOY-el."




Moon




(ya-RAY-akh) n. (masc.) Moon, derived from yerach (month, lunar cycle). Hebrew also uses the words לְבָנָה (levanah), חֹדֶשׁ (chodesh) and סַהַר (sahar) to refer to the moon.




Morashah




(mo-rah-SHAH) n. A general term referring to the special heritage one has as a Jew (Deut. 33:4). The word morashah (מוֹרָשָׁה) comes from the root idea (יָרַשׁ) of inheritance. According to the sages, morashah refers to a spiritual (rather than physical) inheritance that will abide forever. Maimonides further notes that the verse refers to the "congregation" (קְהִלָּה) of Jacob, not exculsively to the physical "seed" (i.e., natural descendants) of the Jewish people.... This implies that the Torah would become an inheritance for all those who would congregate with Jacob. All who are "grafted in" to Israel are therefore members of "God's congregation" (John 10:16; Rom. 11:16-24).




Moreh




(mo-RAY) n. (masc.) Teacher. Morah for a feminine teacher.




Moriah




(mo-ree-AH) n. According to Jewish tradition, Moriah is the place where Adam and Eve were created, where Abraham offered Isaac (Gen 2:22), where Abraham later met Malki-Tzedek (i.e., Yeshua our Kohen Gadol), where Jacob dreamed of the ladder to heaven, where King David and instructed him to build the Temple (which his son Solomon completed; 2 Chron. 3:1), and became the altar of God in the world... It is also the place of the crucifixion of Yeshua as well as His resurrection and ascension.

Yeshua at Moriah is the Central Point of all history. It is the Altar. All the outpouring of the wrath of God against sin was accomplished here, since it involved the torture and death of the only true Tzaddik who ever lived. Yet it was by means of Yeshua's righteous suffering that all the families of the earth may now be blessed and escape the kelalah of HaShem.

Midrash about Moriah



According to Jewish legend, God chose the site for His Holy Temple in order to honor brotherly love.

In the days before the Bet Hamikdash (Temple) was built, two brothers, Shimon and Levi, inherited a large field from their parents.  This field was on Mount Moriah, in the heart of the Promised Land. Instead of dividing the land into separate fields, however, the two brothers decided to work the field together. Every morning they got up early and worked the days together. At harvest time, they would cut the wheat, bind it into sheaves, and divide it equally into piles. Then each brother would carry his pile into his own storehouse.

One year, after harvesting all day in the sun, the brothers decided to sleep beside their piles of sheaves instead of carrying them to their storehouses.

But late that night Shimon could not sleep. He kept thinking of his brother Levi.  "It isn't fair that the harvest is divided equally between us. Levi has a family to support, but I am alone....  Why should I take so much? It is better that he receive a bigger portion."  So Shimon got up, gathered up as many sheaves he could from his pile, and surreptitiously placed them on his brother's stack.  He then went back to his own pile of sheaves and slept sweetly.

Awhile later, Levi awoke from a dream. In his dream he saw his brother Shimon as an old and sick man. He thought, "It isn't fair that the harvest is divided equally.  Shimon is all alone. He has no wife or children to care for him when he gets old. He will need more grain to help him prepare for his future. It is better that he receive a bigger portion." So Levi got up, gathered up as many sheaves he could from his pile, and surreptitiously placed them on his brother's stack.  He then went back to his pile of sheaves and slept sweetly.

When daylight came, the two brothers went to load their wagons but were amazed to see the same number of sheaves in their piles as before. Perplexed, they quietly finished their work and went home.

But neither brother could sleep that night. Each kept thinking of the needs of the other. Finally, each went to his storehouse, took as many sheaves as he could carry, and began walking quietly to his brother's house.  Suddenly, halfway between their homes, the two brothers saw each other in the moonlight.  In an instant, they both understood the other's heart. Embracing, they gave each other a kiss of brotherly love.

And it was on that spot, atop Mount Moriah, that God chose the site for His Holy Temple.

For some more about Moriah, see this brief article.




Morning Service




(sha-cha-REET) n. The morning Prayer Service performed in the synagogue. Shacharit is the daily morning tefillah (prayer service). The word shacharit comes from the Hebrew word shachar, or morning, denoting that shacharit is to be prayed in the morning. It is said that Abraham invented Shacharit by regularly praying to God in the morning (Issac is likewise said to have invented Minchah (afternoon service), and Jacob the Ma'ariv (evening service)).




Moshe Rabbeinu




(mo-shay rab-BAY-noo) n. Moses our Teacher. Honorary title given to Moses (Moshe)..




Moshia




(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.




Motzei Shabbat




(moh-tsee shab-BAHT) n. The time in the evening immediately following Shabbat when it is permissible to resume weekday activities that are prohibited on Shabbat. This may occur no earlier than when three stars appear in the sky on Saturday night, or at a fixed time that is predetermined by a halachically valid calendar (the exact time in which Shabbat ends varies depending on one's location on earth and the time of year).




Mount Sinai




(see-NAI) n. Sinai; mountain in the desert between Egypt and Israel where Israel received the Torah from God through Moses. The Sinai peninsula is a peninsula in northeastern Egypt; at north end of Red Sea. Sinai also refers to the Covenant that God made with the children of Israel stipulating blessings for obedience and cursings for disobedience.




Mourning




(SHEE-vah) n. Shivah. Seven-day mourning period. "Sitting Shivah" is a custom of sitting on a low stool during the grieving process. Shivah means "seven." Jewish mourning which is divided into five stages:

  1. Aninut. This is the period between death and burial.
  2. Lamentation. This period consists of the first three days following burial.
  3. Shivah. This stage covers the seven days following burial and includes the three-day period of lamentation.
  4. Sheloshim. 30 days (counting the seven days of shivah) following burial.
  5. A year of mourning. The twelve-month period (counted from the day of burial) during which things return to normal.

The Kaddish is recited at every prayer service, morning and evening, Shabbat and holiday, on days of fasting and rejoicing. Yizkor is a ceremony recalling all the deceased during a communal synagogue service. Yahrzeit is a personal memorial anniversary; it may be observed for any relative or friend, but it is meant primarily for parents.




Muktzeh



(mook-tseh) Adj. "Separated" or "set aside." Relating to a rabbinical prohibition against moving of certain objects on holy days (such as Shabbat or a Yom Tov). For example, you cannot handle money, rocks, twigs, etc. on Shabbat. The concept of muktzeh (
מֻקְצֶה) comes from the Talmud and the thirty-nine melakhot or categories of work (i.e., Lamed Tet Avot Melachot: ל״ט אבות מלאכות).




Mumar



(moo-MAHR) n. Convert; heretic.




Musaf



(moo-SAHF) n. An additional service, usually associated with special Shabbats and festivals.




Musar




(moo-SAHR) n. Musar. Reproof; Correction; Moral Discipline; Ethics. Musar often involves a study of both middot tovot (מִדּוֹת טוֹבוֹת, or "good attributes") and middot ra'ot (מִדּוֹת רָעוֹת, "bad attributes"). In general, we are encouraged to manifest qualities of heart (middot ha-lev) that are good rather than bad....




Mutar




(moot-TAHR) adj. The word mutar (מֻתָּר) is used to imply the freedom or permission to do something in halachic discussions (the antonym asur (אָסוּר) means "forbidden" or "prohibited"). For example, the presence of blood spots found in eggs raises the question of whether they are "asur or mutar" for consumption in light of the laws of kashrut.




My 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.





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