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Hebrew Glossary - Ts / Tz


































Note that the English transliteration of Tsade is often "tz" rather than "ts," especially among American Jews.



(TSA-ar) n. Pain; sorrow; suffering; sevel; the plural is tzorot, which became tzores in Yiddish.

The troubles of my heart (tzorot levavi) are enlarged:
O bring thou me out of my distresses. (Psalm 25:17)

Tza'ar Ba'alei Chayim

(tsa-ar ba-a-lay KHY-eem) n. צַעַר בַּעֲלֵי חַיִּים "Suffering of living creatures." The principle not to cause unnecessary pain to animals. The Scriptures address the issue of treating animals humanely. They are to rest on Shabbat (Exod. 20:10), not be overworked (Deut. 25:4), and can partake of the produce from fields lying fallow during the sabbatical year (Ex. 23:11). "A righteous man knows the soul of his animal" (Prov. 12:10).

"If you come across a bird's nest in any tree or on the ground, with young ones or eggs and the mother sitting on the young or on the eggs, you shall not take the mother with the young. You shall let the mother go, but the young you may take for yourself, that it may go well with you, and that you may live long" (Deut. 22:6-7). According to the sages, this commandment exemplifies the Jewish value of tza'ar ba'alei chayim and invites further discussion and laws about preventing animal cruelty.

Do you eat kosher meats, slaughtered humanely according to Torah shechitah laws, or do you eat meat produced by large, "Confined Animal Feeding Operations" (CAFOs)? What do you think is our responsibility to ensure that animals are not abused or mistreated?


(tsah-BAHR) n. Sabra; Israeli-born person.

Tzade / Tsade

(tsah-dee) n. Tsade. 18th letter of the Hebrew alphabet having a "ts" sound (as in nuts). Originally represented by a pictograph of a prostrate man. Gematria = 90. Tsade also has a sofit (final) form.

Tzaddik / Tzaddikim

(tsad-DEEK / tsad-dee-KEEM) n. Pious one(s); adj. just; righteous. A righteous woman is called tzadeket.


(tzad-kah-NOOT) n. Personal integrity and self-righteousness; self-justification.


(tsad-doo-KEEM) n. pl. Sadducees. One of the two main groups in the religious establishment of Yeshua's time (the other being the Pharisees (Perushim)). The Tsaddukim tended to be more Hellenistic and more willing to cooperate with the Roman conquerors than the Perushim.

Tzahal (IDF)

(tsa-HAHL) Abbreviation for Israel Defense Force (IDF). The abbreviation is formed from the inital letters of Tsva Ha-haganah Le-Yisrael.

Tzarah Gedolah

(tsah-rah ge-doh-LAH) n. Great Tribulation (as opposed to general tribulation, or tzarot that comes from living in godly witness to an evil world). The Great Tribulation is a future 7-year period of time when God will finish His discipline of Israel and finalize His judgment of the unbelieving world. This is referred to as Yom Adonai -- the "Day of the Lord" (Isaiah 2:12; 13:6,9; Joel 1:15, 2:1,11,31, 3:14; 1 Thess. 5:2) or the Time of Jacob's trouble (Jeremiah 30:7; Daniel 12:1; Zephaniah 1:15).  Daniel's 70th week is yet to take place (Dan. 9:24-27) which awaits prophetic fulfillment as Yom Teruah, the Day of the shofar blast that calls followers of Yeshua to appear before the Mashiach.


(tsah-ROHT) n. pl. Troubles; (Yiddish: "Tsuris"); heartache; oiy; woe. Yissurim.

Tzava / Tzeva'ot

(tsah-VAH / tse-va-OHT) n. Army; host; multitude; military service (in Israel). The Israeli army is called Tzahal - an acronym for Tzava Hagana L'Israel - "The Armies of Defense for Israel" (IDF):

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


(TSE-dek) n. Righteousness; justice.

Tzedek Tzedek Tirdof

(TSE-dek TSE-dek teer-DOF) n. phr. Tzedek tzedek tirdof. "Justice, justice shall you pursue" (Deut. 16:20). The obligation to become tzadikim and establish righteousness in society.


(tse-FAN-yah) n. Zephaniah, book of the Nevi'im in the Tanakh. Tsefanyah means "Adonai has hidden."

Tzelav (cross)

(TSE-lahv) n. Cross; execution "stake." The Hebrew verb for "crucify" is tzalav (צָלַב) which is nearly identical to the word for "cross" (צְלָב). The Greek word for "cross" is stauros. "The cross of Messiah" (ὁ σταυρὸς τοῦ Χριστοῦ) is rendered as tzelav ha-Mashiach (צְלַב הַמָּשִׁיח) in some Hebrew translations. Crucifixion is called tzelivah (צְלִיבָה).

Most scholars say that Greek word stauros (σταυρός) referred to a common form of execution "perfected" by the ancient Romans that was described by Josephus as he wrote of how the Roman general Titus crucified the Jewish rebels... Apaprently there were different "shapes" of the cross, from crux simplex (|), crux immissa (+), crux commissa (T), or even stakes shaped as an X or Y. The "T" shape of the stake (crux commissa) was common, and is likely the form of the stake used in the case of Yeshua's crucifixion, since the early "patristics" referred to it that way. The fact that a soldier put a sponge on a hyssop plant to give Yeshua a drink suggests that he was crucified on "short cross," since the hyssop stalk was usually less than two feet long.... There are also early Greek (pre-Christian era) descriptions of the horrors of crucifixion. For example Herodotus (450 BCE) wrote: "they crucified him hands and feet stretched out and nailed to cross-pieces," which suggests the traditional representation...

At any rate, death by crucifixion was horrifyingly shameful and unutterably painful.... but Yeshua went there for you.


(TSE-lem) n. Image; Likeness. (Gen. 1:26: "Let us make man in our image...").

Tzemach Tzedakah

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


(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.


(tsee-DOHN) n. Sidon. Town on the coast north of Tyre (Matt.11:21).


(tsee-DOOK) n. Justification.


(TZEEM-tzoom) n. "Contraction," "Constriction" (of the Divine Presence/Light - Or Ein Sof). The self-imposed "withdrawal" of Ein Sof (God) to create a space or "vacuum" for the creation of the universe, as described by kabbalist Isaac Luria. At the start of creation, God "contracted" his infinite light and thereby created conceptual space. God then created "vessels" (kelim) in the empty space, but when he began to pour his Light into them, they shattered. This is called the "shattering of the vessels" (Shevirat Ha-Kelim) in Kabbalah. The shards of the shattered vessels became souls and objects in this world, and tikkun is the process of "raising the sparks of God's Light" and re-incorporating them into the One. The doctrine of tzimtzum is considered paradoxical, since it suggests attributes of God that defy his unity by confounding God's transcendence and immanence. Moreover, it neither explains how finitude emerges from infinity nor how plurality emerges from absolute unity.

Tzion / Zion

(tsee-YOHN) n. Zion; Originally called the City of David, south of the modern Old City of Jerusalem. Later the name came to refer metaphorically to the Temple Mount itself, and by extension, to Jerusalem and the people of Israel.


(tsee-yoh-NOOT) n. Zionism; The movement to restore the Jewish people to a sovereign homeland of their own.  Today, after the establishment of the Jewish State of Israel on May 14, 1948, the mitzvah of tzionut entails supporting the people of Israel and their vision of a God-given homeland. In that sense, it is part of the value of k'lal Yisrael - the solidarity of the Jewish people.


(TZEETZ) n. Tzitz. the High Priest's headplate, made of pure gold, with the words "Holy for the L-rd" (Kadosh La-Adonai) are engraved upon it. Exodus 28:36-37. For more information, click the image below to take you to the Temple Institute:



(tseet-tseet) n. Tzitzit. Fringes. Ritual fringes on the Tallit or Tallit Katan tied with special knots to remind us of the mitzvot and our responsibility to keep them. The Torah attaches great importance to the wearing of tsitsit as a visible reminder of the obligation to keep the divine mitsvot (Num. 37:29). The tzitzit is made of eight threads with five knots. In orthodox circles, the tsitsit are kissed during recitation of some prayers and blessings. Click here for more information.

Tzva Ha-haganah L'Yisrael (IDF)

(tse-va ha-hag-ga-nah yis-rah-AYL) n. Israel's armed forces (army, air force and navy), formed following the founding of Israel in 1948. Abbreviated as Tzahal (Tsade, Hey, Lamed). Also Tseva...

Tzva Hashamayim

(tse-va hash-shah-MY-eem) n. Host of stars; host of the heavens. Also Tseva Hashamayim.


(tsohm) n. Fast; day of affliction. In addition to Yom Kippur, The Talmud (Tractate Rosh Hashana 18b) discusses four fast days (based on Zechariah 8:19) that commemorate the destruction of the First and Second Temples and the exile of the Jewish People from their homeland. In addition, two other fast days are mentioned in the Rabbinical literature, yielding a total of six tzomot (seven if Yom Kippur is included):

  • Ta'anit Bechorim - The Fast of the Firstborn is a fast observed only by firstborn males, commemorating the fact that they were saved from the plague of the firstborn in Egypt. It is observed on the day before Pesach (Nisan 14).
  • Tzom Tammuz - Fast of the 17th of Tammuz. Fast day commemorating the breaking down of the wall of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar and the cessation of Temple worship during the siege of Titus (Jun/Jul). In the Bible, this is referred to as the Fast of the 4th month.
  • Tishah B'Av - The Ninth of Av, a fast day remembering the tragedies of the Jewish people (July/Aug). In the Bible, this is referred to as the Fast of the
    5th month.
  • Tzom Gedaliah - The fast right after Rosh Hashanah (on Tishri 3) commemorating the murder of the Judean governor Gedaliah by misguided zealots (Sept/Oct). In the Bible, this is referred to as the Fast of the 7th month.
  • Yom Kippur - The Day of Atonement (Tishri 10) is the most holy day of the Jewish year. This a fast day where no work of any kind is permitted.
  • Asarah B'Tevet - The 10th of Tevet, a fast day commemorating the fall of the Jerusalem. In the State of Israel, Kaddish (the Jewish prayer for the deceased) is recited on this day for people whose date or place of death is unknown (Dec/Jan). In the Bible, this is referred to as the Fast of the 10th month.
  • Ta'anit Esther - The Fast of Ester is observed on the day before Purim, on Adar 13 (in Feb/Mar).

Tzom Gedaliah

(tsohm ge-DAL-yah) n. Fast of Gedaliah; A fast day commemorating the assassination of Gedaliah, governor of Judea after the destruction of the first Temple (586 BC). After his death, the Jews were dispersed; in mourning over the Exile, the Rabbis decreed it to be a public fast day. Occurs the day after Yom Kippur.

Tzur Israel

(tsoor yees-rah-EL) n. Rock of Israel; see the Names of God. Tzur (also spelled Tsur) means "Rock."

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