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Hebrew Glossary - Y



































(YA-a-kohv) n. Jacob. The son of Isaac, grandson of Abraham, and the father of the twelve patriarchs of the tribes of Israel. Ya'akov means "heel holder" or "supplanter"; later he was renamed "Israel" ("God will fight") by Adonai (Gen. 32:28).


(yah-KHEED) adj. Individual; unique; one of a kind. Yeshua the Messiah is called Ben Yachid (John 1:14).


(YAH) n. God. See Names of God.


(ya-ha-DOOT) n. Judaism; Jewry.


(YAHR-zite) n. The word yahrzeit literally means "time of year" and refers to the anniversary of the death of a Jew as observed by a mourner.  Yahrzeit is always based on the date of death (not burial) according to the Hebrew calendar. Since determining the anniversary of the Hebrew date of death can be tricky in relation to the Gregorian calendar, many synagogues keep registries of the Hebrew dates of members' deaths and send notices reminding the family of the yahrzeit date.

According to the rabbis, on yahrzeit the main halakhic (legal) obligation is to recite the mourner's version of the Kaddish prayer three times (evening, morning, and afternoon) on behalf of the first-relative (mother, father, brother, or sister) who has died. Some people also fast on the day of the yahrzeit.

It is also a minhag (custom) to commemorate the occasion by lighting a yahrzeit candle that will burn throughout the 24-hour day of the anniversary of death (from sunset to sunset). This is linked with the thought expressed in Proverbs 20:27, "The spirit of a person is the lamp of the Lord."

A prayer is often recited when kindling the candle, thanking God for the memory and the good influence of the loved one. After the prayer it is customary to add:

  • Zichrono livrachah ("May his memory be for blessing"), or
  • Zichronah livrachah ("May her memory be for blessing")

Yahrzeit candles are also lit during Yizkor (memorial services), notably during Yom Kippur and on the last day of each of the three pilgrimage festivals: Pesach, Shavuot, and Sukkot (as well as Yom HaShoah).

Yahveh / Yahweh

(yah-VEH; Adonai) n. In the Tanakh, YHVH is the personal name of God and his most frequent designation, occurring over 5,200 times. This is the Ineffable Name or Unutterable Name of the God of Israel. Because it is composed from the four Hebrew letters , it is also referred to as the "Tetragrammaton," which simply means "The Four Letters." See the Names of God.

Yamim Nora'im

(yah-MEEM noh-rah-EEM) n. pl. Days of Awe; High Holidays; Ten days from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur marking personal and corporate teshuvah. The process of teshuvah - literally "turning," calls us to rethink our goals and aspirations, our relationships with others and with the LORD, and take the steps necessary to repair what is broken.

Yam Suf

(yam SOOF) n. The Sea of Reeds; When Israel left Egypt, pursued by the Egyptian army, God instructed Moses to raise his arm over the Sea of Reeds which then parted. After the Israelites escaped to dry land, the sea closed over the Egyptians (Ex. 13:18). Suf means reed, rush, or water plant.


(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.


(YAHR-zite) n. The anniversary of the death of a Jew observed by a mourner. It is minhag (a custom) that Jews commemorate the anniversary of the death of a loved one by lighting a yahrzeit candle, which burns throughout the 24-hour day of the anniversary of death. Yahrzeit candles are also lit during Yizkor (memorial services), notably during Yom Kippur and on the last day of each of the three pilgrimage festivals: Pesach, Shavuot, and Sukkot.

Yasher Koach

(yah-sher KOH-akh) phr. "May your strength be firm," said when congratulating someone who has had the merit of performing a mitzvah or other worthy task. "May You Have Strength!" It (loosely) means, "good job!" and is sometimes abbreviated as "Shkoach." Sometimes the phrase is spelled Yishar Koach.


(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.


(ye-khez-kee-el) 1) Ezekiel, part of the Nevi'im in the Tanakh; 2) Adonai's messenger to the exiles about the judgment on Jerusalem. Yechezkiel means "God Strengthens."


(shah-NAH) n. Year.

Yehareg ve'al Ya'avor

(ye-ha-reg ve'ahl ya-a-vohr) [יֵהָרֵג וְאַל יַעֲבוֹר] phr. "let him be killed rather than transgress." The principle that there are instances when we must be willing to sacrifice our own lives rather than to violate a Torah commandment, such as being forced to murder someone upon pain of death. In other words, it is better (and lawful) to undergo kiddush Hashem (martyrdom) rather than to commit certain sins, usually defined as sins that desecrate the Divine Name (chillul HaShem) such as murder, rape, incest, and being forced to renounce faith in the One true God (i.e., being forced to worship an idol).


(ye-dee-DOOT) n. Friendship. Keren Yedidut (Friendship Foundation), a Christian philanthropic agency, helps Jews from around the world to make aliyah to the land of Israel. A yedidut grant is often a sum of money (such as a scholarship) to help students study in Israel. Mah Yedidut (What Friendship!) is a Shabbat table song.


(ye-HOH-shu-ah) Joshua. Book of the Nevi'im in the Tanakh. The name Yehoshua means "the Lord saves." Yehoshua bin Nun was Moses' successor who led the Israelites into the Promised Land. Joshua was Moses' military assistant (Exod. 17:8-13), in charge of the Tabernacle (Exod. 33:11), one of the two spies optimistic about Israel's prospects of conquering Canaan (Num. 13:1-16; 14:6-9), and chosen to succeed Moses (Num. 27:18-23; Deut. 3:28; 31:23; 34:9). He led the Israelites across the Jordan (Josh. 3), captured Jericho (Josh. 6) and 'Ai (Josh. 7-8), warred against the Canaanite kings (Josh. 10-12), allotted the land to various tribes (Josh. 13:1-22:8), and made a covenant with YHVH and the people (Josh. 24).


(ye-hu-dah) n. Judah. The fourth son of Jacob/Leah and patriarch of the tribe Judah. Also the name for the southern kingdom of ancient Israel.
The name Judah (יְהוּדָה) comes from the root (יָדָה) which means to "thank." From Judah was derived the later term "Jew" (which first appears after the destruction of the First Temple, 2 Kings 25:25, and was later used in the Aramaic books of Ezra/Nehemiah). The matriarch Leah used a play on words regarding her birth of her fourth son (Gen. 29:35) when she said she would thank the LORD (אוֹדֶה אֶת־יהוה) and therefore named her son "Judah" (יְהוּדָה). The Apostle Paul alluded to this in Rom. 2:28-29 by saying that a Jew is "one who praises (or thanks) God," and therefore it may be said that all those who thank the LORD in the truth are spiritual Jews. If you are "blood-related" to God by the Messiah, you are "grafted in" to the covenants, promises, and blessings given to ethnic Israel and are therefore a member of "God's household."


(ye-hoo-dee) n./adj. Jewish; Judean; Jew. The English word comes from the Greek word Ioudaios (᾽Ιουδαῖος), someone from Judea (᾽Ιουδαία) or "Judah" (᾽Ιούδας). The Hebrew word "Jew" (יְהוּדִי) comes from the name of the patriarch Judah (יְהוּדָה), whose name also came to designate the tribe and tribal district in which Jerusalem was located; thus the inhabitants of Judah and members of the tribe of Judah come to be called "Judahites" or, in short form, "Jews," regardless of their original tribal origin. The term also used in the New Testament to designate any physical descendent of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. In modern usage, according to halakhah, one is a Jew if one has Jewish parents (at least a Jewish mother), or has undergone conversion in accordance with Jewish law.

Scripturally, the name Judah (יְהוּדָה) comes from the root (יָדָה) which means to "thank." From Judah was derived the later term "Jew" (which first appears after the destruction of the First Temple, 2 Kings 25:25, and was later used in the books of Jeremiah and Ezra/Nehemiah). The matriarch Leah used a play on words regarding her birth of her fourth son (Gen. 29:35) when she said she would thank the LORD (אוֹדֶה אֶת־יהוה) and therefore named her son "Judah" (יְהוּדָה). The Apostle Paul alluded to this in Rom. 2:28-29 by saying that a Jew is "one who praises (or thanks) God," and therefore it may be said that all those who thank the LORD in the truth are spiritual Jews. If you are "blood-related" to God by the Messiah, you are "grafted in" to the covenants, promises, and blessings given to ethnic Israel and are therefore a member of "God's household."

Yehudim Meshichim

(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.

Yemot HaMashiach

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


(ye-ray-kho) n. Jericho. First city conquered by Joshua upon entrance to the promised land.


(ye-roo-sha-LAI-yeem) n. Jerusalem. Also known as the City of David, Zion, Salem, Ariel, Jebus, the "City of God," the "holy city," comes to designate heaven itself (Heb. 12:22-23). In Psalm 122:6 we read, "pray for the peace of Jerusalem." The word sha'alu actually means "ask" (as in ask a sheilah, a question) and shalom is a Name of Jesus, since He indeed is Sar Shalom (the Prince of Peace).  The word Jerusalem means "teaching of peace" (the "Jeru" at the beginning comes from the same root as Torah, which means teaching), so the phrase could be construed as "ask about the Prince of Peace and His Teaching." At any rate, we know that Jesus is indeed the King of Jerusalem (Matt 5:35) who will soon return to reign over all the earth.


(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." Also sometimes spelled Yeshayah.


(ye-SHEE-vah) n. Yeshiva; oldest institute of Jewish learning. Rabbinical seminary.


(ye-SHOO-ah) n.  Jesus. The proper name for YHVH in the flesh; the Messiah and rightful King of the universe. Yeshua means "YHVH saves" (Matt. 1:21).

Yeshua ben-David

(ye-SHOO-ah ben-dah-VEED) n. Yeshua, Son of David. Title for the Messiah. See the Names of God.

Yeshua HaMasiach hu ha-Adon

(ye-SHOO-ah ham-mah-SHEE-akh hoo hah-ah-DOHN) phr. "Jesus Christ is LORD." The ascription that Yeshua (Jesus) is the Mashiach (Messiah) and also Adonai come in the flesh (Phil 2:11; Romans 10:9; 2 John 1:7). See the Hebrew Names of God.

Yeshua hu ha-Adon

(ye-SHOO-ah hoo hah-ah-DOHN) phr. "Jesus is LORD." Also Yeshua ha-Mashiach hu ha-adon (Jesus Christ is LORD). The ascription that Yeshua (Jesus) is Adonai come in the flesh (Romans 10:9; Phil 2:11; 2 John 1:7). See the Hebrew Names of God.


(ye-shoo-run) n. Jeshurun; Poetic name for Israel (Deut. 32:15).


(ye-shoo-AH) n. Help; deliverance; victory.


(ye-SOHD) n. Ground. Foundation; Hayasod means "the foundation."

Yetzer Hara

(YE-tser ra) n. The evil impulse; inclination to do evil or perform wicked acts. The yetzer Hara (יֵצֶר הָרָה) is the "old nature" that feeds on sinful impulses.

Yetzer Tov

(YE-tser tohv) n. Good impulse; feeling to do good. Yetser HaTov is the "new nature" that feeds on the things of the spirit.

Yetziat Mitzraim

(ye-tsee-AT meets-RIGH-eem) n. The Exodus from Egypt. The book of Exodus in the Bible is called Sefer Yetziat Mitzraim, the book of the Exodus from Egypt.


(Se-fer ye-tzee-RAH) n. "The Book of Formation," one of the earliest extant books on Jewish esotericism, the authorship of which is ascribed to the biblical patriarch Abraham (and even to Adam in the Garden!), though it is likely the work of a Jewish mystic sometime in 11th century AD. The book exists in multiple versions: 1) The Short Version, 2) The Long Version, 3) The Saadia Version, and 4) The Gra Version. The Sefer Yetzirah is devoted to speculations concerning God and the angels and first mentions the idea of the sefirot (emanation) as a source of cosmogony.


(yeeb-BOOM) n. Levirate marriage or type of marriage in which a woman marries one of her husband's brothers after her husband's death (if there were no children) in order to continue the line of the dead husband. This process of is sometimes called geulah (גְּאֻלָּה), or "redemption," and the man is called a go'el (גּאֵל), or kinsman "redeemer." The term "Levirate" comes from the Latin word levir, meaning "husband's brother." The concept is drawn from the Torah, in Deut. 25:5-6: "When brothers live together, and one of them dies childless, the dead man's wife shall not be allowed to marry an outsider. Her husband's brother must cohabit with her, making her his wife, and thus performing a brother-in-law's duty to her. The first-born son whom she bears will then perpetuate the name of the dead brother, so that his name will not be obliterated from Israel." The intent of this law was to preserve the name and memory of the brother in Israel.

There is an escape clause if the one of the parties refuses to go through with the "marriage", that is known as chalitzah (חֲלִיצָה) the "removal" of a leather shoe by the woman from the man who refuses to marry her, as a symbolic act of renunciation of his willingness to perform this law of yibbum (יִבּוּם). See Deut. 25:7-10.  An entire tractate in the Talmud, called Yevamot, is devoted to the subject of levirate marriages.

An instance involving both chalitzah (the rite of refusal to marry) and yibbum is recounted in the Book of Ruth, when after the death of her husband, Ruth is rejected by an anonymous relative and subsequently married her husband's remaining kinsman, Boaz.


(yee-KHOOS) n. Distinguished birth; Pedigree; as in, "Rav Sha'ul had outstanding "yichus."


(yee-deesh) n. Yiddish (language); the adjectival form is Yidit.


(yeeg-DAHL) n. Yigdal. Poem recited during the Shacharit service. Summarizes the thirteen principles of the Jewish faith of Moses Maimonides "Ani Ma'amin."

Yirat Adonai

(yeer-AT Adonai) n. From the Hebrew root, Yod-Resh-Alef, which means "to fear" or "to revere." The fear of the LORD; awe and respect shown to God. Reverence shown to the LORD God of Israel.

Yirat HaShem

(yeer-AT hash-SHEM) n. Fear of God; piety; also called Yirat Shamayim.

Yirat Shamayim

(yeer-AT shah-MIE-eem) n. Fear of heaven; piety; the fear of the LORD. Also called Yirat HaShem or Yirat Adonai.


(yeer-me-YA-hoo) n. 1) The book of Jeremiah, part of the Nevi'im in the Tanakh.  2) Adonai's messenger to Judah during her final years before falling to the Babylonians. Yirmeyahu means "Adonai will Lift Up."


(hash-SHEM yeet-bah-RAKH)  n. הַשֵׁם יִתְבָּרַךְ. This is another circumlocution for the Divine Name YHVH (יהוה) meaning, "The Name (of the LORD), may He be blessed," or sometimes "the blessed Name [of the LORD]. Note that yisborach is Ashkenaz pronunciation. See the Names of God for more information.


(YEESH-ta-bakh) n. From Shacharit services; poem of praise; part of Barukh She'amar.


(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...


(yees-sa-khar) n. Issachar. One of the twelve tribes of Israel (Gen. 30:18). (The second Sin is silent.)

Yissurei Ahavah

(yees-soor-aye a-ha-vah) n. (יִסּוּרֵי אַהֲבָה) The "troubles of love," esp. regarding God's affliction as a means of causing us to undergo teshuvah (repentance) and to return to Him. A student once asked his rebbe: "Do we get punished for our sins in this world?" His succinct response was, "Only if we are made fortunate..." The worse possible fate is for God to be indifferent to someone! Can anything be more tragic than to be forgotten or to go unnoticed by God? It is far better that He afflict you with the "troubles of love!"


(yees-soo-REEM)  n. pl. Yisurim. Suffering; tribulation; testing. Tsores.


(yeets-KHAK) n. Isaac. The son of Abraham by Sarah his wife (Gen. 17:9) and the father of Jacob and Esau. One of the three patriarchs of national Israel. Yitschak means "he laughs."


(yeez-KOHR) n. A prayer in a memorial service that asks God to remember the souls of parents and other deceased relatives and friends. It is customarily recited on Yom Kippur and at the end of Sukkot, Passover and Shavuot (i.e., during family gatherings at synagogue). From the Hebrew for "May [God] remember." The Yizkor service often includes giving a donation to charity in memory of the deceased.


(yoh-chah-nahn) n. John. Yochanan. "God gives grace." Name of a shaliach (emissary) of Yeshua the Messiah, blessed be He.


(yohd) n. Yod. 10th letter of the Hebrew alphabet having a sound of "y" as in yes. Sometimes functions as a "consonantal vowel." Originally represented by a pictograph meaning "arm and hand" or "deed."Gematria = 10.


(ah-do-NIGH) n. God. Substitute for YHVH used especially in the Siddur.


(yoh-EL) n. Joel. 1) 2nd book of the Minor Prophets in the Nevi'im. 2) Adonai's messenger to Judah during her declining years regarding the great Day of the Lord and the judgment of the nations. Yo'el means "Adonai is God."

Yom Ha'atzmaut

(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.

Yom Habikkurim

(yohm ha-beek-oo-REEM) n. "The Day of the Firstfruits (בִּכּוּרִים)" which begins on the second evening of Passover (called Yom Habikkurim, or the "Day of Firstfruits" which marks the first of the spring havest, observed by waving a barley sheaf before the altar of the LORD, and that symbolized the resurrection of the Messiah Yeshua from the dead on the third day after Passover. Note that the Day of Firstfruits is not to be confused with Chag Habikkurim, or the "Festival of Firstfruits," which is also called "Chag Shavuot" (the Feast of Weeks or "Pentecost"). Shavuot is a festival that marks the end of counting of the omer sheaves (sefirat ha'omer) that began on Yom Habikkurim. The 49 period of time that bridges the first barley harvest and the first wheat harvest required sample offerings to be brought the LORD and waved before the altar at the Temple. Note that Chag Habikkurim (or Shavuot) is associated with the giving of the Torah as well. The sages determined the day of Shavuot occured on the 6th day of Sivan, 50 days after the Passover from Egypt, and this marked the time when the Israelites received the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai. Thus, Shavuot became the festival of mattan Torah, the reception of Torah. For more on this see the Shavuot pages.

Yom HaShoah

(yohm ha-SHOH-ah) n. Yom HaShoah (יוֹם הַשּׁוֹאָה), also known as Holocaust Remembrance Day, occurs on the 27th of Nissan. A day set aside by the government of Israel as the day to commemorate the Holocaust and its victims. Click here for more information.

Yom Hazikaron

(yohm ha-zee-ka-ROHN) n. Remembering Israel's fallen heroes: Israeli Memorial Day, celebrated immediately before Yom Ha'atzmaut.  Click here for information.  Note that Rosh Hashanah is also sometimes called "Yom ha-Zikaron," the "Day of Remembrance" (Lev. 23:24) in reference to the commandment to remember to blow the shofar (teruah) and honor God as King of the Universe. The blast of the shofar is meant to jolt us from our sleep. We are to remember who we really are -- and to remember that God is our King.

Yom Kippur

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

Yom Rishon

(yohm ree-SHOHN) n. Sunday; the first day of the week. See Jewish calendar.

Yom Teruah

(yohm te-ROO-ah) n. "Feast of the Trumpet." Though the term "Rosh Hashanah" (lit., "the head of the year") does not occur in the written Torah, the first day of the 7th month (i.e., Tishri 1) is specifically to be set apart by special shofar blowing (see Lev. 23:24-25, Num. 29:1-2). Furthermore, the Torah calls the end of the harvest year (in the fall) tzeit ha'shanah (צֵאת הַשָּׁנָה), or the "end of the year" (see Exod. 23:16), which likewise suggests the start of a coming new year. Notice, then, the symmetry of the calendar: the fall festivals "mirror" the spring festivals and spiritually correspond to one another. Just as there is a "new year" in the spring, during the new moon of Nisan, so there is a "new year" in the fall, during the new moon of Tishri, the seventh month... In other words, on the calendar Rosh Chodashim corresponds with Yom Teruah (יוֹם תְּרוּעָה). That is why we make teruot (תְּרוּעוֹת), or "shouts of thanks" to God in anticipation of the fulfillment of the final redemption during the End of Days.

Yom Tov Sheni

(yohm tohv she-nee) n. For Jews living outside Israel, major Jewish holidays (except for Yom Kippur) are often observed for an additional day called yom tov sheni shel galuyot. The two days of Yom Tov are observed in the Diaspora because the Sanhedrin's messengers could not reach distant communities in time to inform the people of the Rosh Chodesh sighting. Therefore there was some question as to which day was correct for the observance of various Jewish holidays. A second day was therefore added to each holiday so that the correct date would not be missed...

Yom Tov means "holiday," and sheni means "second," so yom tov sheni (יוֹם טוֹב שֵׁנִי) means an extra day added for the regularly scheduled holiday... The reason for this extra day apparently goes back to uncertainty regarding the sighting of the new moon, etc., though the direct observation of the moon was no longer necessary after the development of the fixed Jewish calendar. Nonetheless, the sages decided to retain this practice as a custom (minhag) for Jews living outside of the land of Israel. In other words, Jews in the Diaspora (galut) will celebrate most of the holidays (except for Yom Kippur) for an extra day (e.g., Passover runs eight days rather than seven), despite the fact that this is based on an antiquated need rather than logic and the truth of Torah.

Yom Yerushalayim

(yohm ye-roo-sha-LAI-yeem) n. Jerusalem Day. The most recent addition to the Jewish calendar, marking the day when Israeli soldiers victoriously recaptured the Old City of Jerusalem from Jordanian control during the Arab-Israeli Six Day War (on June 7th, 1967, or Iyyar 28, 5727).  Click here for more information.


(yoh-nah) n. 1) Jonah, book of the Nevi'im in the Tanakh. 2) A messenger to the northern Kingdom, Jonah tells the story of God's love for the goyim -- and Israel's mission to be a light unto the nations. Yonah means "dove."


(yo-SAYF) Joseph. "Adonai will add." 1) The eldest son of Jacob by Rachel and the father of Manasseh and Ephraim (Gen. 30:24). A portrait of Messiah. Also the name of the earthly father of Yeshua the Mashiach. The name appears over 200 times in the Tanakh, referring primarily to the firstborn son of Jacob and Rachel. It is also sometimes used as a name for the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh (Deut 33:13; Josh 14:4; 17:lf.), for the Northern Kingdom (Amos 5:6, 15, Zech 10:6), and even for the entire nation of Israel (Psalm 80:1 [H 2], 81:5 [H 6]).  The name is derived from yasaf meaning "to add, increase, do again."


(yo-shee-YAH-[hoo]) n. Yoshiyah. Yoshiyahu. Josiah. Adonai heals. YHVH is my support. "Supported of the LORD." The last good King of Judah (House of David). The chief sources of his reign are 2 Kings 22-23, and 2 Chronicles 34-35.


(yo-VEL) n. Jubilee. 50th year as sabbatical for the land and the liberation from all obligations.

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