Sunday, April 11, 2010

Ches, Tes, Yud, Kof

Ches is for...

Chesed: Chesed is loving-kindness, which is meant to be the outgrowth and signal of true inner piety.

Chochma: The intellectual power of the soul, chochma is generally translated as "wisdom", though the letters that make up the word also spelle the two words "koach ma", meaning "the power/potential of what is".

Chasidus: A movement which began as a mystical revival, it stresses the importance of interpersonal relations (which are meant to be the outgrowth of intense Torah learning) over intellectual pursuits in Jewish thought. Because of the stress put on the heightened joy and Divinity found in treating others as you would treat yourself, the movement's name is rooted in the word "chesed".

Tes is for...

Teva: Teva is Hebrew for "nature", and is often used when looking at the miracles that occur in our lives everyday, especially when not perceived by the human eye.

Tuma: Ritual impurity, as contracted through various interactions with prohibited and limited materials and situations, is called "tuma".

Tevilah: Whenever a person becomes tamei (encounters tuma), one of the steps in become pure again is to immerse themselves in a mikvah (ritual bath). Tevilah is also used for a person converting to Judaism, as well as by many men before Shabbos and holidays.

Tallis: A tallis is a large, four-cornered garment used by married men during morning prayers. By wearing such a garment that requires tzitzis (fringes), we fulfill the mitzvah in Bamidbar (Numbers) 15:38. During all times, not only prayer, smaller versions, called a tallis katan, is worn either underneath or on top of the shirt.

Yud is for...

Yehudi: The Hebrew word for "Jew", Yehudi means "from the tribe of Judah". Because of the root of the word Yehudah (Judah), the word also means, "one who acknowledges (G-d's existence)".

Yiddish: A mixture of Hebrew, German, and other Eastern European languages, Yiddish was the common language of European Jews, and is today still the common language amongst those in the ultra-Orthodox Ashkenazi (European) community in the United States, Israel, and elsewhere.

Yeshiva: Literally meaning "sitting", the yeshiva is the Jewish religious school.

Yom Kippur: Filled with themes of repentance and atonement, Yom Kippur is one of the most solemn days in the Jewish calendar.

Kof is for...

Kosher: Meaning "fit", kosher food is food that is permitted under the heavy restrictions of the Torah, as explained by the Oral Torah, as well as occasional stringencies based on customs of particular religious groups and ethnic divisions.

Kollel: As there is a yeshiva for younger students, married men who continue to learn in religious school attend a kollel, where they are generally given a stipend for learning subsidized by wealthy members of the community.

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