Some important Jewish terms culled from Chaim Potok's The Chosen by Tom Sienkewicz for his Freshman Seminar class.

Use a dictionary or encyclopoedia to find out more about them



Torah, first five books of the Bible


Mishnah, written text of rabbinic oral law

Kabbalah, book of Jewish mysticism

Pirkei Avot, a collection of Rabbinic maxims

smicha, rabbinate diploma

Mitnagdim, opponents of Hasidism, pg. 11

Hasidic Jews, followers of the Besht, of Ba'al Shem Tov, pp. 110-111


shiur, Talmud session

shtibblach, Hasidic houses of worship, pg. 116

Shabbat, the Sabbath

Kaddish, prayer of the dead

tzitsit, pg. 16 fringe on shirt



apikorsim, pg. 30 fallen Jews

tefellin, pg. 56 phylacteries

tzaddik, pg. 111 spiritual leader

Pilpul, pg. 107 empty discussions about Talmud

gematriya, theological and mathematical puzzles based upon numerical value of letters in Hebrew alphabet, pg. 136