Glossary of Kabbalah and Chassidut: Letter “B”

And Other Hebrew Words from Our Website

Introduction
A B C D E F G H I J K L M
N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

 B

Ba’al Shem (“Master of the Name”):

Ba’al Shem is a term used to refer to a spiritual healer, especially in Eastern Europe before and during the period of the Ba’al Shem Tov; implies that he healed through the power of the Divine Name of God.

Ba’al Shem Tov (“Master of the Good Name [of God]”):
Ba’al Shem Tov was the title given to Rabbi Yisrael ben Eliezer (1698-1760), the founder of Chassidic movement.
 
God‘s “good Name” refers in particular to the Name Akvah whose numerical value is equal to 17, tov (“good”). This Name is associated in Kabbalah with the Divine power to “unite heaven and earth” (for it first appears in the opening verse of Creation as the initial letters of et hashamayim v’et ha’aretz– “the heavens and the earth”), the power to connect the spiritual realm to its physical counterpart and thereby heal all physical ailments.
 
In Divine service, this corresponds to the fundamental ideal of Chassidism, the ability to simultaneously “exist” on two planes of reality–the spiritual and the physical. 
 
Ba’al Teshuvah (“Returnee”):
One who returns to the ways of Judaism and adherence to Jewish law after a period of estrangement. Often used in contrast to a tzadik, who has not undergone such a period. The ba’al teshuvah strives continually to ascend, return and become subsumed within God’s essence; the tzadikstrives primarily to serve God by doing good deeds and thus drawing His light into the world. Ideally these two paths are meant to be interincluded, i.e. that every Jew should embody both the service of the ba’al teshuvah and that of the tzadik, as well. See also teshuvah.
 
Baraita (“external [material]”; pl. baraitot):
Baraita is a Tannaitic tradition or teaching not included in the Mishnah; just as there are 60 tractates of Mishnah, there are according to tradition 80 tractates of Baraita. This is alluded to in the verse from Song of Songs (6:8): “60 are the queens and 80 the concubines.” SeeTalmud.
 
Bar-Mitzvah. “one [who is obligated to perform the] commandment”; fem. bat-mitzvah):
The status of coming under full obligation to perform all mitzvot. A Jewish man attains this status at the age of thirteen, a woman at the age of twelve.
 
Bashert (“predestined” [Yiddish]):
1. as an adjective, refers to anything clearly occurring as a result of Divine providence. 
 
2. as a noun, one’s predestined soul mate.
 
Bat-Mitzvah:
Feminine of Bar-Mitzvah.
 
Beauty (tiferet):
“Beauty” is the sixth of the ten sefirot, and the third of the emotive attributes within Creation.

For further explanation see: The Divine Emanations  Tiferet.

Behemot (Behemoth):
Behemot is the name of an archetypal beast destined to wage battle against the Leviathan, only to be consumed by the righteous at the end of days; an animal of “dry land” (a symbol for the revealed realm), it symbolizes the category of righteous souls who are revealed as such in this world (and whose essential “occupation” in Torah is in its revealed aspect–the halachah–revealed law).
Beinoni (“Intermediate one”; pl. beinonim):
Beinoni is someone who still possesses an evil urge but controls it and does not sin. There are many levels of beinonim, from the one who is in a continuous conscious state of battle in order to overcome his evil inclination, to the one so engrossed in his Divine service of Torah and mitzvotthat he is virtually unaware of the evil inclination dormant in him. Also see tzadikrasha.
 
Beit:
Beit is the 2nd letter of the Hebrew alphabet.
For further explanation see Alef-Beit Significances.
Also see: The Mystical Significance of the Hebrew Letters (including an image and audio pronunciation of each letter).
 
Beriah (Olam Ha’Beriah–“The World of Creation”):
Beriah is the second of the four worlds of Creation.
For further explanation see: The World of Beriah.
 
Berudim (patterned,” “speckled”):
The third, final stage in the development of the world of Atzilut. Synonymous with the world of Tikun.
For further explanation see: Olam Ha’Brudim.
 
Biah (“coming”):
An idiom for marital relations.
 
Bible: see Tanach.
 
Binah (“Understanding”):
Binah is the third of the ten sefirot, and the second conscious power of intellect in Creation.
For further explanation see: The Divine Emanations–Binah
 
Birkat Kohanim [also spelled Cohanim] (“The Priestly Blessing”):
Birkat Kohanim consists of the three verses of blessings (for which reason it is called the berachah meshuleshet–“triple blessing”), found in Numbers 6:24-26, which were recited by the kohanim during the Temple service (where God’s ineffable Name was enunciated), and later were incorporated into the daily prayers.
 
In relation to the account of Creation, and the Ten Commandments given at Sinai, which are seen to correspond to the two general principles ofhishtalshelut (the “evolutionary” creative process) and hitlabshut (the actual “enclothement” and manifestation of Divine lifeforce within mundane reality), Birkat Kohanim represents the third principle of hashra’ah (the very essence of Divinity “inspiring” and blessing all of reality).
 
The text of Birkat Kohanim is often regarded as the “pearl” of the Written Torah, due to the beauty of the dual-progression inherent in its structure: its three verses are composed of 3, 5 and 7 words respectively, containing 15, 20 and 25 letters respectively. (The progression of words begins with 3, the number of blessings; the progression of letters begins with 15, the number of words.).
 
Birur (“separation,” “choosing,” or “refinement”):
birur is a type of tikun in which one must work to separate good from evil in any given entity, and then reject the evil and accept the good. This may be done actively or in one’s consciousness. Birur usally refers to the spiritual process of clarifying and redeeming the “fallen sparks” of Divine light which are “dormant” throughout nature.
 
As a physical act, relevant to the laws of Shabbat, there are two forms of birur, extracting the food from the waste, or removing the waste from the food. Also see yichud.
 
Bitachon (“confidence”):
1. the feeling of confidence in one’s God-given power to take initiative and succeed in one’s mission in life. See emunah.
 
2. (“trust”): the feeling that God will orchestrate events in accord with the greatest revealed good. This passive bitachon is associated with thesefirah of hod.
 
3. Bitachon is the spiritual state associated with the sefirah of netzach.
For further explanation see: The Powers of the Soul–Bitachon.
 
Bitul (“self-nullification,” “selflessness,” or annihilation):
1. Any number of states of selflessness or self-abnegation.<

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