Glossary of Kabbalah and Chassidut – Letter “S”

and other Hebrew terms found on this web-site

 

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

 S

Safra d’Tzniuta (“The Book of Modesty”):
Safra d’Tzniuta is a section of the Zohar.
 
Sages (in Hebrew, “Chazal“):
The “Sages” are the Rabbis of the Talmudic period. Their words–recorded in the Talmud, the Midrash and the Zohar–constitute the “Oral Torah.
Samech:
Samech is the 15th 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).
 
Sason (“joy”):
See Chedvah.
 
Sabbath:
See Shabbat.
Seah:
seah is a unit of measure, equivalent to approximately 6 liters.
 
Seder (“Order”):
Seder is the festive meal eaten on the first night of Pesach. The liturgical text for this meal is called the Haggadah.
 
Sefer HaChinuch (“The Book of Education”).
Sefer Hachinuch is a popular medieval work that enumerates the 613 commandments of the Torah (based upon Maimonides’ system of counting) and explains them both from a legal and a moral perspective.
 
Sefer Yetzirah (“The Book of Formation”).
Sefer Yetzirah, the very first classic text of Kabbalah, is attributed to Abraham. It was afterwards edited by Rabbi Akiva.
This basic text,  is of Kabbalah outlines the thirty-two paths of wisdom that function in the creative process. The thirty-two paths are comprised of:
 
1) The ten sefirot–the ten emanations of Divine light, which energize the creative process and define its parameters.
 
2) The twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet–the building blocks of creation and the channels through which Divine consciousness flows into creation.
Sefirah (pl. “Sefirot“):
sefirah is a channel of Divine energy or life-force. It is via the sefirot that God interacts with creation; they may thus be considered His “attributes.”
There are altogether eleven sefirot spoken of in Kabbalistic literature. Inasmuch as two of them (keter and da’at) are two dimensions of a single force, the tradition generally speaks of only ten sefirot. Each sefirah also possesses an inner experience, as discussed in Chassidut. The order of the sefirot is as follows:
Name Inner Experience
keter
“crown”
faith
pleasure
will
chochmah
“wisdom,” “insight”
selflessness
binah
“understanding”
joy
da’at
“knowledge”
union
chesed
“loving-kindness
love
gevurah
“strength,” “mught”
fear
tiferet
“beauty”
mercy
netzach
“victory,” “eternity”
confidence
hod
“splendor,” “thanksgiving”
sincereity
earnestness
yesod
“foundation”
truth
malchut
“kingdom”
lowliness
 
Originally emanated as simple point-like forces, the sefirot at a certain stage develop into full spectrums of ten sub-sefirot. Subsequent to this, they metamorphose into partzufim.
 
Sefirot are composed of “lights” and “vessels.” The light of any sefirah is the Divine flow within it; the vessel is the identity that flow takes in order to relate to or create some aspect of the world in a specific way. Inasmuch as all reality is created by means of the sefirot, they constitute the conceptual paradigm for understanding all reality.
For further explanation see: “The Ten Sefirot” and “The Powers of the Soul.”
Sefirat HaOmer (“counting the Omer“):
The omer is a dry measure mentioned in the Torah, and refers specifically to the measure of barley offered in the Temple on the second day of Pesach. Beginning with this day, the Jew is commanded to count the next forty-nine days, after which, on the fiftieth day, falls the holiday of Shavuot.
Sefirot: plural of sefirah.
Self-nullification or Selflessness (Bitul):
“Self-nullification” is the spiritual state associated with the inner experience of chochmah.
For further explanation see: The Powers of the Soul–Bitul
 
Semichah (“support”):
Semichah is the act of pressing down on the head of an animal prior to offering it as a sacrifice; also, rabbinic ordination.
Serafim (“fiery angels”):
Serafim are the six-winged angels seen by Isaiah in his first prophetic vision of the heavenly throne; the angels occupying the world of Beriah.
Sha’ashuim Atzmi’im (“The Delights of Self”):
This is the first level of the revelation of God’s inner light. Also called: Sha’ashuei Hamelech b’Atzmuto (“The Delights of the King in Himself”).
For further explanation see: “Ten Stages of God’s Infininte Light–Sha’ashuim Atzmi’im.
 
Shabbat (“Sabbath”):
Shabbat is the day of rest beginning sunset on Friday and ending at nightfall on Saturday.
 
Shacharit (“morning”):
Shacarit is the morning prayer service.
Shakai:
A Holy Name of God.
For further explanation see: Eleven Holy Names of God
 
Shavuot (“weeks”):
Shavuot is the yom tov celebrating the wheat harvest and commemorating the giving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai.
Shavuot is the yom tov celebrating the wheat harvest and commemorating the giving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai.
 
Shechinah (“indwelling”):
The Shecinah is the immanent Divine Presence that inheres within the universe, corresponding to the sefirah ofmalchut, the “feminine” aspect of Divinity.
Shekel (“weight”):
shekel is a weight measure of silver, equivalent to approximately 12.3 gram.
Shema Yisrael (“Hear O’ Israel”):
The Shema Yisrael prayer (named after its opening words Shema Yisrael) is a compilation of three Biblical passages (Deuteronomy 6:4-9, 11:13-21, Numbers 15:37-41) beginning with this word, which we are commanded to recite twice daily. The first verse is the fundamental profession of monotheism, “Hear O’ Israel, God is our God, God is one.” TheShema has been incorporated into the morning and evening services as well as the prayer said upon retiring at night. When reciting the first sentence, we are intended to consider ourselves ready to give up our lives rather than deny the oneness of God.
Shemini Atzeret (“The Eighth-day Gathering”):
Shemini Atzeret is the festival occurring on the day immediately following the seven day Sukkot festival. See: Simchat Torah.
 
Shemoneh Esrei (“Eighteen”):
See Amidah.
Shevat:
Shevat is the eleventh of the twelve months of the Jewish calendar.
For further explanation see “Living With the Times”–The Month of Shevat. Also see the Hebrew Months.
 
Shidduch (“match”):
Shidduch ia a match made between a man and woman.
Shiflut (“lowliness”):
Shiflut is the spiritual state associated with the sefirah of malchut.
For further explanation see: The Powers of the Soul–Shiflut.
Shin:
Shin is the 21st 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).
Shlita:
Shlita is an abbreviation of the Hebrew expression: “May he live a long and good life, Amen,” used when mentioning the name of a living rabbi or sage.
Shmitah (“release”):
The Shmitah is the sabbatical year, during which Jews in the Holy Land are bidden to cease working their fields.
 
Shneur Zalman of Liadi, Rabbi:
Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, known as the Alter Rebbe (“the old Rabbi”) (Elul 18 5505 [1745] – Tevet 24 5573 [1813]. Also known as The Rav and as Ba’al HaTanya. He was the founder of the Chabad-Lubavitch philosophy and trend within the Chassidic movement.
 
Shofar (“ram’s horn”):
The shofar was blown (by God) at the giving of the Torah, is blown (by man) every Rosh HaShanah in fulfillment of God’s commandment, expressing contrition and penitence, and will be again blown (by God) at the beginning of the Redemption to herald the arrival of Mashiach.
Shulchan Aruch (“Set Table”):
The Shulchan Aruch is the Code of Jewish Law, compiled and redacted by the Sefardic legalist, Rabbi Yosef Karo (1488-1575).
Simchah (“Joy” or “happiness”).
Simchah is the spiritual state associated with the sefirah of binah.
For further explanation see: The Powers of the Soul–Simchah.
 
Simchat Torah (“The rejoicing of the Torah”).
Simchat Torah is the festival celebrating the culmination and resumption of the yearly cycle of communal Torahreading; observed in the Diaspora on the day after Shemini Atzeret, while in the land of Israel, it is observed concurrent with Shemini Atzeret.
 
Sincerity (temimut):
“Sincereity” is the spiritual state associated with the sefirah of hod.
For further explanation see: The Powers of the Soul–Temimut.
Sivan:
Sivan is the third of the twelve months of the Jewish calendar.
For further explanation see “Living With the Times”–The Month of Sivan. Also see the Hebrew Months.
 
Soul:
The animating life or consciousness within man (or any other creature, see Sefer HaTanya, ch. 1). The Jew possesses an additional “Divine soul” which is focused on God’s concerns in creation.
Based on an ancient Midrashic source (Bereishit Rabbah 14:9) Kabbalah and Hassidism speak of five levels or gradations of the soul:
1) Nefesh (“creature” — the lower soul) relates to behavior and action.
2) Ruach (“spirit”) relates to the emotions.
3) Neshamah (“inner soul”) relates to the mind and intelligence.
4) Chayah (“living one”) relates to the bridge between the first flash of conscious insight and its super-conscious origin. Experiencing awareness of God as continually crating the world.
5) Yecidah (“single one”) relates to the ultimate unity of the soul in God, as manifest by pure faith, absolute devotion and the continuous readiness to sacrifice one’s life for God.
Of all the teachings received from the Ba’al Shem Tov, perhaps none are as important or essential as the notion that:
1) the Jewish soul “is an actual portion of God above” (chelek Elokah me’mal).
2) a spark of the Mashiach is contained within each individual soul.
Souls:
The Ba’al Shem Tov taught that everything exists in three dimensions: Worlds, Souls, and Divinity. “Worlds” is the lowest, the physical dimension; “Souls” is the middle, the spiritual dimension; “Divinity” is the highest, Godly dimension.
Sovev Kol Almin (“Encompassing all Worlds”):
Sovev Kol Almin is the transcendent Divine energy that permeates the universe but eludes our conscious grasp.
 
Splendor (Hod):
“Splendor” is the eighth of the ten sefirot, and fifth of the emotive attributes in Creation.
For further explanation see: The Divine Emanations–Gevurah.
Sukkah (“Hut”):
Sukkah is a temporary dwelling occupied during the festival of Sukkot in symbolic demonstration of our faith in God’s providence.
Sukkot (“Huts”):
Sukkot is the 7-day festival celebrating the gathering of the harvest and commemorating the Divine protection afforded the children of Israel as they trekked through the desert after the Exodus from Egypt.

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