AharonAaron the High Priest.

Amalek — The first nation to attack the Jewish people after the exodus from Egypt (Exodus, ch. 17). Subsequently, G‑d commanded the Jews to wipe out this mention entirely. The emnity between Israel and Amalek has continued for all time, and it is not until the Era of the Redemption when that nation will be entirely obliterated.

Avraham — Our patriarch Abraham.

Bamidbar — The Book of Numbers.

Beis HaBechirah — “[G‑d’s] Chosen House,” a name used to describe the Temple.

Beis HaMikdash — The Temple in Jerusalem.

Bereishis — The Book of Genesis.

bittul — Self-nullification, a commitment to G‑d and divine service that transcends self-concern.

cheftza — Lit. “entity.” A term used to imply that the halachic obliga­tions associated with an entity affect or involve the inner nature of the entity itself.

chiyuv gavra — An obligation incumbent on a person.

Courtyard — The Temple Courtyard was 135 cubits wide, and 187 cubits long. In it were situated the outer altar, the slaughtering area, and the Temple building. More particu­larly, it subdivided into several portions including the Courtyard of the Israelites and the Courtyard of the Priests.

Courtyard of the Israelites — The portion of the Temple Courtyard, 11 cubits long and 135 cubits wide where the Israelites were al­lowed to enter to observe the Temple pro­ceedings. Beyond this area, they were allowed to proceed only when required to perform a ritual function as part of the offering of certain sacrifices.

Devarim — The Book of Deuteronomy.

Divrei HaYomim — The Book of Chronicles.

Entrance Hall — Ulam in Hebrew; a porch-like structure on the east­ern side of the Temple building. It served as a tran­sition between the Temple building and its courtyard. Sig­nificantly, there was no parallel to the Entrance Hall in the Sanctuary that accompanied the Jews in the desert.

Eretz Yisrael — The Land of Israel.

Foundation Stone — In Hebrew, even hashtiah, a stone located in the Holy of Holies, which served as the foundation for the creation of the entire world.

Givon — One of the places which served as a center for the sacrificial worship for the Jewish people between the destruction of the sanctuary of Shiloh and the construction of the Beis HaMikdash.

Halachah — A term used in two contexts throughout the text: a) Jewish law in its totality; b) a specific law in the Mishneh Torah; each chapter is subdivided into several halachos.

Hilchos Beis HaBechirah — The Laws of [G‑d’s] Chosen House,” the portion of the Mishneh Torah which concerns itself with the struc­ture of the Beis HaMikdash.

Hilchos Melachim — “The Laws of Kings,” the Rambam’s treat­ment of the subject of monarchy according to Torah law. This text also in­cludes an explanation of the ultimate con­cept of monarchy as will be expressed by Mashiach in the Era of the Redemption.

Kesef Mishneh — The gloss to the Mishneh Torah authored by R. Yosef Karo who compiled the Shulchan Aruch.

Mashiach — The Messiah.

Melachim — The Book of Kings.

Menorah — The seven-branched candelabrum in the Sanctuary.

Middos — The tractate of the Talmud that concerns itself with the structure of the Beis HaMikdash.

mikveh — A ritual bath in which a person immerses himself as part of the transition from purity to impurity, or from a lower state of holiness to a higher state.

Mishnah — The first compilation of the Oral Law authored by Rabbi Yehudah HaNasi (approx. 150 C.E.). It serves as the basis for the Talmud.

Mishneh Torah — The Rambam’s magnum opus which serves as a com­pendium of the entire Oral Law.

Mitzvah, pl. mitzvos — A Divine commandment. The Torah contains 613 mitzvos whose observance is incumbent on the Jewish people.

Nov — One of the places which served as a center for the sacri­ficial worship for the Jewish people between the destruction of the sanctuary of Shiloh and the construction of the Beis HaMikdash.

Mount Moriah — The Temple Mount.


RambamMaimonides, Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon (1135-1204). One of the foremost sages of the Medieval period whose classic work, the Mishneh Torah, serves as a compen­dium of the entire Oral Law. His Commentary on the Mishnah is an earlier text with a greater breadth of explana­tion in certain areas.

iRambanNachmanides, Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman (1194-1270). A sage whose commentaries on the Torah and the Talmud are Torah classics, author of a commentary on the Rambam’s Sefer HaMitzvos, “Book of Commandments.”

Rashi — Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki (1040-1105). The sage whose com­mentaries on the Torah and the Talmud are regarded as the classic guides to these texts.

Rogatchover Gaon — Rabbis Yosef Rosen, one of the foremost Tal­mudic commentators of the present century.

Sanctuary — A term used in two different contexts: a) the Tabernacle in which the Divine Presence dwelled during the Jews’ journeys through the desert. b) The portion of the Temple building before the Holy of Holies which contained the inner altar, the table for the showbread, and the menorah.

Sefer Avodah — Literally, the “Book of Divine Service,” the eighth of the fourteen books of the Mishneh Torah which focuses on the service in the Beis HaMikdash.

Sefer HaMitzvos — The text authored by the Rambam for the purpose of defining the 613 mitzvos.

shamir — A wormlike creature that was miraculously able to chew through stone and which was used in the construction of the First Beis HaMikdash.

Shiloh — The location of a sanctuary which housed the Holy Ark, and which served as the center of sacrificial worship for the Jewish people. The sanctuary at Shiloh stood for 369 years.

Shlomo — King Solomon, who constructed the First Beis HaMikdash.

Shmos — The Book of Exodus.

Shmuel — The prophet Samuel.

Showbread — The bread offered on the sacred table in the Sanctuary each week. See Leviticus 24:5-9.

Tehillim — The Book of Psalms.

Teshuvah — Turning to G‑d after separation as in repentance after sin.

Tamid — The tractate of the Mishnah which con­cerns itself with the daily service in the Temple and there­fore, con­cerns several par­ticulars concerning the Temple’s structure.

Ulam — The entrance hall of the Temple Building; see that entry.

Urim VeTumim — According to some the stones embedded in the High Priest’s breastplate. They served as oracles in the time of the First Temple.

Women’s Courtyard — An area 135 cubits by 135 cubits posi­tioned before the Temple Courtyard. It was given its name, because it in­cluded a balcony on which women stood when they attended the celebrations of Simchas Beis HaShoevah and other events.

Yaakov — Our patriarch Jacob.

Yechezkel — The prophet Ezekeiel.

Yitzchak — Our patriarch Isaac.

Yirmeyahu — The prophet Jeremiah.

Yoma — The tractate of the Talmud which concerns itself with the sacrificial worship of Yom Kippur. Accordingly, it serves as a source for much of our information concerning the structure of the Temple.

Zohar — The fundamental text of the Kabbalah, Judaism’s mys­tic tra­dition.