Full Glossary for The Chosen
abba (ah bah) Hebrew word for father; a term of endearment.
Agitated emotionally and physically disturbed.
ailanthus tree a tree with bitter-scented flowers, usually found in the tropics.
allusions indirect references.
Amulets objects or charms superstitiously worn to ward off evil.
apikorsim (ah pik or sim) a word of disfavor used by the ultra-Orthodox to refer to the Modern Orthodox.
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assimilationist a person who believes in the inclusion of different racial and ethnic groups into mainstream culture.
avenues of prayer This philosophy of Hasidism was expounded by its leader and founder, Israel Ba'al Shem Tov (Master of the Good Name). In the novel, Hasidic philosophy is represented by Danny Saunders and his father, Rabbi (Reb) Saunders.
Avodah Zarah a book in the Talmud dealing with idolatry and superstitions.
Baba Bathra a book in the Talmud.
Battle of the Bulge a month-long battle (December 1944 to January 1945) in the Ardennes region of northeast France during which the Allies succeeded in holding off German troops and hastened the end of the war in Europe.
Beadle a minor church official in charge of ushering and keeping order during religious services.
Benedict de Spinoza (1632-77) Dutch Jewish philosopher.
Bialik (Bee al lick) Hayyim Nahman Bialik (1873-1934), a Jewish poet who had a decisive influence on the renaissance of the Hebrew language in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Blatt a page of Talmud.
Breslau a city in Germany.
British Foreign Minister Bevin Ernest Bevin (1881-1951), who served as England's foreign secretary from 1945 to 1951.
Brownstones residential buildings made of reddish-brown sandstone, common in urban areas.
Caen and Carentan cities in northwestern France.
caftan (calf tan) a long coat worn by the Hasidim.
Cassell's a brand of comprehensive language dictionaries, available in French, Spanish, German, and other languages. Danny uses the German one to assist him in reading Freud.
Catechism a written record of religious beliefs, usually in a question-and-answer format.
cerebral hemorrhage severe bleeding of the brain.
Chaim Weizmann (1874-1952) a Zionist leader and first president of the state of Israel.
Clop a colloquialism for a physical blow.
Cockeyed askew; slightly crazy.
conjunction in logic, a statement that is true if and only if each of its parts is true.
Darwin Charles Darwin (1809-82), an English naturalist who theorized that humankind evolved from "lower" species.
deductive a system of reasoning that works on the premise of "if A, then B" to find the relationships between premises.
Din overwhelming noise.
disjunction in logic, two statements joined with the word or.
draw nigh approach; come near.
Dynasty a succession of powerful rulers, often from the same family.
Earlocks hair grown long at the temples. Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men obey the Torah precept that directs, "You shall not clip your hair at the temples or mar the edges of your beard. You shall not lacerate your bodies for the dead or tattoo any marks upon yourselves" (Leviticus 19:27-28).
emendation a change (usually of text) to correct or improve.
empiricist a person who believes that knowledge is gained only through experience.
equivalence in logic, a relationship between two statements such that either both are true or neither is.
Eretz Yisroel (Eh retz Yees rah ale) Hebrew for the land of Israel.
Eternal Light a symbol in the synagogue that symbolizes the permanence of the Torah and the radiance of the Jewish faith.
gall insulting boldness.
gefilte fish (guh fill tuh) cakes or balls of seasoned fish.
gematriya (gem ot ree ya) a sort of arithmetical amusement to disclose the hidden meaning of biblical or other text by determining the numerical equivalents of the Hebrew letters in a Hebrew word.
gentile a non-Jew.
goy a Jewish colloquial term for a non-Jew.
goyishkeit (goy ish kite) a Jewish colloquial word referring to the culture of a non-Jew.
Haganah (Hah gah nah) a military organization of Israel.
Hasid a Hasidic Jew.
Hasidic Jews (Hah see dick) descendants of Jews who founded the Jewish sect of Hasidism (Hah see dism) in eighteenth-century Europe. Hasidism suggests that it is possible to reach a close relationship with God through song and joy rather than only through more formal
Herzl (Her tsul) Theodor Herzl (1860-1904), Austrian founder of a modern movement known as Zionism, whose goal was to create a Jewish state.
hit the canvas to be knocked down in a boxing ring.
House of Commons one of two legislative bodies of the British government (the other is the House of Lords).
Hume David Hume (1711-76),Scottish philosopher.
Huxley Thomas Henry Huxley (1825-95), an English educator and biologist who championed Darwinism and agnosticism.
Immanual Kant (1724-1804) German philosopher.
induction in logic, arriving at a general conclusion by looking at particular instances.
Infield the baseball team members playing the shortstop and first, second, and third base positions.
intersubjective testing testing to get the same results from two or more subjects.
ionic columns A feature of Greek architecture, an Ionic column is grooved and set on a base.
Isle of Wight a British island in the English Channel.
Ivanhoe a novel set in the Middle Ages, by English author Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832).
Kaddish (Cad ish) the Jewish prayer for the departed.
kiddush a ceremonial blessing.
Kiddushin (Key do sheen) a book of the Talmud.
Kosher an adjective describing Kashrut, the Jewish dietary laws. These laws require that animals intended for food be killed by specially trained men in such a manner that the animal feels little pain, that dairy and meat dishes not be prepared or eaten at the same time, and that certain animals not be eaten. Following these dietary laws, which come from the Torah, is one of the ways in which Jewish people retain their identity.
K'nigsberg the easternmost city of the German empire; after World War II, it became part of the Soviet Union and was renamed Kalingrad.
La-Haye-du-Prits a city in France.
Liebniz Gottfried Wilhelm Liebniz (1646-1716), German mathematician.
lodgment area the place where soldiers spend the night.
Maimonidean (My mon uh day on) a reference to the great Jewish medieval scholar Maimonides.
Mincha Service an afternoon Jewish religious service.
Mitnagdim (Meet nog dim) critics or opponents of the Hasidic way of life.
momzer (mom zer) a colloquial word of derision.
Neturei Karta (Net u rye Car tuh) an ultra-Orthodox Jewish group in Jerusalem.
Normandy a region in northwestern France where Allied troops landed on D-Day (June 6, 1944) during World War II.
nu a Jewish colloquial expression meaning "so" or "so then" or "and then what?"
panzer a World War II German tank.
Passover a Jewish holiday in the spring, celebrating the Jews' exodus from slavery to freedom in ancient Egypt.
phylacteries (fill lack tuh rees) like tefillin (listed previously), objects used during Jewish prayer.
pilgrimage a journey to a sacred place.
pilpul (pill pull) the dry, stale manner of Jewish study in seventeenth-and eighteenth-century Europe that inspired the rise of Hasidism.
prelim man a less skilled fighter who boxes in matches staged before the main fight.
R. Anthony Eden (1897-1977) British statesman and prime minister (1955-57).
Rashi a medieval commentator on the Torah and the Talmud.
refutation proving that something is wrong through argument and evidence.
Remagen the German city where Allied troops crossed the Rhine River to capture Cologne near the end of World War II.
Rhine a river that runs through west-central Germany.
rostrum a podium used by speakers or lecturers.
row houses houses having common walls with the houses on either side; this type of housing is often found in older urban areas in the United States.
Royal Air Force bombers British planes or pilots who drop bombs.
Russell and Whitehead Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) and Alfred Whitehead (1861-1947), authors of the three-volume book Principia Mathematica, considered a landmark in the study of logic.
samovar an urn with a spigot used for heating water for tea; originated in Russia.
Sanhedrin (San head rin) a book in the Talmud.
schnapps a liquor with high alcoholic content.
Scythe an instrument with a long blade and long handle used for cutting grass.
Secular not specifically religious.
Shabbat another word for the Sabbath, the seventh day of the week reserved for rest and worship; for Jews, the Sabbath is on Saturday.
Shamashim (plural of shamash) assistants at a Jewish religious service who perform a variety of functions.
shiur (shee ur) a Jewish classroom lesson.
shlepper a Yiddish word for a person who moves slowly or awkwardly.
shofar (show far) an ancient ritual horn of Israel, used to announce important public events.
side-curls another term for earlocks, defined above.
skullcap a close-fitting, brimless cap worn by Orthodox Jewish men.
Spanish Civil War Starting as a military insurrection, this war lasted from 1936 until 1939, involved Italy and Germany on the side of the fascist insurrectionists, and brought General Francisco Franco to power.
St.-L a community in northwestern France.
Sulfa a bacteria-inhibiting drug.
tallit (tal leet) a shawl used by Jews in prayer.
Talmud (Tall mood) the oral law of Judaism, based on rabbis' interpretations of ambiguous laws in the Torah and on issues concerning a wide variety of topics in Jewish life. The oral law was written down in the first century A.D.
tefillin (tuh fill in) A religious accessory used by Jewish men in morning prayer service, it consists of small boxes, containing Biblical quotations, attached to each other with strips of leather that the person praying winds around his hand and places upon his head as a symbolic binding of himself to God.
Theodore Dreiser (1871-1945) American novelist.
tractate a treatise or dissertation.
tzizit (tsee seet) fringes that hang down from the Jewish prayer shawl and are intended to remind Jews of the necessity of observing Jewish law. The Torah states, "When you look upon it [tzizit], you will remember to do all the commands of the Lord" (Numbers 37:39). Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men, such as the Hasidim, wear a prayer shawl under their clothes and leave the fringes visible over the waists of their trousers.
Vire a river in northwestern France.
Wailing Wall the holiest place in the world for a religious Jew. The Wailing Wall is the last remnant of the Jewish temple that was destroyed by the Romans in the year 70 A.D. Jews hold many types of religious services there.
yeshiva (yuh sheev ah) a school to which Orthodox Jews send their male children. Half of the academic day is spent on Jewish subjects, and the other half on secular subjects. In the novel, Reuven attends a yeshiva that offers more secular classes than Danny's yeshiva does. At times, this difference causes resentment in Danny, who thinks that Reuven is less observant of Jewish law.
Yiddish The language of Eastern European Jews, Yiddish comes from German and Polish roots. Hasidic Jews prefer to use Yiddish as an everyday language, believing that the use of Hebrew, the original language of the Jewish people, is a holy tongue; to use Hebrew in an ordinary classroom would desecrate God's name. Reuven's Modern Orthodox sect, however, uses Hebrew in its classrooms.