A Glossary for Messianic Jewish-Christian Worship and Practice:
This page provides a simple collection of terms that can be useful for Messianic Jewish-Christian worship and practice. This page is in process; it will be added to over time. May YHVH Tsabaoth and Yeshua be blessed!
The terms below are not original here but are long known. For purpose of organization, this page lists terms that provide emphasis on ministry, functions, and activities.
<< Some Ministry and Practice Terms >>
Bimah = Derived from ancient Hebrew, often spelled as “bema.” The term’s meaning stems from “high place” and now refers to a raised platform or pulpit platform in church or synagogue. It is the raised platform, found in variant shape, from which the central orator speaks and the Torah or Bible are read in the worship service.
Judaism = The name of the ancient and modern religion. The term derives from ancient Hebrew Yehudah (Judah) or yahadut. Nowadays there are diverse branches and applications of Judaism. Some segments of Judaism are Messianic in belief and hope, some are not. Judaism as religion originated with the Biblical Patriarchs and Law of Moses with its emphasis on covenant commitment to YHVH Elohim. Modern Judaism has splintered into many versions offering diverse interpretations of Jewish law, culture, religious devotion, identity, and nationalism. Some of traditional Judaism upholds faith in the Biblically promised Messiah but is opposed to Christianity.
Kippah = From Jewish Halacha (law) and custom, and having variant spellings. The well-known Yiddish term is yarmulka. The kipah is a hemispherical head cap of light-weight fabric that is worn most often by traditional Jewish or Messianic Jewish males during worship, prayers, meals, or other special services. There is no universally applied standard for wearing a kipah, and in certain branches of Judaism women may wear one.
Messianic Judaism = This is a modern noun term for a movement or segment of religious Judaism; it is a modern name for an ancient Israelite concept. The adjective form is Messianic Jewish or Jewish Christian. Messianic Judaism, like other Judaism, exists in many variations from conservative to liberal. Essentially Messianic Judaism is a perspective, not a religious denomination, and serves as a valuable transition or blending of Judaism and Christianity, such as is found in the Brit Khadashah (New Testament). Many but not all Messianic Jews accept Yeshua Natzaret (Jesus of Nazareth) as the promised Messiah.
Rabbi = From Biblical Hebrew, of male gender, and literally means “teacher” in context of spiritual leadership and instruction (e.g. John 1:38). Rabbi is normally a title of respect and position to attend the personal name of a Jewish or Messianic Jewish spiritual leader/teacher of a group or congregation. Nowadays the female gender title Rabba is also used by some groups.
Ro’eh = Hebrew term used by some as an additional title for the Rabbi. Ro’eh is like the English descriptive title “Pastor,” but Biblically the literal meaning is a “shepherd” leader of sheep (e.g. John 10:16).
S’mikhah = Hebrew term referring formerly to the laying of hands upon an animal’s head to confer upon it spiritual preparation to be sacrificed. Nowadays S’mikhah is used to refer to a Rabbi’s ordination ceremony to enter ministry under public approval.
Shammash = Hebrew term for a kind of servant, and has variant spelling. Applied to people, Shamash (or Shammos) can refer to a group member who willingly serves responsibly in various non-teaching but necessary or menial synagogue and congregational related tasks. Shamash is similar to the Christian church position of “deacon,” meaning “servant.”
Tallit = From ancient Hebrew ta’lit. This word denotes the traditional Jewish prayer shawl, in variant sizes or fabrics as preferred, that is worn during worship and the reciting or offering of prayers. The term tzitzit (see Num. 15:38) indicates the braided or woven fringes or tassels attached to the four corners of the tallit. The tzitzit are used as a memorial symbol for Elohim’s laws and commandments that demand obedience.
Zaken = Hebrew term meaning “elder,” referring to a leader-member in the congregation. The Zaken may not be a Rabbi but is able to serve as a wise spiritual leader, counselor, or adviser upon some topic or matter.