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safek brachot l'hakel (brachos) -- lit.: leniency for a doubtful blessing; in a case of doubt regarding blessings, we usually follow the lenient position

Safek D'oraita L'chumra (D'oraisa) -- lit.: stringency for a doubt of Torah issues; we rule strictly in cases of doubt where the issue is on a Torah level

Safek D'Rabbanan L'kula -- lit.: leniency for a doubt of Rabbinic issues; we rule leniently in cases of doubt where the issue is on a Rabbinic level

sanctification of the moon -- a joyful prayer said every month, upon observing the new moon

sandek -- person honored with holding the baby during a circumcision

Sanhedrin -- Jewish supreme court, which operated in Jerusalem during Temple times

savlanut (savlanus) -- patience

sechitah -- the forbidden Shabbat activity of “squeezing”

seder -- lit.: order; the festive meal on Passover night

Sefardi -- a Jew of North African or Spanish descent (contrast to Ashkenazi)

sefarim -- books

sefer -- book

Sefer Chassidim -- classic book of Jewish philosophy and law, authored by Rabbi Yehudah HaChassid (12th century Germany)

sefer Torah -- Torah scroll

sefirah (pl.: sefirot) -- the 10 levels of kabbalah; also refers to the counting of the Omer, between Passover and Shavuot

Semichah -- lit: laying of the hands; rabbinic ordination

sevel -- suffering

Sforno -- Rav Ovadiah of Sforno, Italy (1470-1550), author of a classic commentary on the Bible

Sha'ar HaTziyun -- footnotes and sources for the laws discussed in Mishnah Berurah, authored by Rabbi Yisrael Meir HaKohen (Poland 1838-1933)

Shabbatot (Shabbasos) -- plural of Shabbat

Shach -- acronym for “Sifsei Cohen,” a classic book of Jewish law, authored by Rabbi Shabsai HaKohen (Lithuania 1622-1663)

Shacharit (Shacharis) -- the morning prayer service

shadchan -- matchmaker, who makes the “shidduch”

shalem -- complete

shaliach -- emissary, appointed agent

shaliach tzibur -- lit.: emissary of the community, i.e. the person leading prayer services

Shalom Aleichem -- lit.: peace be upon you; a common greeting: the appropriate response is, “Aleichem shalom”

shalom bayit (bayis) -- peace in the home

shalom zachor -- celebration held on the first Friday evening after the birth of a boy

Shalosh Regalim -- the three pilgrimage festivals: Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot

Shas -- acronym for Six Orders, referring to the entire Talmud

Shavuot (Shavuos) -- festival in the month of Sivan, celebrating the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai

she'ayna tzricha -- lit: unnecessary; typically refers to a blessing that was said unnecessarily

she'hiyah -- leaving food on an open flame during Shabbat

Shechinah -- lit.: that which dwells; God's presence as felt in this world

shechita -- the act of slaughtering an animal or bird in accordance with Jewish law

Shehakol -- shorthand name of blessing recited before consuming any item not grown in the ground

sheitel -- wig, often used by married women to cover their hair in public

sheker -- falsehood

Shema -- lit.: Hear; colloquial for Shema Yisrael (Hear O Israel); the Jewish 'pledge of allegiance,' recited twice daily and written on parchment inside the mezuzah and tefillin (Deut. 6:4)

Shema Yisrael -- lit.: Hear O Israel; the Jewish 'pledge of allegiance,' recited twice daily and written on parchment inside the mezuzah and tefillin (Deut. 6:4)

Shemirat Shabbat K'Hilchato (Shemiras Shabbos K'Hilchoso) -- popular book on laws of Shabbat and Yom Tov, authored by Rabbi Yehoshua Neuwirth (contemporary Jerusalem)

Sheva Brachot (Brachos) -- lit.: Seven Blessings; recited under the chuppah, and at each meal made in honor of the bride and groom during the week following their wedding

Shevat -- month in the Jewish (lunar) calendar, coinciding with January and February; this month marks Tu B’Shevat, the New Year for Trees

shinui -- an action done in an unusual way

shinuy makom -- changing location while eating

Shir HaShirim -- Song of Songs, written by King Solomon, allegorically describing the love between God and the Jewish people

shiur -- quantity; lesson

shiur keviyat seudah (keviyas) -- When cake (or any Pat Haba B'Kisnin) is eaten in a quantity that you would normally eat bread as a meal, it requires Netilat Yadayim, Hamotzee and Birkat Hamazon.

shiva -- the seven days of mourning

shkiya -- sunset

Shlah -- acronym for “Shnei Luchot HaBrit,” a classic book of kabbalah, authored by Rabbi Rabbi Yeshiah Horowitz (Poland, Israel 1560-1630)

shlemut (shlemus) -- wholeness

shlita -- acronym for “she’yichyeh l'orech yamim tovim amen” -- may he have a good long life, amen; an honorific appended to the names of living rabbis

Shmini Atzeret (Atzeres) -- lit.: eighth holding back; the day immediately following the week-long Sukkot, celebrating God's desire for the Jewish people to celebrate an additional day

shmirat ha'lashon (shmiras) -- lit.: guarding the tongue – i.e. refraining from harming others with words, particularly gossip

Shmita -- the Sabbatical year in Israel when all agriculture ceases (Lev. 25:4)

Shmot (Shmos) -- lit.: names; Exodus, the second book of the Torah

shochait -- the forbidden Shabbat activity of killing a living thing; also: one who performs ritual slaughter on animals for eating; the act is called “sh'chita”

shochet -- one who performs ritual slaughter on animals for eating; the act is called “sh’chita”

shofar -- ram’s horn blown on Rosh Hashana

shogeg -- an unintentional transgression (compare to meizid)

shomer -- watchman, guardian

shomer negiah -- lit.: guarding [against] touching; the Torah concept of not having physical contact with anyone of the opposite sex, other than close relatives

shomer Shabbat (Shabbos) -- a person who observes the laws of Shabbat

shomeya k'oneh -- lit: “hearing is like answering”; under certain conditions, listening carefully to another person's blessing is considered as fulfilling your own obligation

shtetl (pl.: shtetl) -- town or village (Yiddish)

shtetls (sing.: shtetl) -- towns or villages (Yiddish)

shtiebel -- a small synagogue (Yiddish)

Shu"t Igros Moshe -- classic books of rabbinic responsa, authored by Rabbi Moshe Feinstein (New York 1895-1986)

shul -- synagogue (Yiddish)

Shulchan Aruch -- lit.: set table; the Code of Jewish Law, written by Rabbi Yosef Karo (16th century Tzfat, Israel); with the accompanying notes of Rabbi Moshe Isserles, it was accepted by all of world Jewry as the definitive guide to Torah observance

siddur -- prayer book

siddurim -- prayer books

sinat chinam (sinas) -- gratuitous hatred; identified by the Talmud as the cause for the destruction of the Second Temple and the subsequent exile

sinat hinam (sinas) -- baseless hatred of one Jew for another; the cause of the current Jewish exile

Sivan -- month in the Jewish (lunar) calendar, coinciding with May and June; the festival of Shavuot falls out on the sixth of this month (and in the Diaspora, also on the seventh)

sivlot (sivlos) -- burdens

siyum -- completion of studying a major section of Torah, e.g. a tractate of the Talmud

smicha -- rabbinic ordination

Sukkah -- a structure whose roof is made of branches in which we eat, sleep and socialize during the week of Sukkot, primarily reminding us that the Israelites lived in huts during the 40 years of wandering in the desert

Sukkot (Sukkos) -- a festival in the month of Tishrei, celebrating the Israelites' living in huts during the 40 years of wandering in the desert

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