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Kosher Food: What Makes Food Kosher or Not

Posted on February 11th, 2019
MyJewishLearning

The word "kosher" literally means "fit" or "appropriate."

Ask an average person to describe kosher food and they might say it is food “blessed by a rabbi.” The word “kosher,” however, is Hebrew for “fit” or “appropriate” and describes the food that is suitable for a Jew to eat. With its roots in the Hebrew Bible, the system of defining which foods are kosher was developed by the rabbis of late antiquity. Its application to changing realities has been the work of subsequent generations, including our own.

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Jewish Custom (Minhag) Versus Law (Halacha)

Posted on February 4th, 2019
MyJewishLearning Staff

Though often widely practiced, customs are not considered mandatory by traditional Jews.
 

 

A Jewish custom — known in Hebrew as a minhag — is a religious practice that, though sometimes very widely practiced, does not carry the force of Jewish law and is thus not considered mandatory by traditional Jews.

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What Is the Meaning of Chai?

Posted on January 28th, 2019
MyJewishLearning


The Hebrew word for life is a popular symbol and toast — and is linked to the number 18.


Chai  (חי) is the Hebrew word for life. The word, consisting of two Hebrew letters —chet (ח) and yud (י)— is a Jewish symbol, frequently appearing on pendants and other jewelry.

Unlike the Indian tea chai, which is pronounced with the “ch” sound of “chocolate,” the Hebrew chai is pronounced with the same “kh” sound as in challah. Both words  rhyme with “high,” however.

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