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M'ain Shalosh -- Three-Faceted Blessing said after eating mezonot foods, wine/grape juice, or the “five fruits”

Ma'ariv -- the evening prayer service

Ma'aseh Kedeira -- cooked grains that have a moist texture, such as spaghetti and oatmeal

Ma'aser Ani -- “Tenth for the Poor”; given on the 3rd and 6th year of the Shmita cycle

Ma'aser Rishon -- “First Tenth”; for the Levi

Ma'aser Sheni -- “Second Tenth”; for the owner to use in Jerusalem; given on the 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th years of the Shmita cycle

ma'asim tovim -- good deeds

Maarat HaMachpelah (Maaras) -- burial place of the Jewish patriarchs and matriarchs in Hebron

machloket (machlokes) -- strife; to be avoided at all costs

machmir -- stringent; one who observes a chumrah (stringency)

machzor -- special prayer book for the festivals, especially useful on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur

mafshit -- lit.: “skinning”; the forbidden Shabbat activity of removing hides from an animal

Maftir -- additional aliyah consisting of the last few lines of the Torah reading; the person honored with Maftir also chants the Haftorah

Magen Avraham -- classic commentary to the Shulchan Aruch, authored by Rabbi Avraham Abli Gombiner HaLevi (Poland 1634-1682)

Maharal -- acronym for Rabbi Yehudah Loewy (Prague 1526-1609), author of a series of classic kabbalistic-philosophical works

makeh b'patish -- putting the final touch on an object; a forbidden Shabbat activity

Malbim -- acronym for Rabbi Meir Leibush ben Yechiel Michal (1809-1879), author of popular commentary on the Bible

mamzer -- a person born from a prohibited (i.e. incestuous or adulterous) union; unlike the English term “bastard,” a child born out of wedlock is not a mamzer

mara d'atra (d'asra) -- lit.: master of the place (Aramaic); the local rabbi, whose decision carries the force of law in that locality

marit ayin (maris) -- lit.: the way something appears; the prohibition of doing something that will be misconstrued (e.g. wearing a kippah in a non-kosher restaurant)

masechta -- tractate of Mishnah or Talmud

mashgiach -- kashrut supervisor; also the dean of students at a yeshiva, i.e. a spiritual supervisor

Mashiach -- Messiah

mashkim she-zavu -- lit.: liquids that came out on their own

Maskilim -- lit: “Enlightened Ones”; non-religious Jews in the 19th century

mat'beya shel bracha -- texts of blessings formulated by the Sages of the Great Assembly

Matan Torah -- the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai

matir -- untying; one of the 39 primary categories of forbidden Shabbat activity

matzah -- unleavened bread, eaten on Passover when all leaved food is strictly forbidden; matzah consists solely of flour and water, and is baked in less than 18 minutes

maygis -- stirring food in a pot

mayim achronim -- ritual cleansing of the fingers before reciting Grace After Meals

maysech -- setting up the loom; a forbidden Shabbat activity

mazel tov -- lit.: good luck; used to wish 'congratulations' on various occasions and achievements

me'abeid -- tanning the hides; one of the 39 primary categories of forbidden Shabbat activity

me'amer -- 'gathering' or 'bundling'; one of the 39 primary categories of forbidden Shabbat activity

mechataich -- cutting to a specific size; one of the 39 primary categories of forbidden Shabbat activity

mechitza -- division; a barrier separating men and women in the synagogue

megillah -- lit.: scroll; often refers to the Book of Esther read on Purim

Meiri -- Rabbi Menachem HaMeir (Provence 1249-1306), author of a classic commentary on the Talmud that was lost for hundreds of years and then rediscovered

meizid -- an intentional transgression (compare to shogeg)

melaben -- cleaning an absorbent material; one of the 39 primary categories of forbidden Shabbat activity

melachah -- creative activity that is forbidden on Shabbat and holidays

melachot -- creative activities that are forbidden on Shabbat and holidays

melech -- king; God is the King of Kings

melo lugmav -- lit.: a cheekful; a measure of drinking equal to approx. 2 fluid ounces - 90 cc

memachaik -- smoothing out a solid; one of the 39 primary categories of forbidden Shabbat activity

memarayach -- forbidden Shabbat activity of smoothing out a solid

menapetz -- combing; one of the 39 primary categories of forbidden Shabbat activity

mensch -- lit.: man (Yiddish); a human being with good character -- honest, mannered and considerate

menucha -- calmness or rest

menuchat ha'nefesh (menuchas) -- tranquility

meraked -- sifting and straining; one of the 39 primary categories of forbidden Shabbat activity

mesarteit -- 'scoring' lines on an object prior to cutting it; one of the 39 primary categories of forbidden Shabbat activity

mesirat nefesh (mesiras) -- self-sacrifice, for the sake of spiritual growth

mesorah -- Jewish tradition and its transmission

mesudar -- orderly

Mezonot (Mezonos) -- lit: “grain foods”, shorthand name of blessing recited before eating (non-bread) foods made from grain

mezuzah -- small scroll of Torah verses, placed on the doorpost of Jewish homes

Mi Sheberach -- lit.: the One Who Blessed; a blessing recited usually after a Torah reading, for one who has had an aliyah, or for one who is ill

mi'de'oraita (mi'de'oraisa) -- “Torah laws” -- either based on the text of the Torah, or passed orally from the time of Moses

mi'derabbanan -- 'rabbinic law'

Michtav M'Eliyahu -- classic book of Jewish philosophy, authored by Rabbi Eliyahu Eliezer Dessler (London and Bnei Brak, 1891-1954)

mida knegged mida -- lit.: measure for measure; conceptually the way that God rewards or punishes

middah -- character trait

midot (midos) -- character traits; the Torah describes 13 traits of God

Midrash -- an interpretation of the Torah narrative, compiled by Sages of the Talmudic era

mikveh -- a pool of water used for ritual immersion

milchig -- lit.: milky; food that contains milk, and must not be eaten with food that contains meat (fleishig)

Mincha -- the afternoon prayer service

Minchat Chinuch (Minchas) -- classic book of Jewish law, authored by Rabbi Yosef Babad (1795-1874)

minhag -- custom; sometimes has the binding force of law, and sometimes not

minor fasts -- rabbinic fasts, usually commemorating tragic events in Jewish history

minyan -- quorum of 10 men needed for a public prayer service

Mishkan -- portable tabernacle that accompanied the Jewish people during 40 years of wandering in the desert, and during their first phase of settlement in Israel prior to the construction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem

Mishnah -- the early core of the Talmud, compiled in the first century by Rabbi Judah the Prince

Mishnah Berurah -- classic book of Jewish law, commentary on Shulchan Aruch (section Orach Chaim), authored by Rabbi Yisrael Meir HaKohen (Poland 1838-1933)

Mishneh Torah -- Maimonides's monumental compendium covering all of the Oral Law. Also known as Yad Hazakah.

mishpacha -- family

mishpat -- Torah law whose reason is rational (e.g. don't murder, don't steal)

mishpatim -- Torah laws whose reasons are rational (e.g. don't murder, don't steal)

Mitnagdim (Misnagdim) -- those opposed to the chassidic movement (18th century)

mitzvah -- a commandment of the Torah; used colloquially as “good deed”

mitzvot (mitzvos) -- commandments of the Torah; used colloquially as “good deeds”

miyad -- immediately

Moed -- lit.: “holiday”; second section of the Mishnah, dealing with the laws of Shabbat and Jewish holidays

mohel -- person who performs ritual circumcision

Moshe Rabbeinu -- lit.: Moses our Teacher

Moshiach -- the messiah

motzi -- lit.: took you out, when one person performs a mitzvah and another person fulfills his/her obligation

muktzeh -- objects whose use is circumscribed on Shabbat and holidays (e.g. money, car keys)

Mussaf -- additional prayer service on Shabbat, festivals, and Rosh Chodesh, added at the end of the morning service

Mussar -- Jewish ethics; can refer specifically to a program of spiritual growth developed by Rabbi Yisrael Salanter (19th century Lithuania)

mutar -- permitted

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