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Term Definition
Alot Hashachar

Dawn. Fasts begin at this time. According to Torah law, dawn marks the beginning of the day, and all mitzvot associated with daytime hours -- such as hearing the shofar, taking the Four Species, the recitation of the Shema, or hearing the Megillah -- can now be done. For various reasons, however, the Sages, instituted that the observance of many of these mitzvot should be delayed until Netz Hachamah, or the moment when "one can recognize a familiar acquaintance." According to the Magen Avraham, the calculation of shaot zmaniot begins now.

bein hashmashot

The Jewish 24 hour day begins at nightfall. However, the technical definition of nightfall is unclear. It can be as early as Shkiah, or as late as Tzeit Hakochavim. Therefore, the time following shkiah and before tzeit hakochavim is called bein hashmashot. Many laws relate to this period and it can be categorized as either the previous or the next day.


The "bima" is the raised platform from which services are led. At Adams Street, "bima" could refer to either of the two raised areas.

Candle Lighting time

The accepted custom is to light Shabbat and Yom Tov candles 18 minutes before shkiah (sunset). Some communities have adopted earlier times as their unique custom for candle lighting time.


Midday; the halfway point between sunrise and sunset. Half-day fasts end at this time.


A priest; i.e., a patrilineal descendent of Moses's older brother, Aharon.




A ritual in which the kohanim invoke God's blessings upon the congregation.

Earliest time for Tallit and Tefillin an

The halachic description of this time is "when one can recognize a familiar acquaintance" from a distance of approximately six feet. As this is a subjective experience, the time given is approximated to an 11 degree depression of the sun. This is also the earliest time one can say the Morning Shema.


home-like (i.e., warm and comfy)


A priest; i.e., a patrilineal descendent of Moses's older brother, Aharon.

Latest Shema

Three shaot zmaniot into the day. Latest time of the day to fulfill the biblical requirement to recite the Morning Shema. B'dieved (if one missed this time), one should still recite Shema with its blessings until chatzot.

Latest Tefillah

Four shaot zmaniot into the day, ideally the latest time for shacharit, the morning prayer. However, if this time was missed, shacharit may be recited until chatzot.

Minchah Gedolah

Half a shaah zmanit after chatzot. This is the earliest time one may recite minchah, the afternoon prayer.

Minchah Ketanah

Nine and a half shaot zmaniot hours after sunrise. According to certain halachic authorities, it is preferable to wait until this time before praying minchah.

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