Judaica Exhibits Judaica Home Yale University Library

Aramaica- books and other materials in the Aramaic language.  Aramaic was the language of the Arameans, a nation north of ancient Israel.  It became, however, the international language of the ancient Near East and was the spoken language of the Jews in post-biblical times.  Many Jewish prayers and important texts such as the Talmud are in Aramaic.

Dybbuk- the soul of a deceased person that enters the body of someone who is alive.  It is also the name of one of the most well known Yiddish plays. The play by S. An-ski (1863-1920) uses this folk belief as the basis of its tale of doomed lovers in a small town in Eastern Europe. 

Golem-mythical being in human form magically created through kabbalistic (mystical) formulas.  The most famous one is attributed in popular legend to Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel who was the leader of the Jewish community of Prague in the16th century. According to legend, Rabbi Loew created a golem so that it might fight Israel’s enemies, but it became such a destructive force that in the end it had to be destroyed.

Lamentations - biblical book, attributed in Jewish tradition to the prophet Jeremiah, which bemoans the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians in 587 B.C.E.

Passover Haggadah - compilation of biblical passages, prayers, hymns, and rabbinic literature which was probably assembled sometime during the early post-biblical period in Palestine and is meant to be read during the Passover Seder, a ceremonial meal held in Jewish homes to commemorate the Israelite redemption from Egypt in biblical times.

Pentateuch- first five books of the Bible.   These books (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy) are called the Torah in Judaism.

Psalms- biblical book known in Hebrew as Tehilim.  It is composed of prayers in poetic form.

Responsa- queries addressed to great rabbinic scholars over the generations concerning issues of halakhah (Jewish law).  This vast body of literature, which consists of both questions and answers, forms the basis of Jewish religious case law.

Song of Songs- biblical book also known as the Song of Solomon and Canticles. It consists of love poetry in which two lovers express their longing and love for each other.  According to Jewish tradition it is attributed to King Solomon but the dating and authorship of this book is uncertain.








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