Glossary beginning with E

El Maleh Rachamim
lit. "God, full of compassion" A prayer of remembrance recited at funerals and when visiting the grave of a loved one. It is sometimes recited after receiving an aliyah marking the yahrtzeit of a loved one. This prayer was originally recited for the Martyrs of the Crusades and the Chmielnicki massacres. Synonyms: el maleh rachamim
Elijah
Elijah is a biblical prophet who is said never to have died. There are therefore many legends associated with Elijah. He wanders the earth, disguised as a beggar, and bestows riches on families who are charitable to who him. In the Talmud, unresolved arguments will be resolved when Elijah comes. He will herald the coming of the messiah. In Jewish ritual, Elijah is a liminal figure, arriving at moments of danger and transition – at a brit milah, a chair is put out for him, a cup is poured for Elijah at the Passover seder, and he is invoked at havdalah, a transitional moment between Shabbat and the week. Synonyms: Eliyahu
Erev
Evening. Jewish holidays begin in the evening. Hence, Erev Shabbat: the eve of the Sabbath.
Erusin
Betrothal; once a separate ceremony, but now a segment of the contemporary wedding ceremony.
Esther
Heroine of the Purim story and Megillat (the scroll of) Esther. She is married to the king by her cousin Mordecai and ultimately saves her people from execution.
Etrog
A lemon-like fruit (citron) used at Sukkot as one of the four species. *Women desiring to get pregnant were given the pitom (stem) to eat after Sukkot. Synonyms: esrog
Eve (Hava)
Eve, according to the book of Genesis, is Adam's wife, the first woman to be created. Synonyms: Chava, Chavah, Hava
Eyshet Hayil
lit. "woman of valor" This 22 verse poem from Proverbs 31 is arranged as an acrostic and is often recited in Jewish households on Friday night. The poem describes the characteristics of a "good wife" and is also thought of as an allegory referencing the Shekhinah, Torah or Shabbat. Synonyms: Eshet Chayil