Candles (nerot) — or any type of clean-burning oil lamps — are an important feature in the celebration of Shabbat and Jewish holidays. The main function of candles is to provide light in the home at night in order to enhance the festive atmosphere, but candles are also key to Temple and Hanukkah rituals.
The Chanukah Menorah is called a Hanukkiah and is a candelabra with nine branches. It is lit in homes and synagogues during Chanukah to commemorate the miracle in which one day's worth of oil for the Temple Menorah burned for eight days.
During the recitation of Birkat Hamazon (grace after the meal), when there are at least three people present, the Cup for the Blessing (kos shel bracha) is filled with wine and a special blessing is made. The person who is honored by leading birkat hamazon also drinks the cup of wine.
Head coverings (kisui harosh) are worn by some married Jewish women in order to fulfill the laws of modesty. Head coverings are also worn by men when reciting blessings or prayers, as well as a sign of honor and service of God.
Incense (Ketoret) was offered daily on the Golden Altar in the Mishkan and Temple, and its ingredients are dictated in the Torah. There are also mystical properties associated with it, as seen from its use in protecting Jews from God's wrath in the desert (Num. 17).
The Lulav is a closed palm frond shaken on Sukkot alongside willow (arava) and myrtle (hadas) branches, as well as with a citron (etrog). Although the word Lulav technically only means “palm branch,” it’s usually used to refer to all of the branches and sometimes the citron as well.
Ma'aser Sheni (Second Tithe) is a second tithe taken from produce in Israel during the first, second, fourth, and fifth years of the seven-year cycle. As opposed to the other tithes, it is kept by the owner on condition that he eats it in Jerusalem.
A Mezuzah is the small parchment placed inside a case and attached to the right side of entryway doorframes where Jews reside. Written on the scroll are various sections from the Torah, such as the Shema, that feature some of Judaism's central principles.
The Mikvah is a ritual pool filled with water from a natural source (e.g., rain water). Immersing in the Mikvah purifies Jews who have become ritually impure. Mikvah is also used as part of the process of converting to Judaism.
The Mishkan (Tabernacle) was the temporary, portable Temple that the Jews were commanded to build after the revelation at Mount Sinai. It had all of the furnishings of the future Temple and served the same functions, but it was smaller and used fabrics and animal skins for its walls and roof.
Mixtures (taaruvot) of permissible and forbidden substances are a subject of much discussion and debate in Jewish law. Different criteria are used to decide whether there is a sufficient amount of a forbidden material to render a whole mixture forbidden.
The Omer Offering (Korban HaOmer) consisted of a measure of barley that was brought to the Temple on the second night of Passover, which coincides with the barley harvest in Israel. Then, 49 days are counted until the wheat harvest, which is known as “Counting the Omer.”
Shabbat Candles (Ner Shabbat) are used in the sanctification and celebration of Shabbat. The two candles symbolize the commandments to observe and remember the Sabbath, and they provide light in the home at night to enhance the festive atmosphere.
The Shofar is made from the horn of an animal, usually a ram. The Shofar was blown as a trumpet in battle and, today, is used primarily during Rosh Hashanah services and at the end of Yom Kippur as a “wake up call” to the New Year.
The Showbread (Lechem Hapanim) are the loaves that are placed on a special table in the Temple each week. Every Shabbat, the priests (kohanim) eat the Showbread, and fresh loaves are then placed on the table.
A Sukkah is a temporary hut with at least three walls that is covered by organic material, such as tree branches, that serves as a dwelling during the week-long holiday of Sukkot. During Sukkot, Jews typically eat, socialize, and sleep in the Sukkah instead of inside their permanent homes.
A Tallit is a large shawl — or some other four cornered garment — that requires Tzitzit (fringes) and is worn over the head and shoulders during prayer. The Tallit serves as a reminder of God's presence and His commandments.
Tefillin are black leather boxes with small parchment scrolls featuring verses from the Torah. Tefillin are worn on the upper arm and forehead at least once each day by adult Jews during morning prayers, except on Shabbat and holidays.
The Tablets (Luchot) are the two tablets upon which God wrote the Ten Commandments and which were taken down by Moses to be placed in the Ark of the Covenant. Moses broke the first set when he saw the people worshipping the Golden Calf, but they were replaced by a second set.
The Menorah is a large candelabra with seven branches that is located within the Temple shrine. The Menorah is lit and cleaned by the priests every day. The Menorah used on Hanukkah is called a Hanukkiah, and it has nine branches.
A Torah Scroll (sefer torah) is a copy of the Hebrew Bible that is written by hand on parchment according to various rules in order to ensure its accuracy, readability, and holiness. The Torah Scroll is primarily used in synagogue during Jewish prayer services, including on Shabbat.
Tzitzit are the ritual fringes added to four-cornered garments. Four strings are threaded through each corner and folded over and knotted in order to produce eight fringes. Ideally, three of the strings should be white and the fourth should be azure, which is known as tekhelet.