Bal Tashchit is the Hebrew term for “do not destroy” and prohibits unnecessarily destroying or disposing of useful things. Although the Bible specifically mentions the senseless destruction of fruit trees, the Rabbis understood the prohibition to include other types of senseless waste.
The commandment to honor one’s parents (kibud horim) is on par with having reverence for God. Just as we acknowledge the gifts that God gives us, we must also show gratitude for the gift of life that our parents gave us.
A kehillah is a community of individuals who come together for a common goal or purpose. Although a kehillah can become a chaotic mass—such as during the sin of the Golden Calf—when positive character traits are combined in pursuit of a goal, much good can be achieved.
Knowing God (Yediat HaShem) refers to how a person gains better awareness and understanding of God. There are many ways that people enhance their knowledge of God, such as through meditation or asking philosophical questions.
A machloket is a dispute between two different interpretations of Torah law. Although these disagreements can be incredibly destructive, disputes like those between Hillel and Shammai are considered constructive and known as “disagreements for the sake of heaven.”
Shalom bayit describes harmony between spouses and literally means “peace in the home.” Judaism places a high priority on building a peaceful, nurturing atmosphere through acts of loving-kindness and respect in order to achieve shalom bayit.
Teshuvah (repentance) literally means “return” and is presented in the Jewish sources as a gift from God because it allows one to return to the path of righteousness. Although teshuvah can be done at any time, Yom Kippur is the Jewish holiday most well-known for doing teshuvah.
Tikkun means “repair” or “mend” and is used alongside the word olam (world) to express the Jewish responsibility to “repair the world.” Tikkun also refers to specific texts read on various holidays, including the seventh day of Passover and on Shavuot.
The word tzedakah comes from the Hebrew word for tzedek (justice) and is charity given to the poor in pursuit of a just, ethical society. Whereas acts of loving-kindness (gemilut hasidim) can be done for the rich or poor, living or dead, tzedakah is only for the living poor.
Yirat Shamayim translates as “fear of heaven,” but is understood to apply to God too. Yirat Shamayim is an important and central spiritual quality that includes having both a fear and an awe of God and creation.