Common Prayer Words

50 of the most frequent Hebrew words that appear in the siddur.

Understanding traditional Jewish prayers may seem impossible if you don’t speak Hebrew. But knowing some key words can help you follow along and get the basic meaning of much of the liturgy.

The 50 words below are some of the most common words found in Jewish prayers. We’ve included the Hebrew, English and a transliteration of each word.

Try learning a few each week or spotting them in a siddur (Jewish prayer book). In no time, you’ll find the prayers to be more familiar and hopefully more meaningful.

Men praying Mincha (midday) services at the Jaffa Flea Market near Tel Aviv, 2009. (Zion Ozeri/Jewish Lens)

If you want to learn more Hebrew and don’t know the best way to get started, be sure to read How to Learn Hebrew.

And if you’re considering purchasing your own siddur, we recommend you check out How to Choose a Siddur, or Jewish Prayer Book.


TRANSLITERATION

ENGLISH

HEBREW

Avoteinu  Our Fathers   אֲבוֹתֵינוּ
Adam Man אָדָם
Ahava Love אַהֲבָה
Or Light אוֹר
Ehad One אֶחָד
 Ein There is Not אֵין
Imru Let Us Say אִמְרוּ
Emet Truth אֱמֶת
Eretz Land/Country אֶרֶץ
 Asher That/Which/Who אֲשֶׁר
 Atah You אַתָה
 Beit House בֵּית
 Ben  Son בֶּן
B’nai Children/People בְּנֵי
Barukh  Blessed בָּרוּך
 Gadol Big/Great  גָדוֹל
 Dor  Generation  דוֹר
 Hu He הוּא
 Vaed Forever וָעֶד
 Z’man Time זְמַן
 Hayim  Life חַיִים
 Hesed Kindness חֶסֶד
 Tov Good טוֹב
 Y’hee May It Be יְהִי
 Yom Day יוֹם
Kavod Honor/Respect כָּבוֹד
 Kee Because/Since כִּי
 Kamokha Like You כָּמוֹךָ
 Kein Yes כֵּן
 Katuv Written כָּתוּב
Lo  No לֹא
 L’maan  For the Sake of  לְמַעַן
 L’fanekha  Before You לְפָנֶיךָ
 Magen  Shield מָגֵן
Mah  What  מַה
 M’hayeh Gives Life מְחַיֵה
Mee Who מִי
 Mayim Water  מַיִם
 Melekh King  מֶלֶךְ
 Norah Awesome נוֹרָא
 Olam  World/Eternity עוֹלָם
 Am People עַם
 Oseh  Make עוֹשֶׂה
 Kadosh  Holy  קָדוֹשׁ
 Kol  Voice קוֹל
 Rahamim  Mercy רַחֲמִים
 Ratzon  Will רָצוֹן
 Shemo  His Name שְׁמוֹ
 Shamayim  Heavens שָׁמַים
 Tamid  Always תָמִיד

 

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