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Avoda, or Avodah (Hebrew: עֲבוֹדָה), literally means "work, worship, and service" in Hebrew. In a modern context, usually referring to business-type activities, it can also mean agricultural work and, more traditionally, serving God.

Original meaning[edit]

In its original, traditional sense, avodah was applied to sacrifices offered in the Temple in Jerusalem. The word was also used to describe the epitome of sacrificial rite, the complex and fraught main service of the High Priest on Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement). Today it refers to a liturgical reenactment of the aforementioned ceremony which is recited during the Musaf Amidah of Yom Kippur.[1]

In Chassidism avodah generally refers to divine service (or worship). For example, it is part of the divine service to serve God with joy.[2]

Bnei Akiva: Torah ve'avoda[edit]

Avodah is one of the two concepts that underlie the ideology of the Bnei Akiva movement; the other is Torah.[3]

In this ideological framework, the word was originally utilised in a strictly agricultural context. "Avodah" meant working on a kibbutz.[citation needed] In more recent years, Bnei Akiva has had to redefine the terminology. Tens of thousands of its members currently live, or plan to live in an urban setting in Israel and it is generally perceived that the needs of Israel have developed somewhat since Bnei Akiva was founded. The movement has therefore subtly redefined Avodah, to mean work that contributes towards the building up of the land of Israel.[citation needed]

See also[edit]