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Article Archive for August 2010

Holiday Greetings
Holiday Greetings

The standard pre-Rosh Hashana greeting of “K’tiva v’chatima tova” (“May you be written and sealed for good”) is deduced from a Talmudic discussion concerning the three heavenly books that are opened during the High Holidays.

Why You Should Yichud Why You Should Yichud

The Hebrew word yichud translates seclusion in English. Traditionally, unmarried men and women should never be secluded together, so, in theory, the wedding day is the first time this ever happens between the bride and groom. This law came about after the rape of King David’s daughter when she was left alone with her half brother. It was then that David and his high court extended this prohibition to all unmarried girls. Typically, the laws of yichud are followed by Orthodox Jews, but all Jews may interpret the laws to fit their ceremony or beliefs.

Honor The Hoary Head
Honor The Hoary Head

Senior Citizen Day, an annual event observed on August 21st, is a day meant to both honor older citizens and to remind the government that seniors are a large and powerful constituency.

In Judaism, honoring senior citizens is both a natural part of the cultural philosophy and, in truth, part of Jewish law. “You shall rise up before the hoary [aged] head, and honor the face of the old man…”(Leviticus 19:32).

The Hebrew term for “old man” is zakein, which, according to the Talmud, refers to a sage, someone of great wisdom (as the 70 elders of Israel were called). The honor due a zakein is understandable, but what does the Torah mean by “You shall rise up before the hoary head”?

To stand up for someone is one of the primary ways to demonstrate respect for another. When a parent, teacher or political ruler enters the room, one is expected to stand up in his/her honor. In trying to understand this commandment, the sages discussed the different ways in which they had seen other great leaders act:

Issi ben Judah said: [The verse] implies any hoary head. Rabbi Jochanan said: The halacha is according to Issi ben Judah. Rabbi Jochanan used to rise [even] before aged heathens, saying: How many troubles have passed over these! Raba would not rise up, yet he showed them respect. Abaye used to give his hand to the aged. Raba sent his messengers. Rabbi Nahman sent his guardsmen…(Kiddushin 33a).

In the twenty-first century, with people leading extraordinarily active lives well into their golden years, it may be difficult to determine who deserves respect. It is best, therefore, to maintain the tradition that one is considered to be of “the age of wisdom” at 70.

Copyright © 2010 National Jewish Outreach Program. All rights reserved.

Maximize Your Exposure Maximize Your Exposure

Finding your ideal mate can be like finding your next job. It takes a lot of time and effort, and the lazy people don’t get what they want. You need to be thinking about it every day and do things on a daily basis that will allow you to meet more single people than you are now.

Reincarnation
Reincarnation

Reincarnation is a word that to most Jews screams of foreign cultures. What is not common knowledge, however, is that the reincarnation of souls is a concept found in Judaism (although not mainstream) known as gilgul.

Pre-Date Snack Ideas Pre-Date Snack Ideas

An apple wedge or celery stick topped with peanut butter may sound like a sensible snack but if eating it takes you back to the 1980’s it’s no wonder. The dieticians and nutritionists who we rely on for healthy eating advice and food recommendations aren’t chefs, which is why there has been little creativity in the healthy snack department in decades.

Dan, Son of Jacob
Dan, Son of Jacob

Rachel had Jacob’s heart, Leah had his children.

For four long years, Rachel watched her sister give birth to son after son until she could bear it no longer. Frustrated but determined, Rachel recalled the actions of her husband’s grandmother, Sarah, and gave her handmaid, Bilhah, to be Jacob’s wife.

Duo of Watermelon Granites
Duo of Watermelon Granites

Prowl the farmers market and you will find different colors and varieties of watermelon. There is nothing more refreshing than a slice of cold watermelon, except for these simple and quick watermelon ices. I love the color and fragrance of these granites (French) or granitas (Italian). A granite is really a flavored ice that has been stirred frequently during the freezing process to yield a coarse crystal. The general rule is 4 parts liquid to 1 part sugar.

Seeking God in Elul
Seeking God in Elul

Psalm 27 is read twice daily from the beginning of the month of Elul through the holiday of Sukkot in order to help each Jew develop the beautiful relationship that one can have with the Divine.

The Council of the Four Lands
The Council of the Four Lands

While Jews suffered greatly as societal outsiders in many of the lands in which they lived throughout history, sometimes there were beneficial perks–such as a moderate level of communal autonomy. This was specifically the case in Poland (and Lithuania) from the end of the 16th through most of the 18th century.

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