Ruth was the Moabite wife of Machlon, one of the sons of Elimelech and Naomi, a wealthy couple who had fled Bethlehem during a bitter famine. Elimelech’s family had settled in Moab, a neighboring country with which Israel had a history of conflict.
According to Leviticus 23, the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot, including Shmini Atzeret) lasts for eight days. Creative labor, however, is prohibited only on the first and the eighth days. Why then will Jews around the world (except in Israel) celebrate the first two days and the eighth and ninth days as festival days, refraining from creative labor?
It’s happening, and sooner than you think. The snow has melted (if you had snow in the first place), flowers are in bloom, and fiancés/fiancées are busy turning into husbands and wives right before your eyes!
Shortly after the Israelites encamped at the base of Mount Sinai, they agreed to accept the Torah and do all that God had commanded. And so, God declared that He would bring Himself, in the form of a thick cloud, close to the people, that they might hear Him speak. First, however, God instructed Moses that the people must prepare themselves.
We must give credit to JDate for providing the incendiary spark which ignited our magical relationship.
Whenever I write a menu, whether for home or work, I agonize over the sauce for the entrée. The sauce not only moistens the entrée, but it also gives the entire dish more character and heightens flavor. If you think about it, the sauce is really the most important part of the meal.
On the first day of Sivan in the year 2448 (Jewish calendar), only seven weeks after leaving Egypt, the Israelites reached the Wilderness of Sinai. On the desert plain around the mountain, they set up camp and watched as Moses set off toward the mountain to hear God’s will.
There is an oft-cited Midrash (Sifrei, Dvarim 343) describing how God offered the Torah to the other nations of the world before He gave it to the Jewish people at Mount Sinai. According to this Midrash, the first nation to whom He offered the Torah asked what was in it. When God told them about the law prohibiting stealing, they couldn’t fathom a life without theft. The next nation reacted incredulously to the prohibition of adultery; they were horrified at the idea that God would monitor people’s bedroom behavior! Another nation was unable to accept the prohibition of murder, and so on. When God asked the Jewish people if they would accept the Torah, there were no questions. They declared: “Na’aseh v’nishma” (“We will do and we will listen”).
Dear Rabbi Singer,
Both my parents are very liberal and don’t have much, if any, religious affiliation. However, I decided that Judaism is the right way of life and have considered myself a Jew for the longest time. I intend to perpetuate it by raising Jewish kids and having a Jewish home. Unfortunately, many Jews I know view me as incomplete when they compare me to themselves, which was not an issue and nothing my over-confident character couldn’t handle.
The holiday of Shavuot has three well-known, and well-loved, customs.