Most artistic representations of the Ten Commandments present two rectangular tablets rounded off at the top. As pleasing to the eyes as this rounded design may be, tradition suggests that the luchot (tablets) were “six handbreadths in length, six in breadth and three in thickness” (Baba Batra 14a). To clarify, the luchot were large, thick and square (and incredibly heavy).
Throughout the Talmud there are numerous lists of character traits that are good, bad and otherwise. While some of these lists appear to be simple assessments of what would now be called basic psychology, in each list there is something more to be learned about a person’s ability to connect with the Divine.
Can you name the first man appointed U.S. Consul to Jerusalem? In 1844, Warder Cresson was appointed, but never served, as the appointment was revoked while he was en route. Cresson’s journey to the Holy Land would have a profound effect on this earnest, truth-searching man.
This Shabbat, Jews around the world celebrate Tu B’Shevat, the new year of the trees. Tu B’Shevat is often celebrated with the 7 species for which the Torah praises the land of Israel: “A land of wheat and barley, of vines, figs and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey (from dates)” (Deuteronomy 8:8).
While it has been a difficult winter for many of us, it may be time to look beyond the turbulent weather and see that spring is just around the corner. You might wonder how one can possibly think of spring at the present time, but, according to Jewish …
An ethical dilemma: A close friend confides in you that he/she recently purchased an expensive, one-of-a-kind, nonreturnable item. When he/she shows it to you, you are immediately aware that the item is not at all unique, your cousin has purchased the exact same item. Your friend and your cousin will probably never meet, so your friend will probably never know that he/she overpaid for something that was not really one-of-a-kind. Should you inform your friend?
The splitting of the sea is one of the most dramatic and well-known scenes in the Torah. It is the final, grand event of the exodus from Egypt, after which the Children of Israel were finally free to go and serve God.
Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907-1972) was a twentieth century Jewish theologian whose intense commitment to social action brought him to the heart of the Civil Rights movement.
While there are some mitzvot that are obligatory on all people (e.g. the seven laws of Noach), the observance of Shabbat is not one of them. It therefore seems entirely natural that if one needs a forbidden creative labor done on Shabbat, one could simply call on a non-Jew to do it for them.
In the age of “Reality Television,” it is easy to forget how magical the very early television programs were. Many of these series had originally been successful radio programs and therefore brought pre-existing audiences with them when they transferred media. One of the most successful of the early sitcoms was The Goldbergs, which aired its first television episode on January 17,* 1949.