What happens when a Torah scroll is so worn it can no longer be used, or a prayer book is torn beyond repair? Should objects such as these, which not only include the name of God but have an intrinsic holiness themselves and are also essential elements of mitzvah fulfillment, be thrown into the trash?
Before his death, Jacob gathered his sons to him and gave them each a blessing that specifically reflected their personalities and their futures. To Issachar, Leah’s fifth son, Jacob said: “Issachar is a strong-boned donkey, crouching between the saddlebags. When he saw how good security was, how pleasant the country was, he bent his shoulder to the burden.”
On the big day, wedding guests “oooo” and “aaaahh” while bride walks down the aisle in a beautiful white dress. The bride enjoys a shower with important women in her life where gifts pour in like a hurricane into her lap. The bride receives an engagement ring that she proudly wears and presents to all those who gush over the exciting news. But what does a groom get? The groom gets perhaps the most exciting part of the Jewish wedding experience: He gets to break the glass!
Today, Jews all over the world observe the fast of Tisha B’Av. It is on this day that the Jewish people mourn the destruction of both the First and the Second Temples. The First Temple was destroyed almost 2,600 years ago and the Second Temple 1,938 years ago. It is therefore not easy to understand what exactly it is that the Jewish people mourn.
Tonight, at sunset, the saddest day on the Jewish calendar begins. Known as the Fast of the 9th of Av (Tisha B’Av), the observances of the day are very similar to Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar. In addition to fasting (no food or drink) for a 25 hour period from sundown Monday to nightfall on Tuesday, additional restrictions include refraining from washing, using lotions, wearing leather shoes and marital relations.
In the early 1900s, rabbinic authorities had to determine exactly what electricity was from an halachic (Jewish legal) perspective. The first uses of electricity were, of course, for light and heat.
Rabbi Shlomo ben Aderet (a.k.a. the Rashba 1235-1310) was born in an age of controversy. The Jewish world was still unsettled over the first blend of “philosophy and Torah” produced by Rabbi Moses ben Maimon (Maimonides/Rambam – 1135-1204) in the late 12th century.
The Sixth Amendment in the United States’ Bill of Rights (requiring a speedy trial, impartial jury, confrontation of witnesses, council, etc) is, perhaps, one of the most difficult to properly observe.
A popular joke: Most Jewish holidays can be subsumed under the pithy phrase: “They tried to kill us, we won, let’s eat!” For a nation obsessed with food, what’s with all the fasting?
The opportunity to save a life (hatzalat nefashot) is one of those unique events that may never occurs in a person’s lifetime. Today, Jewish Treats salutes those who often risk life and limb to perform the mitzvah of hatzalat nefashot by paying tribute to Magen David Adom.