As the forefathers of the 12 tribes, the lives and personalities of each of the sons of Jacob impacted upon the history and behavior of the tribe that was to descend from them.
If you spent the day frantically shopping at Saks, Bloomingdales or Neiman Marcus* (to name a few), you’ve witnessed the amazing legacy of the 19th century influx of German Jews to America. It was not uncommon for young German Jewish immigrants to feed their families by peddling and slowly building up resources to open a store. Although this was not a uniquely Jewish story, the inordinate success of some Jewish merchants profoundly shaped American retail history.
On October 24, 2011, a memorial to the Jewish chaplains of the United States Armed Services was dedicated in Arlington National Cemetery. The 14 Jewish chaplains whose names were inscribed on the plaque all perished while serving their country.
Jews of the 21st century may comment, or even grumble, about the pervasiveness of Christmas in our society, but, let’s be honest, in this day and age, the effects of the holiday season are rather benign. Of course, we must still deal with frequent questions from our children about festive trees and the jolly guy in the red suit. But, nowadays, people do their own thing.
And it was in the ninth year of [King Zaddekiah’s] reign, in the tenth month, on the tenth (day) of the month, that Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, came, he and all his legions, upon Jerusalem, and encamped upon it and built forts around it. And the…
“I believe with perfect faith in the coming of the Messiah; and even though he may tarry, nevertheless, I wait each day for his coming.” – Prosaic formula of the 13 Principles of Faith set down by Rabbi Moses ben Maimon (Maimonides/Rambam).
When perusing the list of the generations of Jacob found in Genesis 46, one gets a strange sense that there was a powerful genetic predisposition in Jacob’s family for male children. Jacob had thirteen children – twelve sons and one daughter. Among the 67 descendants traveling to Egypt with Jacob, there are listed 53 grandsons and one granddaughter: “The sons of Asher: Yimnah and Yishvah and Yishvi and Vriah and Serach their sister” (Genesis 46:17).
Ten years ago, the favorite catch phrase of media pundits was the expression “disposable society.” Critics of Western society complained, and still do complain, of there being a generational demand for “instant gratification.” This need has not diminished as people have filled their lives with all sorts of gadgets and gizmos to get what they want more quickly.
Politics do not change much from millennium to millennium. There have always been superpowers, great and powerful nations, vying for control of the world. In the seventh century B.C.E., the divided kingdoms of Israel and Judah found themselves in the u…
Chanukah is neither directly ordained in the Torah (like Rosh Hashana, Passover, etc.) nor mentioned in any other biblical text (as Purim is in the Book of Esther). The Books of Maccabees are not included in the Biblical canon, because these events occ…