Few women are mentioned by name in the Torah, and those who are, are generally the major players (i.e. Sarah, Rachel, Miriam). Yet twice in the Torah, Mach’lah, Noa, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah–the five daughters of Zelophchad–are listed. In Numbers 27, they approach Moses and ask to inherit their father’s property in the Promised Land, since he died without sons. Because of their request, the law was established that “If a man dies with no sons, then his inheritance goes to his daughter(s)” (Numbers 27:8).
Medical mystery thrillers–novels in which the mystery is often solved through autopsy–are very popular these days. But most autopsies do not set off thrilling adventures of sleuthing. They do, however, allow doctors to understand the many mysteries of the body and the fascinating world of diseases.
Today’s Jewish Treat brings you the strange tale of Jose Diaz Pimienta (1688-1720) who was burned at the stake in an auto-de-fete in Cadiz (Spain) on July 25, 1720. Although born to Catholic parents and killed while professing the Catholic faith, he was, nevertheless, a victim of the Spanish Inquisition, because he had undergone a Jewish conversion during his lifetime.
On Shabbat, the Jewish people are commanded: “Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is Shabbat for the Lord your God; you shall not do any work” (Exodus 20:8). The Oral Law states that the word “work” refers to m’la’cha, creative work, such as planting or starting a fire, not to general labor such as setting up a room for a kiddush or moving one’s furniture (within one’s domicile). And, yet, even talking about work (one’s job or business) is prohibited. While one can easily understand that acquiring property, collecting payments and signing contracts are transgressions of the Sabbath, few can fathom what the problem might be talking about a plot of land that one would like to purchase or a potential deal that could be made later in the week.
When shopping for common kitchen items, one typically does not ask the sales clerk who manufactured them, but this information determines whether or not one must fulfill the mitzvah known as t’vee’laht kay’leem, immersing the vessels.
“When Av enters, we must lessen our rejoicing,” declare the Talmudic sages in Ta’anit 26b.
The sages declare that five tragedies occurred on the seventeenth of Tammuz, which is why the day is observed as a fast day. Days of what we might now call “bad karma” (on which bad things consistently occur) were, according to Jewish tradition, set early in Jewish history, and the seventeenth of Tammuz was fated to become one of the most painful days in Jewish history. It all began when Moses came down from Mount Sinai, discovered the Israelites dancing around the Golden Calf, and smashed the Ten Commandments on the seventeenth of Tammuz.
Everyone knows about Yom Kippur. There are, however, several other fast days in the Jewish calendar that are not nearly as well known. On Tuesday (July 19), the Fast of the 17th of Tammuz will be observed.
“Summertime, And the livin’ is easy…” especially if you are heading for a cruise vacation. Ahh, the fresh sea air, the beautiful sights and the glorious gastronomic feasts that will certainly be served. While some cruise-lines offer short three or four day sailings, a real vacation cruise generally lasts a week. If a cruise lasts seven days, it always includes Shabbat.
According the Jewish law, a man and a woman who are not married to each other may not be secluded alone in a room or other private space. To comply with this law, couples who are dating, spend a great deal of time in public places or in the company of other people. This law includes an engaged couple and, in fact, applies up until the moment the groom places the ring upon the bride’s finger under the chuppah.