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December 8, 2016 / 8 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Ten Commandments’

Yishai Show: The Power of “Shema Yisrael” [audio]

Thursday, August 18th, 2016

Shema Yisrael! The phrase that one hears when the Torah comes out of the Ark, when a child is named, every day morning and night, and even when, God forbid, the sword is at your throat. Rabbi Mike Feuer joins Rabbi Yishai for Spiritual Cafe to discuss the epic Torah portion of Ve’etchanan, the Ten Commandments, the Shema, and the fact that there is no other but Him! Don’t miss the stories, the laughs, and your emails on this week’s Yishai Fleisher Show.

The Land of Israel

Union to Enforce 4th Commandment and Strike the Airport on Shabbat

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

Religious coercion has come from the labor union, of all places, but not for the right reason.

The Histadrut announced on Thursday plans to strike the Ben Gurion Airport throughout this Shabbat – from sundown Friday until Saturday night – but don’t think we are on the eve of the Days of the Messiah.

The union’s problem is not Shabbat. Its complaint is that the Ben Gurion Airport Authority is employing too many contract workers, who are outside of the union.

The Histadrut planned to give those workers the chance to obey the Fourth Commandment, as written in Exodus (Shmot) 20, verses 8-11:

Remember the Sabbath day to sanctify it.                       :

Six days may you work and perform all your labor;

But the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord, your God; you shall perform no labor, neither you, your son, your daughter, your manservant, your maidservant, your beast, nor your stranger who is in your cities.

For [in] six days the Lord made the heaven and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and He rested on the seventh day. Therefore, the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and sanctified it.

The Airport Authority and the Histadrut have been talking for a month on the union’s demand to limit the number of contract workers, who now number approximately 500 along with 3,400 unionized employees.

The Histadrut planned to observe Jewish law to the hilt. It not only was going to enforce the Fifth Commandment by not working on Shabbat, but it also was not going to interfere with emergency services, which will operate as usual in line with the dictate that one must work on the Shabbat if it means saving a life.

Later on Thursday, the Histadrut reached an agreement with Airport Authority and called off the strike.

The planned strike came at the peak of the summer tourist season. Air traffic is relatively slow on the Sabbath, but nevertheless there are approximately 200 planes scheduled to take off and land this Shabbat.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Oklahoma Supreme Court Orders Removal of Ten Commandments

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

The Supreme Court in Oklahoma has ruled the Ten Commandments monument erected in 2012 at the State Capitol must be removed.

The court overturned a decision by a district court that ruled the monument could remain, according to a report by Fox News Insider, which quoted The Associated Press.

The six-foot-tall monument, made of granite, was privately funded by a GOP lawmaker.

The Court said in its ruling the monument is “obviously religious in nature and… an integral part of the Jewish and Christian faith.”

A similar monument in Texas was found constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court. But in Oklahoma the Ten Commandments were found to violate the state’s constitution, rather than that of the nation.

Several other groups have asked to place their own monuments at the State Capitol, sparking the controversy. An animal rights group, a Hindu leader in Nevada, the satirical Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and a group that wants to erect a seven-foot-tall statue of Satan as Baphomet (a goat-headed figure with horns, wings and a long beard) all want to have their space at the State Capitol too.

Hana Levi Julian

Oldest Set of 10 Commandments Showing in Israel

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

Israel’s national museum has opened a rare exhibit that includes the world’s oldest copy of the Ten Commandments.

The exhibit presents objects from “pivotal moments in civilization.” Among the items is a 2,000-year-old Dead Sea Scroll in which is inscribed a complete copy of the Ten Commandments.

This particular manuscript has never before been shown in Israel, and was only displayed briefly abroad.

The Dead Sea Scrolls comprise a collection of ancient Biblical manuscripts – some in fragments – discovered in a cave along the northern shores of the Dead Sea.

Hana Levi Julian

Squaring the Circle

Sunday, May 3rd, 2015

There is a controversy over what the stone tablets on which the 10 Commandments were written actually looked like.

Artistically, the tablets are almost always drawn as two rectangles with McDonald’s-like arches on top.

But the Gemorah (Baba Batra 14a) describes the two tablets as rectangular, and doesn’t mention any arches, McDonald’s or otherwise.

Over the centuries, the Jews adopted the curved symbols, but there was no basis in tradition for it. It is believed the arches were adopted, in part, due to fear of Christian censorship and in part due to their commonly arched portrayal by artisans.

Gustave Dore's  Moses - 1865

Gustave Dore’s Moses – 1865

For years, the Israeli Rabbinate has received requests to rectify the misconception.

Now, in an attempt to align themselves with Rabbinic tradition, rather than art-history, the Rabbinate has modified their logo and want all Jewish organizations to do the same, according to a Chabad website.

The Rabbinate hopes to eventually correct the ingrained pubic misconception as to tablet’s design.

But are they right?

Making the question even more interesting is archaeologist Stephen G. Rosenberg, who has posited that the two tablets weren’t two stones at all, but rather two sides of the same stone.

In part he bases that on the choice of words used for describing the tablet(s) in Hebrew, Luchot, which is similar to another Biblically-used word, Lechi, or cheek in English.

Rosenberg’s theory is that half the commandments were written on one side (cheek) of the stone, and the other half were written on the opposite side (cheek) of the same stone, similar to how many other ancient codes of law were engraved onto stone, such as the Code of Hammurabi (which, incidentally, has a curved “fingernail” or arch, on the top of the stele).

Code of Hammurabi

The top of the Code of Hammurabi stele.

Rosenberg’s explanation also fits nicely with Pasuk the in Shemot (Exodus) 32:15:

“Now Moses turned and went down from the mountain [bearing] the two tablets (luchot) of the testimony in his hand, tablets inscribed from both their sides; on one side and on the other side they were inscribed.”

The Gemorah (Shabbat 104A) explains that the same text was miraculously visible from both sides of each stone, perhaps some sort of hologram.

In Rosenberg’s explanation, each side of the tablet (singular) had its own half of the engraved text, and that is why is could be read from both side.

Taking this theory into account, will the Rabbinate redo their logo with a single tablet, and possibly restore the arched top?

As the curved top of the Code of Hammurabi was specifically used for an engraved image, which is forbidden by the Torah (as per the Second Commandment, in fact), which reduces the likelihood that our tablet(s) had an arched top.

Shalom Bear

Teach Your Children About Eretz Yisrael

Friday, February 1st, 2013

Jewish parents should teach their children to live in the Land of Israel. How do I know? Because I’m a Jew and I take the Torah seriously. For me the Torah is real. It’s our guidebook for living.

In the Ten Commandments, it says, “Honor thy father and thy mother, in order that thy days be long upon the Land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.” The Land mentioned in the verse isn’t America, nor Germany, nor South Africa, or even Canada. The Land means the Land of Israel.

What is the connection between honoring one’s parents and the Land of Israel? The verse promises that if you honor your parents, you will be rewarded with living in the Land of Israel? Why? What’s the connection? What does one thing have to do with the other? Because if you honor your parents by doing what they teach you, then you will live in the Land of Israel, because every Jewish parent has the duty to teach his children that they are supposed to live in the Land of Israel.

All Jewish parents, for all time, in all generations, no matter where they live, are to teach their children that they should live in the Land of Israel. That’s what the Torah is telling us in this verse, and the instructions of the Torah are forever. In order to keep the Torah in the way it is meant to be kept, you have to live in the Land of Israel.

The Torah is the Constitution of the Nation of Israel, a Nation with religious laws that cover all aspects of life, both the private, and the national, including laws of government, judicial laws, military laws, economic laws, agricultural laws, laws of war, and laws for the king. You can’t have a Jewish army, and Jewish government, and Jewish agricultural laws which only apply to the Land of Israel in Canada, America, or France. So Jewish parents are to teach their children that they should live in the Land of Israel, and Jewish children are to honor their parents and perform the commandments which they are taught, and that way they will fulfill the intention of the Torah that the Jewish People live in the Land of Israel and not anywhere else.

So parents, if you’re Jewish, and if you want to follow the Torah, then tell your children to live in the Land of Israel.

And children, if you want to honor your parents, then live in the Land of Israel. That’s what the Torah is saying.

Tzvi Fishman

The Wisdom within the Law

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

The Torah portion of Mishpatim deals primarily with the civil laws that govern communal interaction. The fact that these decrees are given at this point – directly after the Hebrew tribes receive the Ten Commandments – shows a clear distinction between Western religions and Israel’s Torah. In truth, the Jewish nation has no such concept as “religion” in the formal sense of the term, as we reject the notion of anything lying outside the realm of HaShem. It is Israel’s mission to elevate every sphere of Creation by infusing it with kedusha and bringing it to its highest potential in our world.

Western civilization generally views religious observance as something limited to an individual’s private sphere of ritual and prayer. This erroneous perception constructs a false division between private service to G-D and the way a person treats his fellow man. The Torah recognizes no such distinction as all areas of life are intertwined and holiness derives from ethical business dealings and proper military conduct no less than from piety in matters of Torah study and prayer. The Sages teach that a Jew wishing to be live a pious life should be scrupulous in matters of civil law (Baba Kamma 30a). From this it is derived that the seat of the Sanhedrin should be on the Temple Mount, for both the Temple and the Sanhedrin are expressions of HaShem’s Ideal in this world. A judge who rules properly is considered a partner in Creation while one who judges corruptly is called a destroyer of G-D’s world. It is therefore appropriate that immediately after carrying Am Yisrael through the recognition of HaShem’s power, the miracles of the Sea and the revelation at Sinai, the Torah commences with precepts that seem almost mundane in character but are in fact no less expressions of HaShem’s greater Ideal than is the first of the Ten Commandments proclaiming His existence and sovereignty over all.

In the book of Melachim I (Kings 1), the Queen of Sheba visits the Israeli Kingdom of Shlomo. At the commencement of her visit, she expresses great skepticism regarding international rumors of the monarch’s wisdom. But after observing the way in which the Hebrew society functioned, the visiting queen is astounded. She immediately begins to praise Shlomo’s wisdom and HaShem’s supremacy, recognizing kedusha not merely in how Israelis observed Shabbat or brought korbanot to the Temple, but also in the way the realm functioned day-to-day. She expressed immense admiration for every aspect of the Hebrew Kingdom, down to the way in which the servants were dressed. Sheba discovered that Israel’s Torah encompasses all of national and even international existence, including the most seemingly mundane aspects of life.

The Divine Ideal of Am Yisrael existing as a kingdom of priests and a holy nation necessitates the sanctification of every aspect of individual and national life, revealing the unity of HaShem as encompassing all. While any gentile can be a righteous and holy individual, only Israel has the potential to be a holy nation, expressing kedusha in every facet of nationhood. Only through establishing such a holy kingdom can the Jewish people fulfill our collective mission of bringing Creation to its ultimate goal of total perfection and awareness of HaShem.

Yehuda Hakohen

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/the-wisdom-within-the-law/2012/02/16/

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