Judaism/Spirituality

Oz Torah:Shavuot features.

THE WICKED BIBLE. The Ten Commandments have a lot of “thou shalt nots”. Imagine if one of the “nots” was left out. It actually happened in 1631 when the Royal printers made a mistake in Exodus 20:14, where they accidentally omitted a “not”, so that the command now read, “Thou …

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Criminalising Unauthorised Marriage?

There are criminals sitting in the Israeli Knesset: legislators who have either performed weddings outside the state’s religious authority, or who have personally been married in such ceremonies. The Jewish state is one of the only places in the world where it is illegal — with a potential jail term …

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Oz Torah: A Shavu’ot prelude.

A GREEK NAME FOR SHAVU’OT. In old Anglo-Jewry they didn’t use Hebrew names for festivals when they could use English. They knew of Passover more than Pesach, Tabernacles rather than Sukkot, New Year instead of Rosh HaShanah. They would have used an English name for Chanukah too if they could; …

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Oz Torah: Torah reading – B’har.

A PEAK OF INSIGHT. When the Israelites said “Na’aseh v’nishma”, “We will do and we shall hear”, they are seen by the sages (Shab. 88a/b) as on a peak of spiritual understanding. Metaphorically they ascended a mountain, echoing the title of this week’s reading, B’har (“On Mount Sinai”). Through “Na’aseh …

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Saying Mazal Tov in Sign Language in Israel.

Saying Mazal Tov in Sign Language – 54 Deaf Students Gather From Across Israel Monday, May 16, 2016, was a very special day in the lives of 54 Deaf students from across Israel. Each one approaching their Bar or Bat Mitzvah, preparing to join a long line of generations before …

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Oz Torah: Torah reading: Tzav

WHO TOOK OUT THE GARBAGE? Aaron the kohen gadol had the duty of taking out the garbage, clad in his priestly finery. The Jerusalem Talmud explains, “This is to teach you that rank does not count in the palace of the king.” The philosopher-ethicist Bachya ibn Pakuda comments, “The Creator …

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Oz Torah: Ask the Rabbi (Purim)

IN PRAISE OF ESTHER The more we delve into the events of the Megillah, the more questions we have. Nothing and no-one in the story is as simple and straightforward as they seem. In particular, no-one is as interesting as Esther – a humble girl without much yichus who becomes …

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Oz Torah: Torah reading: Vayikra

SHOWING OFF. One of the best known ideas in the Torah arises from the first word of this portion. God calls to Moses – “Vayikra el Moshe” – and the final letter of the Hebrew word is written small. Moses was too modest to think that God had specially chosen …

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