Ancient Egyptian Religion Overview


Ancient Egyptian Religion Overview:

~ The religion of Ancient Egypt lasted for more than 3,000 years, and was polytheistic, meaning there were a multitude of deities, who were believed to reside within and control the forces of nature.

~ Formal religious practice centered on the pharaoh, or ruler, of Egypt, who was believed to be divine, and acted as intermediary between the people and the gods. His role was to sustain the gods so that they could maintain order in the universe.

~ The Egyptian universe centered on Ma’at, which has several meanings in English, including truth, justice and order. It was fixed and eternal; without it the world would fall apart.

~ The most important myth was of Osiris and Isis. The divine ruler Osiris was murdered by Set (god of chaos), then resurrected by his sister and wife Isis to conceive an heir, Horus. Osiris then became the ruler of the dead, while Horus eventually avenged his father and became king.

~ Egyptians were very concerned about the fate of their souls after death. They believed ka (life-force) left the body upon death and needed to be fed. Ba, or personal spirituality, remained in the body. The goal was to unite ka and ba to create akh.

~ Artistic depictions of gods were not literal representations, as their true nature was considered mysterious. However, symbolic imagery was used to indicate this nature.

~ Temples were the state’s method of sustaining the gods, since their physical images were housed and cared for; temples were not a place for the average person to worship.

Certain animals were worshipped and mummified as representatives of gods.

~ Oracles were used by all classes.

Click to Pray


The Vatican is going high tech (not a joke) only $110:

“Click to Pray eRosary” – wearable smart device to pray the rosary for peace

In the middle of the Extraordinary Missionary Month of October, the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network launched the “Click To Pray eRosary” at a press conference in the Vatican on October 15. October is also the month of the Rosary.

The “Click to Pray” eRosary can be worn as a bracelet and links to a mobile app that becomes activated when the user makes the sign of the cross. The beads of the bracelet are made of black agate and hematite, and the digital device is in the shape of a cross.

What is a Dreidel and Why?


What is a Dreidel and why?

The dreidel or sevivon is perhaps the most famous custom associated with Hanukkah.  The dreidel is a type of top with a Hebrew letter on each of its four sides. The four letters are nun (נ), gimel (ג), hei (ה), and shin (ש), which are commonly understood to be an acronym for the phrase נֵס גָדוֹל הָיָה שָׁם, “A great miracle occurred there.”  “There” being the land of Israel.  In Israel, the letter peh (for the Hebrew word “po,” meaning “here”) replaces the letter shin to spell out “A Great Miracle Happened Here.”


To play dreidel, each player begins with an equal number of games pieces usually ten to fifteen, such as coins, candies, etc. At the beginning of each round, every player puts one game piece into the center pot. Players then take turns spinning the dreidel. Depending on the side it lands on, you give or get game pieces from the pot:

  • Nun means “nisht” or “nothing.” The player does nothing.
  • Gimel means “gantz” or “everything.” The player gets everything in the pot.
  • Hey means “halb” or “half.” The player gets half of the pot. (If there is an odd number of pieces in the pot, the player takes half of the total plus one).
  • Shin (outside of Israel) means “shtel” or “put in.” Peh (in Israel) also means “put in.” The player adds a game piece to the pot.

If you find that you have no game pieces left, you are either “out” or may ask a fellow player for a “loan.”  When one person has won everything, that round of the game is over!

The classical reason given for playing the game of dreidel on Chanukah is that the simple little top was used during the Chanukah era to preserve Judaism. When the Syrian-Greeks ruled over the Holy Land, they outlawed many Jewish practices, such as circumcision, Shabbat observance and Torahlearning. With great self-sacrifice, the Jewish children would hide in caves to learn Torah. When they would see a Greek patrol approaching, they would quickly hide their scrolls and take out spinning tops, pretending to have simply been playing a game.  Despite the ubiquity of this reason, many mystics have ascribed much deeper symbolism to the game of dreidel. In fact, many of them don’t even mention the classic reason for dreidel.

Other explanations for the dreidel include the letters nun, gimmel, hey, shin are supposed to represent the four kingdoms that tried to destroy us [in ancient times]: N = Nebuchadnetzar = Babylon; H = Haman = Persia = Madai; G = Gog = Greece; and S = Seir = Rome.  Others figured out elaborate gematriot [numerological explanations based on the fact that every Hebrew letter has a numerical equivalent] and word plays for the letters nun, gimmel, hey, shin. For example, nun, gimmel, hey, shin in gematria equals 358, which is also the numerical equivalent of mashiach or Messiah!

The game of dreidel teaches that even when we are playing, we imbue the game with meaning, remembering our heritage and the miraculous salvations that G‑d performed for Jews in the past. It also expresses our longing for the final redemption with the coming of the Moshiach.

Sources: “Essential Judaism,” Robinson, George. 2016.

Hannukkah…What Exactly Is It?


“On the 25th of Kislev are the days of Hanukkah, which are eight… these were appointed a Festival with Hallel [prayers of praise] and thanksgiving.”

~ Shabbat 21b, Babylonian Talmud

Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of rededication, also known as the festival of lights, is an eight-day festival beginning on the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev.  Hanukkah celebrates the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem after its defilement by the Syrian Greeks in 164 BCE.

Hanukkah is probably one, if not the, best-known Jewish holidays, not because of any great religious significance though, but because of its proximity to Christmas. Many non-Jews think of this holiday as the Jewish Christmas, adopting many of the Christmas customs, such as gift-giving and decoration. It is ironic that this holiday, which has its roots in a revolution against assimilation and the suppression of Jewish religion, has become the most assimilated, secular holiday on our calendar.


 The story of Hanukkah begins in the reign of Alexander the Great. Alexander conquered Syria, Egypt and Palestine, but allowed the lands under his control to continue observing their own religions and retain a certain degree of autonomy. Under this relatively benevolent rule, many Jews assimilated much of Hellenistic culture, adopting the language, the customs and the dress of the Greeks, in much the same way that Jews in America today blend into the secular American society.

More than a century latter beginning in 167 BCE, the Jews of Judea rose up in revolt against the oppression of King Antiochus IV Epiphanes of the Seleucid Empire. The military leader of the first phase of the revolt was Judah the Maccabee, the eldest son of the priest Mattityahu. In the autumn of 164, Judah and his followers were able to capture the Temple in Jerusalem, which had been turned into a pagan shrine. They cleansed it and rededicated it to Israel’s God. This event was observed in an eight-day celebration, which was patterned on Sukkot, the autumn festival of huts. Much later rabbinic tradition ascribes the length of the festival to a miraculous small amount of oil that burned for eight days.


“Our rabbis taught the rule of Hanukkah: … on the first day one [candle] is lit and thereafter they are progressively increased … [because] we increase in sanctity but do not reduce.”

~ Shabbat 21b, Babylonian Talmud

 Most of the activity of Hanukkah takes place at home. Central to the holiday is the lighting of the hanukkiah or menorah, an eight-branched candelabrum to which one candle is added on each night of the holiday until it is ablaze with light on the eighth night. The only religious observance related to the holiday is the lighting of candles.  Gift-giving is not a traditional part of the holiday, but has been added in places where Jews have a lot of contact with Christians, as a way of dealing with our children’s jealousy of their Christian friends. It is extremely unusual for Jews to give Hanukkah gifts to anyone other than their own young children. The only traditional gift of the holiday is “gelt,” small amounts of money.

Another tradition of the holiday is playing dreidel, a gambling game played with a square top. Most people play for matchsticks, pennies, M&Ms or chocolate coins. The traditional explanation of this game is that during the time of Antiochus’ oppression, those who wanted to study Torah (an illegal activity) would conceal their activity by playing gambling games with a top (a common and legal activity) whenever an official or inspector was within sight.

In commemoration of the legendary cruse of oil, it is traditional to eat foods fried in oil. The most familiar Hanukkah foods are the European (Ashkenazi) potato pancakes, or latkes, and the Israeli favorite, jelly donuts, or sufganiyot.  The tradition developed in Europe to give small amounts of money as well as nuts and raisins to children at this time. Under the influence of Christmas, which takes place around the same time of year, Hanukkah has evolved into the central gift-giving holiday in the Jewish calendar in the Western world.

Since Hanukkah is not biblically ordained, the liturgy for the holiday is not well developed. It is actually a quite minor festival. However, it has become one of the most beloved of Jewish holidays. In an act of defiance against those in the past and in the present who would root out Jewish practice, the observance of Hanukkah has assumed a visible community aspect.  Jews will often gather for communal celebrations and public candle lighting. At such celebrations, Hanukkah songs are sung and traditional games such as dreidel are played. Like Passover, Hanukkah is a holiday that celebrates the liberation from oppression. It also provides a strong argument in favor of freedom of worship and religion.

Sources: “Essential Judaism” Robinson, George. 2016.

The Ten Commandments Controversy


In the United States, a controversy has persisted for many years regarding the placement of the “Ten Commandments” in public schools and public buildings. But one critical question seems to have escaped most of the public dialog on the subject: Whose “Ten Commandments” should we post?  Judaism, unlike Catholicism and Protestantism, considers “I am the L-rd, your G-d” to be the first “commandment.” Catholicism, unlike Judaism and Protestantism, considers coveting property to be separate from coveting a spouse. Protestantism, unlike Judaism and Catholicism, considers the prohibition against idolatry to be separate from the prohibition against worshipping other gods. No two religions agree on a single list. Whose list should we post?  Once we decide on a list, what translation should we post? Should Judaism’s sixth declaration be rendered as “Thou shalt not kill” as in the popular King James Version translation, or as “Thou shalt not murder,” which is a bit closer to the connotations of the original Hebrew though still not entirely accurate?

In Talmudic times, the rabbis consciously made a decision to exclude daily recitation of the Aseret ha-Dibrot from the liturgy because excessive emphasis on these statements might lead people to mistakenly believe that these were the only mitzvot or the most important mitzvot, and neglect the full 613. By posting these words prominently and referring to them as “The Ten Commandments,” (as if there weren’t any others, which is what many people think) schools and public buildings may be teaching a message that Judaism specifically and consciously rejected

There are different versions of the 10 Commandments, there are actually three different versions (Catholic, Jewish, and Protestant) plus a Muslim version of sorts. This variation brings up an interesting point for Americans — posting the 10 Commandments in public places not only requires a choice of religious over secular, it also necessitates a choice between religions.

The 10 Commandments appear in three places in the Bible: in Exodus, chapter 20, in Exodus, chapter 34 and in Deuteronomy, chapter 5.  All three versions differ slightly.  Historically, the commandments have been abbreviated to aid memorization, which has led to even greater differences on what to put in and what to leave out.  Exodus 34 is the only place where the label “The Ten Commandments” is used in the Christian Bible. The other two listings (Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5) are normally referred to as the Ten Commandments, but the actual text doesn’t describe them as such.

As far as the Muslim version we need a little background.  Muslims regard Moses as one of their greatest prophets, but they reject the Biblical versions of the Ten Commandments.  The site has a chart that compares the Protestant 10 Commandments to the Muslim equivalents found in different places within the Quar’an.

“There is no formal Islamic version of the ten commandments, but each of the ten can be found embedded in both the foundational sources of Islam (the Qur’an and the Sunna – the normative example of Muhammad) as well as in later articulations of Shari ‘a (Islamic law). However, they are not to be found lumped together; instead, they would be scattered around under different topics in legal manuals.”

~ Ahmet T. Karamustafa, Associate Professor of History and Religious Studies at Washington University in St. Louis

A few of the differences: The Jewish Version (Exodus 20) – The Jewish version refers to the same place in the Bible as the Protestant version but emerges with a different interpretation. The initial reference to Egyptian bondage is important enough to Jews that it forms a separate commandment.  Protestant Version (Exodus 20) – This is by far the most commonly cited version of the 10 Commandments in the U.S. and applies to members of the Greek, Anglican, and Reformed traditions.  Catholic/Lutheran Version (Deuteronomy 5) – Catholics and Lutherans follow this particular version, the text of which was likely written around 300 years later than the Exodus text. Interestingly, the Catholic version omits the prohibition against graven images, which is fitting, as the Roman Catholic church displays many shrines and statues. Catholics and Lutherans separate the two kinds of coveting (namely, of goods and of the flesh), while Protestants (but not Lutherans) and Jews group them together.

According to Jewish tradition, G-d gave the Jewish people 613 mitzvot (commandments). All 613 of those mitzvot are equally sacred, equally binding and equally the word of G-d.

“Be as meticulous in performing a ‘minor’ mitzvah as you are with a ‘major’ one, because you don’t know what kind of reward you’ll get for various mitzvot.”

~ Pirkei Avot, a book of the Mishnah

 It’s important to remember that in the Torah, these words are never referred to as the Ten Commandments.   In rabbinical texts, they are referred to as Aseret ha-Dibrot. The words d’varim and dibrot come from the Hebrew root Dalet-Beit-Reish, meaning word, speak or thing; thus, the phrase is accurately translated as the Ten Sayings, the Ten Statements, the Ten Declarations, the Ten Words or even the Ten Things, but not as the Ten Commandments, which would be Aseret ha-Mitzvot.  The Aseret ha-Dibrot are not understood as individual mitzvot; rather, they are categories or classifications of mitzvot. Each of the 613 mitzvot can be subsumed under one of these ten categories, some in more obvious ways than others.

Let’s examine the Jewish version:

  1. Belief in G-d

This category is derived from the declaration in Ex. 20:2 beginning, “I am the L-rd, your G-d…”

  1. Prohibition of Improper Worship

This category is derived from Ex. 20:3-6, beginning, “You shall not have other gods…” It encompasses within it the prohibition against the worship of other gods as well as the prohibition of improper forms of worship of the one true G-d, such as worshiping G-d through an idol.

  1. Prohibition of Oaths

This category is derived from Ex. 20:7, beginning, “You shall not take the name of the L-rd your G-d in vain…” This includes prohibitions against perjury, breaking or delaying the performance of vows or promises, and speaking G-d’s name or swearing unnecessarily.

  1. Observance of Sacred Times

This category is derived from Ex. 20:8-11, beginning, “Remember the Sabbath day…” It encompasses all mitzvot related to Shabbat, holidays, or other sacred time.

  1. Respect for Parents and Teachers

This category is derived from Ex. 20:12, beginning, “Honor your father and mother…”

  1. Prohibition of Physically Harming a Person

This category is derived from Ex. 20:13, saying, “You shall not murder.”

  1. Prohibition of Sexual Immorality

This category is derived from Ex. 20:13, saying, “You shall not commit adultery.”

  1. Prohibition of Theft

This category is derived from Ex. 20:13, saying, “You shall not steal.” It includes within it both outright robbery as well as various forms of theft by deception and unethical business practices. It also includes kidnapping, which is essentially “stealing” a person.

  1. Prohibition of Harming a Person through Speech

This category is derived from Ex. 20:13, saying, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” It includes all forms of lashon ha-ra (sins relating to speech).

  1. Prohibition of Coveting

This category is derived from Ex. 20:14, beginning, “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house…”

Sources: “Essential Judaism” Robinson, George. 2016.


Kashrut: Jewish Dietary Laws


Whether you’re Jewish or not chances are you’ve heard of Jews keeping kosher or the Jewish laws called Kashrut. “Kashrut” comes from the Hebrew root Kaf-Shin-Reish, meaning fit, proper or correct.  It has come to refer more broadly to anything that is “above board” or “legit.” The basics which define the foods that are fit for consumption for a Jew are pretty simple:

  • Certain species of animals including their eggs and milk are permitted for consumption, while others are forbidden, notably pork and shellfish.
  • Meat and milk are never combined. Separate utensils are used for each, and a waiting period is observed between eating them.
  • Meat must come from animals that are slaughtered in a specific and painless manner known as shechitah, and certain parts of the animal including the blood must be removed.
  • Fruits, vegetables and grains are basically always kosher, but must be insect free. Wine or grape juice, however, must be certified kosher.
  • Since even a small trace of a non-kosher substance can render a food not kosher, all processed foods and eating establishments require certification by a reliable rabbi or kashrut supervision agency.

Of course during Pesach (Passover) there are additional dietary restrictions,, and many foods that are kosher for year-round use are not “kosher for Passover.” A bagel, for example, can be kosher for year-round use but is certainly not kosher for Passover. Foods that are kosher for Passover, however, are always kosher for year-round use.  Traditional Ashkenazic Jewish foods like knishes, bagels, blintzes, and matzah ball soup can all be non-kosher if not prepared in accordance with Jewish law. When a restaurant calls itself “kosher-style,” it usually means that the restaurant serves these traditional Jewish foods, and it almost invariably means that the food is not actually kosher

So why do Jews observe the laws at all?

Many modern Jews think that the laws of kashrut are simply primitive health regulations that have become obsolete with modern methods of food preparation. However, health is not the only reason for Jewish dietary laws. Many of the laws of kashrut have no known connection with health. To the best of our modern scientific knowledge, there is no reason why camel or rabbit meat, both forbidden, is any less healthy than cow or goat meat.  some of the health benefits to be derived from kashrut were not made obsolete by the refrigerator, such as there is some evidence that eating meat and dairy together interferes with digestion.

The short answer to why Jews observe these laws is: because the Torah says so. The Torah does not specify any reason for these laws and there is no need for any other reason. Some have suggested that the laws of kashrut fall into the category of “chukkim,” laws for which there is no reason. Jews show their obedience to G-d by following these laws even though they do not know the reason. Others have attempted to ascertain G-d’s reason for imposing these laws. Rabbi Hayim Halevy Donin suggests that the dietary laws are designed as a call to holiness. The ability to distinguish between right and wrong, good and evil, pure and defiled, the sacred and the profane, is important in Judaism and as such imposing rules on what you can and cannot eat ingrains that kind of self control, requiring us to learn to control even our most basic, primal instincts.  Furthermore he suggests that the laws of kashrut elevate the simple act of eating into a religious ritual.

Animals that may not be eaten:

Of the beasts of the earth you may eat any animal that has cloven hooves and chews its cud. (Lev. 11:3; Deut. 14:6)

Any land mammal that does not have both of these qualities is forbidden. The Torah specifies that the camel, the rock badger, the hare and the pig are not kosher because each lacks one of these two qualifications. Cattle, sheep, goats, deer and bison are kosher.

Of the things that are in the waters, you may eat anything that has fins and scales. (Lev. 11:9; Deut. 14:9)

Thus, shellfish such as lobsters, oysters, shrimp, clams and crabs are all forbidden. Fish like tuna, carp, salmon and herring are all permitted.

And these are they which ye shall have in abomination among the fowls; they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the ospray, And the vulture, and the kite after his kind; Every raven after his kind; And the owl, and the night hawk, and the cuckow, and the hawk after his kind,And the little owl, and the cormorant, and the great owl,And the swan, and the pelican, and the gier eagle, And the stork, the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat. (Lev. 11:13-19; Deut. 14:11-18)

As far as birds go thee Torah is less clear. The Torah provides a list of forbidden birds, but does not specify why these particular birds are forbidden. All of the birds on the list are birds of prey or scavengers, thus the rabbis inferred that this was the basis for the distinction. Other birds are permitted, such as chicken, geese, ducks and turkeys.

All winged swarming things that go upon all fours are a detestable thing unto you.  Yet these may ye eat of all winged swarming things that go upon all fours, which have jointed legs above their feet, wherewith to leap upon the earth;  even these of them ye may eat: the locust after its kinds, and the bald locust after its kinds, and the cricket after its kinds, and the grasshopper after its kinds.  But all winged swarming things, which have four feet, are a detestable thing unto you. (Lev. 11:20-22)

The Sages are no longer certain which ones they are, so all have been forbidden. There are communities that have a tradition about what species are permitted, and in those communities some insects are eaten.

Of the animals that move along the ground, these are unclean for you: the weasel, the rat, any kind of great lizard, the gecko, the monitor lizard, the wall lizard, the skink and the chameleon. (Lev. 11:29-30, 42-43)

Rodents, reptiles, amphibians, and insects, except as mentioned above, are all forbidden.

Any product derived from these forbidden animals, such as their milk, eggs, fat, or organs, also cannot be eaten of course. Rennet, an enzyme used to harden cheese, is often obtained from non-kosher animals, thus kosher hard cheese can be difficult to find.

Kosher Meat Processing:

If the place the Lord, your God, chooses to put His Name there, will be distant from you, you may slaughter of your cattle and of your sheep, which the Lord has given you, as I have commanded you, and you may eat in your cities, according to every desire of your soul. (Deut. 12:21)

You shall not eat any carcass. You may give it to the stranger who is in your cities, that he may eat it, or you may sell it to a foreigner; for you are a holy people to the Lord, your God. You shall not cook a kid in its mother’s milk. (Deut. 14:21)

If sheep and cattle were slaughtered for them, would it suffice for them? If all the fish of the sea were gathered for them, would it suffice for them? (Num. 11:22)

The mammals and birds that may be eaten must be processed in accordance with Jewish law. Jews may not eat animals that died of natural causes or that were killed by other animals. In addition, the animal must have no disease or flaws in the organs at the time of slaughter. These restrictions do not apply to fish; only to the flocks and herds

Ritual slaughter is known as shechitah, and the person who performs the slaughter is called a shochet, both from the Hebrew root Shin-Cheit-Teit. The method of slaughter is a quick, deep stroke across the throat with a perfectly sharp blade with no nicks or unevenness. This method is painless, causes unconsciousness within two seconds.  Another advantage of shechitah is that it ensures rapid, complete draining of the blood, which is necessary to render the meat kosher.  The shochet is not simply a butcher; he must be a pious man, well-trained in Jewish law, particularly as it relates to kashrut. In smaller, more remote communities, the rabbi and the shochet were often the same person.

And you shall not eat any blood in any of your dwelling places, whether from birds or from animals.  Any person who eats any blood, that soul shall be cut off from its people. (Lev. 7:26-27; Lev. 17:10-14)

The Torah prohibits consumption of blood.  This is the only dietary law that has a reason specified in Torah: we do not eat blood because the life of the animal (“soul”) is contained in the blood. This applies only to the blood of birds and mammals, not to fish blood. Thus, it is necessary to remove all blood from the flesh of kosher animals.

The remaining blood after slaughter must be removed, either by broiling or soaking and salting. Liver may only be made kosher by the broiling method, because it has so much blood in it and such complex blood vessels. This final process must be completed within 72 hours after slaughter, and before the meat is frozen or ground.  An egg that contains a blood spot may not be eaten.  The sciatic nerve and its adjoining blood vessels may not be eaten. The process of removing this nerve is time consuming and not cost-effective, so most American kosher slaughterers simply sell the hind quarters to non-kosher butchers.

Fruits and Vegetables:

All fruits and vegetables are kosher, but there are additional rules for grape products.  The restrictions on grape products derive from the laws against using products of idolatry. Wine was commonly used in the rituals of all ancient religions, and wine was routinely sanctified for pagan purposes while it was being processed. For this reason, use of wines and other grape products made by non-Jews was prohibited. For the most part, this rule only affects wine and grape juice, but some beers are not kosher because fruity beers made with grape products have become more common.

Separation of Meat and Dairy:

The choicest of the first fruits of your soil you shall bring to the house of the Lord, your God. You shall not cook a kid in its mother’s milk. (Ex. 23:19; Ex. 34:26; Deut. 14:21)

The Torah explains that this passage prohibits eating meat and dairy together.

The rabbis extended this prohibition to include not eating milk and poultry together. In addition, the Talmud prohibits cooking meat and fish together or serving them on the same plates.  It is, however, permissible to eat fish and dairy together with lox and cream cheese being a prime example. It is also permissible to eat dairy and eggs together.

This separation includes not only the foods themselves, but the utensils, pots and pans with which they are cooked, the plates and flatware from which they are eaten, the dishwashers or dishpans in which they are cleaned, the sponges with which they are cleaned and the towels with which they are dried. A kosher household will have at least two sets of pots, pans and dishes: one for meat and one for dairy.  One must wait a significant amount of time between eating meat and dairy. Opinions differ and vary from three to six hours after meat.

How many Jews keep kosher?

According to the 2000 National Jewish Population Survey (NJPS), 21% of American Jews report that they keep kosher in the home. This includes the vast majority of people who identify themselves as Orthodox, as well as many Conservative and Reconstructionist Jews and some Reform Jews.

Part of that 21% keeps kosher at home, but eat non-kosher food out of the home in varying  degrees. Some will eat cooked food in a restaurant or a non-kosher home, as long as the meal is either vegetarian or uses only kosher meat and no dairy products. Some will eat non-kosher meat in restaurants, but only if the meat comes from a kosher animal and is not served with dairy products. Some will go…whole hog and eat bacon out of the home while keeping a strictly kosher household.

“Everyone who keeps kosher will tell you that his version is the only correct version. Everyone else is either a fanatic or a heretic.”

~ Rabbi Jack Moline, “Growing Up Jewish” 1987

Sources: “Essential Judaism” Robinson, George. 2016. “Growing Up Jewish” Moline, Jack. 1987

The 613 Mitzvot (Commandments): An Overview and List


The Talmud instructs (Tractate Makkot 23b) that there are 613 commandments (mitzvot) in the Torah; 248 Positive Commandments (do’s) and 365 Negative Commandments (do not’s). However, the Talmud does not provide us with a list of these commandments.

Several Jewish scholars have compiled a complete listing of these mitzvahs, although they all agree on the vast majority of the commandments, they do disagree concerning a number of them. They do not disagree over any actual commandment whether it is mandatory or forbidden they only disagree whether certain commandments are independent commandments, or perhaps they are part of another commandment and are not counted on their own.

The following list follows the opinion of Maimonides (1135-1204), as he lists them in his magnum opus, the Mishneh Torah. It must be noted that many of these commandments (sacrifices, etc.) are not practicable as long as there is no Temple in Jerusalem.

The Full List of the Mitzvot

  1. To know there is a G‑d—Exodus 20:2
  2. Not to entertain thoughts of other gods besides Him—Exodus 20:3
  3. To know that He is one—Deuteronomy 6:4
  4. To love Him—Deuteronomy 6:5
  5. To fear Him—Deuteronomy 10:20
  6. To sanctify His Name—Leviticus 22:32
  7. Not to profane His Name—Leviticus 22:32
  8. Not to destroy objects associated with His Name—Deuteronomy 12:4
  9. To listen to the prophet speaking in His Name—Deuteronomy 18:15
  10. Not to test the prophet unduly—Deuteronomy 6:16
  11. To emulate His ways—Deuteronomy 28:9
  12. To cleave to those who know Him—Deuteronomy 10:20
  13. To love other Jews—Leviticus 19:18
  14. To love converts—Deuteronomy 10:19
  15. Not to hate fellow Jews—Leviticus 19:17
  16. To reprove wrongdoers—Leviticus 19:17
  17. Not to embarrass others—Leviticus 19:17
  18. Not to oppress the weak—Exodus 22:21
  19. Not to gossip about others—Leviticus 19:16
  20. Not to take revenge—Leviticus 19:18
  21. Not to bear a grudge—Leviticus 19:18
  22. To learn Torah and teach it—Deuteronomy 6:7
  23. To honor those who teach and know Torah—Leviticus 19:32
  24. Not to inquire into idolatry—Leviticus 19:4
  25. Not to follow the whims of your heart or what your eyes see—Numbers 15:39
  26. Not to blaspheme—Exodus 22:27
  27. Not to worship idols in the manner they are worshiped—Exodus 20:5
  28. Not to bow down to idols—Exodus 20:5
  29. Not to make an idol for yourself—Exodus 20:4
  30. Not to make an idol for others—Leviticus 19:4
  31. Not to make human forms even for decorative purposes—Exodus 20:20
  32. Not to turn a city to idolatry—Exodus 23:13
  33. To burn a city that has turned to idol worship—Deuteronomy 13:17
  34. Not to rebuild it as a city—Deuteronomy 13:17
  35. Not to derive benefit from it—Deuteronomy 13:18
  36. Not to missionize an individual to idol worship—Deuteronomy 13:12
  37. Not to love the missionary—Deuteronomy 13:9
  38. Not to cease hating the missionary—Deuteronomy 13:9
  39. Not to save the missionary—Deuteronomy 13:9
  40. Not to say anything in his defense—Deuteronomy 13:9
  41. Not to refrain from incriminating him—Deuteronomy 13:9
  42. Not to prophesize in the name of idolatry—Deuteronomy 18:20
  43. Not to listen to a false prophet—Deuteronomy 13:4
  44. Not to prophesize falsely in the name of G‑d—Deuteronomy 18:20
  45. Not to be afraid of killing the false prophet—Deuteronomy 18:22
  46. Not to swear in the name of an idol—Exodus 23:13
  47. Not to perform Ov (medium)–Leviticus 19:31
  48. Not to perform Yidoni (magical seer)–Leviticus 19:31
  49. Not to pass your children through the fire to Molech—Leviticus 18:21
  50. Not to erect a column in a public place of worship—Deuteronomy 16:22
  51. Not to bow down on smooth stone—Leviticus 26:1
  52. Not to plant a tree in the Temple courtyard—Deuteronomy 16:21
  53. To destroy idols and their accessories—Deuteronomy 12:2
  54. Not to derive benefit from idols and their accessories—Deuteronomy 7:26
  55. Not to derive benefit from ornaments of idols—Deuteronomy 7:25
  56. Not to make a covenant with idolaters—Deuteronomy 7:2
  57. Not to show favor to them—Deuteronomy 7:2
  58. Not to let them dwell in our land—Exodus 23:33
  59. Not to imitate them in customs and clothing—Leviticus 20:23
  60. Not to be superstitious—Leviticus 19:26
  61. Not to go into a trance to foresee events, etc.–Deuteronomy 18:10
  62. Not to engage in astrology—Leviticus 19:26
  63. Not to mutter incantations—Deuteronomy 18:11
  64. Not to attempt to engage the dead in conversation—Deuteronomy 18:11
  65. Not to consult the Ov—Deuteronomy 18:11
  66. Not to consult the Yidoni—Deuteronomy 18:11
  67. Not to perform acts of magic—Deuteronomy 18:10
  68. Men must not shave the hair off the sides of their head—Leviticus 19:27
  69. Men must not shave their beards with a razor—Leviticus 19:27
  70. Men must not wear women’s clothing—Deuteronomy 22:5
  71. Women must not wear men’s clothing—Deuteronomy 22:5
  72. Not to tattoo the skin—Leviticus 19:28
  73. Not to tear the skin in mourning—Deuteronomy 14:1
  74. Not to make a bald spot in mourning—Deuteronomy 14:1
  75. To repent and confess wrongdoings—Numbers 5:7
  76. To say the Shema twice daily—Deuteronomy 6:7
  77. To serve the Almighty with prayer daily—Exodus 23:25
  78. The Kohanim must bless the Jewish nation daily—Numbers 6:23
  79. To wear Tefillin on the head—Deuteronomy 6:8
  80. To bind tefillin on the arm—Deuteronomy 6:8
  81. To put a Mezuzah on each door post—Deuteronomy 6:9
  82. To write a Sefer Torah—Deuteronomy 31:19
  83. The king must have a separate Sefer Torah for himself—Deuteronomy 17:18
  84. To have Tzitzit on four-cornered garments—Numbers 15:38
  85. To bless the Almighty after eating—Deuteronomy 8:10
  86. To circumcise all males on the eighth day after their birth—Leviticus 12:3
  87. To rest on the seventh day—Exodus 23:12
  88. Not to do prohibited labor on the seventh day—Exodus 20:10
  89. The court must not inflict punishment on Shabbat—Exodus 35:3
  90. Not to walk more than 2000 cubits outside the city boundary on Shabbat—Exodus 16:29
  91. To sanctify the day with Kiddush and Havdalah—Exodus 20:8
  92. To rest from prohibited labor on Yom Kippur—Leviticus 23:32
  93. Not to do prohibited labor on Yom Kippur—Leviticus 23:31
  94. To afflict yourself on Yom Kippur—Leviticus 16:29
  95. Not to eat or drink on Yom Kippur—Leviticus 23:29
  96. To rest on the first day of Passover—Leviticus 23:8
  97. Not to do prohibited labor on the first day of Passover—Leviticus 23:8
  98. To rest on the seventh day of Passover—Leviticus 23:8
  99. Not to do prohibited labor on the seventh day of Passover—Leviticus 23:8
  100. To rest on Shavuot—Leviticus 23:21
  101. Not to do prohibited labor on Shavuot—Leviticus 23:21
  102. To rest on Rosh Hashanah—Leviticus 23:24
  103. Not to do prohibited labor on Rosh Hashanah—Leviticus 23:25
  104. To rest on Sukkot—Leviticus 23:35
  105. Not to do prohibited labor on Sukkot—Leviticus 23:35
  106. To rest on Shemini Atzeret—Leviticus 23:36
  107. Not to do prohibited labor on Shemini Atzeret—Leviticus 23:36
  108. Not to eat Chametz on the afternoon of the 14th day of Nissan—Deuteronomy 16:3
  109. To destroy all Chametz on 14th day of Nissan—Exodus 12:15
  110. Not to eat Chametz all seven days of Passover—Exodus 13:3
  111. Not to eat mixtures containing Chametz all seven days of Passover—Exodus 12:20
  112. Chametz should not be seen in your domain seven days—Exodus 13:7
  113. Chametz should not be found in your domain seven days—Exodus 12:19
  114. To eat Matzah on the first night of Passover—Exodus 12:18
  115. To relate the Exodus from Egypt on that night—Exodus 13:8
  116. To hear the Shofar on the first day of Tishrei (Rosh Hashanah)–Numbers 29:1
  117. To dwell in a Sukkah for the seven days of Sukkot—Leviticus 23:42
  118. To take up a Lulav and Etrog all seven days of Sukkot—Leviticus 23:40
  119. Each man must give a half shekel annually—Exodus 30:13
  120. Courts must calculate to determine when a new month begins—Exodus 12:2
  121. To afflict and cry out before G‑d in times of catastrophe—Numbers 10:9
  122. To marry a wife by the means prescribed in the Torah (kiddushin)–Deuteronomy 24:1
  123. Not to have relations with women not thus married—Deuteronomy 23:18
  124. Not to withhold food, clothing, and sexual relations from your wife—Exodus 21:10
  125. To have children with one’s wife—Genesis 1:28
  126. To issue a divorce by means of a Get document—Deuteronomy 24:1
  127. A man must not remarry his wife after she has married someone else—Deuteronomy 24:4
  128. To do Yibum (marry childless brother’s widow)–Deuteronomy 25:5
  129. To do Chalitzah (freeing a widow from yibum)–Deuteronomy 25:9
  130. The widow must not remarry until the ties with her brother-in-law are removed—Deuteronomy 25:5
  131. The court must fine one who seduces a maiden—Exodus 22:15-16
  132. The rapist must marry the maiden (if she chooses)–Deuteronomy 22:29
  133. He is not allowed to divorce her—Deuteronomy 22:29
  134. The slanderer must remain married to the wife he slandered—Deuteronomy 22:19
  135. He must not divorce her—Deuteronomy 22:19
  136. To fulfill the laws of the woman suspected of adultery (Sotah)–Numbers 5:30
  137. Not to put oil on her meal offering—Numbers 5:15
  138. Not to put frankincense on her Meal Offering—Numbers 5:15
  139. Not to have sexual relations with your mother—Leviticus 18:7
  140. Not to have sexual relations with your father’s wife—Leviticus 18:8
  141. Not to have sexual relations with your sister—Leviticus 18:9
  142. Not to have sexual relations with your father’s wife’s daughter (from your father)–Leviticus 18:11
  143. Not to have sexual relations with your son’s daughter—Leviticus 18:10
  144. Not to have sexual relations with your daughter—Leviticus 18:10
  145. Not to have sexual relations with your daughter’s daughter—Leviticus 18:10
  146. Not to marry a woman and her daughter—Leviticus 18:17
  147. Not to marry a woman and her son’s daughter—Leviticus 18:17
  148. Not to marry a woman and her daughter’s daughter—Leviticus 18:17
  149. Not to have sexual relations with your father’s sister—Leviticus 18:12
  150. Not to have sexual relations with your mother’s sister—Leviticus 18:13
  151. Not to have sexual relations with your father’s brother’s wife—Leviticus 18:14
  152. Not to have sexual relations with your son’s wife—Leviticus 18:15
  153. Not to have sexual relations with your brother’s wife—Leviticus 18:16
  154. Not to have sexual relations with your wife’s sister—Leviticus 18:18
  155. A man must not have sexual relations with a beast—Leviticus 18:23
  156. A woman must not have sexual relations with a beast—Leviticus 18:23
  157. Not to have homosexual sexual relations—Leviticus 18:22
  158. Not to have homosexual sexual relations with your father—Leviticus 18:7
  159. Not to have homosexual sexual relations with your father’s brother—Leviticus 18:14
  160. Not to have sexual relations with a married woman—Leviticus 18:20
  161. Not to have sexual relations with a menstrually impure woman—Leviticus 18:19
  162. Not to marry non-Jews—Deuteronomy 7:3
  163. Not to let Moabite and Ammonite males marry into the Jewish people—Deuteronomy 23:4
  164. Don’t keep a third generation Egyptian convert from marrying into the Jewish
    people—Deuteronomy 23:8-9
  165. Not to refrain from marrying a third generation Edomite convert—Deuteronomy 23:8-9
  166. Not to let a Mamzer (“bastard”) marry into the Jewish people—Deuteronomy 23:3
  167. Not to let a eunuch marry into the Jewish people—Deuteronomy 23:2
  168. Not to castrate any male (including animals)–Leviticus 22:24
  169. The High Priest must not marry a widow—Leviticus 21:14
  170. The High Priest must not have sexual relations with a widow even outside of marriage—Leviticus 21:14
  171. The High Priest must marry a virgin maiden—Leviticus 21:13
  172. A Kohen must not marry a divorcee—Leviticus 21:7
  173. A Kohen must not marry a zonah (a woman who had forbidden relations)–Leviticus 21:7
  174. A Kohen must not marry a chalalah (party to or product of 169-172)–Leviticus 21:7
  175. Not to make pleasurable (sexual) contact with any forbidden woman—Leviticus 18:6
  176. To examine the signs of animals to distinguish between Kosher and non-kosher—Leviticus 11:2
  177. To examine the signs of fowl to distinguish between kosher and non-kosher—Deuteronomy 14:11
  178. To examine the signs of fish to distinguish between kosher and non-kosher—Leviticus 11:9
  179. To examine the signs of locusts to distinguish between kosher and non-kosher—Leviticus 11:21
  180. Not to eat non-kosher animals—Leviticus 11:4
  181. Not to eat non-kosher fowl—Leviticus 11:13
  182. Not to eat non-kosher fish—Leviticus 11:11
  183. Not to eat non-kosher flying insects—Deuteronomy 14:19
  184. Not to eat non-kosher creatures that crawl on land—Leviticus 11:41
  185. Not to eat non-kosher maggots—Leviticus 11:44
  186. Not to eat worms found in fruit once they have left the fruit—Leviticus 11:42
  187. Not to eat creatures that live in water other than fish—Leviticus 11:43
  188. Not to eat the meat of an animal that died without ritual slaughter—Deuteronomy 14:21
  189. Not to benefit from an beast condemned to be stoned—Exodus 21:28
  190. Not to eat meat of an animal that was mortally wounded—Exodus 22:30
  191. Not to eat a limb torn off a living creature—Deuteronomy 12:23
  192. Not to eat blood—Leviticus 3:17
  193. Not to eat certain fats of kosher animals—Leviticus 3:17
  194. Not to eat the sinew of the thigh—Genesis. 32:33
  195. Not to eat meat and milk cooked together—Exodus 23:19
  196. Not to cook meat and milk together—Exodus 34:26
  197. Not to eat bread from new grain before the Omer—Leviticus 23:14
  198. Not to eat parched grains from new grain before the Omer—Leviticus 23:14
  199. Not to eat ripened grains from new grain before the Omer—Leviticus 23:14
  200. Not to eat fruit of a tree during its first three years—Leviticus 19:23
  201. Not to eat diverse seeds planted in a vineyard—Deuteronomy 22:9
  202. Not to eat untithed fruits—Leviticus 22:15
  203. Not to drink wine poured in service to idols—Deuteronomy 32:38
  204. To ritually slaughter an animal before eating it—Deuteronomy 12:21
  205. Not to slaughter an animal and its offspring on the same day—Leviticus 22:28
  206. To cover the blood (of a slaughtered beast or fowl) with earth—Leviticus 17:13
  207. Not to take the mother bird from her children—Deuteronomy 22:6
  208. To release the mother bird before taking the children—Deuteronomy 22:7
  209. Not to swear falsely in G‑d’s Name—Leviticus 19:12
  210. Not to take G‑d’s Name in vain—Exodus 20:7
  211. Not to deny possession of something entrusted to you—Leviticus 19:11
  212. Not to swear falsely in denial of a monetary claim—Leviticus 19:11
  213. To swear in G‑d’s Name to confirm the truth when deemed necessary by court—Deuteronomy 10:20
  214. To fulfill what was uttered and to do what was avowed—Deuteronomy 23:24
  215. Not to break oaths or vows—Numbers 30:3
  216. For oaths and vows annulled, there are the laws of annulling vows explicit in the Torah—Numbers 30:3
  217. The Nazir must let his hair grow—Numbers 6:5
  218. He must not cut his hair—Numbers 6:5
  219. He must not drink wine, wine mixtures, or wine vinegar—Numbers 6:3
  220. He must not eat fresh grapes—Numbers 6:3
  221. He must not eat raisins—Numbers 6:3
  222. He must not eat grape seeds—Numbers 6:4
  223. He must not eat grape skins—Numbers 6:4
  224. He must not be under the same roof as a corpse—Numbers 6:6
  225. He must not come into contact with the dead—Numbers 6:7
  226. He must shave after bringing sacrifices upon completion of his Nazirite period—Numbers 6:18
  227. To estimate the value of people (when someone pledges a person’s worth) as determined by the Torah—Leviticus 27:2
  228. To estimate the value of consecrated animals—Leviticus 27:12-13
  229. To estimate the value of consecrated houses—Leviticus 27:14
  230. To estimate the value of consecrated fields—Leviticus 27:16
  231. Carry out the laws of interdicting possessions (cherem)–Leviticus 27:28
  232. Not to sell the cherem—Leviticus 27:28
  233. Not to redeem the cherem—Leviticus 27:28
  234. Not to plant diverse seeds together—Leviticus 19:19
  235. Not to plant grains or greens in a vineyard—Deuteronomy 22:9
  236. Not to crossbreed animals—Leviticus 19:19
  237. Not to work different animals together—Deuteronomy 22:10
  238. Not to wear Shatnez, a cloth woven of wool and linen—Deuteronomy 22:11
  239. To leave a corner of the field uncut for the poor—Leviticus 19:10
  240. Not to reap that corner—Leviticus 19:9
  241. To leave gleanings for The poor—Leviticus 19:9
  242. Not to gather the gleanings—Leviticus 19:9
  243. To leave the gleanings of a vineyard—Leviticus 19:10
  244. Not to gather the gleanings of a vineyard—Leviticus 19:10
  245. To leave the unformed clusters of grapes for the poor—Leviticus 19:10
  246. Not to pick the unformed clusters of grapes—Leviticus 19:10
  247. To leave the forgotten sheaves in the field for the poor—Deuteronomy 24:19
  248. Not to retrieve them—Deuteronomy 24:19
  249. To separate the tithe for the poor—Deuteronomy 14:28
  250. To give charity—Deuteronomy 15:11
  251. Not to withhold charity from the poor—Deuteronomy 15:7
  252. To set aside Terumah Gedolah (tithe for the Kohen)–Deuteronomy 18:4
  253. The Levite must set aside a tenth of his tithe for the Kohen—Numbers 18:26
  254. Not to improperly preface one tithe to the next, but separate them in their proper order—Exodus 22:28
  255. A non-Kohen must not eat Terumah—Leviticus 22:10
  256. A hired worker or a Jewish bondsman of a Kohen must not eat Terumah—Leviticus 22:10
  257. An uncircumcised Kohen must not eat Terumah—Exodus 12:48
  258. An impure Kohen must not eat Terumah—Leviticus 22:4
  259. A chalalah [see Mitzvah 174] must not eat Terumah—Leviticus 22:12
  260. To set aside Ma’aser (tithe) each planting year and give it to a Levite—Numbers 18:24
  261. To set aside the Second Tithe (which is to be eaten in Jerusalem)–Deuteronomy 14:22
  262. Not to spend its redemption money on anything but food, drink, or ointment—Deuteronomy 26:14
  263. Not to eat the Second Tithe while impure—Deuteronomy 26:14
  264. A mourner on the first day after death must not eat the Second Tithe —Deuteronomy 26:14
  265. Not to eat Second Tithe grains outside Jerusalem—Deuteronomy 12:17
  266. Not to eat Second Tithe wine products outside Jerusalem—Deuteronomy 12:17
  267. Not to eat Second Tithe oil outside Jerusalem—Deuteronomy 12:17
  268. The fourth year crops must be totally for holy purposes like the Second Tithe—Leviticus 19:24
  269. To read the confession of tithes every fourth and seventh year—Deuteronomy 26:13
  270. To set aside the first fruits and bring them to the Temple—Exodus 23:19
  271. The Kohanim must not eat the first fruits outside Jerusalem—Deuteronomy 12:17
  272. To read the Torah Portion pertaining to their presentation—Deuteronomy 26:5
  273. To set aside a portion of dough for a Kohen—Numbers 15:20
  274. To give the shoulder, two cheeks, and stomach of slaughtered animals to a Kohen—Deuteronomy 18:3
  275. To give the first sheering of sheep to a Kohen—Deuteronomy 18:4
  276. To redeem the firstborn sons and give the money to a Kohen—Numbers 18:15
  277. To redeem the firstborn donkey by giving a lamb to a Kohen—Exodus 13:13
  278. To break the neck of the donkey if the owner does not intend to redeem it—Exodus 13:13
  279. To rest the land during the seventh year by not doing any work which enhances growth—Exodus 34:21
  280. Not to work the land during the seventh year—Leviticus 25:4
  281. Not to work with trees to produce fruit during that year—Leviticus 25:4
  282. Not to reap crops that grow wild that year in the normal manner—Leviticus 25:5
  283. Not to gather grapes which grow wild that year in the normal way—Leviticus 25:5
  284. To leave free all produce which grew in that year—Exodus 23:11
  285. To release all loans during the seventh year—Deuteronomy 15:3
  286. Not to pressure or claim from the borrower—Deuteronomy 15:2
  287. Not to refrain from lending immediately before the release of the loans for fear of monetary loss—Deuteronomy 15:9
  288. The Sanhedrin must count seven groups of seven years—Leviticus 25:8
  289. The Sanhedrin must sanctify the fiftieth (Jubilee) year—Leviticus 25:10
  290. To blow the Shofar on the tenth of Tishrei (Yom Kippur of the Jubilee year) to free the slaves—Leviticus 25:9
  291. Not to work the soil during the fiftieth year—Leviticus 25:11
  292. Not to reap in the normal manner that which grows wild in the fiftieth year—Leviticus 25:11
  293. Not to pick grapes which grew wild in the normal manner in the fiftieth year—Leviticus 25:11
  294. Carry out the laws of sold family properties—Leviticus 25:24
  295. Not to sell the land in Israel indefinitely—Leviticus 25:23
  296. Carry out the laws of houses in walled cities—Leviticus 25:29
  297. The Tribe of Levi must not be given a portion of the land in Israel, rather they are given cities to dwell in—Deuteronomy 18:2
  298. The Levites must not take a share in the spoils of war—Deuteronomy 18:1
  299. To give the Levites cities to inhabit and their surrounding fields—Numbers 35:2
  300. Not to sell the fields but they shall remain the Levites’ before and after the Jubilee year—Leviticus 25:34
  301. To build a Sanctuary (Holy Temple)–Exodus 25:8
  302. Not to build the altar with stones hewn by metal—Exodus 20:22
  303. Not to climb steps to the altar—Exodus 20:23
  304. To show reverence for the Temple—Leviticus 19:30
  305. To guard the Temple area—Numbers 18:3
  306. Not to leave the Temple unguarded—Numbers 18:5
  307. To prepare the anointing oil—Exodus 30:31
  308. Not to reproduce the anointing oil (for personal use)–Exodus 30:32
  309. Not to anoint with anointing oil (a non-Kohen or non-king)–Exodus 30:32
  310. Not to reproduce the incense formula (for personal use)–Exodus 30:37
  311. Not to burn anything on the Golden Altar besides incense—Exodus 30:9
  312. The Levites must transport the ark on their shoulders—Numbers 7:9
  313. Not to remove the staves from the ark—Exodus 25:15
  314. The Levites must work in the Temple—Numbers 18:23
  315. No Levite must do another’s work of either a Kohen or a Levite—Numbers 18:3
  316. To dedicate the Kohen for service—Leviticus 21:8
  317. The Kohen work shifts must be equal during holidays—Deuteronomy 18:6-8
  318. The Kohanim must wear their priestly garments during service—Exodus 28:2
  319. Not to tear the priestly garments—Exodus 28:32
  320. The High Priest’s breastplate must not be loosened from the Efod (priestly apron)–Exodus 28:28
  321. A Kohen must not enter the Temple intoxicated—Leviticus 10:9
  322. A Kohen must not enter the Temple with long hair—Leviticus 10:6
  323. A Kohen must not enter the Temple with torn clothes—Leviticus 10:6
  324. A Kohen must not enter the sanctuary of the Temple indiscriminately—Leviticus 16:2
  325. A Kohen must not leave the Temple during service—Leviticus 10:7
  326. To send the impure from the Temple—Numbers 5:2
  327. Impure people must not enter the Temple—Numbers 5:3
  328. [Certain] impure people must not enter [even] the Temple Mount area—Deuteronomy 23:11
  329. Impure Kohanim must not do service in the temple—Leviticus 22:2
  330. An impure Kohen, following immersion, must wait until after sundown before returning to service—Leviticus 21:6
  331. A Kohen must wash his hands and feet before service—Exodus 30:19
  332. A Kohen with a physical blemish must not enter the sanctuary or approach the altar—Leviticus 21:23
  333. A Kohen with a physical blemish must not serve—Leviticus 21:17
  334. A Kohen with a temporary blemish must not serve—Leviticus 21:18
  335. One who is not a Kohen must not serve—Numbers 18:4
  336. To offer only unblemished animals—Leviticus 22:21
  337. Not to dedicate a blemished animal for the altar—Leviticus 22:20
  338. Not to slaughter it—Leviticus 22:22
  339. Not to sprinkle its blood—Leviticus 22:24
  340. Not to burn its fat—Leviticus 22:22
  341. Not to offer a temporarily blemished animal—Deuteronomy 17:1
  342. Not to sacrifice blemished animals even if offered by non-Jews—Leviticus 22:25
  343. Not to inflict wounds upon dedicated animals—Leviticus 22:21
  344. To redeem dedicated animals which have become disqualified—Deuteronomy 12:15
  345. To offer only animals which are at least eight days old—Leviticus 22:27
  346. Not to offer animals bought with the wages of a harlot or the animal exchanged for a dog—Deuteronomy 23:19
  347. Not to burn honey or yeast on the altar—Leviticus 2:11
  348. To salt all sacrifices—Leviticus 2:13
  349. Not to omit the salt from sacrifices—Leviticus 2:13
  350. Carry out the procedure of the burnt offering as prescribed in the Torah—Leviticus 1:3
  351. Not to eat its meat—Deuteronomy 12:17
  352. Carry out the procedure of the sin offering—Leviticus 6:18
  353. Not to eat the meat of the inner sin offering—Leviticus 6:23
  354. Not to decapitate a fowl brought as a sin offering—Leviticus 5:8
  355. Carry out the procedure of the guilt offering—Leviticus 7:1
  356. The Kohanim must eat the sacrificial meat in the Temple—Exodus 29:33
  357. The Kohanim must not eat the meat outside the Temple courtyard—Deuteronomy 12:17
  358. A non-Kohen must not eat [certain] sacrificial meats—Exodus 29:33
  359. To follow the procedure of the peace offering—Leviticus 7:11
  360. Not to eat the meat of minor sacrifices before sprinkling the blood—Deuteronomy 12:17
  361. To bring meal offerings as prescribed in the Torah—Leviticus 2:1
  362. Not to put oil on the meal offerings of wrongdoers—Leviticus 5:11
  363. Not to put frankincense on the meal offerings of wrongdoers—Leviticus 5:11
  364. The meal offering of a Priest should not be eaten—Leviticus 6:16
  365. Not to bake a meal offering as leavened bread—Leviticus 6:10
  366. The Kohanim must eat the remains of the meal offerings—Leviticus 6:9
  367. To bring all avowed and freewill offerings to the Temple on the first subsequent festival—Deuteronomy 12:5-6
  368. Not to withhold payment incurred by any vow—Deuteronomy 23:22
  369. To offer all sacrifices in the Temple—Deuteronomy 12:11
  370. To bring all sacrifices from outside Israel to the Temple—Deuteronomy 12:26
  371. Not to slaughter sacrifices outside the courtyard—Leviticus 17:4
  372. Not to offer any sacrifices outside the courtyard—Deuteronomy 12:13
  373. To offer two lambs every day—Numbers 28:3
  374. To light a fire on the altar every day—Leviticus 6:5
  375. Not to extinguish this fire—Leviticus 6:5
  376. To remove the ashes from the altar every day—Leviticus 6:3
  377. To burn incense every day—Exodus 30:7
  378. To light the Menorah every day—Exodus 27:21
  379. The High Priest must bring a meal offering every day—Leviticus 6:13
  380. To bring two additional lambs as burnt offerings on Shabbat—Numbers 28:9
  381. To make the show bread—Exodus 25:30
  382. To bring additional offerings on the New Month (Rosh Chodesh)–Numbers 28:11
  383. To bring additional offerings on Passover—Numbers 28:19
  384. To offer the wave offering from the meal of the new wheat (on the 2nd day of Passover)–Leviticus 23:10
  385. Each man must count the Omer — seven weeks from the day the new wheat offering was brought—Leviticus 23:15
  386. To bring additional offerings on Shavuot—Numbers 28:26
  387. To bring two loaves to accompany the above sacrifice—Leviticus 23:18
  388. To bring additional offerings on Rosh Hashanah—Numbers 29:2
  389. To bring additional offerings on Yom Kippur—Numbers 29:8
  390. To bring additional offerings on Sukkot—Numbers 29:13
  391. To bring additional offerings on Shmini Atzeret—Numbers 29:35
  392. Not to eat sacrifices which have become unfit or blemished—Deuteronomy 14:3
  393. Not to eat from sacrifices offered with improper intentions—Leviticus 7:18
  394. Not to leave sacrifices past the time allowed for eating them—Leviticus 22:30
  395. Not to eat from that which was left over—Leviticus 19:8
  396. Not to eat from sacrifices which became impure—Leviticus 7:19
  397. An impure person must not eat from sacrifices—Leviticus 7:20
  398. To burn the leftover sacrifices—Leviticus 7:17
  399. To burn all impure sacrifices—Leviticus 7:19
  400. To follow the procedure of Yom Kippur in the sequence prescribed in the Torah—Leviticus 16:3
  401. One who profaned holy property must repay what he profaned plus a fifth and bring a sacrifice—Leviticus 5:16
  402. Not to work consecrated animals—Deuteronomy 15:19
  403. Not to shear the fleece of consecrated animals—Deuteronomy 15:19
  404. To slaughter the Paschal sacrifice at the specified time—Exodus 12:6
  405. Not to slaughter it while in possession of leaven—Exodus 23:18
  406. Not to leave the fat overnight—Exodus 23:18
  407. To slaughter the second Paschal Lamb—Numbers 9:11
  408. To eat the Paschal Lamb with Matzah and Maror on the night of the 15th of Nissan—Exodus 12:8
  409. To eat the second Paschal Lamb on the night of the 15th of Iyar—Numbers 9:11
  410. Not to eat the Paschal meat raw or boiled—Exodus 12:9
  411. Not to take the Paschal meat from the confines of its group—Exodus 12:46
  412. An apostate must not eat from it—Exodus 12:43
  413. A permanent or temporary [non-Jewish] hired worker must not eat from it—Exodus 12:45
  414. An uncircumcised male must not eat from it—Exodus 12:48
  415. Not to break any bones from the Paschal offering—Exodus 12:46
  416. Not to break any bones from the second Paschal offering—Numbers 9:12
  417. Not to leave any meat from the Paschal offering over until morning—Exodus 12:10
  418. Not to leave the second Paschal meat over until morning—Numbers 9:12
  419. Not to leave the meat of the holiday offering of the 14th until the 16th—Deuteronomy 16:4
  420. To be seen at the Temple on Passover, Shavuot, and Sukkot—Deuteronomy 16:16
  421. To celebrate on these three Festivals (by bringing a offering)–Exodus 23:14
  422. To rejoice on these three Festivals—Deuteronomy 16:14
  423. Not to appear at the Temple without offerings—Deuteronomy 16:16
  424. Not to refrain from rejoicing with, and giving gifts to, the Levites—Deuteronomy 12:19
  425. To assemble all the people on the Sukkot following the seventh year [the king publicly reads portions of the Torah]–Deuteronomy 31:12
  426. To set aside the firstborn animals [to be eaten by the Kohanim, and sacrificed unless they are blemished]–Exodus 13:12
  427. The Kohanim must not eat unblemished firstborn animals outside Jerusalem—Deuteronomy 12:17
  428. Not to redeem the firstborn—Numbers 18:17
  429. Separate the tithe from animals [to be eaten by the Kohanim, and sacrificed unless they are blemished]–Leviticus 27:32
  430. Not to redeem the tithe—Leviticus 27:33
  431. Every person must bring a sin offering for his transgression—Leviticus 4:27
  432. Bring an asham talui offering when uncertain of guilt—Leviticus 5:17-18
  433. Bring an asham vadai offering [for certain sins] when guilt is ascertained—Leviticus 5:25
  434. Bring an oleh v’yored offering (if the person is wealthy, an animal; if poor, a bird or meal offering) [for certain sins]–Leviticus 5:7-11
  435. The Sanhedrin must bring an offering when it rules in error—Leviticus 4:13
  436. A woman who had a running issue must bring an offering after she goes to the Mikvah—Leviticus 15:28-29
  437. A woman who gave birth must bring an offering after she goes to the Mikvah—Leviticus 12:6
  438. A man who had a running issue must bring an offering after he goes to the Mikvah—Leviticus 15:13-14
  439. A metzora (“leprous” person — see According to the Torah is Leprosy a hygienic problem or is it something spiritual and miraculous?) must bring an offering after going to the Mikvah—Leviticus 14:10
  440. Not to substitute another beast for one set apart for sacrifice—Leviticus 27:10
  441. The new animal, in addition to the substituted one, retains consecration—Leviticus 27:10
  442. Not to change consecrated animals from one type of offering to another—Leviticus 27:26
  443. Carry out the laws of impurity of the dead—Numbers 19:14
  444. Carry out the procedure of the Red Heifer—Numbers 19:9
  445. Carry out the laws of the sprinkling water [of the Red Heifer]–Numbers 19:21
  446. Rule the laws of human tzara’at (Leprosy, see Mitzvah 439) as prescribed in the Torah—Leviticus 13:12
  447. The metzora (leper) must not remove his signs of impurity—Deuteronomy 24:8
  448. The metzora must not shave signs of impurity in his hair—Leviticus 13:33
  449. The metzora must publicize his condition by tearing his garments, allowing his hair to grow and covering his mustache—Leviticus 13:45
  450. Carry out the prescribed rules for purifying the metzora—Leviticus 14:2
  451. The metzora must shave off all his hair prior to purification—Leviticus 14:9
  452. Carry out the laws of “leprous” clothing—Leviticus 13:47
  453. Carry out the laws of leprous houses—Leviticus 14:35
  454. Observe the laws of menstrual impurity—Leviticus 15:19
  455. Observe the laws of impurity caused by childbirth—Leviticus 12:2
  456. Observe the laws of impurity caused by a woman’s running issue—Leviticus 15:25
  457. Observe the laws of impurity caused by a man’s running issue (irregular ejaculation of infected semen)–Leviticus 15:3
  458. Observe the laws of impurity caused by a dead beast—Leviticus 11:39
  459. Observe the laws of impurity caused by the eight shratzim (rodents, amphibious creatures, and lizards) [specified in the Torah]–Leviticus 11:29
  460. Observe the laws of impurity of a seminal emission (regular ejaculation, with normal semen)–Leviticus 15:16
  461. Observe the laws of impurity concerning liquid and solid foods—Leviticus 11:34
  462. Every impure person must immerse himself in a Mikvah to become pure—Leviticus 15:16
  463. The court must judge the damages incurred by a goring beast—Exodus 21:28
  464. The court must judge the damages incurred by an animal eating—Exodus 22:4
  465. The court must judge the damages incurred by a pit—Exodus 21:33
  466. The court must judge the damages incurred by fire—Exodus 22:5
  467. Not to steal money stealthily—Leviticus 19:11
  468. The court must implement punitive measures against the thief—Exodus 21:37
  469. Each individual must ensure that his scales and weights are accurate—Leviticus 19:36
  470. Not to commit injustice with scales and weights—Leviticus 19:35
  471. Not to possess inaccurate scales and weights even if they are not for use—Deuteronomy 25:13
  472. Not to move a boundary marker to steal someone’s property—Deuteronomy 19:14
  473. Not to kidnap—Exodus 20:13
  474. Not to rob—Leviticus 19:13
  475. Not to withhold wages or fail to repay a debt—Leviticus 19:13
  476. Not to covet and scheme to acquire another’s possession—Exodus 20:14
  477. Not to desire another’s possession—Deuteronomy 5:18
  478. Return the robbed object or its value—Leviticus 5:23
  479. Not to ignore a lost object—Deuteronomy 22:3
  480. Return the lost object—Deuteronomy 22:1
  481. The court must implement laws against the one who assaults another or damages another’s property—Exodus 21:18
  482. Not to murder—Exodus 20:13
  483. Not to accept monetary restitution to atone for the murderer—Numbers 35:31
  484. The court must send the accidental murderer to a city of refuge—Numbers 35:25
  485. Not to accept monetary restitution instead of being sent to a city of refuge—Numbers 35:32
  486. Not to kill the murderer before he stands trial—Numbers 35:12
  487. Save someone being pursued even by taking the life of the pursuer—Deuteronomy 25:12
  488. Not to pity the pursuer—Numbers 35:12
  489. Not to stand idly by if someone’s life is in danger—Leviticus 19:16
  490. Designate cities of refuge and prepare routes of access—Deuteronomy 19:3
  491. Break the neck of a calf by a stream following an unsolved murder—Deuteronomy 21:4
  492. To neither work nor plant that river valley—Deuteronomy 21:4
  493. Not to allow pitfalls and obstacles to remain on your property—Deuteronomy 22:8
  494. Make a guard rail around flat roofs—Deuteronomy 22:8
  495. Not to put a stumbling block before a blind man (nor give harmful advice)–Leviticus 19:14
  496. Help another remove the load from a beast which can no longer carry it—Exodus 23:5
  497. Help others load their beast—Deuteronomy 22:4
  498. Not to leave others distraught with their burdens (but to help either load or unload)–Deuteronomy 22:4
  499. Buy and sell according to Torah law—Leviticus 25:14
  500. Not to overcharge or underpay for an article—Leviticus 25:14
  501. Not to insult or harm anybody with words—Leviticus 25:17
  502. Not to cheat a sincere convert monetarily—Exodus 22:20
  503. Not to insult or harm a sincere convert with words—Exodus 22:20
  504. Purchase a Hebrew slave in accordance with the prescribed laws—Exodus 21:2
  505. Not to sell him as a slave is sold—Leviticus 25:42
  506. Not to work him oppressively—Leviticus 25:43
  507. Not to allow a non-Jew to work him oppressively—Leviticus 25:53
  508. Not to have him do menial slave labor—Leviticus 25:39
  509. Give him gifts when he goes free—Deuteronomy 15:14
  510. Not to send him away empty-handed—Deuteronomy 15:13
  511. Redeem Jewish maidservants—Exodus 21:8
  512. Betroth the Jewish maidservant—Exodus 21:8
  513. The master must not sell his maidservant—Exodus 21:8
  514. Canaanite slaves must work forever unless the owner amputates one of their limbs—Leviticus 25:46
  515. Not to extradite a slave who fled to (Biblical) Israel—Deuteronomy 23:16
  516. Not to wrong a slave who has come to Israel for refuge—Deuteronomy 23:17
  517. The courts must carry out the laws of a hired worker and hired guard—Exodus 22:9
  518. Pay wages on the day they were earned—Deuteronomy 24:15
  519. Not to delay payment of wages past the agreed time—Leviticus 19:13
  520. The hired worker may eat from the unharvested crops where he works—Deuteronomy 23:25
  521. The worker must not eat while on hired time—Deuteronomy 23:26
  522. The worker must not take more than he can eat—Deuteronomy 23:25
  523. Not to muzzle an ox while plowing—Deuteronomy 25:4
  524. The courts must carry out the laws of a borrower—Exodus 22:13
  525. The courts must carry out the laws of an unpaid guard—Exodus 22:6
  526. Lend to the poor and destitute—Exodus 22:24
  527. Not to press them for payment if you know they don’t have it—Exodus 22:24
  528. Press the idolater for payment—Deuteronomy 15:3
  529. The creditor must not forcibly take collateral—Deuteronomy 24:10
  530. Return the collateral to the debtor when needed—Deuteronomy 24:13
  531. Not to delay its return when needed—Deuteronomy 24:12
  532. Not to demand collateral from a widow—Deuteronomy 24:17
  533. Not to demand as collateral utensils needed for preparing food—Deuteronomy 24:6
  534. Not to lend with interest—Leviticus 25:37
  535. Not to borrow with interest—Deuteronomy 23:20
  536. Not to intermediate in an interest loan, guarantee, witness, or write the promissory note—Exodus 22:24
  537. Lend to and borrow from idolaters with interest—Deuteronomy 23:21
  538. The courts must carry out the laws of the plaintiff, admitter, or denier—Exodus 22:8
  539. Carry out the laws of the order of inheritance—Numbers 27:8
  540. Appoint judges—Deuteronomy 16:18
  541. Not to appoint judges who are not familiar with judicial procedure—Deuteronomy 1:17
  542. Decide by majority in case of disagreement—Exodus 23:2
  543. [In capital cases] the court must not execute through a majority of one; at least a majority of two is required—Exodus 23:2
  544. A judge who presented an acquittal plea must not present an argument for conviction in capital cases—Exodus 23:2
  545. The courts must carry out the death penalty of stoning—Deuteronomy 22:24
  546. The courts must carry out the death penalty of burning—Leviticus 20:14
  547. The courts must carry out the death penalty of the sword—Exodus 21:20
  548. The courts must carry out the death penalty of strangulation—Leviticus 20:10
  549. The courts must hang those stoned for blasphemy or idolatry—Deuteronomy 21:22
  550. Bury the executed [as well as all deceased] on the day they are killed—Deuteronomy 21:23
  551. Not to delay burial overnight—Deuteronomy 21:23
  552. The court must not let the sorcerer live—Exodus 22:17
  553. The court must give lashes to the wrongdoer—Deuteronomy 25:2
  554. The court must not exceed the prescribed number of lashes—Deuteronomy 25:3
  555. The court must not kill anybody on circumstantial evidence—Exodus 23:7
  556. The court must not punish anybody who was forced to do a crime—Deuteronomy 22:26
  557. A judge must not pity the murderer or assaulter at the trial—Deuteronomy 19:13
  558. A judge must not have mercy on the poor man at the trial—Leviticus 19:15
  559. A judge must not respect the great man at the trial—Leviticus 19:15
  560. A judge must not decide unjustly the case of the habitual transgressor—Exodus 23:6
  561. A judge must not pervert justice—Leviticus 19:15
  562. A judge must not pervert a case involving a convert or orphan—Deuteronomy 24:17
  563. Judge righteously—Leviticus 19:15
  564. The judge must not fear a violent man in judgment—Deuteronomy 1:17
  565. Judges must not accept bribes—Exodus 23:8
  566. Judges must not accept testimony unless both parties are present—Exodus 23:1
  567. Not to curse judges—Exodus 22:27
  568. Not to curse the head of state or leader of the Sanhedrin—Exodus 22:27
  569. Not to curse any upstanding Jew—Leviticus 19:14
  570. Anybody who knows evidence must testify in court—Leviticus 5:1
  571. Carefully interrogate the witness—Deuteronomy 13:15
  572. A witness must not serve as a judge in capital crimes—Numbers 35:30
  573. Not to accept testimony from a lone witness—Deuteronomy 19:15
  574. Transgressors must not testify—Exodus 23:1
  575. Relatives of the litigants must not testify—Deuteronomy 24:16
  576. Not to testify falsely—Exodus 20:13
  577. Punish the false witnesses with the same punishment they were seeking for the defendant—Deuteronomy 19:19
  578. Act according to the ruling of the Sanhedrin—Deuteronomy 17:11
  579. Not to deviate from the word of the Sanhedrin—Deuteronomy 17:11
  580. Not to add to the Torah commandments or their oral explanations—Deuteronomy 13:1
  581. Not to diminish from the Torah any commandments, in whole or in part—Deuteronomy 13:1
  582. Not to curse your father or mother—Exodus 21:17
  583. Not to strike your father or mother—Exodus 21:15
  584. Respect your father and mother—Exodus 20:12
  585. Fear your father and mother—Leviticus 19:3
  586. Not to be a rebellious son—Deuteronomy 21:20
  587. Mourn for relatives—Leviticus 10:19
  588. The High Priest must not defile himself through contact with a relative—Leviticus 21:11
  589. The High Priest must not enter under the same roof as a corpse—Leviticus 21:11
  590. A Kohen must not defile himself for anyone except relatives—Leviticus 21:1
  591. Appoint a king from Israel—Deuteronomy 17:15
  592. Not to appoint a convert—Deuteronomy 17:15
  593. The king must not have too many wives—Deuteronomy 17:17
  594. The king must not have too many horses—Deuteronomy 17:16
  595. The king must not have too much silver and gold—Deuteronomy 17:17
  596. Destroy the seven Canaanite nations—Deuteronomy 20:17
  597. Not to let any of them remain alive—Deuteronomy 20:16
  598. Wipe out the descendants of Amalek—Deuteronomy 25:19
  599. Remember what Amalek did to the Jewish people—Deuteronomy 25:17
  600. Not to forget Amalek’s atrocities and ambush on our journey from Egypt in the desert—Deuteronomy 25:19
  601. Not to dwell permanently in Egypt—Deuteronomy 17:16
  602. Offer peace terms to the inhabitants of a city while holding siege, and treat them according to the Torah if they accept the terms—Deuteronomy 20:10
  603. Not to offer peace to Ammon and Moab while besieging them—Deuteronomy 23:7
  604. Not to destroy fruit trees even during the siege—Deuteronomy 20:19
  605. Prepare latrines outside the army camps—Deuteronomy 23:13
  606. Prepare a shovel for each soldier to dig with—Deuteronomy 23:14
  607. Appoint a priest to speak with the soldiers during the war—Deuteronomy 20:2
  608. He who has taken a wife, built a new home, or planted a vineyard is given a year to rejoice with his possessions—Deuteronomy 24:5
  609. Not to demand from the above any involvement, communal or military—Deuteronomy 24:5
  610. Not to panic and retreat during battle—Deuteronomy 20:3
  611. Keep the laws of the captive woman—Deuteronomy 21:11
  612. Not to sell her into slavery—Deuteronomy 21:14
  613. Not to retain her for servitude after having relations with her—Deuteronomy 21:14

Tefillin, what is it and why?


Tefillin are one of the more distinctive parts of Jewish ritual when non-Jews (Gentiles) think about Judaism.  Tefillin are a pair of black leather boxes containing Hebrew parchment scrolls. A set includes two—one for the head and one for the arm. Each consists of three main components: the scrolls, the box and the strap.  The tefillin consist of two black leather boxes and straps to hold them on. One is worn on the biceps, and its strap, which is tied with a special knot, is wound by the wearer seven times around the forearm and hand—on the left arm for right-handed people and on the right for those who are left-handed. The second box is worn on the forehead at the hairline, with its straps going around the back of the head, connected at the top of the neck with a special knot, and hanging in front on each side.

In the Torah Jewish men are commanded to bind tefillin onto their head and upper arm every weekday, in fulfillment of the verse (Deut. 6:8), “You shall bind them as a sign upon your hand, and they shall be for a reminder between your eyes.”  Most men wear tefillin in Orthodox and Conservative congregations, as do some women in Conservative congregations. The use of tefillin is less prominent in Reform and Reconstructionist congregations by both men and women.

What’s in the boxes you ask?  The Torah mentions the mitzvah of tefillin four separate times. Each of these texts is inscribed on parchment and placed into the tefillin.  These verses cover the fundamentals of the Jewish faith. These texts are:

1–2. Kadesh (Exodus 13:1–10) and Vehayah ki yeviacha (Exodus 13:11–16): These describe the duty of the Jewish people to always remember the redemption from Egyptian bondage, and the obligation of every Jew to educate his children about this and about G‑d’s commandments.
3. Shema (Deut. 6:4–9): Pronounces the unity of the one G‑d, and commands Jews to love and fear Him.
4. Vehayah (Deut. 11:13–21): Focuses on G‑d’s assurance to Jews of reward that will follow their observance of the Torah’s mitzvahs.


In order to be kosher according to Jewish law, tefillin must meet thousands of requirements. If one part is out of place, the whole thing won’t work.  The scrolls inside the tefillin are inscribed in black ink with a quill (or reed) pen by a specially trained scribe, known as a sofer. The parchment is handmade and must be from a kosher animal. There are 1594 letters in each of the tefillin boxes. If one letter is extra, missing, or even incorrectly written, the tefillin are invalid. The boxes and straps are also made of leather from a kosher animal. The head-tefillin is made of four separate compartments, each one containing a scroll with one of the four Torah selections. The hand-tefillin has just one chamber, with all selections written on a single scroll.  You’ll notice that the head tefillin has the Hebrew letter Shin (ש) on both sides, one with three branches, and the other with four.

The hand-tefillin are strapped onto the left arm (or on the right arm, for a lefty), with the box resting on the bicep, facing the heart. The rest of the strap is then wound around the arm seven times, extending down to the long finger. There are many customs regarding how the coils are positioned on the arm and fingers.  The head-tefillin are placed on the head like a crown, with the box resting just above the hairline in the center of the forehead.

Sources : “Essential Judaism” Robinson, George. 2016.

Chadō (茶道): The Way Of Tea


The Japanese tea ceremony, also called the Way of Tea, is a Japanese cultural activity involving the ceremonial preparation and presentation of matcha (抹茶), powdered green tea.

In Japanese, it is called chanoyu (茶の湯) or sadō, chadō (茶道), while the manner in which it is performed, or the art of its performance, is called (o)temae ([お]手前; [お]点前).  Zen Buddhism was a primary influence in the development of the Japanese tea ceremony. Much less commonly, Japanese tea practice uses leaf tea, primarily sencha, in which case it is known in Japanese as senchadō (煎茶道, the way of sencha) as opposed to chanoyu or chadō.

Temple of Karnak: An Introduction

Ramses III Statues

The temple of Karnak was known as Ipet-isu—or “most select of places”—by the ancient Egyptians. It is a city of temples built over 2,000 years and dedicated to the Theban triad of Amun, Mut, and Khonsu. This derelict place is still capable of overshadowing many wonders of the modern world and in its day must have been awe-inspiring.


For the largely uneducated ancient Egyptian population, this could only have been the place of the gods. It is the largest religious building ever made, covering about 200 acres (1.5 km by 0.8 km), and was a place of pilgrimage for nearly 2,000 years. The area of the sacred enclosure of Amun alone is sixty-one acres and could hold ten average European cathedrals. The great temple at the heart of Karnak is so big that St Peter’s, Milan, and Notre Dame Cathedrals would fit within its walls.