To Our Readers (Six Years!)

There are numerous mitzvot for which, according to the Talmud, a person is rewarded in both this world and the world to come. These mitzvot include honoring one’s parents, hospitality,…

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Take Two Tablets

Most artistic representations of the Ten Commandments present two rectangular tablets rounded off at the top. As pleasing to the eyes as this rounded design may be, tradition suggests…

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Under The Apple Tree

Today is National Pie Day, and if you base fact upon popular idioms, then America’s favorite food would be apple pie. It may be true, or it may just be a reflection of the fact that…

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Fast of the Firstborns

There has always been a lot of pressure on firstborn children, as they were often expected to care for the family property or business in order to ensure stability within the community.…

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Chapters of Song

While the primary focus of the Shacharit (morning) service is the recitation of the Shema and the Shemoneh Esrei (also known as the Amidah), there are several sections of prayers that…

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Searching for Chametz

On Passover, Jews are commanded to get rid of all "chametz" (leaven) which may be in their possession. To confirm the effectiveness of these efforts, a special search for chametz,…

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Chanukah – What’s the Mitzvah

Here's a quiz:What is the primary mitzvah of Chanukah?a) Eating latkes (potato pancakes)b) Giving Chanukah gifts or gelt (money)c) Publicizing the miracle of the oil that lasted 8 daysd)…

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Giving Gifts

"One who is diligent in lighting Chanukah candles will have children who are scholars" (Talmud Shabbat 23b).The desire for scholarly children was actually one of the motivations…

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Waterloo Waterlooplein

On June 18, 1815, Napoleon and his armies were defeated by the Seventh Coalition, an alliance of British and European forces. It was the end of Napoleon’s march across Europe. It was also…

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The Food of Yom Kippur

Food on Yom Kippur? Isn’t Yom Kippur the most famous fast day on the Jewish calendar? "One who eats and drinks on the ninth, is considered by the Torah to have fasted on both the ninth…

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Inside Prayer

Jewish prayer is a complex, multi-layered activity. The sages refer to prayer as avodah she'balev, service, the same term used to describe the sacrificial service in the Holy…

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Right Foot First

Some people might find it surprising that the sages discussed certain “best practices” for getting dressed. For instance, the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, an abridged compendium of the laws…

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The Fast of Gedaliah (Tzom Gedaliah)

The Fast of Gedaliah is observed to commemorate the murder of Gedaliah the son of Achikam, which is described in the last chapter of the Second Book of Kings. This murder resulted in…

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What You Know

Astronomy plays an important role in Jewish life because it is the means by which we calculate the months and, therefore, the holidays--based on the cycles of the moon. Astrology…

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The Food of Yom Kippur

Food on Yom Kippur? Isn’t Yom Kippur the most famous fast day on the Jewish calendar? "One who eats and drinks on the ninth, is considered by the Torah to have fasted on both the ninth…

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May You Be Like

Before the Shabbat meal, it is customary for the parents to bless their children. This blessing is known as Birkat Habanim. Actually, there are two separate blessings recited, one for…

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Thou Shalt Not Anoint

The observance of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, calls for abstention from five activities: eating/drinking, anointing, washing oneself, wearing leather shoes and marital relations.…

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National Hermit Day

Judaism is not known for encouraging asceticism. While the Torah commands the Jewish people to “afflict” themselves on Yom Kippur by fasting and refraining from certain pleasurable…

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On One Foot

Recently, Jewish Treats was asked to explain the Jewish faith in one tweet. For those unfamiliar with the Twitter format, that means in 140 characters or less. It seems, at first…

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For Dew and Rain

As indicated by Jewish prayer, the rainy season in the land of Israel begins just after the holiday of Sukkot and ends at the start of Passover. During this time, there are two special…

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Lord George Gordon

    As few members of the British aristocracy have converted to Judaism, the conversion of Lord George Gordon* (1751 - 1793) was a matter of note in British society.…

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The Longest 250 Miles: Sadat’s Bold Flight

Imagine America’s foremost enemy addressing a joint session of Congress? You can’t; it’s almost impossible to envision such a scenario actually taking place. But, such a miraculous event…

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Chanukah-What’s The Mitzvah?

What is the primary mitzvah of Chanukah? a) Eating latkes (potato pancakes) b) Giving Chanukah gifts or gelt (money) c) Publicizing the miracle of the oil that lasted 8 days d) Playing…

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Favoritism

“A person should never discriminate among his children even to the extent of a thread [garment] weighing only two weight-measures of silk, similar to that which Jacob gave to Joseph but…

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On One Foot

Jewish Treats was asked to summarize the Jewish faith in one tweet. For those unfamiliar with the Twitter format, that means in 280 characters or less. It seems, at first glance, a…

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The Fast of Esther

Tomorrow, the 13th of Adar, is the Fast of Esther. “Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day; I…

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Yitro 5781-2021

“Structural Secrets of the Decalogue” (updated and revised from Yitro 5762-2002) by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald     In this week’s parasha, parashat Yitro, in Exodus 20, we…

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They Make us Laugh

When the hit comedy Funny People was released in movie theaters in 2009, it was frequently noted in the Jewish press that almost all of the comic actors in the film, including the…

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Chol Hamoed

Most holidays in Western society last for a single day, which is often extended into the weekend. And, while most people are aware that Chanukah is celebrated for 8 days, many people are…

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Vayikra 5781-2021

“The Lesson of the Mincha Offering--Giving with a Full Heart” (updated and revised from Vayikra 5762-2002) by, Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald This Shabbat, we begin to read the book of…

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