Ethical Treatment of Animals in Judaism
BY RABBI JILL JACOBS for myjewishlearning.com
The concept of Tza'ar Ba'alei Chayim demands that we take animal suffering seriously.
Beginning with the first chapters of the Torah , Judaism establishes a fundamental connection between human beings and animals. Animals, created on the fifth day of the biblical story of creation, can be understood as prototypes of the first human beings — Adam and Eve, created on the sixth day. One of Adam’s first responsibilities as a human being is to name the animals. As evidenced by the episode in which a serpent tempts Eve to eat a forbidden fruit, humans and animals originally speak one another’s language (Genesis 1-3).
The story of Noah’s ark represents a turning point in the relationship between human beings and animals. Furious about human misbehavior, God decides to destroy the world by flood, saving only the righteous Noah and his family and enough animals to sustain all of the species. When the waters recede, God gives Noah seven laws — now known as the Noahide laws — aimed at establishing a just society.
Hanukkah Discussion Questions
by Breaking Matzo
This project is highlighted in our Hanukkah Guide. Find more articles, crafts, and recipes in our Hanukkah Guide.
1. Hanukkah is a holiday of re-dedication, a festival celebrating the re-establishment of the holy Temple in Jerusalem by the Maccabees.
Is there something in your life that you want to improve or to which you want to rededicate yourself this season?
2. Hanukkah celebrates the miracle of a small jug of oil lasting for 8 days.
As you light your Menorah, ask this question: What “miraculous” events, large or small, do you wish to celebrate this year?
9 Things You Didn’t Know About Hanukkah
BY MJL STAFF
Lesser-known facts about the Festival of Lights.
Hanukkah , which in 2017 starts at sundown on Tuesday, December 12, is one of the most widely celebrated Jewish holidays in the United States. But that doesn’t mean there is nothing new to learn about this eight-day festival. From the mysterious origins of gelt to an Apocryphal beheading to Marilyn Monroe, we’ve compiled an item for each candle (don’t forget the shammash!) on the Hanukkah menorah .
1. Gelt as we know it is a relatively new tradition — and no one knows who invented it.
Origins of Hanukkah
From History.com. This video is highlighted in our Hanukkah Guide. Find more great videos, articles, crafts, and recipes in our Hanukkah Guide.
Hanukkah celebrates the triumph of Jewish people over religious persecution.
The eight-day Jewish celebration known as Hanukkah or Chanukah commemorates the rededication during the second century B.C. of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, where according to legend Jews had risen up against their Greek-Syrian oppressors in the Maccabean Revolt. Hanukkah, which means “dedication” in Hebrew, begins on the 25th of Kislev on the Hebrew calendar and usually falls in November or December. Often called the Festival of Lights, the holiday is celebrated with the lighting of the menorah, traditional foods, games and gifts.
Jewish Prayer for the Sick: Mi Sheberakh
BY RABBI SIMKHA Y. WEINTRAUB for myjewishlearning.com
A healing prayer for when a loved one is suffering.
One of the central Jewish prayers for those who are ill or recovering from illness or accidents is the Mi Sheberakh. The name is taken from its first two Hebrew words. With a holistic view of humankind, it prays for physical cure as well as spiritual healing, asking for blessing, compassion, restoration, and strength, within the community of others facing illness as well as all Jews, all human beings.
Traditionally, the Mi Sheberakh is said in synagogue when the Torah is read. If the patient herself/himself cannot be at services, a close relative or friend might be called up to the Torah for an honor, and the one leading services will offer this prayer, filling in the name of the one who is ill and her/his parents. Many congregations sing the version of the Mi Sheberakh written by Debbie Friedman, a popular Jewish folk musician who focused on liturgical music. (That version can heard in the video, and its lyrics read, at the top of this article.)