By Lilly Kaufman for JTS
The Jewelry of a Master Teacher
Without using alchemy, the 16th-century Italian commentator Seforno (1470–1550) turned gems into gold. Writing a few short words about the gemstones that adorned the clothing of the High Priest, described in Parashat Tetzavveh, Seforno shares a truly fine insight about achieving greatness as an educator.
We read in Exodus 28:2, “And you shall make sacred garments for Aaron your brother, for honor and for glory.” On the word tiferet (glory), Seforno asserts that the High Priest will be a kohen-moreh norah, an awesome priest-teacher. He explains, שהם תלמידיו החקוקים על לבו וכתפיו, “for they are his students who are engraved on his heart and shoulders.”
By Daniel Nevins, JTS
A Symbol of Peace
The Arch of Titus in Rome is simultaneously one of the saddest and most exciting places for a Jew to stand. It is but a short distance from the Colosseum, the stadium made famous by its cruel sports, built with money plundered from the Jerusalem Temple in 70 CE. Titus’s Arch celebrates the destruction of our Temple, a building designated by Isaiah to be a house of prayer for all nations. A bas-relief sculpture on the arch’s inner walls depicts a sickening scene: the triumphant display of the Temple’s sacred objects, the Menorah most prominent among them, along with a pathetic procession of enslaved Jews.
Mishpatim - Mahar Chodesh
by Julia Andelman, JTS
Kashrut and Refugees
There’s an old joke based on the three appearances of the commandment “You shall not boil a kid in its mother’s milk”—the first being in this week’s parashah, Mishpatim (Exod. 23:19). The narrow prohibition against “eating the flesh of an animal together with the milk that was meant to sustain it” (Etz Hayim, 474) was expanded over time into a vast array of laws regarding the separation of all dairy and all meat:
God says to Moses: You shall not boil a kid in its mother’s milk (Exod. 23:19).
Moses replies: Oh, you mean we should never eat any meat with any dairy?
God says: You shall not boil a kid in its mother’s milk (Exod. 34:26).
Moses replies: Oh, you mean we should wait three to six hours between eating meat and dairy?
God says: You shall not boil a kid in its mother’s milk (Deut. 14:21).
Moses replies: Oh, you mean we should have two separate sets of dishes for meat and dairy, separate pots and pans and utensils, and separate sponges?
God says: Fine, have it your way.