Vayikra (Leviticus 1:1 – 5:26), Rosh Chodesh (Num. 28:9-15), Shabbat HaChodesh (Ex. 12:1-20)

I am so very tired of this cold, damp weather.  Spring comes March 20, but that’s just what they say (fake astronomy?).   Perhaps the fact that Passover (Pesach) is approaching should make me feel “spring-ier,” but I’m still in denial about the holiday’s being only two weeks away.

This Shabbat we have a triple header – readings from three Torah scrolls!  First, we have the weekly reading, the start of Leviticus.  Then, since it is Rosh Chodesh (head of the month, new moon), we read Num. 28:9-15, on the Sabbath and Rosh Chodesh sacrifices, from a second scroll.  But wait, there’s more!  It’s also Shabbat HaChodesh (Sabbath of THE Month, THE month being Nissan), the fourth of the four special, pre-Passover Sabbaths with an added Torah reading, so we read Ex. 12:1-20, instructions for observing the first Passover, from a third scroll. [I will give a shout-out next week to the first of you to identify the other Sabbath during the year on which there may be readings from three scrolls.] The haftarah for Shabbat HaChodesh is Ezekiel 45:16-46:18 (45:18-46:13 for Sephardim), a vision of Passover observance in messianic times.  Some congregations have the custom of chanting Isaiah 66:1, 24 as well, taken from the usual Shabbat Rosh Chodesh haftarah, Isaiah 66:1-24.  By the way, since it’s Rosh Chodesh, there are other changes to the service, including  a Chatzi Hallel, Psalms 113-118 minus the first 11 verses of Psalm 115 and Psalm 116. Not a short service.

Back to the regular reading.   It is largely a training and reference manual for priests concerning offerings: In ArtScroll’s Stone edition of the Torah readings, there are about 9 pages of tables in the back organizing this: what is to be offered, why, when, by whom, is it obligatory or voluntary, what happens to the offering (Totally burned? Partly eaten? If so, by whom?), and so on.  [One can imagine all this captured on a set of laminated cards near the altar for easy reference.] A summary of this week’s offerings is provided by Robert Tornberg in Looking through the Smoke: A Transparent Message, to which I’ve referred before (thanks, Stanley), here further summarized:

  • The olah or “elevation,” a voluntary burnt offering of an animal to bring the offerer closer to God.
  • The minchah, a usually voluntary offering made of flour and oil, much more inexpensive than an animal offering and so could be brought by the poor (Leviticus 2:1-16)
  • The zevach sh’lamim, an offering of wellbeing or thanksgiving (Leviticus 3:1-17).  Sort of a celebratory barbecue. Like giving a donation of money today in honor of someone.
  • The chatat, a “sin offering” (Leviticus 4:1-35; 5:1-13), given to atone for unintentional sin.  This could involve a personal or communal sin.
  • The asham, “reparation or guilt offering” (Leviticus 5:14-26), typically by someone who had stolen property.  In addition to making restitution, a 20% penalty was included.  That would make it up to the victim, and the sacrifice was intended to atone separately to God.

Let’s consider, in turn, why offerings at all, why animal sacrifices in particular, and why do we have to read about this?  Though today we don’t donate burnt offerings (not deliberately, anyway), we still make donations of time, money, and items to religious organizations, for many of the same reasons as for ancient offerings: to support the building and its staff, in thanksgiving for something good that has happened, in celebration, to say you’re sorry (e.g., the proverbial flowers and candy), and so on.

Why animal sacrifices in particular?  Several positions are summarized by Nehama Leibowitz in New Studies in Leviticus, pp. 1-22 (1996).  For example, Maimonides (1138-1204) saw worship as progressing from idolatry through animal sacrifices to prayer. Suddenly would have been too big a shock for the Israelites, and they would revert to idolatry. Nachmanides (1194-1270) attacked this view (“His statements are preposterous,” cited by Leibowitz, op cit., p. 7), pointing out that in the Torah, sacrifices predate idolatry (e.g., Cain and Abel), so idolatry is irrelevant.  Instead, Nachmanides finds intrinsic value in the details of the sacrifices as symbolism, in which a person offers an animal in place of himself.  

And why are we subjected to all these details? The Lord indeed does call (Vayikra, whence the name of the portion and book) upon Moses in Lev. 1:1-2 to tell all this to all the Children of Israel, even details of rituals which only the priests need to know?  Tornberg (op cit.) provides one answer: “(I)f only the priests knew what happened during the rituals, not only would the general population be behind a screen of smoke, but they also would be in total darkness. The Torah ensures that Judaism is not a secret religion run by priests who know more “truth” than anyone else. It is, instead, open and accessible.”  It’s all there, for anyone who cares to learn it.

Shabbat shalom,


Teenage Daughter Owner’s Manual (excerpts) (Geoffrey Kidd)

Congratulations! You are now the proud new owner of a teenaged daughter. Please read this manual carefully.

IF YOU FEEL YOU HAVE RECEIVED YOUR TEENAGER IN ERROR: To determine whether you were supposed to receive a teenaged girl, please examine your new daughter carefully.  Does she:

(a) look very similar to your original daughter, only with more makeup and less clothing?
(b) refuse to acknowledge your existence on the planet Earth (except when requesting money)?
(c) Sleep in a burrow of dirty laundry?

If any of these are true, you have received the correct item.

BREAK-IN PERIOD  When you first receive your teenaged daughter, you will initially experience a high level of discomfort. Gradually, this discomfort will subside, and you will merely feel traumatized. This is the “Break-In Period,” during which you are becoming accustomed to certain behaviors that will cause you concern, anxiety, and stress. Once you have adapted to these behaviors, your teenager will start acting even worse.

ACTIVATION  To activate your teenaged daughter, simply place her in the vicinity of a telephone or Instant Messenger. No further programming is required.

SHUTDOWN  Several hours after activation, you may desire to shut down your teenaged daughter. There is no way to do this.

CLOTHING YOUR TEENAGED DAUGHTER Retailers make millions of dollars selling stylish and frankly sensible clothing which will look adorable on your daughter. Unfortunately, your teenaged daughter wants to dress like a lap dancer.

OTHER MAINTENANCE Teenaged daughters require one of two levels of maintenance: “High,” and “Ultra High.”  Your daughter is “Ultra High.” This means that whatever you do won’t be enough and whatever you try won’t work.

WARRANTY This product is not without defect because she has your genes, for heaven’s sake. Your warranty does not give you your little girl back under any circumstances, except that deep down she’s actually still there–you just have to look for her.

Moon Jokes
Q: Why did the cow jump over the moon? A: Because the farmer had cold hands! 

Q: How do you know when the moon is going broke? A: When it’s down to its last quarter.
Q: “Why does the Moon orbit the Earth?” A: “To get to the other side?”
Q: What did the moon say to his therapist? A: I’m just going through a phase. 
Q: What do you get when you take green cheese and divide its circumference by its diameter? A: Moon pi.
Q: How does one astronaut on the moon tell another astronaut that he is sorry? A: He Apollo-gises. 

Moon Landing:  After the Americans went to the Moon, the Soviets announced that they would be sending a man to the Sun. The engineers objected. “If you send a man to the Sun, he will burn up!” “What do you think I am, stupid?” he replied. “We’ll send him at night!” 

(A convenient form, not just for moms. IGP)

tph guilt form


tph sacrificial giving


Quotes about Offerings

Take care that all your offerings be free, and of your own, that has cost you something; so that ye may not offer of that which is another man’s, or that which ye are entrusted withal, and not your own.  George Fox

Many will view the compromises that will be made during your negotiations as painful concessions. But why not view them as peace offerings, ones that will provide in return the priceless gifts of hope, security and freedom for our children and our children’s?  Abdallah II of Jordan

It only stands to reason that where there’s sacrifice, there’s someone collecting the sacrificial offerings. Where there’s service, there is someone being served. The man who speaks to you of sacrifice is speaking of slaves and masters, and intends to be the master.  Ayn Rand

I was meant to date the captain of the football team, I was going to be on a romantic excursion every Saturday night, I was destined to be collecting corsages from every boy in town before prom, accepting such floral offerings like competing sacrifices to a Delphic goddess.  Elizabeth Wurtzel

Love for the joy of loving, and not for the offerings of someone else’s heart. Marlene Dietrich

We must do worldly jobs, but if we do them with sanctified minds, they become offerings to God.  Aiden Wilson Tozer


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Vayak’hel-Pekudei (Ex. 35:1 – 40:38), Shabbat Parah (Numbers 19:1-22)

Inching toward spring, hurrying toward Leviticus, though most would prefer the reverse.

This week, as the snow melts in Wilmington, we finish reading the book of Exodus with a double portion, Vayak’hel-Pekudei, 214 verses that are largely a rerun of Parshiot Terumah and Tetsaveh, which we read 2 and 3 weeks ago.  We also have an additional 22-verse reading about the red heifer (parah adumah), since this is Shabbat Parah, the third of the special Sabbaths before Pesach.  The red heifer in the additional Torah reading is used in ritual purification from physical contamination, while the haftarah (Ezekiel 36:16-38) uses that imagery in the context of spiritual purification and cleanliness.

The weekly reading starts with yet another reminder to observe the Sabbath.  This is followed by the instructions for building the Tabernacle.  From this juxtaposition, the rabbis inferred 39 types of melakhah (“labor”, sort of), transformative or creative activities, related to building the Tabernacle (later, the Temple), that are forbidden on the Sabbath.  These, broadly involve the production of bread, clothing, parchment (and writing on it), and shelter.  The amount of physical effort is not part of the definition of melakhah.

Next come the building and furnishing of the Tabernacle and the preparation of the priests’ vestments.  Everyone freely donates materials, labor, and skill.  In fact, there are more donations than can be used (the dream of all fund raisers).  Moses keeps a very careful account of all the gold, silver, and copper given.  Bezalel is the chief artisan.  Assisted by Oholiab, he directs the skilled (“wise-hearted”) people in the required wood- and metal-working, tanning hides, spinning, weaving, dyeing, embroidering, sewing, and compounding the incense and oil. 

The priestly vestments are made.  The instructions are given for the priests’ ordination by Moses. The Tabernacle is assembled by Moses on the first day of Nisan, almost a year after the Exodus from Egypt.  A cloud covers it by day, a fire by night, their movement indicating when it is time to decamp and move onward.

We are taught that repetition does not occur in the Torah without a reason.  In this case, while the instructions in Vayak’hel-Pekudei repeat a lot of Terumah and Tetsaveh, the tone and context are quite different.  The earlier instructions are given only to Moses, in his intimate sojourn with the Lord, before the people have sinned with the golden calf.  The actions of the people involve the entire community as donors, laborers, and skilled artisans.  Their excessively generous donations and care in following directions are fueled by relief that they hadn’t been destroyed.  Like children forgiven by parents, they want to demonstrate that, yes, they can “be good.”  The details confirm that everything was done as prescribed, as does the explicit recital ca. 19 times in Pekudei (38:21 – 40:38) that each of these steps is done “as the Lord commanded Moses.”  

With the completion of the magnificent Tabernacle and vestments, Moses and the Israelites appear ready to move onward to the Promised Land.  But are they really?

Shabbat shalom,


Ginger and Redhead Jokes

Q: What do you get when you cross a Jamaican and a ginger? 
A: A gingerbreadmon 


Cleanliness #jokes #humor
Two roaches were munching on garbage in an alley. “I was in that new restaurant across the street,” said one. “It’s so clean! The kitchen is spotless, the floors are gleaming white. It’s so sanitary the whole place shines.” “Please,” said the other roach, frowning. “Not while I’m eating!


tph witch's house

No Joke: These Guys Really Do Work Out of a Cardboard Box

When the employees at Nothing, an Amsterdam ad agency, say they work out of a cardboard box, most people are probably think they’re making a joke about their cheap-o bosses. They’re not, and the bosses aren’t being cheap at all. Rather, they commissioned Alrik Koudenburg and Joost van Bleiswijk to create all of their office furniture using only cardboard. The results are pretty impressive, but they’ll only grow more interesting over time, since visitors are encouraged to mark up the surfaces with anything they please, making the entire office a palimpsest. It’s worth noting that cardboard furniture has a long history: Frank Gehry’s cardboard line is a modern classic that’s been in production for thirty years; Design Within Reach used to carry an excellent cardboard desk that I owned for a while. It’s a great material: Light, strong, green, and warm-looking.


tph garfield 030618


77 Hilarious Jokes for Accountants (selections)

Warning: Do not share this article with any non-accountants because they will roll their eyes and make fun of you…

  • There are just two rules for creating a successful accountancy business: 1. Don’t tell them everything you know. 2. [Redacted]
  • Why do accountants make good lovers? They’re great with figures.
  • Be audit you can be.
  • It’s accrual world.
  • What’s the difference between an accountant and a lawyer? The accountant knows he’s boring.
  • Why do some accountants decide to become actuaries? They find bookkeeping too exciting.
  • What’s the most wicked thing a group of young accountants can do? Go into town and gang-audit someone.
  • Did you hear about the shy and retiring accountant? The accountant is $1 million shy and hence is retiring.


The tailor – 3 

Isaac was out shopping in Golders Green when he sees a sign in a window saying, ‘JACOB’S CUSTOM MADE CLOTHING’. He’s not sure whether to go in – it looks an expensive shop. But Jacob, the owner, sees him hesitating and quickly invites him in. 
“What are you looking for?” 
“A suit.” 
“Good,” said Jacob, “you’ve come to the right place. When we make a suit here, you’ll be surprised at how we go about it. First, digital cameras take pictures of your every muscle and we download the pictures to a special computer to build up your image. Then we cultivate sheep in Australia to get the very best cloth. For the silk lining, we contact Japan for their silkworms, and we ask Japanese deep-sea divers to get the pearl buttons. 
“B-b-bbut,” said Isaac, “I need the suit for a Bar mitzvah.” 
“…You’ll have it.”


tph eggshell paint


Generosity Quotes

Real generosity toward the future lies in giving all to the present. Albert Camus

Gentleness, self-sacrifice and generosity are the exclusive possession of no one race or religion. Mahatma Gandhi

In a time of domestic crisis, men of goodwill and generosity should be able to unite regardless of party or politics. John F. Kennedy

True generosity is an offering; given freely and out of pure love. No strings attached. No expectations. Time and love are the most valuable possession you can share. Suze Orman


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Ki Tissa (Ex. 30:11 – 34:35)

Getting a new kitchen floor installed is more discombobulating than I’d expected.  Yes, it’s done and it’s lovely:

new kitchen floor

In fact, the kitchen looks so nice empty it’s a shame to put any furniture back.  I’ll start that today, but for now, the family, living, and dining rooms are even more cluttered than usual (some of the kitchen stuff must have reproduced) and the pantry closet door was taken off because it needed to be shaved down to fit over the new flooring (just had someone to do it this afternoon – I had to coordinate that with getting Rich’s car back from the shop), and the kitchen table legs have to be re-attached before I put it back.  So, I do not have a clear table top on which to write this and am doing so snuggling in bed while the wind howls outside (gusts expected to 50 mph) and the rain is now changing to snow.

Comments from 2012:

Ki Tissa is a portion of many moods: peaceful instruction, fear, orgiastic celebration, anger, repentance, and spiritual communion.  The beginning is the conclusion of the instructions to Moses on Mt. Sinai concerning the Tabernacle and its service: the census and 1/2-shekel head tax for maintenance we read about a few weeks ago on Shabbat Shekalim, a copper basin for washing priests’ hands and feet, the recipes for the incense and anointing oil, and the appointment of Bezalel as chief artisan, assisted by Oholiab.  And, once more, a reminder to keep the Sabbath. Then Moses comes down the mountain with the two inscribed tablets, sees the people joyfully worshipping a gold idol in the shape of a young bull.  Moses convinces the Lord to not wipe them all out (“only” about 3,000 die of a plague as punishment), but he himself smashes the tablets (that gets their attention), grinds up the idol, mixes it with water, and makes the people drink it.  Aaron tries to explain, but instead of saying simply, “Look, they were afraid you wouldn’t come back, I was trying to stall for time, and if I hadn’t made them that idol, they probably would have killed me,” he says, “I threw their gold into the fire and this calf came out.”  The people repent.  Moses is allowed to see, not the face, but the back of the Lord. Then he goes back up for another set of tablets and another opportunity to commune with the Lord. He comes back down literally glowing.   

How could the Israelites, so soon after the Exodus from Egypt and the Revelation at Mt. Sinai, have blithely broken such fundamental commandments, commissioning and worshipping the Golden Calf?  Aaron’s idiotic excuse makes no sense unless he too felt that the Lord, or some other god, was made manifest in the idol.  The poet and philosopher Yehuda HaLevi (ca. 1080-1141) tried strenuously to explain and excuse the apostasy, writing that everyone back then worshipped images, and so the people needed something tangible to focus on in order to worship, not replace, the Lord.  Similarly, Nachmanides (1195-1270) suggests that the Israelites were asking Aaron for a substitute, not for the Lord, but for Moses.  Generally, though, the Israelites’ actions are regarded as genuine idol worship.   

Yet the question remains – didn’t the splitting of the Sea and the thunder and lightning and Divine voice of Revelation have any impact?  A similar question arises from the haftarah (Kings I, 18:1-39), that really dramatic one in which Elijah bests the priests of Baal and the people fall down crying, “The Lord is God! The Lord is God!” [Those of you fortunate enough (IMO) to have heard the Delaware ChoralArts performance of Mendelssohn’s oratorio Elijah on 11/19/18 heard this part of the story then.] But then (after the haftarah’s events), they lapse right back into idolatry.  

Maimonides (1135-1204) understands that a single dramatic event is not likely to cause a lasting transformation in human character, but such transformation occurs only gradually in reality. (source for above citations: (Nehama Leibowitz, New Studies in Shemot, pp. 549-557).  For example, the medieval English were essentially all pagans in the year 600.  Then Christianity started to take root, gradually, without martyrs, with plenty of lapses and re-conversions, often incorporating local pagan practices (e.g., people continued to wear their little Thor’s hammer amulets).  The result: by 700, paganism had been replaced by Christianity.  It took a full century (Jennifer Paxton, Georgetown University).  Surely it was a little unrealistic to expect Israel to internalize all those Laws only after a matter of weeks? 

Shabbat shalom, 

Poor Aaron, as Moses’ substitute, was like a substitute teacher, and substitute teachers can rarely control the class like the regular teacher can.  I mean, even I usually joined in (somewhat) in tormenting substitutes, and I was “a good little girl.” 2018

My most memorable substitute teacher experience occurred when I was in third grade.  I had recently transferred into Longstreth Elementary School.  Our regular teacher had to take over some administrative duties in the office, so we had a sub.  Two tall girls were washing the blackboard (The tall girls [I don’t recall tall boys ever doing it.  We were very pigeonholed at the time.] always got to wash the blackboard.  I got to do things like water the plants.  My mother let me wash her blackboard in later years when she closed up a classroom at the end of the school year, for which I am still grateful.  But I digress.).  The substitute walked in, stepped into the bucket, and slid halfway across the room.  I looked up, startled, and said “That’s my mother!”  That bit of information rippled around the room and may be why the class didn’t give her a hard time.  I had fun calling her “Mrs. Greenwald” for the next two days.  IGP2004 


tph moses backed-up-data-w


Since Ki Tissa includes taxes and excuses, how about some tax excuses? By the way, these didn’t work, so don’t try them.

  1. We didn’t file our 1993, 1994 and 1995 Income Tax returns until December of 1996 because at the time those returns were due we were undergoing an IRS audit for our 1990, 1991 and 1992 Income Tax returns [Owens v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2001-143.].
  2. I led a double life; in my public life as barrister, community and family man I achieved the highest possible standards that I was capable of, but in my private persona I became increasingly burnt out and drawn towards deliberate ignorance and recklessness as to the risks and consequences of understating income on my tax returns [New South Wales Bar Assn. v. Hamman [1999] NSWCA 404.].
  3. We didn’t know that we were required to report the money we embezzled as income on our tax returns [Clark v. Iowa Dept. of Revenue & Finance, 2002 Iowa Sup. LEXIS 93 (8 May 2002).].
  4. I was diagnosed by a psychiatrist as having a tax phobia (petitioner served as a corporate vice president during the tax years at issue) [Kemmerer v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 1993-394.].


tph golden yak


You can buy Biblical-type (cf. “kosher-style”) incense online, e.g., at,

but I think it would be more fun to make your own. Here’s one source of ingredients:

“Welcome to Scents of Earth: Your trusted source for high quality resins, herbs, botanicals, and oils. We are your Oman Frankincense specialists! Every day we’re adding more Certified Organic resins, botanicals and oils for your incense making needs.

We’ve gathered all of the incense, resins and botanicals mentioned in the Bible and created this easy-to-use page.

PLEASE NOTE! When looking for STYRAX OFFICALIS, it is no longer produced. The suggested replacement is BENZOIN*. Also, STACTE is actually BALSAM OF TOLU.”

*I remember my father using tincture of benzoin as an inhalant, like Vicks® VapoRub.  It smelled cinnamon-ish.
Red Sea Onycha goes for $10.50 for a half ounce, by the way.
How to make and burn the incense is here:






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Tetsaveh (Exodus 27:20 – 30:10), Shabbat Zachor (Deut. 25:17-19), Purim

It’s still February.  I’ve already watched my February movie (Enchanted April, 1991) and it helped for several hours.  But that was a few days ago.  And this idiotic talk about arming teachers with guns is particularly irritating.  Some people have seen too many movies about quick-draw artists who never miss.  They should watch Dodge City (1939), in which one gunfight that brought about one child’s death led Errol Flynn to take over as sheriff and ban guns north of a particular street.  They were checked at the jail, like coats.

Mainly from various past comments: Purim starts next Wednesday night, on which we read the Book of Esther, exchange food gifts (Shalach Manot), give to the poor, eat hamantaschen, drink, dress up in costumes, and noisily blot out the name of Haman (the villain) during the reading.  This story includes murder plots, eunuchs, courtesan training, a nice Jewish girl “passing” as Persian, a king who chooses his queen by trying candidates out every night, and a narcissistic, megalomaniacal villain who wants to kill all the Jews because one won’t bow down to him.  Not really G-rated.

This Sabbath is Shabbat Zachor (“Remember!”), the second of the 4 special Sabbaths before Passover having a second scroll reading.  It’s the Sabbath right before Purim. The added reading (Deut. 25:17-19) instructs us to remember Amalek, who perpetrated a sneak attack on the weak rear guard of the Israelites.  It ties in with Purim in that Haman is traditionally understood to be a descendant of Amalek and Mordechai, a descendant of Saul.  The special haftarah, Samuel 15:1-34 (Ashkenazim begin at 15:2 for some reason), concerns Saul’s loss of Divine favor because of his inability to carry out the Lord’s command to completely destroy the Amalekites, including their king, Agag.  It’s very dramatic.  When Saul pulls on Samuel’s robe, begging the prophet to return with him, the robe tears and Samuel says, “The Lord has this day torn the kingship over Israel away from you and has given it to another who is worthier than you.” (15:28) My daughter chanted this haftarah and a chunk of the Torah reading for her Bat Mitzvah. 

The main Torah portion includes instructions for Moses (the “you” – his name isn’t mentioned) concerning the menorah; the duties, vestments, and ordination procedures for the priests; and the altar for burning incense.   The garments for the priests (Aaron’s sons) include fringed linen tunics, linen headdresses (turbans?), embroidered sashes, and, for modesty and decorum, linen breeches.   As High Priest, Aaron has additional vestments: a breastplate, an ephod, and a robe.  The breastplate is to include 12 gemstones, with the name of each tribe carved on a gemstone.  The ephod is ‘a covering for the back and breast, held together on the shoulders by two clasps or brooches of onyx stones set in gold, and fastened by a girdle of the same stuff as the ephod. The ephod for the priests was of plain linen; that for the High Priest was richly embroidered in colors. The breastplate of the High Priest was worn upon the ephod in front.’ (from

tph High Priest Vestments

The robe is to be blue and include alternating golden bells and “pomegranates” (pom-poms) of blue, purple, and crimson yarn on its hem. The bells were my daughter’s favorite part of the uniform, the gemstones the least (difficult Hebrew).  Mine is the Urim v’Thumim (literally, lights and completeness).  The breastplate is folded in half to form a pocket. The High Priest would insert in the pocket a sheet of parchment with the Lord’s name written on it and ask a question.  Letters would then light up on the gemstones and be decoded by the High Priest.  Like a Biblical “Magic 8-Ball” (registered trademark, Tyco Toys, Inc).

The High Priest’s elaborate garments clearly contributed to the aura of holiness in the Tabernacle service.  The Maharal of Prague (apparently one of my ancestors) also noted that the Hebrew words for “heavy” and “honor” have the same root.  Thus, the substance (weightiness) of the vestments symbolized the degree of honor accorded him  [From A Daily Dose of Torah, Y. A. Weiss general editor]. 

I’m part of a Facebook group set up for my high school class.  A recent discussion concerned when we were first allowed to were slacks (not jeans) to school. It was the middle of junior year.  By graduation, slacks had become the new “normal” to the extent that it was actually a shock to see everyone in dresses (white dresses, not cap and gown). 

When I was a child, on Fridays, I wore a dress to school, play clothes afterwards, and a slightly dressier dress for services.  The particular clothes worn clearly marked off segments of time.  Nowadays, casual clothing (even pajama bottoms instead of slacks) appears to be the rule, or the desire, everywhere and all the time.  This can be economical, but it also reinforces the regrettable tendency for time and corresponding identities to blur.  In my opinion, special times and places, like Shabbat synagogue services, deserve special clothing.  

Shabbat shalom,

(selections with editing for clarity)

Magic fortune telling ball is a toy used for fortune-telling or seeking advice. Shake it, turn it with the viewing window down, then ask a yes/no question and turn it over. A die with the message floats up to the window and displays the answer, typically something like: Absolutely, Can’t Say Now, Chances Aren’t Good, Consult Me Later, Don’t Bet On It, Focus And Ask Again, Looks Like Yes, No, No Doubt About It, Prospect Good, and so on.

It’s also available in Chinese, Russian, and Spanish. And you can tailor the answers to relate to a specific area of interest, like the financial market (Bear Market Ahead, Bull Market Ahead, Buy Now, Buy Pork Bellies, One Word: Plastics, Out to Lunch, etc).

Or you may want a particular tone, like sarcastic:  As If, Ask Me If I Care, Dumb Question Ask Another, Forget About It, Get A Clue, In Your Dreams, Not, Not A Chance, Obviously, Oh Please, Sure, That’s Ridiculous, Well Maybe, What Do You Think?, Whatever, Who Cares?, Yeah And I’m The Pope, Yeah Right, You Wish, You’ve Got To Be Kidding… 

Think of the possibilities!


tph diamond pressure


My memory has gotten so bad it has actually caused me to lose my job. I’m still employed. I just can’t remember where.

Patient to friend: “I saw the doctor to day about my loss of memory.” Friend: “What did he do?” Patient: “He made me pay him in advance.”

A scientist tells a pharmacist, “Give me some prepared tablets of acetylsalicylic acid.” “Do you mean aspirin?” asks the pharmacist. The scientist slaps his forehead. “That’s it!” he says. “I can never remember the name.”


tph plastic vestments


Top Ten Reasons for Celebrating Purim

   by Kenneth Goldrich

  1. Making noise in shul is a MITZVAH!!
  2. Levity is not reserved for the Levites
  3. Nobody knows if you’re having a bad hair day. You can tell them it’s your costume
  4. Purim is easier to spell than Chanukah, I mean Hanukah, I mean, KHanukah, I mean Chanuka, I mean the Festival of Lights.
  5. You don’t have to kasher your home and change all the pots and dishes.
  6. You don’t have to build a hut and live and eat outside (but you could volunteer to build a new Purim booth for next year’s Carnival)
  7. You get to drink wine and drink wine and drink wine and you don’t even have to stand for Kiddush (I guess you can’t!)
  8. You won’t get hit in the eye by a lulav
  9. You can’t eat hamantaschen on Yom Kippur
  10. Mordecai – 1 ; Haman – 0 !!!!

——————– (Purim spoof issue)

Editorial  – Being ‘White’ Was Fun While It Lasted (abridged)

Well, we had a great run there. It was probably too good to last forever – downright ahistorical, when you come right down to it. But someday in the future, as we huddle together for safety, we’ll tell our children tales of that brief shining moment when we Jews were white….

And I’m not gonna lie – it was nice. Really nice…. It’s not that being white means people are throwing money at you or anything gauche like that. It’s just so unharried. So smooth. So easy and natural.

But the good times don’t last forever. And we’ve got a lot of adjustments to make. All these other groups we’re gonna be fighting for the leftover scraps – they’re battle-tested, they’ve still got their street smarts. Us, we’ve gone soft, getting into all the best neighborhoods, the best schools, best jobs.

And look, progressive parenting styles and fair-trade organic foods aren’t really gonna cut it when our kids have to face down anti-Semitic street gangs. Tough love is going to be making a big comeback. And possibly the funny pointed hats, we don’t know…..

I’m not bitter. And I’m not mad at white America – the real ones. They brought us in, showed us around, let us feel like we really belonged. Of course we didn’t really. But for a glorious instant, it felt like we did.

——————– (Purim spoof issue)

Local Milk Merchant Accused of Contact with Russians

By Ian Fist  Mar 7, 2017  Anatevka

The FBI yesterday revealed covert photographs of a villager known as Tevye colluding with Russian diplomats. Little is known of the conversation — which Tevye initially denied ever happened. He is suspected of discussing how he might be made “a rich man” and of concealing the conversation by having a violinist play loudly on top of his house.


Quotes about Clothes

I think fashion is a lot of fun. I love clothes. More than fashion or brand labels, I love design. I love the thought that people put into clothes. I love when clothes make cultural statements and I think personal style is really cool. I also freely recognize that fashion should be a hobby. Anne Hathaway

Lingerie is my next love after clothing; I think it is what is worn underneath that really inspires a woman to feel beautiful in her clothes – that inner, secret glamour. Alice Temperley

I wasn’t really naked. I simply didn’t have any clothes on. Josephine Baker

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Terumah (Exodus 25:1-27:19)


That simple question pertains to matters ranging from mundane to existential and arouses every feeling from curiosity to wonder to intense pain, depending on how connected we feel.  For example, why did Nathan Chen fall apart on Olympic ice?  He realized that it was Olympic ice and succumbed to the pressure a brilliant career can generate when you’re still only a teenager and you’ve been in the spotlight half your life.  A nightmare for him, but I just feel some mild sympathy.

Then there’s the latest American massacre, this time in a high school in Parkland, Broward County, Florida, a more familiar setting than South Korea. The post-shooting ritualistic arguments about “Why?” are too familiar for me to want to rehash. We’ve had, what, 18 mass shootings in 2018, and it’s only mid-February. It takes some determination to not feel numb.

Some students were saved by bullet-proof windows and some by quick-thinking teachers and coaches.  At least two adults who died were genuine heroes, Aaron Feis and Scott Beigel.  Why was their heroism needed?  An individual wanted to kill a lot of people, was able to obtain the means to do so, and was able to carry out his plan.  That is the basic reason.  On a different level, the answer to “Why?” is that too many Americans feel people are more expendable than guns, and those who don’t are too passive in their opposition.  Thus, whatever sanctuary we find from those who want to kill us is likely to be only partially effective and of short duration.  [Yes, this is pessimistic.  Maybe I’m channeling my father, who was prone to pessimism and whose yahrzeit was yesterday.  If so, maybe next week I’ll channel my mother the optimist, whose yahrzeit is a week from tomorrow and who always thought everything would work out.]

Speaking of sanctuary –

In Parashat Terumah this week, we read the very detailed specifications for the sanctuary (Tabernacle, mishkan) the Israelites will build in the wilderness.  Aside from practical considerations (e.g., were they really able to obtain all these very specific materials (25:1-7) needed from the Egyptians and lug it all through the chase to the sea?), why have a corporeal sanctuary at all?  We read in 25:8,

וְעָ֥שׂוּ לִ֖י מִקְדָּ֑שׁ וְשָׁכַנְתִּ֖י בְּתוֹכָֽם׃

And let them make Me a sanctuary that I may dwell among them.

How can an incorporeal being “dwell” in a building?  Isn’t God everywhere? Won’t the building of a sanctuary encourage the people to think of a limited God, first limited in space and consequently limited in effectiveness? 

Some commentators, like Rashi, believe the Torah readings over the next few weeks are out of order, that the Golden Calf incident should come first, so that building the Tabernacle is a means of atoning for it.   But the amount of detail in the instructions and the tone imply so much more than atonement for one admittedly grievous sin. Doesn’t verse 25:8 make you feel warm and cozy and protected?  Even the instructions for building and furnishing have the same air of excitement that anyone building a dream home has. This Tabernacle is the sheltered place where the people and the Lord are especially intimate, and it’s on earth, our territory, not in heaven.  It both enables the people to better experience the Lord, and the Lord to get to know, and better understand, these people. 

Shabbat shalom,


tph arch enemies


Architecture Puns (selected)

Who did Noah hire to build his boat?   An arkitect of course!

I used ‘veranda’ as an expletive. It was a porch choice of words.

The Museum of Bacteria aka the E. Coli-seum.

Clown colleges are usually built in the Bozo-Arts architectural style.

How do statues get rid of sore throats?     By gargoyling.

Aspiring HVAC contractors should make sure they have their ducts in a row.

Why did the electrical system in the prison keep malfunctioning? The warden didn’t hire an electrician; he let a conduit.

Plumbers have a multi-fauceted personality.

I refuse to make my own sandwich. I rely on sub contractors.

I was arguing with a construction worker. We were getting bogged down in cementics.


tph add another deck


Sanctuary Quotes

Each of us has an inner room where we can visit to be cleansed of fear-based thoughts and feelings. This room, the holy of holies, is a sanctuary of light. Marianne Williamson

For Mantle, the Yankees’ locker room was a sanctuary, a safe haven where he was understood, accepted and, when necessary, exonerated. Jane Leavy

When you grow up poor, you dream of just having a home, and a bed that’s clean – that’s a sanctuary. Having a really great husband, a child who’s healthy and happy and brings me joy – all of that has been my dream. Viola Davis

I have this sensation of being in flight all the time, but being on stage is like creating a sanctuary in which you can completely lose yourself. The bits of your personality that you keep under wraps in ordinary life, you can let them run free. Florence Welch

My family is my sanctuary. Pierce Brosnan



Cohen is shipwrecked on a desert island for several years. When rescued, he shows his rescuers all the things he has built to make his life comfortable — a hut, a waterwheel, storehouses, tools and even art. The most impressive element is his synagogue — a finely formed building of driftwood and bamboo, with carved doors, pews, candelabra and an ark made from an old chest of drawers. Inside, he proudly displays a Torah scroll he made himself, scratching the Hebrew letters with charcoal, on parchment made from bark.

As the rescuers express admiration for his hard work, artistry and obvious devotion to his faith, he leads them past what appears to be a second, much bigger and even more beautiful synagogue. They goggle with surprise.

“Why did you build a second synagogue? Why on earth would you need two?”

“Oh, yes,” he responds. “That is the synagogue I wouldn’t attend even if you paid me.

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Mishpatim (Exodus 21:1-24:8), Shabbat Shekalim (Exodus 30:11-16)

I was going to give you a discourse about the roles of law in society, the tension between law and justice, laws as living things that are allowed to wither away – even without formal repeal – as society finds them increasingly unacceptable, abuse of power via enforcement of laws without allowing prosecutorial discretion,” zero tolerance” rules and laws that do not allow for even judicial discretion, and probably a few other legal issues as well.  But I don’t feel like writing, or subjecting you to, a book. There will be plenty of opportunities in the rest of the Torah to discuss law.  I like my 2016 comments, so I’ll rerun (recycle, repurpose, reuse) those with newly selected jokes and comments from 2012 on Shabbat Shekalim.  I’m also fond of what I wrote last year and in 2014, each of which includes a bit of chaos theory as applied to legal systems, but I think we have enough chaos in our lives today already.

2012: This is the first of the four special Sabbaths (Shekalim, Zachor, Parah, and HaChodesh) that each require a second scroll reading and special haftarah and are intended to lead up to Passover.  The special reading for Shabbat Shekalim is Exodus 30:11-16 about the census that was taken of the adult (20 and up) Israelites by means of a half-shekel donation.  We’ll read that again in a few weeks, in Parashat Ki Tissa.  The special haftarah is II Kings 11:17-12:17 (Ashkenazim, 12:1-17), concerning money donated to the priests for Temple maintenance.   

2014:  I just had lunch with a scientist who wants to be a patent agent (or thinks he wants to be), and I was reminded how boring it can be to read a patent straight through from start to finish.  Reading sections is OK, say, if you’re hunting for something specific.  But it’s not meant to be literature.  It is supposed to teach how to use the claimed invention.

I felt my eyes similarly start to glaze over as I looked at this week’s Torah portion, Mishpatim.  You thought there were only ten commandments?  This portion contains 53, distributed among 118 verses.  However, the great teacher Nechama Leibowitz appreciatively sums up Mishpatim in New Studies in Shemot, Part 2, page 379 as “…governing every facet of human existence.  This comprehensive legislation covers relations between man and society, between members of the same community and between peoples, between man and man, man and his enemy, between man and plant and animal.  The Torah herein regulates the life of the Jew at work and at leisure, at Sabbath and festivals and relations between man and his Maker.”

First, in 21:2-22:16, we read laws concerning slaves; penalties for assault, homicide, and kidnapping; theft; and restitution for stolen, damaged, or lost property.  There follows a section (22:17-23:19) that codifies general moral behavior: provide for the poor and the widow and the orphan, return lost property, do not mistreat strangers (you should know better, having been strangers in Egypt).  There is some text concerning the laws of the firstborn, the three harvest festivals, and the sabbatical (“shmitta”) year, with details to follow later.  The final group of laws (23:20-33) reiterates what the Lord has promised and strong warnings against adopting Canaanite ways.

What is law for?  It is a means of organizing a group of people into a stable society.  Laws define what is good and what is bad.  They are tools of behavior modification and control.  Laws beget laws for many reasons.  A situation may arise that doesn’t fall under existing laws.  An existing law may generate an undesirable unforeseen consequence.  A system of law, like a tree, is a living entity and needs judicious (pun intended) pruning, lest it collapse. 

The overall aims of the laws in Mishpatim are fairness and honesty.  One example is 21:23-25:   23 But if other damage ensues, the penalty shall be life for life, 24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise. This is always interpreted in the Talmud and later writings, not literally, but as “just compensation,” usually financial.  The very next two verses prescribe that if a master strikes a slave resulting in the loss of an eye or tooth, the slave goes free. 

Many centuries later, in early medieval Anglo-Saxon England, a system of financial compensation for damage done to a person (including homicide) or property existed at least as early as the 6th century.  According to Anthony Musson in “Crime and the Compensation Culture in Medieval England,”   “The compensation or ‘bot’ for injuries to different parts of the body depended upon their importance and the degree of injury itself: 50s was payable for a severed foot, but 10s for a big toe, piercing of the nose was 9s, mutilation of an ear 6s, striking out an eye, a hefty 50s; the level of payment for bruising depended upon whether the spot hit had been clothed or not, while there were also special provisions for teeth, fingers and the level of damage to one’s genitals. Compensation for killing a person or ‘wer’ was available in what some historians term ‘bloodmoney’ (weregild), and represented the price or worth of the man slain depending upon his social status.”

By the 12th century or so, capital punishment had replaced the system for serious crimes.  We’ll see later in the Torah how valuation of individuals was made based on age and sex, but not social status.

In the last section of the portion (24:1-18), the Israelites enthusiastically accept all these (uh huh).  And Moses goes up on Mt. Sinai for 40 days and nights to get the divinely inscribed stone tablets of the Law (the hard copy, heh heh), leaving Aaron and Hur in charge.  Not that anything is going to happen while Moses is away, of course…

Shabbat shalom,


This lawyer is thorough
The attorney tells the accused, “I have some good news and some bad news.”
“What’s the bad news?” asks the accused.
“The bad news is, your blood 
is all over the crime scene, and the DNA tests prove you did it.”
“What’s the good news?”
“Your cholesterol is 130.”

Guilty as Charged
In Fort Worth, Texas, I was hauled before the judge for driving with expired license plates. The judge listened attentively while I gave him a long, plausible explanation.
Then he said with great courtesy, “My dear sir, we are not blaming you—we’re just fining you.”

Squealing Evidence
Phil was driving down a country road late one night when he felt a big thud. He got out of the car and looked around, but the road was empty. Since there was nothing else to be done, Phil drove on home. In the morning the sheriff was standing at his doorstep. “You’re under arrest for hitting a pig and leaving the scene,” the lawman told him with a frown. “Please come with me.”
Phil couldn’t believe his ears. “But how could you possibly know that’s what happened?” he asked.
“It wasn’t hard,” the sheriff replied. “The pig squealed.”


tph eye blueprints


“I’ve just discovered a 3,000 year old mummy of a man who died of heart failure!” the excited scientist exclaimed. 
To which the curator replied, “Bring him in. We’ll check it out.” 
A week later, the amazed curator called the archaeologist. “You were right 
about both the mummy’s age and cause of death. How in the world did you 
“Easy. There was a piece of paper in his hand that said, ‘10,000 Shekels 
on Goliath’.”


tph gingervitis dentist


Funny Legal Headlines (selections)

  • Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant
  • Federal Agents Raid Gun Shop, Find Weapons
  • Statistics Show That Teen Pregnancy Drops Off Significantly After Age 25
  • Marijuana Issue Sent to a Joint Committee(Toronto Star, June 14, 1996)
  • Homicide Victims Rarely Talk to Police(Express-Times, February 2004)
  • State Prison To Replace Easy-Open Locks
  • City Council Runs Out of Time to Discuss Shorter Meetings
  • Midget Sues Grocer, Cites Belittling Remarks
  • Man Shoots Neighbor With Machete
  • Bar Trying to Help Alcoholic Lawyers

Published: Saturday, September 29, 2012
Lloyd Duhaime   Permalink


Quotes about Fairness and Justice

To threaten the institution is to threaten fair administration of justice and protection of liberty. Stephen Breyer

That is the definition of equal justice under law: everyone gets a fair shot, everyone pays their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules. Eric Schneiderman

Though force can protect in emergency, only justice, fairness, consideration and cooperation can finally lead men to the dawn of eternal peace. Dwight D. Eisenhower

Congress is so beholden to the money that any solution in the general interest will be frustrated and subverted by the corporate interests who feel they will be damaged by progress, fair play and justice. E. L. Doctorow

For me, human rights simply endorse a view of life and a set of moral values that are perfectly clear to an eight-year-old child. A child knows what is fair and isn’t fair, and justice derives from that knowledge. Tom Stoppard

There is an insuperable problem about introducing immigrants to British values. There are no British values. Nor are there any Serbian or Peruvian values. No nation has a monopoly on fairness and decency, justice and humanity. Terry Eagleton






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Yitro (Exodus 18:1 – 20:23)

“You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Me.”

That verse, Exodus 19:4, is in this week’s Torah reading, right before the Big Game.  Coincidence?  I think not. 

Lots of exciting stuff this week in both the Torah and haftarah readings.  But first, a mundane lesson in management and yet another dysfunctional (better, nonfunctional) Biblical family.  Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses, having heard of the Exodus from Egypt, arrives along with his daughter Zipporah and grandsons Gershom and Eliezer, i.e., Moses’ wife and sons, with whom Moses apparently does not interact and whom we never hear of in the rest of the Torah.  Jethro observes the workings of the camp and sees Moses is trying to run it all himself, not out of a desire to be an autocrat but because people come to him and he tries to help.  Recognizing this is a fast path to burnout, Jethro introduces Moses to the concepts of delegation and a hierarchically organized judicial system.  Then he goes home.

The core of this week’s reading is Revelation, the giving of the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai.  Actually, the phrase, “the ten commandments” (aseret hamitzvot) is never used.  Even “ten” isn’t used until Deuteronomy, where they’re referred to as “the ten statements/words/things” (aseret hadibrot).  You can find anywhere from 9 to 14 depending on how you parse the text.  The content is clearly modeled on the suzerain/vassal treaties in the ancient Near East, consisting of a preamble (the parties and their relationship, Ex. 20:1-2); stipulations (what the vassal has to do, 20:3-17); and what will happen to the vassal depending on whether or not the stipulations are met (blessings and curses, 20:5, 6, 7, and 12).  It’s a straightforward contract, or covenant. The text is not even currently in our liturgy. 

Moses and the Lord try to ease the people into Revelation.  They have had several weeks to absorb the end of the plagues, their escape from Egypt and the miracle at the sea.  The Lord sends them an inspiring message via Moses (19:4-6): ‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Me.  Now then, if you will obey Me faithfully and keep My covenant, you shall be My treasured possession among all the peoples. Indeed, all the earth is Mine, but you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ 

Nechama Leibowitz reviews several commentators’ takes on the eagle’s wings imagery in Studies in Shemot, vol. 1, pp. 290-302.  It is an image of love and protection, an eagle carrying its fledglings on top of its wings, soaring beyond the earth.  But the eagle is also teaching the young, preparing them: ‘and (I) brought you unto Myself,’ from slavery in Egypt to the service of God.

Next, the people are to ready themselves over three days: wash their clothes, stay ritually pure, and don’t touch the border of the mountain.  But now we start to see that neither Moses nor the Lord really understands the psychology of the people.  Take 19:9, “I will come to you in a thick cloud, in order that the people may hear when I speak with you and so trust you ever after.”  Ever after?  Their trust lasted at most 40 days, forget “ever after.”  More importantly, neither the Lord nor Moses anticipate how the people would respond to the phantasmagoria of the shofar and lightning and thunder and smoke and fire, so freaked out that they beg Moses to hear the Lord’s words for them.  He does, but their frightened refusal to hear for themselves introduces a flaw into their relationship with the Lord before it has yet solidified.

The haftarah is Isaiah 6:1-7:6, 9:5-6 (9:5 includes the famous “For a child has been born to us, a son has been given us.” Note the past tense.) which includes another theophany, a manifestation of God, this time only to Isaiah.   He sees the Lord enthroned in the Temple, served by six-winged seraphim calling to each other (6:3), “Holy, holy, holy (kadosh, kadosh, kadosh)!  The Lord of Hosts!  His presence fills all the earth!”  This is the source of both the Kedushah in Jewish liturgy and the Sanctus in the Christian Mass.  One seraph touches Isaiah’s lips with a live coal, to purify him (cf. the midrash of Moses and the coal, and he then responds “Send me!” when the Lord asks whom to send.  No reluctance, unlike Moses’ response to his call in Exodus 3:10.  Then again, Isaiah isn’t being given the task of leading an unruly and increasingly cantankerous people.

Shabbat shalom, 


Eagle Quotes

The eagle has no fear of adversity. We need to be like the eagle and have a fearless spirit of a conqueror! Joyce Meyer

You cannot fly like an eagle with the wings of a wren. William Henry Hudson

Fool that I was, upon my eagle’s wings I bore this wren, till I was tired with soaring, and now he mounts above me. John Dryden

Parallels between the Super Bowl and Yom Kippur (abridged)

Yom Kippur

The Super Bowl

Proceeded by ten days of repentance, during which you learn about the faults of people around you. Proceeded by two weeks of hype, during which you learn about the faults of obscure athletes.
Kol Nidre. Pre-Game Show.
Millions of Jews attend services only on this day. Millions of people watch football only on this day.
Five separate services, lasting from 9:30 AM to sunset. Pre-Game show, Game and Post-Game show, lasting from 9:30 AM to 10:00 PM.
Overpriced tickets. Overpriced tickets.
Key prayers repeated over and over. Key plays shown over and over using super slo-mo
Dropping Torah scroll — 40 days fast. Dropping football – 40 years as Super Scapegoat.
Wailing in agony over your misdeeds. Wailing in agony over referee’s miscalls
Follows New Year. Follows New Year.
Jews beat themselves on the chest. Players pat teammates on ass.

This article is Copyright 1992, 1995 by Noel Rappin and Ross Garmil. All Rights reserved. Do not reprint without this notice attached. Originally printed in GRAVITY: The Humor Magazine of Brandeis University, Volume 3 Issue 1, December 1992


tph Run the Commandments by Legal


tph dogbert delegating


Funny Story about Ten Commandments at SCOTUS…[Lawyers’ nickname for “Supreme Court of the United States”]  From 2010
Rabbi Saperstein tells the following story.

It seems the Rabbi was at the Supreme Court one day looking at the frieze on the wall that portrays Moses holding the Ten Commandments, and Muhammad and other “lawgivers,” when someone knowing him to be a Rabbi asks him to interpret the Hebrew that is written on the tablets that Moses is depicted as holding…something he had not bothered to do before, when he realizes something very unusual.

Whoever painted the mural depicting Moses holding the Ten Commandments either didn’t know Hebrew very well, or had a great sense of humor.

It seems that in that mural, Moses’ hair is hiding the Commandments on the first side of the tablet that would have the Commandments concerning humanity’s relationship to God. (No other Gods, Graven Images, etc.). Also, Moses’ hair is covering the first word of all the rest of the commandments, which translated into English would be the words: “Thou shalt not.”

In other words, the Commandments, as portrayed on the mural on the wall in the Supreme Court of the United States read only:

1. Kill [actually, Murder]
2. Commit Adultery
3. Steal
4. Lie
5. Covet
(actually, I see only Murder, Commit adultery, and Steal in the frieze. IGP)
For more on the friezes, see  Moses is the 5th one from the left in the first frieze on the page.  The pic below is from

tph frieze section


Law Firm Marketing Organization Chart

tph hype org chart

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