Matir Assurim

We begin this week praising Hashem for the safe release of the captives held at Congregation Beth Israel in Texas.

Of course, this would not have been possible without the help of the various men and women of several law enforcement agencies who risked their lives to bring the hostages to safety. Perhaps equally inspiring is how quickly those throughout the Jewish world gathered to form vigils and pray for an end to the crisis. The JTA has an inspiring article about this if you would like to read more.

Baruch atah Adonai
eloheinu melech ha’olam
matir asurim

Who is Satan?

Satan is well known across the globe as the embodiment of pure evil: a figure who elicits fear, hatred, and disgust in people of faith worldwide. But is this reputation well deserved? Does the Satan of today—the fallen angel, the devil—truly reflect his biblical origin?

Image: William Blake

For the next two weeks we will be discussing the role of Satan in the Jewish tradition, as well as the origins of the popular perception of the Devil. Who is he? What’s his purpose? Is he ultimately a force for evil… or for good?

Check out parts 1 and 2 to get the full story.

Lo Tinaf

This week on the show we continue our Ten Commandments series with one of the most important negative mitzvot when it comes to human civilization: the prohibition of adultery.

We’ll discuss some of the reasons for the prohibition, as well as some important things to remember in avoiding this most heartbreaking of sins.

Additionally, Rabbi Peter Tarlow last year published a great article about this commandment (as well his own helpful series on the Ten Commandments). It is highly recommended that everyone check out his article for some valuable information on why this is such an important mitzvah, as well as the evolution of the prohibition over time.

Pew Research Releases 2020 Survey of American Jewry

Image: Politico

The Pew Research Center recently published a new survey regarding Jewish life in America in 2020. This contains tons of information on everything from population numbers, to income, to political views. Perhaps most interesting is American Jewish perspectives on religion, especially from the younger generation. If you want to check out the study, you can find the full PDF here.

Or, if videos are more your style, you can watch this discussion of the findings:

The Lost Tribes: Supplemental Material

This week on the show we’ll be discussing the Lost Tribes of Israel: How they came to disappear, and where they could possibly be. In learning about how the tribes initially separated, it may be helpful to review these maps.

This is the original allotment of land to the 12 tribes, which largely persisted throughout the United Monarchy:

After opposition to King Rehoboam’s domestic policies, the United Monarchy split into two kingdoms, The Kingdom of Israel and the Kingdom of Judah, largely along tribal lines:

Tune in this week to find out the fate of the Northern Kingdom.

Live Long and Prosper… for real

Star Trek fans may enjoy learning more about the Jewish origins of the “Vulcan salute,” a symbol now etched into pop culture history.

Image: koshertorah.com

While known internationally as a greeting for Trekkies and germaphobes, this salutation actually has its roots in an ancient rite performed by the first kohen gadol, Aaron himself. Tune in this week to hear all about the mysteries of the priestly benediction.