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.

Lending a Helping Hand

Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone who was affected by the tragedy at Mount Meron on Lag BaOmer last week.

Image: Bismillah News

In times like this, those in the diaspora may feel especially helpless regarding their fellow Jews on the other side of the world. While prayer always helps, some also want to contribute financially to the cause. Money is being raised through United Hatzalah to try to provide care for those who remain injured and in need of help. Check out the organization’s donation page if you want to contribute.

Principles of Faith

This week on the show we’ll be discussing the role of belief in Judaism, guided by the Rambam’s 13 Principles of Faith.

The 13 Principles are the most popular statement of Jewish faith ever conceived, but have not been without controversy. We’ll discuss why on the show.

In the meantime, if you want to read the principles straight from the Rambam himself, the Maimonides Heritage Center has a free PDF of his Introduction to Perek Helek (skip to page 17 if you just want to read the principles).

Honoring Our Parents

This week on the show we’ll be discussing the commandment to honor our parents. One of the difficult parts of keeping this mitzvah is finding ways to honor parents who are, quite frankly, just bad at parenting. While we will discuss this on the show, Rabbi Manis Friedman has also put out a good video on the subject.

Hopefully those who are in need of a little bit of extra help on this one will find the video and show informative.

The Passover Lamb

The season of Pesach is upon us, and this week we’ll look at one of the most enduring symbols of the holiday.

Much is made of the lamb and the use of its blood in the Passover story. But what’s the point of it all? Is this just one of these weird Bible stories that only made sense to primitive man, or is there more to it? There is! Tune in this week to hear the full story of the Passover lamb, and how the clues we need to figure it out can all be found directly in the scriptures.

By the way, if you’ve waited until the last minute and your local store is all out of matzah, never fear! PJ Library has a quick and easy recipe available so you can make your own.