Thursday, May 16, 2013

Ruthfully Jewish

The purpose of this blog is to get the kids talking at the table. Try printing and sharing!


Ruth, by Antonio Cortina FarinósThis week's question for your table:

Who was the most famous convert to Judaism — ever?

Answer: Ruth the Moabitess (i.e., she was from Moab).

It is an interesting fact that the numerical value (gematria) of her name is 200 (resh) + 6 (vav) + 400 (tav) = 606.

So what you ask?

Since a Gentile has 7 mitzvoth (the 7 Noahide Laws) and a Jew has 613, her name alludes to the 606 additional mitzvoth she received when she became a Jew.

(Source: Talmud Yevamot 47b)

Question #2 - Can you name the 7 Noahide Laws? (try to guess)

Question #3 for your table - The Torah says that there are about 10^18 stars in the universe. The question is, Why is this significant?

(Here is my answer to the question, and I'd love to hear yours too.)

Happy Shavuot!

PS - What amazing smartphone/tablet app has this fact about Ruth?

Here's the answer if you have an iphone or ipad.
Here's the answer if you have an Android device.
Here's the answer if you have a Kindle.

PPS - Want to make your Table Talk rabbi happy? Like it, tweet it, or just send it to someone who might enjoy it.

Ruth, by Antonio Cortina Farinós

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Jewish Thanksgiving?

November 22 2012
8 Kislev 5773

Imagine you are the first European to visit America. It's an amazing New World! Strange people, strange foliage, strange animals. And you see this odd chicken-like bird for the first time. What do you call it?

Since you think you're in India, you naturally call it "Indian chicken."

Are you with me so far?

So French explorers dubbed this new bird poulet d'Inde (Indian chicken) later shortened to dinde (pronounced "dand").

English settlers called the bird turkey because they thought it looked like another type of fowl that was imported from Turkey.

Jewish explorers sided with the French and called it tarnegol hodu which means "hindu chicken" and was later shortened it to simply hodu.

What's interesting for us is that the Hebrew word HODU also happens to mean "give thanks."

Similarly, we ourselves are called "Jews" because most of us descend from the remnant of the 12 Tribes who survived the repeated pounding from Assyria and Babylon 2,500 years ago. The one remaining landed tribe was Yehuda or Judah. And that name - Judah - means "thankful".

Therefore, being "Jewish" means cultivating a Thanksgiving mindset every single day.

(I can hear it already - "Gee honey, I"m watching so much football because the rabbi told me to....)

Below: Two links on cultivating gratitude...

Article by R. Pliskin
Audio by R. Rietti

To see a nugget of Jewish wisdom like this every day on your iphone, ipad, or Android device (including Kindle), click here:

Android (Google)
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Thursday, March 22, 2012


Jars of honey
The Israelites in the Wilderness ate something called manna. It is described as a miraculous food. What did it taste like?

The ratio of 1:60 represents the threshold of an experience. The Talmud applies this concept to various experiences that people wonder about.

Therefore, if you want to "taste" manna to get an idea of what the experience of manna was like, taste some date honey. Experientially, honey is 1/60 the sweetness of manna, just the threshold of tasting it.

Talmud Brachot 57b

Click to hear Rabbi Gottlieb's cogent wisdom on this topic....