Snippets — bat mitzvah gift

Hashem: The Hebrew Name

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Names are supremely important in Judaism. The Creator's name ~ indicated by the Hebrew letters yud-hey-vav-hey in the Torah, the tetragrammaton ~  is so sacred we don't really know how to pronounce it at all. So, some say "Hashem" (the name) in its place or simply Adonai (Lord). Particularly observant Jews will often write G-d to express the deity, avoiding the whole word which is never to be defaced or erased. When Moses asks God who He is, God says cryptically, "Ehyeh asher ehyeh," which means something like "I will be what I will be." In the Torah , the...

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We will do, and we will hear.

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In parshat Mishpatim, as the Israelites prepare to receive the Torah, they say to Moses, "Na'aseh v'nishmah," we will do, and we will hear (Ex. 24:7). The "doing" part is pretty clear, considering the instructions about to come, but why does the text say "we will hear" after the doing? This has been a conundrum through the ages. After all, the "nishmah" part comes from the Hebrew root shin-mem-ayin, which has a meaning of far more than just the physical act of hearing. It also means to heed, to understand, to obey.  How many times have you been asked to...

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