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15

The Bible prohibits tattoos. (Leviticus 19:28). I'm sure the athlete you describe means well, but it's still prohibited if he is in fact Jewish. He was likely mistaken or unaware. (Alternatively, a non-Jew could choose to express solidarity with the Jewish people by obtaining a Jewish star tattoo, if it floats his boat; that really doesn't do anything one ...


14

Fascinating! I've always wondered about this myself. BaMidbar Rabbah 2:7 has a list of each tribe and its flag, with the colour, stone, and symbol associated with it, which I believe is probably the original source (or one of the earliest that we'll find) for this. I'd be interested to see what other people come up with. Interestingly, the list is a little ...


13

Obviously, I can't actually speak for the family involved, however, in general, giving any kind of Christian religious symbol to a Jewish family will be considered offensive. The meaning conveyed by the cross for most Jews is very different from the meaning that Christians see in it, and not the least bit positive.


13

In Orach Chayim, it refers to a comment by the Yad Efrayim, in the margin. The Business Halacha Institute tells me that in Choshen Mishpat it points to a chidush [a novel thought or opinion].


13

Thank you for your sensitivity in asking this question. As pointed out in comments, you are actually Jewish (whether you follow Judaism or not). But as you say in your question, you've been raised with Christianity and it doesn't appear that you've rejected that. You see Judaism as part of your cultural background, if I'm reading you correctly, the way ...


10

Assuming it was your father's Mother's Mother or some combination thereof who was Jewish, then it might be best for you to find a Large cross with a small Jewish star. The Jewelry you currently have has strong associations with "Messianic Jews", or "Jews for Jesus", both groups which are roundly rejected by Jewish groups as being either an oximoron or ...


9

I think the conclusion of that article sums it up very well. Indeed, in halachic Judaism, tattooing is forbidden, see Shalom's answer. (I can't say for Reform or Conservative, though I imagine they'd be more lenient.) However, tattooed people are not shunned or treated differently. Personally, I find a tattoo of the Star of David ironic. Generally, if a ...


8

I would suggest that it probably reflects the beliefs of some messianic Christians who call themselves Jews (and some who are technically Jewish by the Jewish standard of matrilineal descent), and I would interpret it to mean that you are of that ilk. Many Jews (and I count myself among them) do not have any nice thoughts towards these groups, to put it ...


8

Indeed, the Lubavitcher Rebbe zt"l (sicha of Shabbos Parshas Ki Tisa 5741 secs. 55-57) called for them to always be depicted as square, in keeping with the Gemara you mentioned. (And Chabad publications long before that, as far back as 1942 at least, followed the same convention.) He states that shape with rounded tops was popularized by non-Jewish ...


8

Welcome to Mi Yodeyah, Frederick. The "average" Jew does not have a symbol for "evil" or the "devil," especially the latter. The "devil" is a Christian innovation shared also by Islam, and which probably owes some of its origins from pagan and other non-Christian sources such as Zoroastrianism and Manichaeism, both of which are dualistic religions. ...


7

The luchot are a 1 amah cube of sapphire (6x6x6 tefachim) (Baba Basra 14a) 3x6x6 tefachim individually (Baba Basra 14a) The writing filled each side ("tradition". I think I saw this in a Gemara too) There are more words in the first 5 commandments, so the letters were a smaller size to fit.(Mabit) The letters were carved straight through the luchot. (Shmot ...


7

From: http://www.shmais.com/articles/stories/4232-a-story-of-the-rebbe-225-the-artist A non Torah-observant artist once wanted to give the [Lubavitch] Rebbe a portrait he had painted of him. However, the Rebbe noticed that the picture showed him with his fingers intertwined, and he explained to the artist in terms that he would relate to as to why we do ...


6

Taamei HaMinhagim 706 says it is done for Kabalistic reasons. In the notes, he mentions in the name of the Imrei Noam that the Gematria of the word "Tapuach" (the Hebrew word for apple) is the same as the Gematria of "S'e Akeida" - so we eat the apple to recall the Akeida (Binding of Isaac).


6

The Taz (OC 473:4) suggests the reason is so that we can eat it, because it is forbidden to eat roasted meat on the Seder night. The Mishna Berura (:23) quotes two other reasons. First, that we use an egg, which is commonly served at a meal to mourners, to represent our mourning the loss of the Beit HaMikdash and the Korbanot. Second, the word for egg in ...


6

According to Alexander Beider's Handbook of Ashkenazic Given Names, Dov didn't become a name in "the vernacular life" until the 20th century. "Jews called Dov in Hebrew sources were actually named Ber in their everyday life." Ber, on the other hand, comes form the German Bero which has been known since the 8th century among non-Jews. Beider's theory is ...


5

1) The Maharil explains that the apple is connected with "חקל תפוחים קדישין"; when Yaakov came to get the brochos from Yitzchok, he had the smell of an apple orchard upon his clothing. Besides for the Kabbilistic meanings, (according to one opinion) this episode happened on Rosh Hashana (GR”A O.C. 583:8) 2) There are three types of benefit derived from an ...


5

There is specific symbolism in the apple. It also can't be discounted that apples are harvested around Rosh Hashana time so they are a readily available and relatively inexpensive fruit at that time.


5

Gershom Scholem has an essay entitled "The Star of David: History of a Symbol", in The Messianic Idea in Judaism (New York: Schocken Books, 1995), 257-281. In this essay, he chronicles the development of different theories that accounted for its origin (in David's shield, in Solomon's signet ring, etc), its usage in Christian and Islamic art and its frequent ...


5

This sefer suggests that according the author of the "Mesora", Vayikra 7:22 and 7:23 may be joined together, based on a Rambam (quoted by Shach YD 275:6) that differentiates the former Possuk from all other instances in the Torah. However he later notes (in his comments to the end of Sefer Vayikra) that if one adds up the totals written at the end each ...


5

Need to look up exact source of the tshuvah, but paraphrasing the Ben Ish Hai: crosses in churches (and those found inbas-relief on antique "expensive" vessels, bowls etc) are to be considered as idols and used in idol-worship. He says however crosses worn on necklaces nowadays (in his day) are not considered such and are merely decorative. He also ...


5

Rav Mirsky in his first volume of Hegyonei Halacha has an interesting article on Ameilah shel Torah and includes the virtues of a bear. In speaking about how important 'toil' in learning is (rather than rote learning) he brings a Radak on Hosea (13:8): .אֶפְגְּשֵׁם כְּדֹב שַׁכּוּל, וְאֶקְרַע סְגוֹר לִבָּם; וְאֹכְלֵם שָׁם כְּלָבִיא, חַיַּת הַשָּׂדֶה ...


4

Ben Ish Hai (Shana Bet Parashat Pinehas sim. 13) actually endorses the Hamsa. A few months ago, I asked HaGaon HaRav Meir Elyiahu Shelit"a this question (question 108 on RabiMeir.com): שמעתי שקדן גדול בהיסטוריה, כי חמסה היא מן התרבות המוסלמית, ולכן החלטתי לתפוס לדעת כי היא, שאסור להשתמש בהם. האם זה נכון He answered: צורת החמסה אכן לקוחה מאגדה ...


4

According to Wikipedia: The hexagram has been in use as a symbol of Judaism since the 17th century, with precedents in the 14th to 16th centuries in Central Europe, where the Shield of David was partly used in conjunction with the Seal of Solomon (the hexagram) on Jewish flags. Its use probably derives from medieval (11th to 13th century) Jewish ...


4

The Beis Yosef (OC 651) writes in the name of the Rikanti (Parshas Emor Vayikra 23:40) [my own translation]: The Esrog must be placed next to the other species. This secret was revealed to me in a dream, on the eve of the first day of Sukkos a Chosid from Germany by the name of R' Yitzchok stayed by me. I saw in a dream that he wrote the four letter name ...


4

Revach.net has a nice table of the tribes populations, flags, symbols, and camp locations. Levi's symbol was the Urim V'tumim (High Preist's breastplate).


4

Update on the stones of the hoshen / 12 Tribes, and their identification. This information is from my father's book "The Natural Bible: Judaism and the Environment", which will be published (be"h) by Berman House this spring. Odem: clearly a red stone. Scholars suggest either red jasper, or carnelian sard (a type of quartz). Piteda: some sort of ...


4

According to the Jewish Encyclopedia: (a) It has been generally assumed that at times colors are used in the Bible symbolically, either in the ritual, as in the construction of the Tabernacle and in the priestly raiments; or apocalyptically, as in the visions of Zechariah and of Daniel; or, as a literary device, in poetical diction. Philo ("De Vita ...


4

The Seforno on Bereishis 9:17 understands the double rainbow as a wakeup call for Noach and his family “to [spiritually] wake up on seeing it, and to awaken the people of the generation to repent, to be wise, and to do good.” The Sages in several places caution against staring at the rainbow, based on a mystical understanding of the rainbow's ...


3

The Targum Yonasan on Chapter 2 of BaMidbar mentions the flags for each "super-tribe", i.e. cluster of three tribes that camped together: (2:3) Camp Judah's flag had stripes corresponding to the member tribes' stones [on the breastplate], namely red, green, and "shiny"; it bore the names of the three tribes Judah Issachar and Zebulon, with the inscription ...



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