This week's parsha

Unless otherwise noted, "This week's Parsha" comprises articles taken from contributors to the website.  We show the original author's name here, so that proper attribution is given.  For the sake of brevity, footnotes cited in the original author's writings are omitted from this website.  If you need to see the citations, please refer to the original articles on the website.

The Kabbalah of Fashion

Is focusing on clothing superficial?

The Hebrew word for garment is beged, which contains the same letters as the word for betrayal, bagad. Since the beginning of history, the garment has been intertwined with betrayal. The Torah tells us that garments became necessary only after the sin of the Tree of Knowledge, when Adam and Eve betrayed their G‑d, themselves and their innocence.

Read more: The Kabbalah of Fashion

Go Ahead: Fake It 'til You Make It

Want a quick trick to become happy? Try smiling.

In the late 1980s, researchers had subjects hold pencils in their mouths in various ways to mimic smiles or frowns. They discovered that by flexing facial muscles, even without knowing why, their subjects’ emotional reactions changed. Those who smiled rated things much more positively than those who frowned. Additional tests gave similar results.

The researchers concluded that though moods are accompanied by changes in the body, it works the other way as well. Make a seemingly insignificant change to your body -- like flexing those smiling muscles -- and your brain will notice and react accordingly.

Read more: Go Ahead: Fake It 'til You Make It

G-d’s Nudge

First in Yitro there were the aseret hadibrot, the “ten utterances” or general principles. Now in Mishpatim come the details. Here is how they begin:

If you buy a Hebrew servant, he is to serve you for six years. But in the seventh year, he shall go free, without paying anything . . . But if the servant declares, ‘I love my master and my wife and children and do not want to go free,’ then his master must take him before the judges. He shall take him to the door or the doorpost and pierce his ear with an awl. Then he will be his servant for life.

 There is an obvious question. Why begin here? There are 613 commandments in the Torah. Why does Mishpatim, the first law code, begin where it does?

Read more: G-d’s Nudge

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