Free online access to the Dead Sea Scrolls

The discovery of the first Dead Sea Scrolls in a remote Judean Desert cave in 1947 is widely considered the greatest archaeological event of the twentieth century. Bedouin treasure hunters and archaeologists ultimately found the remains of hundreds of ancient scrolls. These fragile pieces of parchment and papyrus, including the oldest existing copies of the Read More

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Hillel and the Golden Rule

The saying of Hillel that introduces the collection of his maxims in the Mishnaic treatise Pirkei Avoth mentions Aaron HaKohen (the high priest) as the great model to be imitated in his love of peace, in his love of man, and in his leading mankind to a knowledge of the Law (Pirkei Avoth 1:12). In Read More

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The Story of the Golden Calf

By Dr. Jeffrey Tigay What Did the Golden Calf Represent? The story of the golden calf, the greatest scandal of the wilderness period, is recalled in Deuteronomy 9:9‑21, based on the fuller account in Exodus 32. What the calf represented is debated by scholars. Images of bulls and calves were common in Near Eastern religions. Read More

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The Shema Prayer

by Alan Mintz In the Shema, three passages from the Bible form the theological center of the prayer book. The passages are Deuteronomy 6:4-8 and 11:13-22 and Numbers15:37-42. The first of these begins with one of the most famous and resonant statements in all of Jewish literature. During the service, the pray-er recites it with Read More

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The World of Jewish Scribal Arts

A Sofer, (Sopher or Sofer SeTaM) is a Jewish scribe; he can transcribe a number of things- the Torah Scrolls, Mezuzot, Tefillin, and other religious documents like Megillot, Nevi’im, and Gittin. He functions as a copyist, but this Judaistic role means more than that, it is deeply connected to Irrael’s religion. Scribes are also calligraphers Read More

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