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Tzarich Iyun: The Parah Adumah
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Misconception:The person who sprinkles the ashes of a parah adumah (“red heifer”) on a tamei (ritually impure) person becomes tamei himself. Fact: Most of the people involved in preparing the ashes become tamei, but the one who sprinkles the water with the ashes does not. Background: Among the various types of tumah (ritual impurities) enumerated […]
Tzarich Iyun: Pomegranate Seeds
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Misconception:According to rabbinic tradition, a pomegranate (rimon) has 613 seeds. Fact: The pomegranate is used in rabbinic tradition as an example of a fruit that contains many seeds, but not necessarily 613. Background: The pomegranate (Punica granatum)[1] has been cultivated all over the Mediterranean region since ancient times, and was well known in the Biblical […]
Tzarich Iyun: Rav Kook’s Hebrew University Invocation
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Misconception:[1] In 1925, in Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak HaCohen Kook’s invocation for the inauguration of the Hebrew University, he applied the Biblical verse “Ki miTzion tetzei Torah, u’devar Hashem meYerushalayim, For out of Zion shall go forth Torah, and the word of God from Jerusalem” (Isaiah 2:3; Michah 4:2).[2] This is an oft-used criticism cited by […]
Tzarich Iyun: Leather and Fasting on Yom Kippur
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I. Wearing Leather Misconception: It is prohibited to wear leather items, such as a leather belt or yarmulke, on Yom Kippur and Tishah B’Av. Fact: Only leather shoes are prohibited on Yom Kippur and Tishah B’Av. One is permitted to wear belts, yarmulkes, jackets, or other items made from leather. Some authorities prohibit all “protective […]
Tzarich Iyun: King David’s Tomb
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Misconception: King David is buried on Mount Zion, in a room that bears the inscription “King David’s Tomb.” Mount Zion is located just outside and to the south of the Armenian Quarter and Zion Gate of Jerusalem’s Old City. Fact: Evidence indicates that the area known today as Mount Zion was not part of inhabited […]
Tzarich Iyun: Tuesday Weddings
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Misconception:The ideal day to get married is Yom Shelishi (Tuesday) because in the Creation story, the phrase “ki tov” (for it is good)[1] is used twice on that day. Fact: Tuesday may be a fine day on which to get married. However, there does not seem to be any basis for the belief that it […]