Thinking in Twos
In recent years, we have become more aware of the extent to which we make sense of the world in terms of binaries; that is, in ways which split our perception and experience of the world into oppositional, mutually excluding categories. To name just the two most common binaries: good and evil; male and female. When splitting the world into binaries, the issue isn’t just that complexity is reduced to two oppositional elements. The elements are not equal. The elements in opposition are evaluated according to a binary positive/negative assessment: so, good is by definition, ‘good’ and evil is by definition ‘evil’; in other words, they are closed, sealed categories. And as the French Philosopher Simone de Beauvoir argued in her ground-breaking work published in 1949, Le Deuxième Sexe, The Second Sex, the male represents the self and the female the other.
For some people, even today, these binaries are completely self-evident – and I have deliberately mentioned binaries that are taken utterly for granted. Of course, we think we can recognise ‘good’ and ‘evil’ because they seem to us to be natural categories, rather than binary constructs that we impose on our lived experience. Of course, the division of humanity and other living creatures into two biological types is a reproductive imperative.
Unsurprisingly, binary thinking is also a dominant feature of Jewish teaching. The Torah’s foundational narratives assert this again and again. Ha-Adam, the first Human is split in two; Adam and Eve, two halves driven out of Eden to live lives of hardship, each with their own separate burden. Their children, Cain and Abel: the first children; siblings; rivals as it turns out for the good favour of God, who favours Abel’s offering, so Cain kills Abel. Ishmael and Isaac: the two sons of our ancestor Abraham; divided by separate destinies; Ishmael in the line of his Egyptian mother, Hagar; Isaac, the fruit of Sarah’s womb. Similarly, Jacob and Esau. And with these siblings, who were the sons of the same parents, Rebecca and Isaac, and also twins, the division is even more pronounced: Jacob becomes Israel; Esau is identified as Edom because of his ‘ruddy’ skin, an alien nation. So completely alien that Edom is later identified in rabbinic literature as Rome, the empire that dominated Jewish life from 65 BCE onwards.
From binary narratives to a religious system embedded in binaries. The Book of Leviticus, Va-yikra, reads like an encyclopaedia of teaching predicated on the binary division between sacred and profane. The Levite tribe is set apart from the Israelite tribes. The priestly family of Aaron and his sons is set apart from the other Levitical families. The choicest agricultural products are set apart as offerings on the altar. Menstruating females and women who have just given birth are set apart for a period of cleansing before being readmitted into the community. Likewise, men who produce seminal emissions and those who experience a skin eruption. Most importantly, the people of Israel as a whole is set apart from the other nations. Significantly, the rationale for the sexual prohibitions outlined in the double portion Acharei Mot-K’doshim, Leviticus chapters 18 and 20, is precisely this separation. We read at Leviticus 18, verses 1-5:
The Eternal said to Moses, / “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘I am the Eternal your God. / You must not do as they do in Egypt, where you dwelt, and you must not do as they do in the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you. You must not follow their practices. / You must practice My laws and keep My statutes and follow them. I am the Eternal your God. / You must keep My statutes and My laws, for the person who practices them will live by them. I am the Eternal’”.
The root meaning of the sacred, the holy, represented by the Hebrew letters Kuf Dalet Shin, means to ‘set apart’. The first time the root is used in the Torah is in connection with the setting apart of the seventh day from the six working days. We read in B’reishit, Genesis chapter 2, verse 3:
Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it – Va-y’kaddeish oto – because on it, God ceased from all the work that God had created to do.
The sacrificial system described in the Book of Leviticus ceased when the last Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE, and most of the associated purification rites also ceased – with the exception of those associated with females. Indeed, the entire edifice of Rabbinic Judaism is rooted in the division between male and female roles. The Jew is the male Jew responsible for fulfilling the majority of the mitzvot – that is those which are positive and time bound and are undertaken in a public congregational setting. In this gender-divided system, women are specifically responsible as women for three mitzvot, all of which are fulfilled in the private domain: dividing the challah dough, lighting Shabbat and festival candles, and observing niddah, the laws of purification around menstruation and childbirth.
There can be no doubt that social systems rooted in binaries are endemic, after all, they have dominated human life for thousands of years. But such a binary status quo is not exactly life-enhancing, especially for the relegated second category. Binaries generate oppositional dichotomies that ensure that the bifurcated binary elements are mutually exclusive. In contemporary terms, the preoccupation with the gender binary, for example, has led to the ridiculous notion that ‘Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus’; if only men and women would understand this they would live for ever in harmonious relationships. Social binaries reduce everything – Life/Thought/Experience – to dualistic oppositions, unequal partners at best, generating fear and hatred of the other at worst. We only have to think of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that has been raging over the past ten days.
Thinking in Threes
Fortunately, despite the preoccupation with binaries, in particular, sacred and profane, male and female, Jewish teaching is more sophisticated. The Torah doesn’t only present binaries. Indeed, right from the outset, alongside an account of Creation that pivots on a binary relationship between humanity and the rest of Creation, there is a three-fold presentation of Life.
Three-fold Presentation of Life
Significantly, there is a second creation narrative in B’reishit, the Book of Genesis that begins at chapter 2, verse 4. In this version, instead of a concern with hierarchy and the placement of humanity at the pinnacle of Creation tasked to subdue and dominate all the other living creatures, the second Creation narrative centres on humanity’s responsibility as steward of the Earth – or rather, as responsible for the upkeep of the much more modest domain of a garden. Indeed, formed ‘out of the dust of the ground’ – afar min-ha-adamah – ha-adam, the human is created for this purpose: l’ovdah u’l’shomrah – ‘to work and to keep’ the garden.
Further, the animals are introduced, not as creatures to be dominated, but rather as potential companions. While the first Creation narrative differentiates the human into two forms, ‘male and female’, zachar u’n’keivah, for the purpose of reproduction, the second Creation narrative addresses the existential issue at the heart of singularity: Lo-tov heyot ha-adam l’vado – ‘it is not good for the human to be alone’. So, in the second creation story, differentiation is driven by the need for companionship. And when the human being fails to find a companion among the animals because the act of naming the animals, an act of power means they are not suitable companionship material, the human is divided into two forms that are essentially two of the same; ishah and ish from the root, Aleph Nun Shin, to be ‘human’. While the terms zachar and n’keivah specify what differentiates the two humans from one another for the purpose of reproduction, the terms ishah and ish reflect their shared humanness.
Nevertheless, are we still stuck with the binary? No. Because the relationship between ishah and ish is not the exclusive focus of the second Creation narrative. Rather, the narrative focuses on the relationships between the human and the other forms of life. Instead of a binary representation, the narrative suggests the possibility of multiple relationships that emerge from the triangle between the human, the earth, and the other creatures: the interrelationships between the human and the earth and all that grows on it, the interrelationships between humans and animals, the interrelationships between humans.
Three-fold presentation of our people
I have spoken at some length about the second Creation narrative. I would now like to turn to the three-fold presentation in the Torah in connection with the narratives of our people. Significantly, the ancestors are presented in three generations: Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob, Leah, Rachel, Bilhah and Zilpah. And then, the Exodus story is a tale of three sibling leaders – Miriam, Aaron and Moses – although each sibling is accorded very different treatment. The youngest, Moses, is the focus of the narrative from the moment he is born. Aaron, the middle sibling, is tasked with a role of Moses’ right-hand-man, a functionary, even before his designation as the high priest. Meanwhile, Miriam, the eldest sibling, who was responsible with their mother for saving Moses’ life is side-lined. Although designated a prophet, the Torah devotes just 29 narrative verses and two non-narrative ones in all to the eldest of the three sibling leaders of the Exodus. If you’re interested in an extensive treatment of Miriam, please read the second chapter of my book, Trouble-Making Judaism. Interestingly, moving from the Torah through the rest of TaNaKh, we can also discern three forms of religious leadership: priests, prophets and scribes. Later, the scribes became the rabbis.
Three names for our people
This talk is not just an exercise in identifying threes rather than twos in the Torah. The point about recognising the threes is what they can teach us about how breaking down dualistic thought patterns can lead to an opening up of previously closed categories and so enable us to acknowledge the complexity of our lived experience. While thinking in binaries, reduces everything to simple, fruitless oppositions, thinking in threes expands our horizons. I’m now going to take us through this by examining some more threes, beginning with the three names for our people.
Yes, we have three names. To start with the most obvious: Y’hudim, Jews, the Jewish people. This designation reminds us that we are the descendants of the ancestors; specifically, Jacob and Leah’s fourth son, Y’hudah, Judah. The name Y’hudah expresses the biological dimension of our peoplehood.
And then, we are also Ivrim, Hebrews. When a sudden storm led the sailors to make enquiries about the identity of the stranger who had come on board, Jonah answered, Ivri Anokhi, ‘I am a Hebrew’. The Hebrew root of ‘Hebrew’, Ivri, is Ayin Beit Reish, meaning to ‘cross over’ or to ‘pass over’. This name reflects our experience of journeying as a people, from the time that Abraham and Sarah set out on their first journey. We are Ivrim; those who are eternally crossing borders. The name Ivrim expresses the existential dimension of Jewish existence.
Finally, the third element: Yisraeil. As is made clear in the story relating Jacob’s night time struggle with an unknown man on the eve of his reunion with his twin, Esau, that culminates in him receiving a new name, Yisraeil means ‘One who struggles with God’. The name Yisraeil expresses the spiritual dimension of Jewish existence.
Taken together, these three names, Y’hudim, Ivrim and Yisraeil express the different dimensions of our peoplehood. They also invite us to embrace an inclusive way of thinking about what it means to be a Jew and what it means to belong to the Jewish people. For some, the fact that they are born Jewish expresses the sum total of what it means for them to be Jewish; it is a biological inheritance, which may be a simple fact, or may represent a burden. For some, being a Jew is about identifying with the history of the Jewish people and millennia of journeying; for some this will also mean exploring their roots and the journeys of their own particular family. For some, being part of Yisraeil, the people who struggle with God is the most significant element in their identity. And of course, there will be as many reasons for this as there are individuals. For some, their spiritual identity is key. For some, being Jewish is about engaging in a contest, it’s about arguing and asking questions and striving for answers, and yet finding most meaning in the questions. Some of us may engage with all of these dimensions at different times. These dimensions don’t describe denominations or geographical locations. And only one, the biological link to the first ancestors, is confined to those who are born Jewish. Acknowledging our multiple names enables us to be all of who we are, both individually and collectively.
Three loci of Jewish existence
Of course, both the names ‘Israel’ and Judah’ have at different times designated the land across the Jordan. King Solomon’s great kingdom was divided following his death into two kingdoms, Israel and Judah (c. 922 BCE). Israel was vanquished, along with its ten tribes, by the Assyrians in 722 BCE. In 586 BCE, the Babylonians conquered the Kingdom of Judah and the remaining tribes of Judah and Benjamin, and destroyed King Solomon’s Temple. Other conquests followed – by the Persians (546 BCE), the Greeks (c. 333 BCE), the Assyrian Greeks (175 BCE), the Romans (65 BCE). Judah/Judea, which enjoyed a brief period of independence under Hasmonean rule (140-65 BCE) before the Romans came along, remained a colonial outpost of the Roman Empire until the emergence of Islam. And it wasn’t until the end of the 19th century that the birth of political Zionism brought new hope in the restoration of Zion and the re-establishment of a Jewish state.
I’ve encapsulated 3000 years of the history of the land on the eastern seaboard of the Mediterranean in a few sentences. It is tempting to regard Jewish existence today in binary terms – on the one hand, in the diaspora, on the other hand in the State of Israel. In an effort to resist this temptation, let us go back to the foundational narrative, back to the Torah, where we find not a simple distinction between Egypt, where you have been and Canaan, where you are going – to paraphrase those verses at the beginning of Leviticus 18 I quoted earlier – but rather a picture of three loci of Jewish existence: Egypt, the wilderness, the land beyond the Jordan, in a chronology; Egypt, the past; the wilderness, the present; the Land, the future. Forever looking backwards and yearning forwards, we tend to ignore the present moment, the wilderness. Just a few days ago, we were reminded of the wilderness on Shavuot, the festival of ‘Weeks’ that, in the absence of a Temple after 70 CE and the possibility of bringing agricultural offerings, the rabbis transformed into z’man matan Torateinu, ‘the season of the giving of our Torah’. The ex-slaves, both the descendants of the ancestors and the erev rav, the ‘mixed multitude’ that made a dash for freedom with them, encountered the Eternal One in the wilderness, in the empty desert. It was there, between Egypt and the Land, that they entered into a covenant with the Eternal One. Moreover, that experience was not simply a fleeting present moment between past and future; in that fleeting moment, the wilderness became eternally present. We carry that wilderness within us wherever we go. The wilderness is space, emptiness, without the accretions of space that we associate with organised societies; pieces of land that are named and claimed and populated and built-up and defended against outsiders. Our roots as a people in the wilderness teach us that space is always conditional, mobile, elusive. We are reminded in B’har, Leviticus 25, in the Torah portion that envisions a time of ‘freedom’, d’ror, in the fiftieth year beyond the seven cycles of seven: ‘The land shall not be sold in perpetuity; for the land is Mine; for you are strangers and settlers with Me. Like the actual wilderness that our ancestors trekked, the wilderness is a perilous bridge between Israel and the diaspora, and ultimately, even in the Land we are in the wilderness still, stripped of our presumptions, our possessions, and our certainties. The wilderness is with us in the Land and it is with us in all the other lands that we inhabit. What is the wilderness? It is a perpetual reminder of the Eternal.
Living in cycles of three
Eternal wilderness wanderers, we are united as a people with all our names, in all our complexity and multiplicity, and in every place, in moments of time: Shabbat and the annual cycle of festivals and commemorations. Interestingly, if you look at the Torah‘s accounts of the sacred days, we find two intersecting sets of three. The most familiar threesome is known collectively as shalosh r’galim, the ‘three feet’ festivals, when our ancestors would go on pilgrimage to Jerusalem to present their offerings to the priests at the Temple: Pesach, Shavuot, and Sukkot. And there is also another cycle, although it’s not so immediately apparent: the sacred days of the seventh month: the first day, which later became the new year for years, Rosh Ha-Shanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot followed by Sh’mini Atzeret, the eighth day of ‘closure’ that concluded the festival cycle in Temple times. Significantly, while the pilgrim festivals root us in a horizontal dimension, in the earth, in the seasons and the cycles of nature, and in our history of journeying, the sacred days of the seventh month lift us up into a vertical dimension. The link in the two intersecting cycles of three, Sukkot -Sh’mini Atzeret, draws on and expands the themes of the first ten days of the seventh month – repentance and renewal in the context of eternity. At the same time, framed by the wise teachings of the biblical Book of Kohelet, Ecclesiastes, Sukkot-Sh’mini Atzeret, brings together the horizontal focus of the pilgrim festivals with the vertical focus of those ten days through concrete action. We build the fragile sukkah that is open to the sky and to the elements, and as we recall our ancestors’ wilderness wanderings, we acknowledge the fragility of life. We shake the lulav in the four directions of the compass, beginning in the east, and also towards the heavens and towards the earth, and simultaneously, give thanks for our material blessings while recognising that everything passes, however hard we grasp.
The context of Jewish Teaching: The Eternal – Torah – Israel
So, what do we learn from an exploration of Jewish space and time? That space is elusive and time is momentary and we live in eternity. But there is more. Alongside the intersection of the two annual cycles of Jewish time, there is the intersection of space and time in that wilderness moment we refer to as the Revelation at Mount Sinai. It’s not just that our ancestors encountered the Eternal in the barren desert, in the owner-less empty space that is the wilderness. That encounter inhabited and continues to inhabit another dimension: Torah. The Torah is neither the word of God (which is the traditional view), nor, written by men over centuries (as understood by critical scholarship). The Torah is, both, the teaching we have received and our on-going engagement with the Eternal. The Torah is the expression of a living conversation between the Eternal and the people that encompasses many texts and multiple voices – including our voices. Every time we study our Jewish texts, we engage and enlarge that conversation. After the destruction of the Temple, in place of a sacred space, the Torah became the eternal meeting place between the Eternal and Israel. And so, the covenant between the Eternal and Israel may be regarded not simply as an agreement, a contract with multiple clauses and conditions, but also as the agreement to participate in and contribute to that eternal conversation; an agreement that begins with an invitation to bring Torah in its widest sense, into our lives.
Triangular Teachings: a Magein David framework for Jewish Life
So: The Eternal – Torah – Israel: the relationship between the Eternal and Israel mediated by Torah from Sinai until now. In the last part of my talk, I will focus on two rabbinic passages that, rooted in the Torah as eternal teaching, offer us a framework in threes for our lives as Jews today.
In these passages, both from Pirkei Avot, The Chapters of the Sages, appended to the Mishnah
the world is presented as standing on three pillars.
We read in chapter 1, mishnah 2:
Simeon the Righteous was one of the last survivors of the Great Assembly. He used to say: ‘The world stands on three things: al ha-Torah – on Teaching; v’al ha-Avodah – and on Divine Service; v’al G’milut Chasadim – and on Loving Deeds.’
And then, in the same chapter, mishnah 18:
Rabban Simeon ben Gamliel used to say: ‘The world stands on three things: al ha-Din – on Justice; v’al ha-Emet – and on Truth; v’al ha-Shalom – and on Peace (1:18)
These teachings describe the essential pillars of the world and delineate the particular and the universal responsibilities of Jewish life. But we’re not just noticing here two sets of threes. And now we get to the heart of the matter of why threes are so important. Taking us beyond the binary, threes introduce multiplicity because of the potential for multiple interactions.
Considering the particular responsibilities of Jewish life. The world stands on Torah, Teaching, and on Avodah, Divine Service, and on G’milut Chasadim, Loving Deeds. Torah, a pillar, and also an archway, linked to the other pillars. Moreover, there is complete interdependency. Torah is actualised through Avodah, service of the Eternal, and also through G’milut Chasadim, the service of our fellow human beings. Torah is not the preserve of the sacred, set apart for ritual veneration on Shabbat and the festivals. Torah is our morashah, our ‘inheritance’ and lives in our lives when we engage in the work of living Torah in our relationships with others. The world stands on Torah and on Avodah and on G’milut Chasadim; on all three pillars. All three are essential.
Turning to the universal responsibilities of Jewish life. The world stands on Din, Justice, and on Emet, Truth and on Shalom, Peace. Again: All three are essential. A system of Justice, which is what the word Din denotes, cannot be a just system if it is not allied with Truth. Why? Is Truth an absolute? Why is Truth not a singular absolute? Because Truth is embedded in a context in which perspectives are diverse. Truth is not a self-sufficient given. Truth is only Truth when it is connected to Justice, that is, when it is connected to the conditions, contexts and perspectives in which Justice is practised. Meanwhile, Peace is not possible without Justice. Peace is not abstract. The establishment of peace between parties engaged in conflict, for example, is only possible if both parties are treated justly and their differing narratives, their particular truths, are recognised.
The pillars of the world. What a powerful image. The world stands on Torah and on Avodah and on G’milut Chasadim and on Din and on Emet and on Shalom. And what a complex web of interactions emerges when we bring the interrelationships between all six pillars into play. I will leave that to your imagination. One way to envision these interactions is by thinking of the two sets of three as interlocking triangles. The Magein David, the six-pointed star, is made up of two triangles. So, we could picture the intersection of these two sets of three-fold teachings to form a Magein David of Jewish life, in which the particular and universal elements engage together, as they do in the context of our individual lives and in our lives lived in community.
Final words – and the example of Havdalah
So, what do we learn from all these ‘threes’? That while binaries split elements in a mutually exclusive oppositional way, threes introduce the possibility of interconnection, generate complexity and release the potential for multiplicity as the three elements interact in different ways.
And there is more. Unfortunately, I have not had time in this talk to reflect explicitly on the liminal space between different elements. In place of exploring ‘betweens’ in detail, I will leave you with a particular example. Shabbat begins with the kindling of light and the making of kiddush and it ends with havdalah, the ceremony whereby we ritually create a distinction between the sacred seventh day and the six days in which we engage in work and productive activity. Havdalah means ‘distinction’. Significantly, according to halakhah, we should not make havdalah until the Shabbat day has ended, indicated by three stars appearing in the sky. In other words, there must be a clear distinction between day and night. As we know between day and night there is evening. The Hebrew word erev is connected with another word with the same root: ma’arav, meaning ‘west’. The sun sets in the west, and after sunset, the sky is a mixture of light and dark. The Hebrew root letters for both erev and ma’arav is Ayin Reish Beit, meaning to ‘mix’.
So, havdalah is about marking the ‘distinction’ between the Shabbat day that has ended and the six days of the working week, and the ceremony concludes with a blessing that is a litany of distinctions: ‘… between sacred and profane, between light and darkness, between Israel and the nations, between the seventh day and the six working days.’ (The distinction between Israel and the nations is omitted from most progressive prayer books). And yet, the binary distinction between Shabbat and the six working days is expressed in a ritual involving three elements, each of which subverts binary distinctions.
A blessing is recited over a cup filled with the fruit of the vine, the symbol of joy, that marks Shabbat as a day of joy, but in addition to drinking from the cup, its contents are spilled at the end of the ceremony to express the loss of Shabbat – and not just spilled, spilled over the havdalah candle to douse the flames. The havdalah candle is utterly distinct from the usual two candles, each with a single wick, that are lit to inaugurate Shabbat. But the havdalah candle consists of many intertwined wicks. Shabbat and the days of the week are inextricably connected. Shabbat means to cease from work. Shabbat only has meaning in relation to the six working days of the week. Further, the blessing we recite over the blazing havdalah candle acknowledges the Eternal One as ‘creator of the lights of the fire’ – borei m’orei ha-eish. Multi-wicks and multi-lights – and not simply lights: ‘lights of the fire’; the igniting of fire, symbolising the first creative act after Shabbat. And, of course, fire isn’t just a creative power; it is also a destructive power. Fire is not singular and it is, potentially, uncontainable. The power to create and to destroy is in our hands.
Finally, the spices. I say, finally, but significantly, the blessing of the spices is recited and then the spices inhaled between the blessings over the wine and the havdalah candle. A mingling of different contrasting scents, as reflected in the blessing acknowledging the Eternal as ‘creator of different types of spices’ – borei minei v’samin – the spices symbolise drawing in to our beings the spirit of Shabbat for the week ahead. But, again, the representation of multiplicity and complexity; unlike other sources of smell, spices combine aromas. Between the blessings for wine and the lights of the fire, contrary to the binary assertions of the concluding havdalah blessing, the blessing of the potent mix of spices, subverts simple dualistic distinctions.
So, where does all this leave us? Looking forward to havdalah, I hope! In my reflections on the benefits of thinking in threes and embracing multiplicity, I am not suggesting that Jewish teaching dissolves into an array of relativities. Jewish teaching is a firm framework that is enriched by nuance and the awareness of complexity. And most important, engaging in Torah in its widest sense, encourages and enables us through study and reflection to subvert the assertion of absolutes and binaries and so enrich our experience of our lives and the world around us.
Rabbi Elli Tikvah Sarah
Genesis 2:21-3:20. ↑
Gen. 4:1-15. ↑
Gen. 21:1-21. ↑
Gen.25:5-34; 27:1-45; 32:4-17; 36:1-43. ↑
An early link between Edom and Rome is found in Sifrei, the 2nd century collection of midrash on Deuteronomy, e.g., Sifrei 343. Later, the identification is found in the 4th-6th century collection of midrash, B’reishit (Genesis) Rabbah, e.g. 6:3. ↑
The Talmud devotes one of the six ‘orders’ to ‘Women’, Nashim. One of the tractates in Nashim, Kiddushin, concerned with the laws of betrothal and marriage, includes a discussion of positive precepts dependent on time from which women are exempt’ mitzvat ‘aseh she-ha-z’man g’ramah (Kiddushin 33b-35a). ↑
The title of the best-seller book by John Gray. HarperCollins, 1992. ↑
Genesis 2:7 ↑
Gen 2:15. ↑
Gen. 2:18-20. ↑
Gen. 1:27. ↑
Gen. 2:18. ↑
Gen. 2:19-20. ↑
Gen. 2:21-23). ↑
Exodus 2:1-10. ↑
(Ex. 15:20). ↑
Narrative texts: Exodus 2: 1-10, Ex. 15: 19-20, Numbers 12:1-16, Num. 20:1. Non-narrative references: Numbers 26:59, Deuteronomy 24:9. Plus elsewhere in TaNaKh: Micah 6:4. ↑
David Paul Books, 2012. ↑
Genesis 29:35. ↑
Jonah 1:9. ↑
Genesis 12:1ff. ↑
Gen. 32:29. ↑
Exodus 12:38. ↑
Leviticus 25:23. ↑
Exodus 23:14-17 and Deuteronomy 16:16. ↑
Leviticus 23:26-43. ↑
Mishnah Rosh Ha-Shanah 1:1. ↑
As we read in Deuteronomy 33:4: ‘Moses commanded us the Torah, an inheritance of the congregation of Jacob’ – Torah tzivvah-lanu Moshe, morashah k’hillat Ya’akov. ↑