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One of the sacred principles of Western democracy is “majority rule.”  In its most positive form it allows for the smooth progress of discussion or for effective decision-making by relying on the collective will of every member of a group.  If the greater number of the group favor a proposal, then the proposal becomes the correct course of action.  But matters such as truth, goodness, happiness and justice cannot be determined solely by the largest share of a popular vote. 

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The building of the portable sanctuary (mishkan) required a significant amount of wood for its construction and a special kind of wood for the interior furniture.  From where did the Israelites secure all this lumber in the wilderness?

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According to the Talmud (Makkot 23b), the number of candidates for inclusion in the list of 613 commandment enumerated in the Torah total 613.  Yet no count of all the “do’s” and “don’ts” yields this precise number.  Consequently, some rabbis to whom an exact list is important have generated slightly divergent lists from that of their colleagues.  One particular candidate for inclusion in the list of 613 commandments that has been vigorously debated is whether the first of what are popularly called “The Ten Commandments” is an actual commandment or not.

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When did redemption from Egyptian bondage begin?  To most, the question is so obvious that it need not be asked.  Redemption begins with the Exodus.  To the commentators, however, the question is not so simple.  Some maintain that redemption began earlier, some later.

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Words to live by

 

If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough.

-  Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia