Browsing Tag



The Talmud Says Eclipses Are a Bad Omen. Sorry.

By On August 18, 2017

Jews have a prayer for everything, from eating a new fruit to using the toilet. So what does the Talmud say about an eclipse? “The Sages taught: When the sun is eclipsed… Read More


The Rosh Hashanah Sephardic Seder

By On September 30, 2016

Pop quiz: How many seders are in the Jewish year? If you said “one,” sorry, but we have to send you back to Hebrew school. Though it’s relatively unknown to the Ashkenazim… Read More


When Sages Go To The Bathroom

By On November 6, 2013

Jewish tradition has never been known for shying away from embarrassing topics. In fact, religious Jews recite a blessing thanking God for creating humans with orifices and cavities. A sacred life, after all, requires healthy… Read More


Barukh Ata Jewniverse

By On August 31, 2012

Check out these great examples of the wild world of Jewish prayers and blessings. Did you know that Judaism has blessings for everything, from a rainbow to a trip to the bathroom?… Read More


Smells, and Other Signs of Love

By On July 19, 2012

Scientists believe that there has been an evolutionary decline in the human sense of smell. Perhaps it was more potent back when people were hunters and gatherers–but these days, our olfactory sense is good for… Read More


Health, Death, and Our Kids

By On June 18, 2012

“What’s the difference between a doctor and God?” a cabdriver asks author A.J. Jacobs, while driving to see Jacobs’ grandfather in the hospital. When Jacobs doesn’t know, the cabdriver supplies the punchline: “God doesn’t think he’s a doctor.”… Read More


The Blessing on Trees

By On April 10, 2012

Jews are a little obsessed with blessings. We’ve already told you about some weird ones, such as the blessing to say upon seeing strange-looking animals, and also some new and surprising blessings, like the blessing for donating… Read More


God in Your Back Pocket

By On May 6, 2011

“God pursues me everywhere,” the Jewish philosopher A.J. Heschel wrote. One of Heschel’s primary aims was to show people that spirituality could be found anywhere–not only in prayer or charity, but in every place we find ourselves… Read More


Everybody Poops

By On March 30, 2011

There’s a Jewish practice of saying a blessing before eating any food–a spiritual equivalent of saying thank you to the “chef.” But did you know that there’s also a blessing for food that’s on its… Read More


Holy Pigging Out

By On January 13, 2011

Can the physical act of eating be a spiritual experience? Judaism offers different blessings as a way of sanctifying all sorts of things, from the food we eat to…well, going to the bathroom afterwards. Why is… Read More


Blessings for Giving Blood

By On November 2, 2010

  Judaism has a lot of blessings–not just to say over bread or Shabbat candles, but also when you see strange-looking people or animals. But blessings don’t come in limited editions: No matter how… Read More


The Jewish Blessing for a Two-Headed Snake

By On September 22, 2010

It seems like there’s a blessing for everything in Judaism. When you eat fruit, you can say one blessing. When you smell a fresh flower, there’s another. And when you see a two-headed snake… Read More

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