B"H Friday, 26 Adar 5777 | March 24 2017
Shturem.org Taking The World By Storm
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 Surviving Daily Life 

One of the interpretations of the Flood is that it represents the difficulties of life. We are swept by the swirling waters of anxiety, of the rat race, of the daily struggle. How can we prevent our sensitivity and humanity from being swept away?

Another variety of these swirling waters are the cultural currents of the modern world which seek to sweep away our Jewish dimension. "Why be different?" they murmur. "Just do the same as everyone else..." Once again, what power do we have to resist these forces?

The Song of Songs (8:7) tells us that "many waters cannot quench love." Deep in the heart of every Jew there is hidden a great love. This love always remains, despite the worries and troubles, despite cultural change. It is through our love for G-d, for the infinite freedom which our bond with G-d can grant us, that we can withstand the force of the "flood waters." Through Jewish life we reveal this love and enable it to give inspiration and meaning to our lives.

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 Why Shechitah is important 

The Jewish people today are facing many conflicts. One of these concerns shechitah, the ritual slaughter of fowls, lamb and beef so that Jews are permitted to eat the meat. Pressure from a number of groups is attempting to ban shechitah, or to impose government laws which would prevent it from being carried out effectively.

In practical terms, shechitah is virtually painless for the animal. The special shechitah knife is honed razor sharp: if it sliced a person's finger he would not feel it. The act of shechitah generally cuts the carotid arteries, causing immediate cessation of the blood supply to the brain. This is an effective, swift and pain-free stunning procedure. Many contrast this with the fixed bolt form of stunning used in non-kosher slaughter which anti-meat-eating groups describe in very negative terms.

In terms of life in modern society there is another issue: religious tolerance. We live in a pluralist society where freedom for religious practice can be claimed, so long that this does no harm to other human beings. As mature human beings in the 21st century, we can therefore claim acceptance of shechitah as a human right. Further, attacks on shechitah are often a disguised form of anti-Semitism: during World War II, shechitah was banned in all countries under Nazi control.

The real issue is, however, the spiritual question. The Torah commands the Jew to use the method of shechitah in order to eat meat.

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 The True Translation 

In our multinational society, translations are an important part of life. Ideally, they enable different peoples, who have totally different ways of thinking, to connect together. But are translations always accurate?

The Parshah of Devarim (Deuteronomy 1:1-3:22), beginning the fifth and final Book of the Torah, presents Moses giving talks to the Jewish people, explaining what the Torah is going to mean in their lives when they enter the Land of Israel. The Sages tell us he did not only speak to them in Hebrew: he also translated the Torah into the seventy languages of the original seventy nations of the world1.

This was opening the possibility for future translations of the Torah, as in our time, communicating aspects of Torah thought to very disparate kinds of people: men and women with different life-styles, with different questions. The Torah has answers for them all, but these have to be translated in a way which they can understand.

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 Why Shechita is important 
The Jewish people today are facing many conflicts. One of these concerns shechitah, the ritual slaughter of fowls
    
 
 Rags to Riches 
Photograph: Zalman Kleinman
A Chabad.org essay by Tali Lowenthal, a lecturer in Jewish Spirituality at University College London
    
   

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