Get your SKINNY on in less time than it takes to get the dust off your Playa clothes.


(the pitch)

Moses’ soliloquies to our peeps reached judicious proportions this week. As our peeps were perched on the edge of the Land of Israel, Moses told them to appoint judges and law officials in every city when they enter the land to govern them with fairness and without corruption. (Team SKINNY wishes all governments in the world today were sans corruption. Sigh.) This week’s Torah reading is called Shoftim (show-f-team), which aptly means: judges.


(the over think)

The pursuit of justice is a fundamental obligation in Judaism. In this week’s Torah reading, Moses proclaimed: “Justice, justice shall you pursue.” A Midrash (mid-rah-sh) – ancient commentary on the Torah – said God actually loves justice, more than having our peeps honor God with animal sacrifices in the Temple. (Vegan SKINNIES are down with that!) [Read this SKINNY if you’ve sacrificed Temple sacrifices.] Living a just life and ensuring that others are treated fairly are at the core of Jewish identity. 


(to be in-the-know)

This week’s Torah reading furthered the notion of justice by delineating the appointment and limitations of kings in the Land of Israel. Moses advised that a king should be appointed from among our peeps, but warned that the king shouldn’t have too many horses, silver, or gold. That is: a king (or read: an elected politician) should be modest and unassuming. What’s more, the Torah prescribed that a king must have two Torah scrolls: one to use for study and the other to carry around as a reminder to be humble and to remember that God is above any king (or queen). Team SKINNY likes that. 


(bookmark. reflect. share)

This week’s Torah reading also includes the rules for engaging in war, which are relevant to our lives today (minus the actual battles). 

TORAH: Before our peeps went to war, they were required to first try to make peace with their enemies.

SKINNY TRANSLATION: Find a way to resolve your problems with others before they become conflicts. 

TORAH: A person who was a scaredy-cat was exempt from going into battle because it meant they didn’t have faith that God would be with them.

SKINNY TRANSLATION: Be brave. Don’t be afraid of doing something challenging. Have faith in God (or read: Have faith in Yourself)! Team SKINNY likes the musical-sage, Michael Franti’s version: “Just have a little faith in me; I'll have a little faith in you…”

TORAH: A person was exempt from going into battle if they recently built a home, planted a vineyard, or got married. 

SKINNY TRANSLATION: If you’ve recently DocuSigned on a jumbo-home loan or just came back from your honeymoon, focus your energy on building your new life, not on mundane things. Stay focused on what’s important in life!

TORAH: Our peeps were not allowed to chop down or destroy a fruit-producing tree, even during wartime.

SKINNY TRANSLATION: Respect Mother Nature, protect the environment, ‘nuf said. 


(to chew on)

It’s Back-to-School time for little SKINNIES. Here are some of Team SKINNY’s fav quotes on education that come from the Talmud (tall-mood) – a collection of ancient Jewish laws and customs – and from Midrash. Choose one or two to hang on your fridge or pin ‘em up at work…whether you’re going back-to-school or simply need some inspiration. 

TALMUD: Don’t say, “I will learn when I will have time.” You may never have it. 

SKINNY TRANSLATION: Carpe Diem! Seize the moment when it comes to learning and to life!

TALMUD: I learned much from my teachers, more from my colleagues, and most from my students. 

SKINNY TRANSLATION: Listen to your children (and/or anyone younger than you.) They can teach you a lot. 

TALMUD: Every Jew is required to study Torah, whether poor or rich, healthy or sick, young or old. 

SKINNY TRANSLATION: Everyone should be a life-long learner!

TALMUD: Is it better to study or to practice good deeds? Study is greater, because it leads to good deeds.

SKINNY TRANSLATION: Judaism is primarily a religion of deed over creed. That means it’s better to do good things in the world than to simply believe in the teachings of the faith. That said, studying leads to good deeds so learning is essential to living a purposeful life. (“The More You Know” isn’t just a public service campaign. It’s Jewish!)
MIDRASH: If you see cities uprooted, know that it came about because they did not maintain teachers’ salaries. 

SKINNY TRANSLATION: Team SKINNY thinks the Midrash says it all. 

TALMUD: Only the lesson that is enjoyed can be learned well.


TALMUD: Reviewing a lesson a hundred times can’t be compared with reviewing it a hundred and one times. 

SKINNY TRANSLATION: Don’t be lazy with learning. Study! And then study even more…and have fun while doing it (see above).

TALMUD: A village without a school should be abolished. 

SKINNY TRANSLATION: Education is really really really important.

MIDRASH: A student receives but a fifth of the reward that accrues to the teacher. 

SKINNY TRANSLATION: Maybe we should quit our jobs and become teachers?! (or at least donate some of our time to volunteering in a classroom.)

TALMUD: A parent must not ignore her/his own study of Torah, for just as it is a commandment to educate your child, so too is the parent commanded to educate herself/himself.

SKINNY TRANSLATION: Don’t ignore your own learning. (Team SKINNY thinks this is where airlines got the idea to put our oxygen masks on first!) 



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