7 Things You Need to Know about the Torah

Katy Lozano/iStock via Getty Images
Katy Lozano/iStock via Getty Images

Today is Rosh HaShanah, which literally translates into "Head TheYear" or "head of the year." It marks the Jewish New Year and the period where Jews finish the Torah, or the Five Books of Moses and begin the Good Book all over again, reading a little bit each week until the cycle is complete once again. This is an old post I wrote about the Torah, which I'm republishing here again today. May it be a sweet New Year...

1. The word Torah means teaching or instruction in Hebrew. The Torah itself is a scrolled parchment that contains the following 5 books from the Old Testament: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.

2. Jews read the Torah from beginning to end each year, one section every week, and then start afresh after the Jewish New Year.

3. It takes a scribe about a year to pen the 304,805 letters found in each and every Torah, the exact same way it's been written since the time of Moses.

4. There are over 4,000 laws that dictate the writing. Even the slightest slip of the pen, the smallest mistake, can be reason to burn the scroll and start over, especially if a mistake is found in the word God. Indeed, God's name is so holy, a scribe must bathe in a mikvah (ritual pool) before writing the Lord's four-letter (Hebrew) name.

5. Torahs are made up of between 62 and 84 sheets of parchment produced from the skin of a kosher animal. The pen used to write one is actually a quill from a kosher bird, usually a goose feather, and only special, permanent black ink is acceptable.

6. Using thread made from the leg sinews of a kosher cow, the scribe sews the backs of the parchment together so the stitches aren't visible from the front. Each end of the scroll is sewn onto the two wooden shafts, called atzei chaim, or "trees of life."

7. Torahs are quite heavy, weighing around 25 pounds. If you don't know how to lift one and are given that honor in a synagogue, ask for instruction; dropping a Torah is a serious matter. Tradition holds that every person in the room must fast for 40 days in atonement. And while not eating for 40 days isn't as bad as wandering the desert for 40 years, certainly it's no picnic either, unless, of course, you prefer your picnics without food.

Kodak’s New Cameras Don't Just Take Photos—They Also Print Them

Your Instagram account wishes it had this clout.
Your Instagram account wishes it had this clout.
Kodak

Snapping a photo and immediately sharing it on social media is definitely convenient, but there’s still something so satisfying about having the printed photo—like you’re actually holding the memory in your hands. Kodak’s new STEP cameras now offer the best of both worlds.

As its name implies, the Kodak STEP Instant Print Digital Camera, available for $70 on Amazon, lets you take a picture and print it out on that very same device. Not only do you get to skip the irksome process of uploading photos to your computer and printing them on your bulky, non-portable printer (or worse yet, having to wait for your local pharmacy to print them for you), but you never need to bother with ink cartridges or toner, either. The Kodak STEP comes with special 2-inch-by-3-inch printing paper inlaid with color crystals that bring your image to life. There’s also an adhesive layer on the back, so you can easily stick your photos to laptop covers, scrapbooks, or whatever else could use a little adornment.

There's a 10-second self-timer, so you don't have to ask strangers to take your group photos.Kodak

For those of you who want to give your photos some added flair, you might like the Kodak STEP Touch, available for $130 from Amazon. It’s similar to the regular Kodak STEP, but the LCD touch screen allows you to edit your photos before you print them; you can also shoot short videos and even share your content straight to social media.

If you want to print photos from your smartphone gallery, there's the Kodak STEP Instant Mobile Photo Printer. This portable $80 printer connects to any iOS or Android device with Bluetooth capabilities and can print whatever photos you send to it.

The Kodak STEP Instant Mobile Photo Printer connects to an app that allows you to add filters and other effects to your photos. Kodak

All three Kodak STEP devices come with some of that magical printer paper, but you can order additional refills, too—a 20-sheet set costs $8 on Amazon.

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13 Inventors Killed By Their Own Inventions

Would you fly in this?
Would you fly in this?

As it turns out, being destroyed by the very thing you create is not only applicable to the sentient machines and laboratory monsters of science fiction.

In this episode of The List Show, Mental Floss editor-in-chief Erin McCarthy takes us on a sometimes tragic, always fascinating journey through the history of invention, highlighting 13 unfortunate innovators whose brilliant schemes brought about their own demise. Along the way, you’ll meet Henry Winstanley, who constructed a lighthouse in the English Channel that was swept out to sea during a storm … with its maker inside. You’ll also hear about stuntman Karel Soucek, who was pushed from the roof of the Houston Astrodome in a custom-designed barrel that landed off-target, fatally injuring its occupant.

And by the end of the episode, you just might be second-guessing your secret plan to quit your day job and become the world’s most daredevilish inventor.

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