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.

Celebrate the Holidays With the 2020 Harry Potter Funko Pop Advent Calendar

Funko
Funko

Though the main book series and movie franchise are long over, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter remains in the spotlight as one of the most popular properties in pop-culture. The folks at Funko definitely know this, and every year the company releases a new Advent calendar based on the popular series so fans can count down to the holidays with their favorite characters.

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Right now, you can pre-order the 2020 edition of Funko's popular Harry Potter Advent calendar, and if you do it through Amazon, you'll even get it on sale for 33 percent off, bringing the price down from $60 to just $40.

Funko Pop!/Amazon

Over the course of the holiday season, the Advent calendar allows you to count down the days until Christmas, starting on December 1, by opening one of the tiny, numbered doors on the appropriate day. Each door is filled with a surprise Pocket Pop! figurine—but outside of the trio of Harry, Hermione, and Ron, the company isn't revealing who you'll be getting just yet.

Calendars will start shipping on October 15, but if you want a head start, go to Amazon to pre-order yours at a discount.

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6 Fascinating Facts About Vincent Price

There’s more to Vincent Price than just his iconic horror movie roles.
There’s more to Vincent Price than just his iconic horror movie roles.
Photoshot/Getty Images

It’s basically impossible to talk about classic horror movies without mentioning at least one film starring Vincent Price. With his menacing voice, laugh, and presence, Price easily became a staple in Hollywood horror cinema. The actor may be known for House of Wax (1953), The Last Man on Earth (1964), and The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971), but he has more than 200 acting credits across film, television, and theater.

Although his contributions to the horror genre are truly unparalleled, few people know that there is much more to him beyond these performances. He once wrote that he is passionate about three things: work, art, and food. Here are six fascinating facts you may not know about Vincent Price.

1. Vincent Price initially studied for a master’s degree in Fine Arts.

Price graduated from Yale University with a degree in English and a minor in Art History. He taught at his alma mater for a year before entering the Courtauld Institute of Art of the University of London. Although he fully intended to study for a master’s degree in Fine Arts, he was drawn to theater and decided to become an actor instead.

2. A museum in East Los Angeles is named after Vincent Price.

In addition to being an actor, Price was also a well-respected art collector and consultant. In 1957, he and his then-wife Mary Grant donated 90 pieces of art to the East Los Angeles College (ELAC) because they wanted students to have “first-hand experiences with art.” The institution named the art gallery, now the Vincent Price Art Museum, in their honor. Price had recognized art’s significance in education ever since he was a student himself. As he once said, "A picture was worth a thousand words, even if I had to read 10 million words to get to see more pictures.”

3. Vincent Price was a major foodie.

Vincent Price was as talented in the kitchen as he was on the screen.Frank Barratt/Stringer/Getty Images

Price was born into a family of food businessmen, so it's perhaps no surprise that he embarked upon his own culinary adventures. He went on to earn a reputation as a gourmet cook, cementing his culinary legacy by authoring several cookbooks and hosting his own cooking television show, Cooking Price-Wise.

4. Tim Burton’s Vincent Price documentary remains incomplete and unreleased to this day.

Price was Tim Burton’s good friend, frequent collaborator, and childhood idol. During the filming of Edward Scissorhands (1990), Burton approached Price to discuss the idea of an independent documentary about the actor’s life. They shot some interviews at the ELAC, and the project was tentatively titled Conversations with Vincent.

After Price’s death, Burton wanted to complete the documentary, which he then renamed A Visit with Vincent. However, it never happened. Some say the film wasn’t released because it became too personal for Burton, while others believe studios refused to grant any budget for the project.

5. Vincent Price's daughter says he was bisexual.

“I am as close to certain as I can be that my dad had physically intimate relationships with men,” said his daughter Victoria Price in an exclusive interview with #Boom Magazine. He was also supportive of her when she came out to him. She recalled that he said, “You know, I know just how you feel because I have had these deep, loving relationships with men in my life and all my wives were jealous.”

6. Vincent Price’s voice is featured on a Disneyland attraction.

With a voice as iconic and distinctive as Price had, it’s no wonder Disneyland Paris hired him to record narration for their dark ride attraction, Phantom Manor. However, the audio was shortly replaced by a French narration, so only Price’s evil laugh remained. After a major renovation in 2019, Walt Disney Imagineering brought back his recordings and included previously unused material in the refurbished attraction.