Rabbi Mordechai Becher, originally from Australia, is a Senior Lecturer for the Gateways Organization. He was a Senior Lecturer at Ohr Somayach, Neve Yerushalayim and Darchei Binah in Jerusalem for 15 years, was a chaplain in the Israel Defence Forces and taught in a number of Rabbinic training programs. Rabbi Becher is the co-author of After the Return, and has answered thousands of questions on the Ask-the-Rabbi website. His latest book, Gateway to Judaism, was recently published by Shaar Press. Rabbi Becher received his ordination from the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. He has lectured for the UJA, Jewish Federations, the Zionist Organization of America, Hillel and is on the speakers bureau of the Israeli Consulate in New York. He has taught in Canada, the United States, England, Israel, South Africa, Australia and Russia. He resides with his wife and 6 children in Passaic, NJ.
I am trying to find out how many words there are in the Torah. Short of counting by hand, can you help?
The Aish Rabbi Replies:
According to my concordance (Avraham Even Shoshan), here are the stats.
Incidentally, Rabbi Even Shoshan wrote his concordance before the advent of computers! He wrote it by hand, and when there was a pogrom against the Jews, his work was destroyed. So he started from scratch and rewrote it.
Number of Words and Letters:
Today in Jewish History
Yahrtzeit of Levi Eshkol (1895-1969), the third prime minister of Israel. Eshkol led the country during the momentous Six Day War, when Israel staved off five Arab armies and reunited the capital city Jerusalem. Born in a small village near Kiev, Ukraine, Eshkol made aliyah at age 19. As prime minister, he worked to improve foreign relations, establishing diplomatic contact with West Germany, and also cultural ties with the Soviet Union which allowed some Soviet Jews to immigrate to Israel. Eshkol is also known for implementing the National Water Carrier system.
Today in Growing Each Day
In order that you remember and perform all My commandments (Numbers 15:40).
Memory is a unique Divine gift. Indeed, to this very day, neuropsychologists have not discovered the secret of exactly how memory operates. The turnover of the chemicals in our bodies is such that after a period of time not a single atom remains in the brain that was there several months earlier, yet a person's brain retains memories for years, decades, a lifetime.
This unique gift should not be abused. Many times the Torah tells us what we should remember and cautions us against forgetting. The concepts and events that we must retain are goals that are vital to our spiritual well-being. Most siddurim list six verses of the Torah that we should recite each day to remind us of who we are and to caution us against idolatry and lashon hara (harmful talk).
However, if we use this wonderful gift to remember those who have offended us and to harbor grudges against them, or if we remember the favors we have done for others and expect them to be beholden to us, we are abusing this Divine gift.
The key to discerning what we should remember and what we should forget is contained in the above verse: "In order that you remember and perform all My commandments." Any memory that does not assist us in working toward the ultimate goal of serving God does not deserve being retained.
Today I shall...
try to retain in my mind only those things that contribute to my devotion to God, and dismiss those things that may deter me therefrom.
With stories and insights,
Rabbi Twerski's new book Twerski on Machzor makes Rosh Hashanah prayers more meaningful. Click here to order...