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Seder Plate

Seder plate

Judaism teaches that the messiah is yet to come. While there are varying views about the messiah in the Jewish tradition, some believe that the messianic era will not come until all of the imperfections in the world have been repaired. This is why it is crucial for Jewish people to perform good deeds (mitzvot) and participate in repairing the world (tikkun olam). According to the Jewish tradition, there are a total of 613 mitzvot in the Torah. Some examples of mitzvot include giving money to the poor (tzedekah), caring for the sick (bikhur holim), and observing the sabbath and festivals. When the messiah comes, every Jewish person will be gathered from the Four Corners of the Earth and will be restored to the land of Israel. The messiah, according to the Jewish tradition, will be a descendent of King David. The final goal of the messiah is that he or she will bring peace to the whole world.

Each movement of Judaism allows for the interpretation of the classic Judaic texts, with each branch selecting its own methods of interpretation. Rabbi Burt Visotzky, a modern scholar of rabbinic texts at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, describes in Reading the Book: Making the Bible a Timeless Text how the multiple interpretations of the Torah create a quilt of comfort and, therefore, span the generations of time. He explains,

The Bible became a patchwork quilt of text, with a verse of Scripture at the center and the various interpretations of the verse radiating outward to form the fabric. This quilt of scriptural interpretation offered warmth to all who sheltered under it. Like a family quilt, it was simultaneously a heirloom, linking the user to all previous generations, and a functional cover, expanding as new patches were sewn onto the already extant woof and warp.

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