Jewish Life

Circumcision (brit)

Genesis 17:10 (NET) “This is my requirement that you and your descendants after you must keep: Every male among you must be circumcised.”

Leviticus 12:3 (NET) “On the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin must be circumcised.”

Sidelocks (payot)

Leviticus 19:27 (LEB) “You shall not round off the corner hair of your head, and you shall not trim the corner of your beard.”

Rabbis have interpreted this verse in different ways, such that some believe that peyot must never be trimmed. Others say that it is permissible to trim or cut these with scissors but not a razor.

Fringes (tzitzit)

Numbers 15:38 (LEB) “Speak to the children of Israel, and tell them to make for themselves tassels on the hems of their garments throughout their generations and to put a blue cord on the tassel of the hem.”

Deuteronomy 22:12 (LEB) “You shall make tassels for yourselves on the four corners of your clothing with which you cover yourself.”

Torah Scroll

Exodus 24:7 (LEB) “And [Moses] took the scroll of the covenant and read it in the hearing of the people, and they said, ‘All that Yahweh has spoken we will do, and we will listen.’”

Deuteronomy 17:18 (LEB) “And then when [the king] is sitting on the throne of his kingdom, then he shall write for himself a copy of this law on a scroll before the Levitical priests.”


Deuteronomy 6:6–8 (LEB) “And these words that I am commanding you today . . . you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as an emblem between your eyes.”

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Related Websites

See also Jewish Holidays and Samaritan Passover.

Mitzvahs & Traditions. Chabad.org is a website is written for Jewish people by Jewish people, making it a particularly helpful source of information. This page links to many others regarding basic aspects of modern Jewish life.

Jewish beliefs and practices (Pew Research Center). Lots of interesting statistics about the differences in religious practice among Jewish people in Israel.

Jewish Ceremonial Objects (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs). A description of various Jewish traditions, including the mezuzah, the tallit, and tefillin.