1. With the exodus, Jews were given their own calendar, which operates on a different system from that of other nations. Whereas all other nations have either solar or lunar calendars, the Jewish calendar is comprised of lunar months and solar years with a complex system of adjustments. What are the advantages of such a system? What does having a separate calendrical system do to the interaction between Jews and other nations? Is that a good or a bad thing?

  2. In ancient cultures, the first-born was considered naturally superior to all his siblings and given the rule of the household. The Torah instructs that the first-borns, even of the animals, are holy and must be dedicated to God. Is the Torah trying to continue the ancient practices or disrupt them? Should there be a natural heir in every family, or is some other system of distribution more equitable? Does Judaism believe that certain individuals, by virtue of their birth, are considered superior?

    To learn more about the first born in Egyptian and Jewish societies, read “The First Born” by Rabbi Ari Kahn.

link to lookstein.org