As we turn to the start of a new Jewish year, perhaps we can be inspired by the all-too-familiar customer satisfaction survey to evaluate our spiritual lives.
In the Babylonian Talmud (M'nachot 29b) there is a wonderful midrash1 in which Moses is depicted as watching God sitting and writing crowns (embellishments that look a bit like crowns) on some of the letters in the Torah. Moses asked God why the Holy One was doing this.
The Israelites are given more commandments and make a pact. Listen to this fun rap about the holiday.
In Parashat Emor, the Torah reports that a man born of mixed Israelite-Egyptian descent “blasphemed the Name [of God],” was placed on trial, and was stoned to death. A law was then enacted that anyone, Jewish or gentile, who blasphemes the name of God shall be put to death. Over time, in communities throughout the world, laws against blasphemy were put in place to address curses leveled at God as well as perceived slights against some religions.