No Stone Unturned: Tetzaveh 2023

by Adam J. Rosenbaum

Pre-Game Chatter: Do you keep good-luck charms? Do you trust in typical items like rabbit’s feet, pennies, or horseshoes? Or do you prefer things that are specific to your life experience?

As God describes the 12 stones attached to the High Priest’s breastplate, there are particular mystical elements attached to the middle gem of the third row:

The Pitch: “The third row [of stones on the High Priest’s breastplate]: a jacinth, an agate, and a crystal …” – Exodus 28:19

Swing #1: “Agate is a banded form of finely-grained, microcrystalline Quartz. The lovely color patterns and banding make this translucent gemstone very unique. Agates can have many distinctive styles and patterns, but each Agate is unique in its own habit, with no two Agates being the same.” –

Swing #2: “Are you terrified by the violence of thunderstorms or fearful of the bite of some of the dangerous spiders of the Mediterranean area? Had you lived in one of the early civilizations, you would probably have carried an amulet of agate blessed by a priest.” – Ruth V. Wright & Robert L. Chadbourne, Gems and Miners of the Bible

Swing #3: “No gemstone is more creatively striped by Nature than agate, chalcedony quartz that forms in concentric layers in a wide variety of colors and textures. Each individual agate forms by filling a cavity in host rock.” – International Colored Gems Association

Late-Inning Questions: Our ancient ancestors placed a great deal of hope that gems like agate could bring them protection and prosperity. Does this seem foreign to you? Or a common human tendency? Are superstitions valid if we believe in them?

On-Deck at TBT: Purim will be here before you know it! See the synagogue’s website for information about our festivities, including our Just Another Manic Megillah reading on Monday, March 6th.

The Big Inning at the End: Speaking of rocks (okay, this might be a bit of a stretch), when Cleveland’s baseball team sought a new nickname, they allegedly considered being called the Rocks – owing to the city being the home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Could you imagine rooting for the Cleveland Rocks?

Shabbat Shalom!