Post Chronology

March 2015
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Speaking Engagements

Predict and Prepare sponsored by Workday 12/16

Workday Predict and Prepare Webinar, 12/10/2013
CXOTalk: Naomi Bloom, Nenshad Bardoliwalla, and Michael Krigsman, 3/15/2013
Drive Thru HR, 12/17/12
The Bill Kutik Radio Show® #110, 8/12
Webinar Sponsored by Workday: "Follow the Yellow Brick Road to Business Value," 5/3/12 Audio/Whitepaper
Webinar Sponsored by Workday: "Predict and Prepare," 12/7/11
HR Happy Hour - Episode 118 - 'Work and the Future of Work', 9/23/11
The Bill Kutik Radio Show® #87, 9/11
Keynote, Connections Ultimate Partner Forum, 3/9-12/11
"Convergence in Bloom" Webcast and accompanying white paper, sponsored by ADP, 9/21/10
The Bill Kutik Radio Show® #63, 9/10
Keynote for Workforce Management's first ever virtual HR technology conference, 6/8/10
Knowledge Infusion Webinar, 6/3/10
Webinar Sponsored by Workday: "Predict and Prepare," 12/8/09
Webinar Sponsored by Workday: "Preparing to Lead the Recovery," 11/19/09 Audio/Powerpoint
"Enterprise unplugged: Riffing on failure and performance," a Michael Krigsman podcast 11/9/09
The Bill Kutik Radio Show® #39, 10/09
Workday SOR Webinar, 8/25/09
The Bill Kutik Radio Show® #15, 10/08

Keynote, HR Tech Europe, Amsterdam, 10/25-26/12
Master Panel, HR Technology, Chicago, 10/9/012
Keynote, Workforce Magazine HR Tech Week, 6/6/12
Webcast Sponsored by Workday: "Building a Solid Business Case for HR Technology Change," 5/31/12
Keynote, Saba Global Summit, Miami, 3/19-22/12
Workday Rising, Las Vegas, 10/24-27/11
HR Technology, Las Vegas 10/3-5/11
HR Florida, Orlando 8/29-31/11
Boussias Communications HR Effectiveness Forum, Athens, Greece 6/16-17/11
HR Demo Show, Las Vegas 5/24-26/11
Workday Rising, 10/11/10
HRO Summit, 10/22/09
HR Technology, Keynote and Panel, 10/2/09

Adventures of Bloom & Wallace

a work in progress

Modest Rant — No HCM Pain/Rethink/Disruption, Then Little Business Gain

Don't Even Think About Getting Innovation Without Disruption

Don’t Even Think About Getting Innovation Without Disruption

[This post evolved from my Twitter reactions to a range of marketing messages and advertorials which make it sound as though their current on-premise customers, as well as the on-premise customers of other vendors, could get all the benefits of business innovation enabled by next generation HCM software without much rethinking, redesigning, and disruption.  Dare I say balderdash!] 

If and when you decide to migrate from your seriously old design, on-premise ERP to “the cloud,” please make sure that you get what you’re paying for. If any of the vendors proposing to subscribe you to their true or even faux SaaS products say that the new thing is non-disruptive, backward-compatible, just a migration, or similar, run for the hills.  Frankly, there are only two possible interpretations of this nonsense, two alternative realities in which such statements make sense, and neither is a desirable place to bet your business or your career. 

The first alternative reality is that the vendor is question has simply reincarnated much to mostly old thinking in new technology as was the case when PeopleSoft, although wonderfully new technically, was so close in domain concepts to its then mainframe competitors that it took litigation to prove that it wasn’t copied — on which point PeopleSoft won hands down — but rather just built to what were then (mid-80’s) common industry data designs, screens and processes.  In this case, you’re definitely not going to get next generation HCM process or business thinking but rather the same old same old with a thin overlay of mobile delivery and enhanced analytics with (hopefully) improved costs.  But the scary part of this reality is that the vendor in question may honestly not know how much change in business and HCM has taken place over the last 20+ years, or may not understand the importance of a complete rethinking of HCM with an eye on the future, and/or may honestly believe that the improvements in technology will in and of themselves drive the needed business outcomes.  It’s scary but true that there may be vendors who honestly believe that non-disruption is a good thing. 

The second alternative reality is a little darker although the vendor has done precisely the same thing with the software.  In this case, not out of ignorance, naivete or a lack of resources, but rather out of — and this is the generous explanation — their belief that customers won’t be willing to dig in and do the heavy lifting that it takes to move from 1970 through 1990 HCM practices to ones designed for 2020 and/or that they must protect their installed base from looking at their other “cloud” options by minimizing the effort to migrate to their “cloud” applications.  I do understand the enormous pressure for profits and the many other challenges that companies face when they try to reinvent themselves even as they must support current customers, but it can be done if there’s the will, early planning and effective execution.  And it’s true that many customers are late adopters, not just of technology but also of major process change.  I suspect late adoption/late-to-market is a big reason why the Fortune 500 company list changes SO rapidly.  But HCM software vendors — for that matter all enterprise software vendors — don’t stay momentum players by being lulled into a false sense of security by there late adopter customers.  Just one change in CHRO or CIO or CEO, and your previously happy on-premise customer is headed for someone else’s disruption-enabling “cloud.”

It’s really hard work, for both vendors and customers, to start over, to reconsider business processes in the face of changing times and changing technology, to design from scratch to meet tomorrow’s challenges, to clean up decades of poor data designs and coding structures, and to deliver all of this in a reasonable period of time.  It’s really hard work for everyone involved to educate their organizations about the need for disruptive change, to make clear why you can’t get there from here without lightening the load of yesteryear’s thinking and doing.  But only those organizations which are willing and able to reinvent themselves and their products/services frequently are going to survive and succeed.  And the results of all that hard work should be disruptive, should not be backward compatible, and should be a new implementation of the enabling technology.  And while you certainly don’t have to redesign every aspect of HCM at once, you can certainly use the help of a vendor which has thought through what next generation really means, not just in technology but in HCM as well, and gives you the tools you need to evolve as quickly as you can.

If you really just want something familiar but with and a more modern UX, increased processing speeds and pricing improvements, that’s fine, and there’s plenty of that to buy.  But if you want to reinvent your business for the next 5, 10, even 20 years, I don’t think that’s enough.  I think you need real disruption, and you need it now.  As in all such matters, the consultant I used to be knows very well that it’s entirely your call how fast and with what level of innovation you move to “the cloud.”  But please don’t think you’re going to get anything more than you pay for in the heavy lifting needed to achieve real innovation. 

Modest Rant — HCM SaaS Economics

With a huge shout-out to Brian Sommer from whose wonderful blog post I "borrowed" this graphic.

With a huge shout-out to Brian Sommer from whose wonderful blog post I “borrowed” this graphic.

[The impetus for this post was some absolute nonsense online which sort of equated SaaS to “cloud” (and faux “cloud” at that), then suggested that, while customers might save a little in the short run with SaaS, it would cost them more in the long run (here using a strictly in-house TCO cost model without much attention paid to upgrades, process modernization, etc.), and then went on to annoy the hell out of me by saying that the only one who benefits from SaaS is the vendor.  This was so entirely misguided a discussion, that I couldn’t help myself from ranting online, but clearly a little more needs to be said and, perhaps, more calmly.  For the record, I use a very strict definition of SaaS and will continue to do so.]

In my view, there has been entirely too much attention paid when discussing true SaaS (let alone when discussing all of the FrankenSoft — a term coined by Brian Sommer from whose post on this I “borrowed” the above graphic — and hybrid variations) to the licensing, maintenance and operational costs of on-premise, last generation business applications compared to the subscription costs of similarly titled true SaaS applications.  While these costs matter, I believe that the more important discussion is around the greater breadth, availability, and pace of adoption of business-enabling innovations delivered via the architecture and business model of true SaaS.

Unless your organization is operating in the same environment as it did 20+ years ago, doing pretty much the same things within pretty much the same competitive landscape (and this is true for NO ONE), then the cost of technology-enabled innovation should be the focus of any cost comparison between on-premise or faux SaaS/”cloud” and true SaaS.  The speed, ease, quality and cost of delivered innovation, as well as the ease with which that innovation is adopted and used to modernize HCM processes, are the real differentiators between the best of true SaaS and the best of on-premise — and it’s this innovation which is desperately needed by today’s organizations in order to stay relevant, let alone to succeed.

However, if your vendor has a hodge podge of bought and built architectures, object models (or even worse, old timey data models), development tools, and more moving parts than you can count, they’re at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to delivering true SaaS innovation no matter how good their intentions, how large and skilled their team, or how cleverly they reinvent themselves.  Throw in a range of hybrid, on-premise, hosted and true SaaS applications, and just keeping global regulatory requirements up-to-date across this portfolio — a really big deal in HCM applications — requires substantial resources.

And even as your vendor’s team is refactoring like mad to ensure as much commonality as possible across a hodge podge portfolio, which some are doing with considerable skill and progress, every dollar spent on this type of refactoring is a dollar that’s not available to drive and deliver innovation.  The more moving parts, the more it costs just to keep things moving, and that’s true no matter how able the vendor may be to deploy thousands of developers.

Now every vendor must refactor continuously at some level, but having to do so across disparate moving parts is fraught with opportunities for disconnects, quality problems, and just plain slower time, higher cost, and less robustness-to-market.  But those vendors who had the luxury of:

  • starting over for true SaaS, whether as new companies without an installed base or as startups within established companies (and there are some exciting skunk works in our industry);
  •  designing and building elegant, clean architectural and object model foundations;
  • taking advantage from day one of all that’s available in technology today;
  • planning for the technologies to come; and especially
  • rethinking their underlying object models and end-to-end processes for the 21st century rather than deriving them from 20+ and 30+ year old HCM concepts embedded in last generation on-premise applications so as to provide as much backward compatibility as possible;

those are the vendors with a distinct advantage.

My hat’s off to my very smart colleagues pushing the innovation bow wave in front of disparate and/or heavily code-based systems with the arm of a fresh start tied behind their backs.  And I admire the effective marketing that such vendors are doing to dismiss the important distinctions between true and faux SaaS, and between true cloud and traditional hosting.  But in the end, I don’t think that this generation of customers is going to be fooled, for it’s a universal truth that a fool and his money is soon parted.

Persistent HRM Object Model Errors Part I — Job And Position

Objects To The Left Of Us, Objects To The Right

Objects To The Left Of Us, Objects To The Right


In May 2012, I published a blog post that covered the basics of objects and object modeling — the very basic basics.  Assuming you’ve all been studying this topic since then (if you hadn’t already done so), it seemed like a good time to note that simply applying the right modeling techniques does not get you to the right HRM object models.  Au contraire.

I’ve watched very smart HRM enterprise software architecture and modeling teams do their best, but it’s a rare team that doesn’t make one or more of the same errors, and they’re doozies.  And while I’ve handled all of these potential errors in my HRM Object Model “Starter Kit,” which is great for licensees (please note that I no longer license this material) but not so great for everyone else, I thought I’d highlight the most challenging ones here for the benefit of those vendors — and their customers — who haven’t licensed my “Starter Kit” and even those who have a license but may not have tackled (correctly?) these specific challenges. 

I should also add that, if a vendor’s applications are created/maintained via a robust, models-driven, metadata-based, effective-dated, definitional development environment, etc., it’s a lot easier to adjust the models and resulting applications over time than in a traditional, procedural logic approach to applications development — and this agility really matters.  Throw in a “Blooming SaaS” architecture and fundamentally great functionality, and you’re really cookin’.  Since it’s so important that the object model be fundamentally correct and complete (for the desired scope of functionality) in any software you may choose to use, and the only way to get at this, short of reviewing object diagrams (which are impenetrable for all but the fully initiated), is to use case-based (aka scenario-based) product evaluation, that’s clearly the only way to go.

Separating Job And Position

These are two fundamentally different concepts, and getting them right, along with their appropriate attributes and methods as well as relationships, goes to the heart of having an effective enterprise HRM application.  Furthermore, no one should be using an HRMS, let alone any talent management applications (and you know I feel strongly that these really deserve full integration as HRMS/TM) unless both position and job are core object classes and modeled properly.  Only at the lowest (and I do mean lowest) end of the market can you get away with using one or the other as a conflation of both.

Jobs are templates from which positions are created.  Jobs describe broadly the nature of the work being done, in terms of what I call duties and responsibilities, as well as the KSAOCs (knowledge, skill, ability and other deployment-related characteristics, so these include surrogates like work experience and education, attitudes and behaviors, work schedule and environment preferences, etc.) and level of mastery thereof that are needed to do that work.  Jobs, therefore, are the place where regulations that govern work are “hooked up” at each organization to that work.  Jobs, more important than even the nature of the work they describe, can be evaluated in terms of appropriate levels and types of total compensation, thus creating eligibility for specific total compensation plans for the employees sitting in positions for which a specific job was the template.  Jobs are strictly an HRM construct that let’s us group together positions doing similar work, not only for regulatory purposes, like employment equity and regulated work hours and conditions (e.g. FLSA in the USA), but also for workforce planning, labor relations, compensation management, and many, many more strategic HRM processes.

But work gets done via workers sitting in positions and carrying out the duties and responsibilities of those positions.  Positions, once created from a job template must be given a work location, a work schedule, and their association with (place in) one or more work units.  They may be assigned more specific duties and responsibilities, more specific KSAOCs and/or the weight and rating accorded to those KSAOCs.  Positions may also be given the rules by which accounting for the costs associated with those positions will be done (i.e. when cost accounting isn’t done on a time and attendance basis), rules for any position controls (whether headcount or budgetary) that will be applied when filling those positions, and rules for establishing the fit/recruiting sources/evaluation process/etc. when filling of positions should they need filling (i.e. succession plans, sourcing rules, etc.).

So what’s the big deal here?  There are a ton of organizations that think they can avoid the discipline of using positions by mushing job and position into their flawed HRMS’ job code table.  You know the one.  The job code table with 10,000 entries for 7,000 workers?  The job code table with job descriptions like “VP — Finance,” “VP — Engineering,” and “VP — HR,” when VP is clearly the job for which there are three very different positions created.  Many organizations have been dragging around these piles of job code table poop for longer than most of my readers have been sentient, and it’s clearly time to clean up this mess.  But you can’t clean it up unless your HRMS handles these objects properly — and very separately.  So, a job may be the template for one or more positions, but a position inherits its basic components from one and only one job.


So that I don’t violate every principle Bill Kutik has tried to teach me about reader attention spans, I’ll just do the job/position thingy here.  But please stay tuned as I work through the following persistent object model errors — and let’s not even consider any vendor who’s still working with purely data models because they’re so far out of date in the art and science of software engineering that they’re probably wearing tie-dies and bell-bottoms around the office when such garb is really only appropriate when attending aging rocker or folky concerts — in subsequent posts:

  • Separating Position From Worker
  • Employee Status Code
  • Decomposing Total Compensation Plan Into Reuseable “Legos”
  • Addressing Multiple, Concurrent Worker To Position Relationships
  • Balancing Total Compensation Plan With Work Environment Program
  • Crafting The KSAOC Umbrella
  • Community Members
  • Professional Network and Networking As KSAOCs
  • Separating Work Unit From Work Location
  • Separating Work Unit From Legal Entity

If I get that far, and you’re still interested, I’ll keep writing on this topic.  Meanwhile, if you’re a customer, starting checking your current portfolio of HRM software for the proper separation and implementation of job and position.  Lots more relevant use cases for job and position can be found here and here.

A Bloom’s Christmas: Inventory Management And Retail Retold

Blooms Camera Ad Circa 1950

[Disclosure: If you think you’ve read something very similar before, you’re quite right.  And you may read an updated version in the future.  I learned so much about business, absorbed it through my pores, as I worked at Bloom’s Camera (later, Bloom’s Photo Supply and then just Bloom’s, Inc.), lingered at my grandmother’s kitchen table after Friday night Shabbat meals where all the important decisions were made for that business, and was then apprenticed to all the other small businesses run by various relatives.  I went on buying trips to New York for the fancy ladies wear shop run by one aunt (they used to model the dresses at high end shops), learned the uniform business from another aunt, and was taught the basics of the Borscht Belt hospitality business by a great cousin.  By the time I got to my MBA program, cash flow, supply chain, human resource management and more were already baked into my world view.  So, with Christmas just around the corner, I thought you might enjoy a different perspective on this holiday.] 

On Christmas Eve, my Dad’s retail camera shop closed early, and we knew we’d have him with us all that next day.  Really just with us, even if he were too tired for much conversation after working the very long hours of the retail Christmas season.  New Year’s Day was for taking inventory, and it was all hands, even my very small hands, to the wheel.  But Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were really special.  Time alone with my father (of blessed memory) Jack Bloom was rare and precious.  He ran a modest camera shop with his brothers Paul (who’ll be 99 on New Year’s Day 2015 and with whom I’m working on his memoir) and Herman (who published several “romantic” novels under the name Harmon Bellamy).

When I was really young, my Dad left for work before dawn and rarely got home before I was put to bed.  Friday nights were usually spent having Shabbat dinner, with all my Bloom aunts/uncles/cousins and even great aunts/uncles (those without their own children), at my grandmother’s house.  After dinner,  Dad went off to Schul with his brothers.  On Saturday mornings, we were all off to Schul, but we were orthodox so my only male first cousin, Elliot got to sit with his Dad.  The store was open on Saturdays, so my Dad, in spite of the Orthodox prohibition against working on Shabbat, went from schul to work on many Saturdays, especially if they were short-handed by employee illness or vacations.  Summer Sundays were for golf in the mornings and family time in the afternoons, often spent visiting family who lived far away.  In those pre-turnpike (yes, before there were highways, there were turnpikes) days, the trip to Hartford, less than thirty miles away, took well over an hour.  But on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, we didn’t go visiting; we stayed home so that Dad could rest, and that meant me sitting beside him as we watched TV (once we had one) or read from the World Book Encyclopedia.  My Dad was a great reader, something my sister and I have “inherited” from him.

In the run-up to Christmas, everyone worked long hours, and it was rare to see my Dad during December.  My cousin Ronni (of blessed memory) and I, from about age seven, ran the strange machine in the open mezzanine above the shop floor that took addresses on metal plates and transferred them to labels for the Christmas mailing of catalogues (like the one pictured here) and calendars.  Long before it was fashionable for small businesses, Bloom’s Photo Supply was into direct marketing, and we carefully collected the names and addresses of every customer and caller, all of which were entered in the perpetual address files that my Uncle Herman kept.

Sitting in the mezzanine, Ronni and I bickered over whose turn it was to load the metal plate (not fun), load the next item to be addressed (not bad), or turn the wheel (most fun) and discussed what we saw going on all around us.  Excess inventory, the bane of every retailer then and now, was a major topic, along with fanciful ways of getting rid of it profitably.  We also took careful note of anyone who appeared to be shoplifting, quickly reporting any irregularities with arranged signals to the salespeople on the floor, and our eyes and instincts were sharpened by experience.  Even today, on the rare occasions when I’m in a store, I can’t help but notice such behaviors.

While I can never be sure, I think those conversations with Ronni must have been the origin of my now famous story about the invention of Christmas as an inventory management scheme.  In that story, the wise men were retail merchants who saw in the humble birth of Mary and Joseph’s son a solution to the already age-old problem faced by retailers everywhere of how to ensure that the year ended without extraneous, highly unprofitable inventory.  This is one interpretation of the Christmas story that my Christian Wallace family had never heard until they met me.

By the time we were ten, Christmas season found Ronni and me, the two youngest Bloom cousins, helping behind the counter after school and on weekends, ringing up sales, selling film and other simple products, dealing with shop-lifters rather than just watching for them from afar, recording those sales in the perpetual inventory files kept by my Uncle Herman (there never was nor ever will be again a filer like my Uncle Herman!), and generally learning the business.  Everyone worked during the month before Christmas, including our mothers who were otherwise traditional homemakers, and by Christmas Eve, we were all exhausted.  But the lifeblood of retail is the Christmas shopping season — always was so and still is — so our family budget for the next year was written by the ringing of those Christmas cash registers.  To this day, whenever I’ve agreed to a client project or speaking engagement, I can still hear, ever so faintly, that old-fashioned cash register ka-ching.

My Dad was buried on my 50th birthday.  My cousin Ronni, just four months younger than me, died in her mid-thirties.  Cousin Elliot, Ronni’s older brother, and the only male Bloom cousin, took over the business from our fathers when they retired, built it into something completely non-retail but VERY successful, and sold it 15+ years ago.  But if you’re ever in Springfield MA, you can still see the four story mural of long gone camera and photographic supply brands on the exposed wall of Bloom’s Photo Supply’s last retail address, on Worthington Street, just up from Main Street.

For me, sitting in my usual place at the keyboard, Christmas Eve will always be special.  Years after my Dad retired and I had a business of my own, we talked daily, with me updating him on my business in response to his questions.  You can’t fail to hear the ghosts of a retailer’s Christmas past even as my very non-retail business thrived.  ”How’s business?” “Business is great Dad.” “Are your clients paying on time? “They sure are, Dad.” “And are their checks clearing the bank?” “Absolutely.”  This Christmas Eve, I’d give every one of those checks for another Christmas with my Dad.

To all my family, friends and colleagues who celebrate the holy day of Christmas, may you and yours enjoy a wonderful sense of renewal as you celebrate the great miracle of Christ’s birth.  And please pray hard, on behalf of all mankind, for more peace on earth in 2015 than we’ve had in 2014.

A Great Miracle Happened Here! — Chanukah 2014 Wishes For HR Tech in 2015

The Elegant Dreidel I Always Wanted

The Elegant Dreidel I Always Wanted

Take Your Chances, Win Some Gelt

Take Your Chances, Win Some Gelt

Have you ever played the Chanukah game of spin the dreidel?  Did you know that the four letters, one on each side of the dreidel, make up a phrase that translates to “a great miracle happened here.”

Chanukah celebrates the miracle of freedom, a celebration not of a military victory but rather of the miracle of G-d’s attention to the details of everyday life.  Although the celebration of Christmas often falls in the same period of the Gregorian calendar as does Chanukah, and although we Jews may have added the tradition of gift-giving to Chanukah rather than listen to the cries of disappointed Jewish children, these holidays couldn’t be more different in their origins and application to modern life.

But both of them celebrate the fact that a great miracle happened here, where here is in Bethlehem for Christmas and Jerusalem for Chanukah.  So, in the spirit of this miraculous season, here are the 2015 “miracles” — and I use that word intentionally because I think it would take divine intervention to achieve them — I so wish to see in our neighborhood, at the intersection of IT and HRM:

  • The end of marketing speak in our industry, of calling everything you’ve got SaaS or cloud or social or integrated etc.  Can you just imagine how much easier it would be for buyers and customers if there were no more “painting the roses red?”
  • The end of chest beating by industry executives, of hyping their own accomplishments in hopes no one will ask too many questions, and of disrespecting the competition in loud voices and with known half-truths if not outright lies.  Prospects and customers would much prefer that their vendor executives tout their customers’ accomplishments and customer satisfaction scores.
  • The end of whatever atmospherics discourage so many of my young women colleagues from aspiring to be and then becoming chief architects, heads of development and CTOs.  I know these problems start minutes from the womb, and our industry can’t fix all of them.  However, our HR leaders can do everything in their power to level the recruitment, development and advancement playing field and to ensure that the organizational culture is welcoming to women in tech roles.  As for what our IT leaders can do to help, they can make their work groups gender-neutral in every respect, from the jokes and anecdotes they tell to the respect they show for differences in styles of communication and engagement.  And yes, this is of particular importance not only to me but to every employer who can’t afford to waste half of the scarce tech KSAOCs.
  • The end of bad HRM object models.  We know how to do this right, or at least some of us do, and it’s way past time that the mistakes of the past were relegated to that past.  I can’t tell you how frustrating it is for me to review relatively new HRM software whose designers haven’t bothered to study the sins of HRM software past.  Even if you have a gorgeous, easy to use, and truly efficient UX, we can’t do succession planning without the granularity of position, and we can’t do talent management without a robust, multi-dimensional understanding of KSAOCs.
  • The end of bad HRM enterprise software architectures.  For example, how could anyone design true HRM SaaS that doesn’t provide for cross-tenant inheritance (e.g. so that you can embed and maintain a single set of prescriptive analytics, with their content and advisory material, then inherit it across all relevant tenants — those which have signed up for this service — with appropriate modifications by geography done once and then used to modify, by geography, that decision tree of inheritance)?  And how could anyone design true HRM SaaS which doesn’t express all of its business rules, from workflows to calculations, via effective-dated metadata?  And, what’s even more frightening, there are folks developing HRM enterprise software who aren’t even thinking about these issues.
  • The end of bad HRM enterprise software development methods.  I’ve been a strong proponent of definitional, models-based development since the late 80’s.  My commitment to writing less code goes back even further.  So it’s little wonder that I’m stunned when I hear enterprise software execs calling attention to their thousands of programmers when they might be able to accomplish even more with fewer developers and better development methods.

I could go on, but I think you get the picture, and it would really be a miracle if we woke up on the last day of Chanukah to find that all of these wishes had come true.  But even more important, although it has absolutely nothing to do with HRM or IT, I hope the miracle of good health (mental, physical, and financial) comes through for all of us.  And may the lights of Chanukah be a beacon of hope for all mankind in 2015.

A Rare (For Me) Commentary On Very Small Market US Payroll Tech

Payroll -- You Can Laugh or You Can Cry

Payroll — You Can Laugh or You Can Cry


This post was inspired by a recent discussion among the Enterprise Irregulars.   It began when one of our members called our attention to a recent story about ZenPayroll’s  impressive roster of successful Silly Valley (my term for the group think or herd instinct often found in the Bay Area) entrepreneurs who had become investors.  His inquiry: “Hyperbole aside, this is an impressive list of Valley investors for a space that’s admittedly crowded already with a number of “next-gen” payroll tech companies already scaling as public enterprises.  Wondering what everyone thinks of this company and what, if anything, is their secret sauce?”

Now, most of the EIs spend very little time thinking about payroll software and services let alone PEOs unless they’re small businessmen themselves and have to handle this as part of running their businesses.  Therefore, much of the discussion came at the question posed from an investment thesis perspective, and we all know that the entire HCM product/service space is hot, hot, hot.

But I spent many of my formative professional years designing, developing, implementing and operating payroll software, and I also ran a payroll office.  More recently, I’ve spent the last few decades focused on every type of enterprise HRM technology, to include payroll, so my own comments came from a distinctly different direction.  And now that I’m not providing direct consulting services and can be as blunt as I choose about such matters, I thought I’d share my comments on the amount of attention that ZenPayroll (to their credit) has been generating, about the competitive landscape in which they operate, and about the relative difficulty or ease with which a ZenPayroll becomes the next ADP.

Payroll At The Lowest End Of The Market

The lowest end of the payroll market, so those software and/or services providers (and they’re all mostly a combination since there are a lot of needed services associated with payroll, from tax filing and net pay distribution to handling garnishments and benefits administration) focused on employers with 1 to 10 or 20 or even 100 employees, is highly fragmented and includes many strictly local operators running on older technology.  Some of these low end providers use homegrown software but most draw upon a few quite small providers of payroll and related software designed specifically for these smaller payroll service bureaus.  By and large these specialist software vendors are not in the forefront of current software capabilities (e.g. mobile, social, analytics, consumer-driven UX, embedded intelligence, etc.) nor do their Mom and Pop owners/managers present a very Silly Valley face.

A few larger providers to the lowest end of the market have PEO business models (although some of them do everything they can not to be labeled PEO because it’s so not Silly Valley) which derive most of their income from workman’s comp administration and the premiums on various types of employer-provided insurance.  TriNet is the one that gets a lot of attention because it’s been built in the Bay Area, has big name investors and leaders, and gobbled up quite a few competitors to get some real scale.  They also cater to the tech startup community, which tends to have very complex compensation and benefit plan requirements.  Paychex has real scale and delivery capability at the lowest end of the market, and they’ve been doing a complete technology refresh to offer a more consumer-like experience while having industrial strength behind the curtains.  ADP has both PEO and non-PEO offerings at scale for the lowest end of the market, and they too are bringing a real consumer-like user experience to this market.  And when ADP decides to go after a market, they can afford to price as they choose, especially with their newest technology.  In case you’re wondering, several other major players at the lower end of the mid-market (so starting at a few hundred), including Ceridian/DayForce, Kronos, and Ultimate Software, don’t focus on the under 100 employee market.

Thus, the market into which ZenPayroll has inserted itself with mobile, very consumer-like software, is one which has:

  • a few very capable larger players now refreshing completely their software (and, to some extent, their cultures and brands);
  • a few moderately capable mid-sized players, like Paylocity, who’ve attracted significant outside investment for the first time and at a time when if you can spell SaaS and HCM you’re a candidate for such investment;
  • a large number of Mom and Pop often more local operations running on either their own homegrown software or software that targets this industry from a few very small specialty software shops; and
  • a few other startups which, like ZenPayroll, are bringing a very fresh look and feel to the payroll experience of small business owner/operators, particularly those who already live on their smart phones.

Payroll Starts Easy But Gets Very Tough Very Quickly

Payroll is pretty easy if you’re just building sexy-looking, modest functionality, US payroll, that automates the most common use cases and uses manual intervention to handle the very occasional variation.  But it’s extremely difficult to design and build effective-dated, metadata-driven, payroll engines that can handle at scale and with minimal human intervention the full range of convoluted policies/practices/regulations/etc. that companies encounter as they grow and spread geographically.

For example, if systemic effective-dating isn’t built into the foundation, then you can’t do fully automated retroactive processing.  With 10 or even 50 employees, you could handle a late-breaking set of retroactive business rule changes with brute force, so with manual calculations and lots of “zapper” transactions.  But with 500 or 1,000 employees, with rules late-breaking rule changes varying by states and localities and at different times, with intervening pay rate changes, and so on, it’s not possible to do brute force retroactive processing cost-effectively and, more importantly, without huge errors.  And heavily to fully automated retroactive processing, where you’re able to handle intervening rule changes along with intervening software updates, is just one example of what happens in payroll when we move from the very low end to the demands of enterprise customers.

Unless you have great software that just does it right with minimal effort or you expect your customers to do the grunt work and take the error risk unto themselves, software built for the lowest end of the market may not be able to scale up — and that’s been the case forever.  There are no payroll systems today that serve equally well the 1 to 10 or even 100 employee market and the 500 to 1,000 employee and above market, and the example I’ve just given is one of the reasons.  Things I must automate with great expertise and cleverness to handle complexity and scale just don’t bother me at the lowest end of the market.  With roughly 18,000 regulatory jurisdictions in the USA, from taxing authorities (state, several types of local, not to mention reciprocity agreements) to judicial entities which can garnish wages, payroll software for even the low end of the middle market is expected to handle all of that, all the time, and without any slip-ups.

Another important point is that mistakes in payroll processing don’t go unnoticed, and a new and/or small player, no matter how sexy their UX nor how wealthy and prominent their backers, will get nailed with their first serious error.  And the opportunities for serious errors are huge.  Years ago, every tax/small business accountant did payrolls for their small customers, but many haven’t been able to keep up with the technology requirements or the complexity and risks of today’s payrolls.  Banks used to do payrolling on a large scale for smaller firms, but fewer of them are doing that today for the same reasons.  Presumably, the ZenPayroll guys, whom I don’t know, have tons of substantive experience and knowledge and not very little hubris.  And hopefully, they have on their team one of the handful of folks who know how to design and build a modern payroll engine, i.e. an engine (not an application) which is great and durable, effective-dated, metadata-drive, scalable and low cost to operate.  I haven’t yet seen any coverage of this firm which has probed deeply into their software’s architecture, their technology choices, and their operational robustness, but I’d love to read any such coverage from objective and very capable sources.

Bottom Line

There’s a ton of low end payroll business in the USA and plenty of room for new entrants.  Giving software away and making money from the sale of ancillary services or using a PEO model to derive income from insurance premiums are well-established business models in this market.  But for those dollars to add up enough to be of serious interest to VCs looking for a future liquidity event, I would think you’d need a damn sight more than 1,000 separate customers with an average of 10 employees.  Rather, you’d need the tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands, of such customers now serviced by the larger players.  And to keep those small business customers, I would think you’d need to offer a lot more than basic payrolling, so everything from background checking and other pre-hire services to other fundamental small market HR services like template employee “manuals,” regulator advisory services and some flavor of basic time keeping and performance management.  Those fifty big name investors in ZenPayroll must have seen something, either in the competitive landscape or in the specific business model and assets of ZenPayroll, that has whetted their appetites.   But it’s not obvious to me how this ever turns into the next multi-billion $$ acquisition or huge PE multiple IPO, which is probably why I won’t ever get the big bucks that VCs do.

Applications Integration — Core HR And Talent Management

All credit goes to Josh Bersin for this great image


[Looking for an appropriate image to convey the necessity of deep integration across core HR (whose system’s name is HRMS) and talent management (whose system’s name is usually abbreviated TM), I remembered this really terrific graphic from Josh Bersin.  Giving tremendous credit where it’s due, this graphic is from an equally terrific post by Josh entitled: “Workday 10: Talent Management And HRMS Converge and dated in March, 2010 (and doesn’t it seem almost quaint to be referencing Workday 10?).  I won’t speak for Josh, but I’ve been preaching the need for tight integration across HRMS and TM ever since I released my first licensed HRM object model “starter kit” in 1995.  That domain model makes very clear that any other approach is going to be full of fragile, costly to maintain and innovation-slowing interfaces.  But of course no one was then delivering software that replicated my object model.  Thus, I was very reassured in all of this by Josh’s perspective given that he was coming at some of the same questions from his own particular research.]

I’ve written previously about my strong commitment to precise and consistent definitions of terms used in our discussions of enterprise software and, especially, of HRM software.  And once you’re committed to a precise and consistent definition of integration, it’s possible to determine which other business processes have sufficient numbers, depths and complexities of connections to core HRM to benefit mightily from having a deep integration with your core HRM software.  Must payroll tax filing be deeply integrated (by my definition of integrated)?  Valuable, but not essential.  Background checking?  Nope.  Fixed asset accounting?  Another nope.  But basic financial and cost accounting?  A definite yes.

So what about core talent management (TM)?  What about those foundational processes of organizational and work design, workforce staffing and deployment, workforce development, compensation management, performance and succession, and all the rest of what we commonly refer to as talent management and which processes have long since been themselves integrated?  Here I believe the answer is a resounding yes, and it’s pretty easy to see why.  But please note that there are plenty of narrow (but important) talent management edge applications, particularly in the staffing area, whose connections across the rest of talent management are not sufficient to warrant their deep integration.

Every organization of any size has to have a core HRMS, a core system of record to manage its people-related transactions and organizational data, to be the source of the data needed to drive such HRM processes as learning and staffing and payroll and benefits administration as well as the many non-HRM processes which require basic data including who works here, how they are organized, what they are doing, and what they are costing us.  The HRMS is where worker lifecycle events, from hire or contract with through layoff/fire/retire/end contract etc., are recognized, edited, recorded and reported.

Today’s HRMS must be capable of providing these processes for the entire workforce, so for every type and schedule of employee and of contracted worker.  And as robots comprise an ever growing segment of the workforce, those robots which are not truly facilities and equipment but which perform their duties as part of a mixed human/humanoid robot team must also be recognized as a part of the workforce in the HRMS.

The earliest packaged HRMSs, dating from the early 70’s, were very basic and focused entirely on core HR recordkeeping and reporting.  For many years, any automated talent management functionality remained custom-built before there too packaged applications appeared.  Talent management applications and then more integrated suites gained their ascendency, in my opinion, because the last generation of core HRMSs, those on-premise, client server HRMSs which are now being replaced with (ideally) true SaaS alternatives,  simply didn’t do the job of talent management (TM) very well.  This left a lot of opportunity for innovation by smaller, more agile TM vendors and their new, often entirely SaaS products.

There are lots of reasons for the growth of standalone talent management applications and their aggregation and/or build-out into talent management suites, but a major reason in my view is that those on-premise HRMSs couldn’t keep up with the innovations in TM thinking and preferred deployment approaches for which leading firms weren’t willing to wait.  Because of their much longer development cycles, and the pain of upgrading on-premise HRMSs (many to most of which were tied to on-premise ERPs, thus complicating upgrade projects), getting TM software from their on-premise HRMS vendor meant far slower delivery and adoption of innovation, something with which effective TM couldn’t live.  And since that which is most strategic in HRM is perceived (but I might argue this differently) to lie much more in TM than in core HR, lines of business and HR leaders were quick to seize upon the availability of standalone TM applications and suites.

Without going into the whole history of how TM suites evolved from specific TM apps, with each vendor coming at the suite from their roots in a specific TM process (e.g. Cornerstone OnDemand from learning), the TM vendors and their products filled a huge need and grew their market rapidly.  On-prem HRMS customers gladly layered TM apps then suites on top of their HRMSs, building and maintaining a shit load of interfaces to keep everything more or less in sync.  But as true SaaS (or even cloudy) HRMSs have emerged, they have made TM a part of their DNA.  And as on-prem HRMS is giving way to cloud HRMS with at least deeply interfaced but ideally truly integrated TM, I foresee the end of massive growth for the standalone TM suite market coming over the next year or two.  And although I believe that the market dynamics are working against the overall growth rate of the TM apps and suite market, that doesn’t mean that the standalone TM product or suite market won’t be sufficiently large to support a few (fewer than there are now) successful TM suite vendors.

In my view, there is a tremendous need for deep and robust integration between the traditional HRMS processes, e.g. hiring a new worker into a specific position, and the related TM processes, e.g. ensuring that the new worker has attended the required developmental events, that their hiring bonus is budgeted for through compensation management and then paid via payroll, that their position has all the right attributes from its job evaluation and the right reporting relationships from it’s organizational design, and that their work schedule is optimized against the work schedules of their co-workers and the needs of their department/store/project team/etc.  And without these applications being built organically, on top of a common architecture and object model, creating and maintaining the needed interfaces is both costly and fraught with constant, hard to manage change.

And the market would seem to agree.  At the low end through mid-market in the US and Canada, ADP’s, Ceridian’s and Ultimate’s latest HRMSs include a lot of TM with more coming every day.  At the high end of the market, Workday included TM conceptually from its start and has been building out its TM capabilities with considerable speed.  And both Oracle and SAP tout the TM capabilities of their next generation “cloud” offerings (SAP via its acquisition of SFSF and Oracle via its development of Fusion and acquisition of Taleo) as central to the value proposition for their cloud HRMSs.  Frankly, I can’t imagine an HRMS being built today for any but the very smallest organizations which wouldn’t include a healthy dose of talent management, of the functionality which had previously been the province of layered on TM applications and/or suites.

There will always be demand for great talent management applications and suites layered on top of the long tail of legacy on-premise HRMSs.  And there also will be demand for add-ons in specific situations, e.g. in geographies which are underserved by comprehensive, integrated HRMS/TM offerings or in TM processes, like sales compensation, which cry out for very specialized applications with a huge depth of embedded intelligence.  But I believe that the heyday for standalone talent management suites is over, that the rate of overall market growth has slowed (i.e. that the total addressable market is still growing but at a slower pace), and that there are now too many TM suite vendors chasing too few growth opportunities.  A very few such suite vendors and their products, those with excellent, stable leadership, truly integrated suites and very good software will likely prevail and prosper, but many other TM vendors and products won’t.  Some have already been absorbed by larger/broader vendors or been bought by private equity firms, and I believe there’s more of that in the future of the remaining TM suite vendors.

Reprise: Thanksgiving 2014, Marc Benioff’s 1-1-1, And Immigration Reform

Classic Windowsill Tzedakah Box

Classic Windowsill Tzedakah Box

Being both Jewish and American presents me with two major opportunities (so Rosh Hashanah and now Thanksgiving) each year to reflect on how very fortunate I am to live in this amazing country and on what I can do to make it better.  For all the problems we’ve got, and they are daunting, we are so very blessed to be here.

For my earliest Thanksgivings posts, I focused just on counting my own personal blessings, and I plan to do that again.  But more recently I’ve also addressed the second part of this holiday’s message, the giving part.  And I’d like to give credit where it’s due, to a 2011 Facebook entry by Ron’s first cousin Barbara Wallace Schmidt, for getting me focused on the giving part of this so American holiday.

Having grown up in an orthodox Jewish home (well, modern orthodox), I learned from a very young age that philanthropy (tzedakah) isn’t about extra credit.  It’s an obligation.  The window sill over our kitchen sink was the home of five or six tin boxes, called pushkas, into which my Dad deposited his pocket change each night after work.  Periodically, a representative of one of the charities that distributed these pushkas would stop by to collect them, have a cup of tea and something sweet with the lady of the house (who rarely worked outside the home in those distant days), and leave a bright new empty box to be filled up again.

And then there were the naming opportunities.  Maybe we Jews didn’t invent this concept, but we sure as hell perfected it.  There’s not a tree in Israel or a toilet stall in a Jewish nursing home that doesn’t bear a plaque with the name of the donor whose funds paid for it.  With my dimes, brought every week to Sunday school (Hebrew School after public school was on weekdays, and then we wrapped up all that learning plus on Sunday mornings), I must have filled dozens of folded cards with enough slots for two dollars worth of dimes that could then be turned into my very own tree in Israel.

It’s been more than a half century since I saw my Dad empty his pockets into those pushkas and I put my dimes (which I would have preferred to spend on candy) into the “plant a tree” card, but I remember them like they were yesterday.  The Hebrew term for philanthropy is tzedakah, literally fairness or justice, and we learned it young and continuously where I grew up.  I writing this blog post today surrounded by the materials needed to make our year-end donations.  2014 has been a good year for Bloom & Wallace, in spite of a growing list of health issues, and this is how we celebrate.

And lest you think that all philanthropy is equal, Maimonides offers a hierarchy of giving, with the first item listed being the most worthy form, and the last being the least worthy.  I find it interesting that the most worthy form is to help a person in need to become not only self-sufficient but also to join the circle of tzedakah in their own right, not unlike the later Christian notion of teaching a man to fish. Translated from Maimonides:

  1. Giving an interest-free loan to a person in need; forming a partnership with a person in need; giving a grant to a person in need; finding a job for a person in need; so long as that loan, grant, partnership, or job results in the person no longer living by relying upon others.
  2. Giving tzedakah anonymously to an unknown recipient via a person (or public fund) which is trustworthy, wise, and can perform acts of tzedakah with your money in a most impeccable fashion.
  3. Giving tzedakah anonymously to a known recipient.
  4. Giving tzedakah publicly to an unknown recipient.
  5. Giving tzedakah before being asked.
  6. Giving adequately after being asked.
  7. Giving willingly, but inadequately.
  8. Giving in sadness (it is thought that Maimonides was referring to giving because of the sad feelings one might have in seeing people in need as opposed to giving because it is a religious obligation; giving out of pity).

Although the term tzedakah was never mentioned, the first hour or more of Marc Benioff’s keynotes at Dreamforce was a paean to the power of tzedakah.  And his 1-1-1 approach to corporate philanthropy should be the mantra of every business, especially those run by folks who would like to shrink our government sector.  If everyone and every business put tzedakah at the top of their priorities, then much more of what the right hates about government could be done by the private sector.  So yes, this is a call to everyone, but especially to my Republican friends and family members, to give until it hurts — of your time, your capital and your annual profits — in the spirit of Marc’s 1-1-1 philanthropic mantra.  I don’t know Marc personally, but I’ve often wondered if his Jewish upbringing shows in his views on philanthropy.

I think that this view of giving, of philanthropy, of tzedakah, is the flip side of the Jewish notion of success.  We believe (at least those of us who haven’t gone so far off the rails as to believe their own press releases — but that’s another story) that your successes are not solely of your own making and that one should not take too much credit for them.  As it happens, we are all either blessed or cursed by the circumstances of our birth and by the good or bad fortune, the mazel, that has accompanied our journey through life.  Born in the US?  Mazel.  Born healthy, intelligent, and loved?  Mazel.  Wanted and raised by two reasonably together and prepared parents?  More mazel.  Managed to get through school, university, life-to-date without dread diseases, terrible accidents, loss of your freedom or life in civil unrest?  Pure mazel.

What you build on top of all that good luck through your own hard work, careful choices, and perseverance is absolutely yours for which to take credit, but it’s important to remember just how much of what we become, of who we are, and of what we have is just plain dumb good luck.  Thinking about life this way, as a three-legged stool (the good fortune of our birth, the good fortune of our lives, and what we ourselves accomplish through our own efforts) of which we only control one leg, makes clear why tzedakah is an obligation for those of us whose stools have three good legs.  Knowing that so many such stools have two wobbly legs explains why I’m on the progressive side of the political divide.

And now for the thanks part of this post.  My list doesn’t change much over time, but my appreciation for these blessings has grown so much over the years.  For those of you who haven’t started your list, here’s mine for Thanksgiving 2014:

  • Ron Wallace — if you haven’t met The Wallace, you’re in for a treat.  He’s smart (and never flaunts his far greater intellect than mine), beyond funny (especially when doing those imitations of all the satellite systems he helped design), kind to everyone even when they’re not, 150% behind me in everything I do, an enthusiastic dancer (even though my best dancing days are in the rearview mirror of life), able to design/fix anything electronic/mechanical/plumbing/etc., infinitely patient, very slow to get anywhere close to angry, doesn’t complain no matter how ill/uncomfortable he is, shares my love of travel/adventure/British mystery DVDs/boating/theater/the list of shared interests is very long, understands my need to “fly” solo at times, never asks me what anything costs (knowing I won’t go overboard even when we’re buying me great jewelry), likes many of my friends and is happy to have them travel with us, provided full infrastructure support so that I could pursue my dream career and other interests, still a hunk after all these years (Ron went through college on gymnastics scholarships), and thinks I’m the best thing that ever happened to him.  What more could any woman want?
  • Friends and family who are also friends — I value friendship above diamonds, and those who know me realize that’s high value indeed.  No one gets through life unscathed, no one!  And it’s your friends who not only share your triumphs but will also see you through the really tough times.  And I can tell you that, as you and your friends get older, the tough times increase, and you need each other more than ever.  Friendship isn’t something I take lightly, and I expect a lot from those of my inner circle.  When that call comes, when a friend is in need or in crisis, real friends drop everything, show up, and do whatever they can to alleviate your distress.
  • Good health, great health insurance, and the smarts to manage my own healthcare — Ron and I have watched the whole health care reform discussion with just one point of view: everyone should be as free from worry about their health care costs as we have been, even as we’ve battled a growing number of expensive health issues.  I can’t even imagine having to fight with an insurance company in order to get what Ron needed when he was diagnosed ten year ago with non-Hodgkins lymphoma.  The bills were enormous and would have broken even our generous budget if not for great coverage.  And I’ve had so many joint repairs that the staff at the surgical center know me on sight, and that’s only the beginning of what aging has done to my lambada.  But thanks to Ron’s NASA career, we’ve got the same kind of private insurance our Congressmen have, converted now to our supplemental plan while Medicare is primary.  We’d like to see everyone have this level of financial protection and peace of mind, but what do we know about health care?  For the record, Medicare is income adjusted so I’m paying a ton for it, and that’s entirely fair, but I’d love to know that they had added a few higher brackets so that Mr. Ellison was paying even more.
  • My career, clients and colleagues — I’ve had an amazing career run.  I got in on the very ground floor of the use of computers in business and am still able to contribute.  For those of you worried about your career, and who isn’t in these trying times, please take heart.  There’s always opportunity for those who are willing to work their butts off, invest in their KSAOCs, and do the heavy lifting.  To all the colleagues and clients from whom I’ve learned so much, I’m very grateful for the opportunities and hope I’ve given as good as I’ve gotten.  And I’d like to say a special thank you to my much younger colleagues who have welcomed this digital immigrant with open minds and helping hands.
  • The accident of my birth — I come from pioneer stock.  My grandparents were refugees (aren’t all Jews?) from a shtetl in Lithuania.  They came to the USA at the turn of the 20th century to avoid conscription into the Czar’s non-kosher army as well as to escape the pogroms.  Like every American except our Native Americans, we’re all refugees of one sort or another, even those who think they’re special because they came first or brought some wealth with them.  Were it not for my grandparents having the courage to leave the familiar behind, to make what was then quite literally a trek across Europe to get bilge (they thought steerage was first class) passage to the USA, to arrive with no English and just the bundles they carried to a gentile America which was still quite hostile to Jews, I would never have had the opportunities that so many of us take for granted.  Were the founders of our country legal immigrants?  Hell no!  They were conquerors who killed off the indigenous population after having only survived that first awful winter because of the kindness of those very natives.  Were your ancestors legal immigrants?  Probably not.  Were my grandparents legal immigrants?  I haven’t a clue.  Perhaps that explains my own support for addressing our current immigration issues with humanity and a real respect for those who are following in the same path as our collective ancestors, seeking refuge from poverty and/or repressive governments, seeking a better life for their children, seeking a chance to work and live free from religious/political/economic/ethnic persecution.
  • Our military and first responders along with their families — Freedom isn’t free, and democracy isn’t a birthright, so count your blessings that you’re here.  And thank those who never rest so that we can, those who work the midnight shifts in emergency rooms, those who keep your power on and your news reported.  There are so many who won’t be having as peaceful or comfortable a Thanksgiving as you and I will have.  My thanks to every one of them.

Although Thanksgiving isn’t really a religious holiday, I think it’s prayer-worthy.  So here’s mine for all of us.  Life is short, fragile and amazing, so live large and purposefully while you can.  G-d willing (now we’re back to mazel) we’ll live long and prosper and be the life of the party at the old farts home.

“Now I Had The Time Of My Life, And I Owe It All To You”

Or, How Macular Degeneration Changes Your Thinking Even Before It Changes How You See The World

One of my favorite movies ever is “Dirty Dancing.”  It takes place at a Borscht Belt-style resort of the late 1950’s/early 1960’s, has a musical score full of songs to which I danced in my early teens, and characters who resemble the folks I knew growing up.  It’s also a morality play in which the good guys win, the bad guys get their comeuppance, parents admit their mistakes — really, everyone admits their mistakes — and a young girl has a coming of age experience with an older guy from a totally different background which is going to be the making of her.  I know that girl, and it was the making of me.  Learning to fight for what’s right even in the face of tremendous social pressure to get along by going along is the most character-building experience that any of us can have, and the earlier the better.  And I loved the dancing, which really was pervasive across my part of New England, where it was known universally as the “dirty bop.”

But my reason for going on about this movie has very little to do with it other than that I enjoy the occasional stroll down memory lane, especially as that lane grows steadily longer.  Rather, it’s a particular song from that movie which is the subject of today’s blog post.  So, if you haven’t already played the video above, now would be the right moment so that this music becomes the sound track for the rest of this post.

I really have had the time of my life career-wise, and I really do owe it all to a very long list of role models (some of whom were family members), colleagues and bosses (many of whom became friends), clients who were willing to take a chance on me (especially in the early years of my solo practice when I was advocating ideas about HRM and HR technology, many of which you’ve read in my posts, which are only now considered mainstream), industry thought leaders (and I mean this is the truest sense of thought leadership, which is oh so different than being a talking head of any flavor), university professors, and many more.  Everyone on this list, in big ways and small, influenced my professional journey, proving yet again that it really does take a village.

I’ll take credit for my own hard work and for pushing myself when to do so wasn’t considered very lady-like, and I’ll also take credit for having an original idea or three, but none of what I’ve accomplished would have been possible without my having had very specific experiences, projects, historical opportunities, incentives and lots of other stimulae which were provided by or at least brought to my attention by a long list of players in the long-running production that has been my career.   I’ve tried to thank people as I’ve gone along, and I hope that I’ve done a proper job of that because thank yous really matter.  But I also want to do a general shout-out to my entire industry and to the folks who have shaped it (and me) for allowing me the privilege of working at something I’ve so enjoyed and for which I’ve had endless passion.

I’ve always felt that, if I were going to bill a client for my time, I had to deliver to my own very high standards in addition to meeting that client’s needs.  That meant not only staying on top of literally everything going on in HRM and in HR technology but, as both of these have become deeply intertwined in everything from consumer tech and organizational collaboration to robotics and the focus on what really drives business outcomes, it has meant spreading my network and knowledge to encompass so much more than was the focus of my professional competency efforts even five years ago.  And I don’t have to tell you at what a constantly increasing pace all of this has been evolving or what social tech activity streams have done to our ability to avoid drowning in detail while trying to focus on the facts and patterns that matter.

You guessed right if you’ve figured out that this is my way of saying a very fond farewell to my days as an HRM, business strategy, and HR technology consultant.  If you’ve been a regular reader of my blog or follower on Twitter, you know that I’ve been scaling back my consulting workload (herehere. and here) over the last couple of years, so this further scaling back won’t come as a shock.  And you also know that these last few years have brought some real challenges as my body has reminded me that 45+ years of workaholism and business travel have taken their toll and as the very real sweat equity needs of friends and family have grown as they too have aged.  Since I know that all of you are in a constant battle of balancing the many demands on your time and energy, you’ll understand my need to rebalance as those demands change.

What I didn’t know when I began my career but know all too painfully now is that there are health issues which are no respecter of your best health habits but lie deep in your architecture and don’t lend themselves to refactoring.  Many of you know that I’ve been dealing with muscular/skeletal design problems that surfaced in my late 30’s and now limit my ability to walk the many miles required at our beloved HR technology conferences, instead resorting to a winged chariot (aka electric cart).  But earlier this year, when I was diagnosed with dry age-related macular degeneration (ARMD), I learned that there was an unknown but racing towards me expiration date on my otherwise excellent vision and no currently known treatment that would extend that date.  It’s very surreal, writing this with perfect vision (albeit corrected by the glasses I’ve worn, like so many have, from age 40), to imagine myself not being able to read what I’ve just written without adaptive technology (for whose advancements I am truly grateful).  And it’s even more surreal when the best doctors can’t begin to tell you when that perfect (albeit corrected) vision will fall off a cliff.

I believe that most of us, faced with the same situation, would opt for reading great literature, visiting great museums, revisiting much loved sights and hitting all the new ones on our travel dreams list, spending time just looking at the faces we love and as many as possible sunsets and sunrises from the cockpit of our boat in a quiet anchorage rather than spending as many hours as I do reading industry press releases and blog posts, viewing relevant videos, and staring at a screen (no matter how big or small) for many, many, many hours each day.  Right now, no one can tell me if my vision will deteriorate quickly or more slowly, and it’s entirely possible that a new treatment to stave off/reverse/prevent such deterioration will emerge tomorrow.   But I’m no longer willing to spend my precious vision keeping my finger on the minute by minute pulse of our industry and keeping my knowledge as current and detailed as I demand of myself in order to continue my consulting practice.

But that doesn’t mean that I’ve lost interest in or passion for the mission:  bringing the very best enterprise software to bear on human (and, increasingly humanoid robot) resource management in order to drive business outcomes.  I hope to continue to contribute to our industry in ways that make sense — appropriate speaking engagements (e.g. organizing/moderating panels is a perfect fit), mentoring individuals and organizations, writing my blog (which has always been a mix of the personal and professional), perhaps taking on a Board seat or two, and ???  We’ll just have to see what opportunities present themselves.   But first, we’re off to Oman, then on to cruising the west coast of India, and finishing up with touring the temple-dense highlands of Sri Lanka.

It’s been a while since I posted; now you know that I’ve had a lot on my mind.  But I hope that you’ll stay tuned because I expect to have a lot more to say in 2015.



Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, And The “Days Of Awe” — 5775

Not only does Rosh Hashanah begin 9/23/2014 at sundown, but my birthday follows immediately thereafter — 9/24/2014 — and it’s a big one.  Not THE BIG ONE, but close enough to remind me that another decade is coming to a close.  With far fewer years  in front of me than those in my rear view mirror, it’s a wise Naomi who takes stock of what I’d like to do/see/experience/learn/change/accomplish/improve/etc. during those years still in front as well of how and with whom I want to spend my increasingly precious time.

Each year, even if I’ve been thinking about these questions at other times, I take seriously the purpose of the Days of Awe, that period between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur when we Jews are commanded to take stock, to address our own shortcomings, and to rededicate our lives to higher purpose.  We are also commanded, during this period, to resolve outstanding earthly issues before we seek atonement for our spiritual ones during Yom Kippur.  Hopefully, I haven’t offended or harmed too many of you this year.  But, if I have done so inadvertently, please accept my apologies.

So now, with Rosh Hashanah starting amid a dismal set of global and domestic challenges, it seems like as good a time as ever for all of us to do a little extra reflection, life analysis, list-making and rededication.  Have we done as much as possible during the last year to serve mankind?  Have we used our capabilities to the max in benefit not only of ourselves but of humanity?  Have we dealt honestly with our family, friends and colleagues in both our personal and business dealings?  Are there acts of kindness which we should have committed but whose moment we let pass without action?  The list is long of all the ways in which we may or may not have lived up to our potential, and so is the list of commitments to improvement that we should be making for the New Year.

We Jews live with the responsibility to carry out 613 mitzvot (commandments) which, taken together, represent a value system that really does put the humanity back into human and the civilized back into civilization.  And while many of those mitzvot may well appear outdated or even foolish when read on our smart phones while sipping a latte, it’s quite a collection of golden rules by which to a full and worthwhile life while respecting the desire of others to do the same.  Even if you’re completely non-religious, or if you practice a completely different religion, you’ll find in the mitzvot of Judaism at least a few ideas for improving your behavior, your contributions to society, your relationships and so much more.  For your convenience, I’ve copied below the entire list from that great resource “Judaism 101.”  Having taken a ton of teasing from Bill Kutik for my length blog post lists, this should push him right over the edge.

To my Jewish friends, family and colleagues, “L’shanah tovah tikatev v’taihatem,” may you and yours be inscribed in the Book of Life for a sweet year.  And to all the gentiles in my life, I wish you exactly the same, even if you’re working off a different calendar.  We can but pray that 5775 will be the year when mankind grows up.

Blog -- High Holy Days cabafd044aa24c289cb81f5021eb3056


A List of the 613 Mitzvot (Commandments)
613 Mitzvot (in Hebrew)

Level: Advanced

• Jewish tradition teaches that there are 613 commandments
• This is the list of 613 identified by Rambam
• The order and organization is my own

Below is a list of the 613 mitzvot (commandments). It is based primarily on the list compiled by Rambam in the Mishneh Torah, but I have consulted other sources as well. As I said in the page on halakhah, Rambam’s list is probably the most widely accepted list, but it is not the only one. The order is my own, as are the explanations of how some rules are derived from some biblical passages.

For each mitzvah, I have provided a citation to the biblical passage or passages from which it is derived, based primarily on Rambam. For commandments that can be observed today, I have also provided citations to the Chafetz Chayim’s Concise Book of Mitzvot (CCA refers to affirmative commandments; CCN refers to negative commandments; CCI refers to commandments that only apply in Israel). Commandments that cannot be observed today primarily relate to the Temple, its sacrifices and services (because the Temple does not exist) and criminal procedures (because the theocratic state of Israel does not exist).


  1. To know that G-d exists (Ex. 20:2; Deut. 5:6) (CCA1). See What Do Jews Believe?.
  2. Not to entertain the idea that there is any god but the Eternal (Ex. 20:3) (CCN8). See What Do Jews Believe?.
  3. Not to blaspheme (Ex. 22:27; in Christian texts, Ex. 22:28), the penalty for which is death (Lev. 24:16) (negative).
  4. To hallow G-d’s name (Lev. 22:32) (CCA5). See The Name of G-d.
  5. Not to profane G-d’s name (Lev . 22:32) (CCN155). See The Name of G-d.
  6. To know that G-d is One, a complete Unity (Deut. 6:4) (CCA2). See What Do Jews Believe?.
  7. To love G-d (Deut. 6:5) (CCA3). See What Do Jews Believe?.
  8. To fear Him reverently (Deut. 6:13; 10:20) (CCA4).
  9. Not to put the word of G-d to the test (Deut. 6:16) (negative).
  10. To imitate His good and upright ways (Deut. 28:9) (CCA6).


  1. To honor the old and the wise (Lev. 19:32) (CCA17).
  2. To learn Torah and to teach it (Deut. 6:7) (CCA14). See Torah.
  3. To cleave to those who know Him (Deut. 10:20) (the Talmud states that cleaving to scholars is equivalent to cleaving to Him) (CCA16).
  4. Not to add to the commandments of the Torah, whether in the Written Law or in its interpretation received by tradition (Deut. 13:1) (CCN159). See Torah.
  5. Not to take away from the commandments of the Torah (Deut. 13:1) (CCN160). See Torah.
  6. That every person shall write a scroll of the Torah for himself (Deut. 31:19) (CCA15). See Torah.

Signs and Symbols

  1. To circumcise the male offspring (Gen. 17:12; Lev. 12:3) (CCA47) See Brit Milah: Circumcision.
  2. To put tzitzit on the corners of clothing (Num. 15:38) (CCA10). See Tzitzit and Tallit.
  3. To bind tefillin on the head (Deut. 6:8) (CCA9). See Tefillin.
  4. To bind tefillin on the arm (Deut. 6:8) (CCA8). See Tefillin.
  5. To affix the mezuzah to the doorposts and gates of your house (Deut. 6:9) (CCA12). See Mezuzah.

Prayer and Blessings

  1. To pray to G-d (Ex. 23:25; Deut. 6:13) (according to the Talmud, the word “serve” in these verses refers to prayer) (CCA7). See Prayers and Blessings; Jewish Liturgy.
  2. To read the Shema in the morning and at night (Deut. 6:7) (CCA11). See Jewish Liturgy.
  3. To recite grace after meals (Deut. 8:10) (CCA13). See Birkat Ha-Mazon: Grace After Meals
  4. Not to lay down a stone for worship (Lev. 26:1) (CCN161).

Love and Brotherhood

  1. To love all human beings who are of the covenant (Lev. 19:18) (CCA60). See Love and Brotherhood.
  2. Not to stand by idly when a human life is in danger (Lev. 19:16) (CCN82). See Love and Brotherhood.
  3. Not to wrong any one in speech (Lev. 25:17) (CCN48). See Speech and Lashon Ha-Ra.
  4. Not to carry tales (Lev. 19:16) (CCN77). See Speech and Lashon Ha-Ra.
  5. Not to cherish hatred in one’s heart (Lev. 19:17) (CCN78). See Love and Brotherhood.
  6. Not to take revenge (Lev. 19:18) (CCN80).
  7. Not to bear a grudge (Lev. 19:18) (CCN81).
  8. Not to put any Jew to shame (Lev. 19:17) (CCN79).
  9. Not to curse any other Israelite (Lev. 19:14) (by implication: if you may not curse those who cannot hear, you certainly may not curse those who can) (CCN45).
  10. Not to give occasion to the simple-minded to stumble on the road (Lev. 19:14) (this includes doing anything that will cause another to sin) (CCN76).
  11. To rebuke the sinner (Lev. 19:17) (CCA72).
  12. To relieve a neighbor of his burden and help to unload his beast (Ex. 23:5) (CCA70). See Love and Brotherhood.
  13. To assist in replacing the load upon a neighbor’s beast (Deut. 22:4) (CCA71). See Love and Brotherhood.
  14. Not to leave a beast, that has fallen down beneath its burden, unaided (Deut. 22:4) (CCN183). See Love and Brotherhood.

The Poor and Unfortunate

  1. Not to afflict an orphan or a widow (Ex. 22:21) (CCN51).
  2. Not to reap the entire field (Lev. 19:9; Lev. 23:22) (negative) (CCI6).
  3. To leave the unreaped corner of the field or orchard for the poor (Lev. 19:9) (affirmative) (CCI1).
  4. Not to gather gleanings (the ears that have fallen to the ground while reaping) (Lev. 19:9) (negative) (CCI7).
  5. To leave the gleanings for the poor (Lev. 19:9) (affirmative) (CCI2).
  6. Not to gather ol’loth (the imperfect clusters) of the vineyard (Lev. 19:10) (negative) (CCI8).
  7. To leave ol’loth (the imperfect clusters) of the vineyard for the poor (Lev. 19:10; Deut. 24:21) (affirmative) (CCI3).
  8. Not to gather the peret (grapes) that have fallen to the ground (Lev. 19:10) (negative) (CCI9).
  9. To leave peret (the single grapes) of the vineyard for the poor (Lev. 19:10) (affirmative) (CCI4).
  10. Not to return to take a forgotten sheaf (Deut. 24:19) This applies to all fruit trees (Deut. 24:20) (negative) (CC10).
  11. To leave the forgotten sheaves for the poor (Deut. 24:19-20) (affirmative) (CCI5).
  12. Not to refrain from maintaining a poor man and giving him what he needs (Deut. 15:7) (CCN62). See Tzedakah: Charity.
  13. To give charity according to one’s means (Deut. 15:11) (CCA38). See Tzedakah: Charity.

Treatment of Gentiles

  1. To love the stranger (Deut. 10:19) (CCA61). See Love and Brotherhood.
  2. Not to wrong the stranger in speech (Ex. 22:20) (CCN49).
  3. Not to wrong the stranger in buying or selling (Ex. 22:20) (CCN50).
  4. Not to intermarry with gentiles (Deut. 7:3) (CCN19). See Interfaith Marriages.
  5. To exact the debt of an alien (Deut. 15:3) (affirmative).
  6. To lend to an alien at interest (Deut. 23:21) According to tradition, this is mandatory (affirmative).

Marriage, Divorce and Family

  1. To honor father and mother (Ex. 20:12) (CCA41).
  2. Not to smite a father or a mother (Ex. 21:15) (CCN44).
  3. Not to curse a father or mother (Ex. 21:17) (CCN46).
  4. To reverently fear father and mother (Lev. 19:3) (CCA42).
  5. To be fruitful and multiply (Gen. 1:28) (CCA43).
  6. That a eunuch shall not marry a daughter of Israel (Deut. 23:2) (CCN136).
  7. That a mamzer shall not marry the daughter of a Jew (Deut. 23:3) (CCN137). See Prohibited Marriages and Illegitimate Children.
  8. That an Ammonite or Moabite shall never marry the daughter of an Israelite (Deut. 23:4) (negative).
  9. Not to exclude a descendant of Esau from the community of Israel for three generations (Deut. 23:8-9) (negative).
  10. Not to exclude an Egyptian from the community of Israel for three generations (Deut. 23:8-9) (negative).
  11. That there shall be no harlot (in Israel); that is, that there shall be no intercourse with a woman, without previous marriage with a deed of marriage and formal declaration of marriage (Deut. 23:18) (CCN133). See Marriage.
  12. To take a wife by kiddushin, the sacrament of marriage (Deut. 24:1) (CCA44). See The Process of Marriage: Kiddushin and Nisuin.
  13. That the newly married husband shall (be free) for one year to rejoice with his wife (Deut. 24:5) (affirmative).
  14. That a bridegroom shall be exempt for a whole year from taking part in any public labor, such as military service, guarding the wall and similar duties (Deut. 24:5) (negative).
  15. Not to withhold food, clothing or conjugal rights from a wife (Ex. 21:10) (CCN42). See The Marital Relationship.
  16. That the woman suspected of adultery shall be dealt with as prescribed in the Torah (Num. 5:30) (affirmative).
  17. That one who defames his wife’s honor (by falsely accusing her of unchastity before marriage) must live with her all his lifetime (Deut. 22:19) (affirmative).
  18. That a man may not divorce his wife concerning whom he has published an evil report (about her unchastity before marriage) (Deut. 22:19) (negative).
  19. To divorce by a formal written document (Deut. 24:1) (affirmative). See The Process of Obtaining a Divorce.
  20. That one who divorced his wife shall not remarry her, if after the divorce she had been married to another man (Deut. 24:4) (CCN134). See Divorce.
  21. That a widow whose husband died childless must not be married to anyone but her deceased husband’s brother (Deut. 25:5) (CCN135) (this is only in effect insofar as it requires the procedure of release below).
  22. To marry the widow of a brother who has died childless (Deut. 25:5) (this is only in effect insofar as it requires the procedure of release below ) (CCA45).
  23. That the widow formally release the brother-in-law (if he refuses to marry her) (Deut. 25:7-9) (CCA46).

Forbidden Sexual Relations

  1. Not to indulge in familiarities with relatives, such as kissing, embracing, winking, skipping, which may lead to incest (Lev. 18:6) (CCN110).
  2. Not to commit incest with one’s mother (Lev. 18:7) (CCN112). See Prohibited Marriages and Illegitimate Children.
  3. Not to commit sodomy with one’s father (Lev. 18:7) (CCN111).
  4. Not to commit incest with one’s father’s wife (Lev. 18:8) (CCN113). See Prohibited Marriages and Illegitimate Children.
  5. Not to commit incest with one’s sister (Lev. 18:9) (CCN127). See Prohibited Marriages and Illegitimate Children.
  6. Not to commit incest with one’s father’s wife’s daughter (Lev. 18:11) (CCN128). See Prohibited Marriages and Illegitimate Children.
  7. Not to commit incest with one’s son’s daughter (Lev. 18:10) (CCN119) (Note: CC treats this and the next as one commandment; however, Rambam treats them as two). See Prohibited Marriages and Illegitimate Children.
  8. Not to commit incest with one’s daughter’s daughter (Lev. 18:10) (CCN119) (Note: CC treats this and the previous as one commandment; however, Rambam treats them as two). See Prohibited Marriages and Illegitimate Children.
  9. Not to commit incest with one’s daughter (this is not explicitly in the Torah but is inferred from other explicit commands that would include it) (CCN120). See Prohibited Marriages and Illegitimate Children.
  10. Not to commit incest with one’s fathers sister (Lev. 18:12) (CCN129). See Prohibited Marriages and Illegitimate Children.
  11. Not to commit incest with one’s mother’s sister (Lev. 18:13) (CCN130). See Prohibited Marriages and Illegitimate Children.
  12. Not to commit incest with one’s father’s brothers wife (Lev. 18:14) (CCN125). See Prohibited Marriages and Illegitimate Children.
  13. Not to commit sodomy with one’s father’s brother (Lev. 18:14) (CCN114).
  14. Not to commit incest with one’s son’s wife (Lev. 18:15) (CCN115). See Prohibited Marriages and Illegitimate Children.
  15. Not to commit incest with one’s brother’s wife (Lev. 18:16) (CCN126). See Prohibited Marriages and Illegitimate Children.
  16. Not to commit incest with one’s wife’s daughter (Lev. 18:17) (CCN121). See Prohibited Marriages and Illegitimate Children.
  17. Not to commit incest with the daughter of one’s wife’s son (Lev. 18:17) (CCN122). See Prohibited Marriages and Illegitimate Children.
  18. Not to commit incest with the daughter of one’s wife’s daughter (Lev. 18:17) (CCN123). See Prohibited Marriages and Illegitimate Children.
  19. Not to commit incest with one’s wife’s sister (Lev. 18:18) (CCN131). See Prohibited Marriages and Illegitimate Children.
  20. Not to have intercourse with a woman, in her menstrual period (Lev. 18:19) (CCN132).
  21. Not to have intercourse with another man’s wife (Lev. 18:20) (CCN124).
  22. Not to commit sodomy with a male (Lev. 18:22) (CCN116).
  23. Not to have intercourse with a beast (Lev. 18:23) (CCN117).
  24. That a woman shall not have intercourse with a beast (Lev. 18:23) (CCN118).
  25. Not to castrate the male of any species; neither a man, nor a domestic or wild beast, nor a fowl (Lev. 22:24) (CCN143).

Times and Seasons

  1. That the new month shall be solemnly proclaimed as holy, and the months and years shall be calculated by the Supreme Court only (Ex. 12:2) (affirmative) (the authority to declare months is inferred from the use of the word “unto you”).
  2. Not to travel on Shabbat outside the limits of one’s place of residence (Ex. 16:29) (CCN7). See Shabbat.
  3. To sanctify Shabbat (Ex. 20:8) (CCA19). See Shabbat.
  4. Not to do work on Shabbat (Ex. 20:10) (CCN6). See Shabbat.
  5. To rest on Shabbat (Ex. 23:12; 34:21) (CCA20). See Shabbat.
  6. To celebrate the festivals [Passover, Shavu’ot and Sukkot] (Ex. 23:14) (affirmative).
  7. To rejoice on the festivals (Deut. 16:14) (CCA21).
  8. To appear in the Sanctuary on the festivals (Deut. 16:16) (affirmative).
  9. To remove chametz on the Eve of Passover (Ex. 12:15) (CCA22). See Passover.
  10. To rest on the first day of Passover (Ex. 12:16; Lev. 23:7) (CCA25). See Passover.
  11. Not to do work on the first day of Passover (Ex. 12:16; Lev. 23:6-7) (CCN147). See Passover.
  12. To rest on the seventh day of Passover (Ex. 12:16; Lev. 23:8) (CCA27). See Passover.
  13. Not to do work on the seventh day of Passover (Ex. 12:16; Lev. 23:8) (CCN148). See Passover.
  14. To eat matzah on the first night of Passover (Ex. 12:18) (CCA23). See Passover.
  15. That no chametz be in the Israelite’s possession during Passover (Ex. 12:19) (CCN3). See Passover.
  16. Not to eat any food containing chametz on Passover (Ex. 12:20) (CCN5). See Passover.
  17. Not to eat chametz on Passover (Ex. 13:3) (CCN4). See Passover.
  18. That chametz shall not be seen in an Israelite’s home during Passover (Ex. 13:7) (CCN2). See Passover.
  19. To discuss the departure from Egypt on the first night of Passover (Ex. 13:8) (CCA24). See The Passover Seder.
  20. Not to eat chametz after mid-day on the fourteenth of Nissan (Deut. 16:3) (CCN104). See Passover.
  21. To count forty-nine days from the time of the cutting of the Omer (first sheaves of the barley harvest) (Lev. 23:15) (CCA26). See The Counting of the Omer.
  22. To rest on Shavu’ot (Lev. 23:21) (CCA28). See Shavu’ot.
  23. Not to do work on the Shavu’ot (Lev. 23:21) (CCN149). See Shavu’ot.
  24. To rest on Rosh Hashanah (Lev. 23:24) (CCA29). See Rosh Hashanah.
  25. Not to do work on Rosh Hashanah (Lev. 23:25) (CCN150). See Rosh Hashanah.
  26. To hear the sound of the shofar on Rosh Hashanah (Num. 29:1) (CCA30). See Rosh Hashanah.
  27. To fast on Yom Kippur (Lev. 23:27) (CCA32). See Yom Kippur.
  28. Not to eat or drink on Yom Kippur (Lev. 23:29) (CCN152). See Yom Kippur.
  29. Not to do work on Yom Kippur (Lev. 23:31) (CCN151). See Yom Kippur.
  30. To rest on the Yom Kippur (Lev. 23:32) (CCA31). See Yom Kippur.
  31. To rest on the first day of Sukkot (Lev. 23:35) (CCA34). See Sukkot.
  32. Not to do work on the first day of Sukkot (Lev. 23:35) (CCN153). See Sukkot.
  33. To rest on the eighth day of Sukkot (Shemini Atzeret) (Lev. 23:36) (CCA37). See Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah.
  34. Not to do work on the eighth day of Sukkot (Shemini Atzeret) (Lev. 23:36) (CCN154). See Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah.
  35. To take during Sukkot a palm branch and the other three plants (Lev. 23:40) (CCA36). See Sukkot.
  36. To dwell in booths seven days during Sukkot (Lev. 23:42) (CCA35). See Sukkot.

Dietary Laws

  1. To examine the marks in cattle (so as to distinguish the clean from the unclean) (Lev. 11:2) (affirmative). See Animals that may not be eaten.
  2. Not to eat the flesh of unclean beasts (Lev. 11:4) (CCN93). See Animals that may not be eaten.
  3. To examine the marks in fishes (so as to distinguish the clean from the unclean (Lev. 11:9) (affirmative). See Animals that may not be eaten.
  4. Not to eat unclean fish (Lev. 11:11) (CCN95). See Animals that may not be eaten.
  5. To examine the marks in fowl, so as to distinguish the clean from the unclean (Deut. 14:11) (affirmative). See Animals that may not be eaten.
  6. Not to eat unclean fowl (Lev. 11:13) (CCN94). See Animals that may not be eaten.
  7. To examine the marks in locusts, so as to distinguish the clean from the unclean (Lev. 11:21) (affirmative). See Animals that may not be eaten.
  8. Not to eat a worm found in fruit (Lev. 11:41) (CCN98). See Animals that may not be eaten.
  9. Not to eat of things that creep upon the earth (Lev. 11:41-42) (CCN97). See Animals that may not be eaten.
  10. Not to eat any vermin of the earth (Lev. 11:44) (CCN100). See Animals that may not be eaten.
  11. Not to eat things that swarm in the water (Lev. 11:43 and 46) (CCN99). See Animals that may not be eaten.
  12. Not to eat of winged insects (Deut. 14:19) (CCN96). See Animals that may not be eaten.
  13. Not to eat the flesh of a beast that is terefah (lit torn) (Ex. 22:30) (CCN87). See Kosher slaughtering.
  14. Not to eat the flesh of a beast that died of itself (Deut. 14:21) (CCN86). See Kosher slaughtering.
  15. To slay cattle, deer and fowl according to the laws of shechitah if their flesh is to be eaten (Deut. 12:21) (“as I have commanded” in this verse refers to the technique) (CCA48). See Kosher slaughtering.
  16. Not to eat a limb removed from a living beast (Deut. 12:23) (CCN90). See Kosher slaughtering.
  17. Not to slaughter an animal and its young on the same day (Lev. 22:28) (CCN108).
  18. Not to take the mother-bird with the young (Deut. 22:6) (CCN189). See Treatment of Animals.
  19. To set the mother-bird free when taking the nest (Deut. 22:6-7) (CCA74). See Treatment of Animals.
  20. Not to eat the flesh of an ox that was condemned to be stoned (Ex. 21:28) (negative).
  21. Not to boil meat with milk (Ex. 23:19) (CCN91). See Separation of Meat and Dairy.
  22. Not to eat flesh with milk (Ex. 34:26) (according to the Talmud, this passage is a distinct prohibition from the one in Ex. 23:19) (CCN92). See Separation of Meat and Dairy.
  23. Not to eat the of the thigh-vein which shrank (Gen. 32:33) (CCN1). See Forbidden Fats and Nerves.
  24. Not to eat chelev (tallow-fat) (Lev. 7:23) (CCN88). See Forbidden Fats and Nerves.
  25. Not to eat blood (Lev. 7:26) (CCN89). See Draining of Blood.
  26. To cover the blood of undomesticated animals (deer, etc.) and of fowl that have been killed (Lev. 17:13) (CCA49).
  27. Not to eat or drink like a glutton or a drunkard (not to rebel against father or mother) (Lev. 19:26; Deut. 21:20) (CCN106).

Business Practices

  1. Not to do wrong in buying or selling (Lev. 25:14) (CCN47).
  2. Not to make a loan to an Israelite on interest (Lev. 25:37) (CCN54).
  3. Not to borrow on interest (Deut. 23:20) (because this would cause the lender to sin) (CCN55).
  4. Not to take part in any usurious transaction between borrower and lender, neither as a surety, nor as a witness, nor as a writer of the bond for them (Ex. 22:24) (CCN53).
  5. To lend to a poor person (Ex. 22:24) (even though the passage says “if you lend” it is understood as obligatory) (CCA62).
  6. Not to demand from a poor man repayment of his debt, when the creditor knows that he cannot pay, nor press him (Ex. 22:24) (CCN52).
  7. Not to take in pledge utensils used in preparing food (Deut. 24:6) (CCN58).
  8. Not to exact a pledge from a debtor by force (Deut. 24:10) (CCN59).
  9. Not to keep the pledge from its owner at the time when he needs it (Deut. 24:12) (CCN61).
  10. To return a pledge to its owner (Deut. 24:13) (CCA63).
  11. Not to take a pledge from a widow (Deut. 24:17) (CCN60).
  12. Not to commit fraud in measuring (Lev. 19:35) (CCN83).
  13. To ensure that scales and weights are correct (Lev. 19:36) (affirmative).
  14. Not to possess inaccurate measures and weights (Deut. 25:13-14) (CCN84).

Employees, Servants and Slaves

  1. Not to delay payment of a hired man’s wages (Lev. 19:13) (CCN38).
  2. That the hired laborer shall be permitted to eat of the produce he is reaping (Deut. 23:25-26) (CCA65).
  3. That the hired laborer shall not take more than he can eat (Deut. 23:25) (CCN187).
  4. That a hired laborer shall not eat produce that is not being harvested (Deut. 23:26) (CCN186).
  5. To pay wages to the hired man at the due time (Deut. 24:15) (CCA66).
  6. To deal judicially with the Hebrew bondman in accordance with the laws appertaining to him (Ex. 21:2-6) (affirmative).
  7. Not to compel the Hebrew servant to do the work of a slave (Lev. 25:39) (negative).
  8. Not to sell a Hebrew servant as a slave (Lev. 25:42) (negative).
  9. Not to treat a Hebrew servant rigorously (Lev. 25:43) (negative).
  10. Not to permit a gentile to treat harshly a Hebrew bondman sold to him (Lev. 25:53) (negative).
  11. Not to send away a Hebrew bondman servant empty handed, when he is freed from service (Deut. 15:13) (negative).
  12. To bestow liberal gifts upon the Hebrew bondsman (at the end of his term of service), and the same should be done to a Hebrew bondwoman (Deut. 15:14) (affirmative).
  13. To redeem a Hebrew maid-servant (Ex. 21:8) (affirmative).
  14. Not to sell a Hebrew maid-servant to another person (Ex. 21:8) (negative).
  15. To espouse a Hebrew maid-servant (Ex. 21:8-9) (affirmative).
  16. To keep the Canaanite slave forever (Lev. 25:46) (affirmative).
  17. Not to surrender a slave, who has fled to the land of Israel, to his owner who lives outside Palestine (Deut. 23:16) (negative).
  18. Not to wrong such a slave (Deut. 23:17) (negative).
  19. Not to muzzle a beast, while it is working in produce which it can eat and enjoy (Deut. 25:4) (CCN188).

Vows, Oaths and Swearing

  1. That a man should fulfill whatever he has uttered (Deut. 23:24) (CCA39).
  2. Not to swear needlessly (Ex. 20:7) (CCN29).
  3. Not to violate an oath or swear falsely (Lev. 19:12) (CCN31).
  4. To decide in cases of annulment of vows, according to the rules set forth in the Torah (Num. 30:2-17) (CCA40).
  5. Not to break a vow (Num. 30:3) (CCN184).
  6. To swear by His name truly (Deut. 10:20) (affirmative).
  7. Not to delay in fulfilling vows or bringing vowed or free-will offerings (Deut. 23:22) (CCN185).

The Sabbatical and Jubilee Years

  1. To let the land lie fallow in the Sabbatical year (Ex. 23:11; Lev. 25:2) (affirmative) (CCI20).
  2. To cease from tilling the land in the Sabbatical year (Ex. 23:11) (affirmative) (Lev. 25:2) (CCI21).
  3. Not to till the ground in the Sabbatical year (Lev. 25:4) (negative) (CCI22).
  4. Not to do any work on the trees in the Sabbatical year (Lev. 25:4) (negative) (CCI23).
  5. Not to reap the aftermath that grows in the Sabbatical year, in the same way as it is reaped in other years (Lev. 25:5) (negative) (CCI24).
  6. Not to gather the fruit of the tree in the Sabbatical year in the same way as it is gathered in other years (Lev. 25:5) (negative) (CCI25).
  7. To sound the Ram’s horn in the Sabbatical year (Lev. 25:9) (affirmative).
  8. To release debts in the seventh year (Deut. 15:2) (CCA64).
  9. Not to demand return of a loan after the Sabbatical year has passed (Deut. 15:2) (CCN57).
  10. Not to refrain from making a loan to a poor man, because of the release of loans in the Sabbatical year (Deut. 15:9) (CCN56).
  11. To assemble the people to hear the Torah at the close of the seventh year (Deut. 31:12) (affirmative)
  12. To count the years of the Jubilee by years and by cycles of seven years (Lev. 25:8) (affirmative).
  13. To keep the Jubilee year holy by resting and letting the land lie fallow (Lev. 25:10) (affirmative).
  14. Not to cultivate the soil nor do any work on the trees, in the Jubilee Year (Lev. 25:11) (negative).
  15. Not to reap the aftermath of the field that grew of itself in the Jubilee Year, in the same way as in other years (Lev. 25:11) (negative).
  16. Not to gather the fruit of the tree in the Jubilee Year, in the same way as in other years (Lev. 25:11) (negative).
  17. To grant redemption to the land in the Jubilee year (Lev. 25:24) (affirmative).

The Court and Judicial Procedure

  1. To appoint judges and officers in every community of Israel (Deut. 16:18) (affirmative).
  2. Not to appoint as a judge, a person who is not well versed in the laws of the Torah, even if he is expert in other branches of knowledge (Deut. 1:17) (CCN64).
  3. To adjudicate cases of purchase and sale (Lev. 25:14) (CCA67).
  4. To judge cases of liability of a paid depositary (Ex. 22:9) (affirmative).
  5. To adjudicate cases of loss for which a gratuitous borrower is liable (Ex. 22:13-14) (affirmative).
  6. To adjudicate cases of inheritances (Num. 27:8-11) (CCA73).
  7. To judge cases of damage caused by an uncovered pit (Ex. 21:33-34) (affirmative).
  8. To judge cases of injuries caused by beasts (Ex. 21:35-36) (affirmative).
  9. To adjudicate cases of damage caused by trespass of cattle (Ex. 22:4) (affirmative).
  10. To adjudicate cases of damage caused by fire (Ex. 22:5) (affirmative).
  11. To adjudicate cases of damage caused by a gratuitous depositary (Ex. 22:6-7) (affirmative).
  12. To adjudicate other cases between a plaintiff and a defendant (Ex. 22:8) (affirmative).
  13. Not to curse a judge (Ex. 22:27) (CCN63).
  14. That one who possesses evidence shall testify in Court (Lev. 5:1) (affirmative).
  15. Not to testify falsely (Ex. 20:13) (CCN39).
  16. That a witness, who has testified in a capital case, shall not lay down the law in that particular case (Num. 35:30) (negative).
  17. That a transgressor shall not testify (Ex. 23:1) (CCN75).
  18. That the court shall not accept the testimony of a close relative of the defendant in matters of capital punishment (Deut. 24:16) (CCN74).
  19. Not to hear one of the parties to a suit in the absence of the other party (Ex. 23:1) (CCN65).
  20. To examine witnesses thoroughly (Deut. 13:15) (affirmative).
  21. Not to decide a case on the evidence of a single witness (Deut. 19:15) (CCN73).
  22. To give the decision according to the majority, when there is a difference of opinion among the members of the Sanhedrin as to matters of law (Ex. 23:2) (affirmative).
  23. Not to decide, in capital cases, according to the view of the majority, when those who are for condemnation exceed by one only, those who are for acquittal (Ex. 23:2) (negative).
  24. That, in capital cases, one who had argued for acquittal, shall not later on argue for condemnation (Ex. 23:2) (negative).
  25. To treat parties in a litigation with equal impartiality (Lev. 19:15) (affirmative).
  26. Not to render iniquitous decisions (Lev. 19:15) (CCN69).
  27. Not to favor a great man when trying a case (Lev. 19:15) (CCN70).
  28. Not to take a bribe (Ex. 23:8) (CCN71).
  29. Not to be afraid of a bad man, when trying a case (Deut. 1:17) (CCN72).
  30. Not to be moved in trying a case, by the poverty of one of the parties (Ex. 23:3; Lev. 19:15) (CCN66).
  31. Not to pervert the judgment of strangers or orphans (Deut. 24:17) (CCN68).
  32. Not to pervert the judgment of a sinner (a person poor in fulfillment of commandments) (Ex. 23:6) (CCN67).
  33. Not to render a decision on one’s personal opinion, but only on the evidence of two witnesses, who saw what actually occurred (Ex. 23:7) (negative).
  34. Not to execute one guilty of a capital offense, before he has stood his trial (Num. 35:12) (negative).
  35. To accept the rulings of every Supreme Court in Israel (Deut. 17:11) (affirmative).
  36. Not to rebel against the orders of the Court (Deut. 17:11) (CCN158).

Injuries and Damages

  1. To make a parapet for your roof (Deut. 22:8) (CCA75). See Love and Brotherhood.
  2. Not to leave something that might cause hurt (Deut. 22:8) (CCN190). See Love and Brotherhood.
  3. To save the pursued even at the cost of the life of the pursuer (Deut. 25:12) (affirmative). See Life.
  4. Not to spare a pursuer, but he is to be slain before he reaches the pursued and slays the latter, or uncovers his nakedness (Deut. 25:12) (negative).

Property and Property Rights

  1. Not to sell a field in the land of Israel in perpetuity (Lev. 25:23) (negative).
  2. Not to change the character of the open land (about the cities of) the Levites or of their fields; not to sell it in perpetuity, but it may be redeemed at any time (Lev. 25:34) (negative). See Levi.
  3. That houses sold within a walled city may be redeemed within a year (Lev. 25:29) (affirmative).
  4. Not to remove landmarks (property boundaries) (Deut. 19:14) (CCN85).
  5. Not to swear falsely in denial of another’s property rights (Lev. 19:11) (CCN30).
  6. Not to deny falsely another’s property rights (Lev. 19:11) (CCN36).
  7. Never to settle in the land of Egypt (Deut. 17:16) (CCN192).
  8. Not to steal personal property (Lev. 19:11) (CCN34).
  9. To restore that which one took by robbery (Lev. 5:23) (CCA68).
  10. To return lost property (Deut. 22:1) (CCA69).
  11. Not to pretend not to have seen lost property, to avoid the obligation to return it (Deut. 22:3) (CCN182).

Criminal Laws

  1. Not to slay an innocent person (Ex. 20:13) (CCN32). See Life.
  2. Not to kidnap any person of Israel (Ex. 20:13) (according to the Talmud, this verse refers to stealing a person, distinguished from Lev. 19:11, regarding the taking of property) (CCN33).
  3. Not to rob by violence (Lev. 19:13) (CCN35).
  4. Not to defraud (Lev. 19:13) (CCN37).
  5. Not to covet what belongs to another (Ex. 20:14) (CCN40).
  6. Not to crave something that belongs to another (Deut. 5:18) (CCN41).
  7. Not to indulge in evil thoughts and sights (Num. 15:39) (CCN156).

Punishment and Restitution

  1. That the Court shall pass sentence of death by decapitation with the sword (Ex. 21:20; Lev. 26:25) (affirmative).
  2. That the Court shall pass sentence of death by strangulation (Lev. 20:10) (affirmative).
  3. That the Court shall pass sentence of death by burning with fire (Lev. 20:14) (affirmative).
  4. That the Court shall pass sentence of death by stoning (Deut. 22:24) (affirmative).
  5. To hang the dead body of one who has incurred that penalty (Deut. 21:22) (affirmative).
  6. That the dead body of an executed criminal shall not remain hanging on the tree over night (Deut. 21:23) (negative).
  7. To inter the executed on the day of execution (Deut. 21:23) (affirmative)
  8. Not to accept ransom from a murderer (Num. 35:31) (negative).
  9. To exile one who committed accidental homicide (Num. 35:25) (affirmative).
  10. To establish six cities of refuge (for those who committed accidental homicide) (Deut. 19:3) (affirmative).
  11. Not to accept ransom from an accidental homicide, so as to relieve him from exile (Num. 35:32) (negative).
  12. To decapitate the heifer in the manner prescribed (in expiation of a murder on the road, the perpetrator of which remained undiscovered) (Deut. 21:4) (affirmative).
  13. Not to plow nor sow the rough valley (in which a heifer’s neck was broken) (Deut. 21:4) (negative).
  14. To adjudge a thief to pay compensation or (in certain cases) suffer death (Ex. 21:16; Ex. 21:37; Ex. 22:1) (affirmative).
  15. That he who inflicts a bodily injury shall pay monetary compensation (Ex. 21:18-19) (affirmative).
  16. To impose a penalty of fifty shekels upon the seducer (of an unbetrothed virgin) and enforce the other rules in connection with the case (Ex. 22:15-16) (affirmative).
  17. That the violator (of an unbetrothed virgin) shall marry her (Deut. 22:28-29) (affirmative).
  18. That one who has raped a damsel and has then (in accordance with the law) married her, may not divorce her (Deut. 22:29) (negative).
  19. Not to inflict punishment on Shabbat (Ex. 35:3) (because some punishments were inflicted by fire) (negative). See Shabbat.
  20. To punish the wicked by the infliction of stripes (Deut. 25:2) (affirmative).
  21. Not to exceed the statutory number of stripes laid on one who has incurred that punishment (Deut. 25:3) (and by implication, not to strike anyone) (CCN43).
  22. Not to spare the offender, in imposing the prescribed penalties on one who has caused damage (Deut. 19:13) (negative).
  23. To do unto false witnesses as they had purposed to do (to the accused) (Deut. 19:19) (affirmative).
  24. Not to punish any one who has committed an offense under duress (Deut. 22:26) (negative).


  1. To heed the call of every prophet in each generation, provided that he neither adds to, nor takes away from the Torah (Deut. 18:15) (affirmative).
  2. Not to prophesy falsely (Deut. 18:20) (CCN175).
  3. Not to refrain from putting a false prophet to death nor to be in fear of him (Deut. 18:22) (negative).

Idolatry, Idolaters and Idolatrous Practices

  1. Not to make a graven image; neither to make it oneself nor to have it made by others (Ex. 20:4) (CCN9).
  2. Not to make any figures for ornament, even if they are not worshipped (Ex. 20:20) (CCN144).
  3. Not to make idols even for others (Ex. 34:17; Lev. 19:4) (CCN10).
  4. Not to use the ornament of any object of idolatrous worship (Deut. 7:25) (CCN17).
  5. Not to make use of an idol or its accessory objects, offerings, or libations (Deut. 7:26) (CCN18). See Grape Products.
  6. Not to drink wine of idolaters (Deut. 32:38) (CCN15). See Grape Products.
  7. Not to worship an idol in the way in which it is usually worshipped (Ex. 20:5) (CCN12).
  8. Not to bow down to an idol, even if that is not its mode of worship (Ex. 20:5) (CCN11).
  9. Not to prophesy in the name of an idol (Ex. 23:13; Deut. 18:20) (CCN27).
  10. Not to hearken to one who prophesies in the name of an idol (Deut. 13:4) (CCN22).
  11. Not to lead the children of Israel astray to idolatry (Ex. 23:13) (CCN14).
  12. Not to entice an Israelite to idolatry (Deut. 13:12) (CCN23).
  13. To destroy idolatry and its appurtenances (Deut. 12:2-3) (affirmative).
  14. Not to love the enticer to idolatry (Deut. 13:9) (CCN24).
  15. Not to give up hating the enticer to idolatry (Deut. 13:9) (CCN25).
  16. Not to save the enticer from capital punishment, but to stand by at his execution (Deut. 13:9) (negative).
  17. A person whom he attempted to entice to idolatry shall not urge pleas for the acquittal of the enticer (Deut. 13:9) (CCN26).
  18. A person whom he attempted to entice shall not refrain from giving evidence of the enticer’s guilt, if he has such evidence (Deut. 13:9) (negative).
  19. Not to swear by an idol to its worshipers, nor cause them to swear by it (Ex. 23:13) (CCN13).
  20. Not to turn one’s attention to idolatry (Lev. 19:4) (CCN16).
  21. Not to adopt the institutions of idolaters nor their customs (Lev. 18:3; Lev. 20:23) (CCN21).
  22. Not to pass a child through the fire to Molech (Lev. 18:21) (negative).
  23. Not to suffer any one practicing witchcraft to live (Ex. 22:17) (negative).
  24. Not to practice onein (observing times or seasons as favorable or unfavorable, using astrology) (Lev. 19:26) (CCN166).
  25. Not to practice nachesh (doing things based on signs and portents; using charms and incantations) (Lev. 19:26) (CCN165).
  26. Not to consult ovoth (ghosts) (Lev. 19:31) (CCN170).
  27. Not to consult yid’onim (wizards) (Lev. 19:31) (CCN171).
  28. Not to practice kisuf (magic using herbs, stones and objects that people use) (Deut. 18:10) (CCN168).
  29. Not to practice kessem (a general term for magical practices) (Deut. 18:10) (CCN167).
  30. Not to practice the art of a chover chaver (casting spells over snakes and scorpions) (Deut. 18:11) (CCN169).
  31. Not to enquire of an ob (a ghost) (Deut. 18:11) (CCN172).
  32. Not to seek the maytim (dead) (Deut. 18:11) (CCN174).
  33. Not to enquire of a yid’oni (wizard) (Deut. 18:11) (CCN173).
  34. Not to remove the entire beard, like the idolaters (Lev. 19:27) (CCN177).
  35. Not to round the corners of the head, as the idolatrous priests do (Lev. 19:27) (CCN176).
  36. Not to cut oneself or make incisions in one’s flesh in grief, like the idolaters (Lev. 19:28; Deut. 14:1) (CCN28).
  37. Not to tattoo the body like the idolaters (Lev. 19:28) (CCN163).
  38. Not to make a bald spot for the dead (Deut. 14:1) (CCN164).
  39. Not to plant a tree for worship (Deut. 16:21) (negative).
  40. Not to set up a pillar (for worship) (Deut. 16:22) (CCN162).
  41. Not to show favor to idolaters (Deut. 7:2) (CCN20).
  42. Not to make a covenant with the seven (Canaanite, idolatrous) nations (Ex. 23:32; Deut. 7:2) (negative).
  43. Not to settle idolaters in our land (Ex. 23:33) (negative) (CCI26).
  44. To slay the inhabitants of a city that has become idolatrous and burn that city (Deut. 13:16-17) (affirmative).
  45. Not to rebuild a city that has been led astray to idolatry (Deut. 13:17) (negative).
  46. Not to make use of the property of city that has been so led astray (Deut. 13:18) (negative).

Agriculture and Animal Husbandry

  1. Not to cross-breed cattle of different species (Lev. 19:19) (according to the Talmud, this also applies to birds) (CCN142).
  2. Not to sow different kinds of seed together in one field (Lev. 19:19) (CCN107).
  3. Not to eat the fruit of a tree for three years from the time it was planted (Lev. 19:23) (CCN105). See Tu B’Shevat.
  4. That the fruit of fruit-bearing trees in the fourth year of their planting shall be sacred like the second tithe and eaten in Jerusalem (Lev. 19:24) (affirmative) (CCI16). See Tu B’Shevat.
  5. Not to sow grain or herbs in a vineyard (Deut. 22:9) (negative).
  6. Not to eat the produce of diverse seeds sown in a vineyard (Deut. 22:9) (negative).
  7. Not to work with beasts of different species, yoked together (Deut. 22:10) (CCN180).


  1. That a man shall not wear women’s clothing (Deut. 22:5) (CCN179).
  2. That a woman should not wear men’s clothing (Deut. 22:5) (CCN178).
  3. Not to wear garments made of wool and linen mixed together (Deut. 22:11) (CCN181).

The Firstborn

  1. To redeem the firstborn human male (Ex. 13:13; Ex. 34:20; Num. 18:15) (CCA54). See Pidyon Ha-Ben: Redemption of the Firstborn.
  2. To redeem the firstling of an ass (Ex. 13:13; Ex. 34:20) (CCA55).
  3. To break the neck of the firstling of an ass if it is not redeemed (Ex. 13:13; Ex. 34:20) (CCA56).
  4. Not to redeem the firstling of a clean beast (Num. 18:17) (CCN109).

Kohanim and Levites

  1. That the kohanim shall put on priestly vestments for the service (Ex. 28:2) (affirmative). See Kohein.
  2. Not to tear the High Kohein’s robe (Ex. 28:32) (negative). See Kohein.
  3. That the kohein shall not enter the Sanctuary at all times (i.e., at times when he is not performing service) (Lev. 16:2) (negative). See Kohein.
  4. That the ordinary kohein shall not defile himself by contact with any dead, other than immediate relatives (Lev. 21:1-3) (CCN141). See Kohein, Care for the Dead.
  5. That the kohanim defile themselves for their deceased relatives (by attending their burial), and mourn for them like other Israelites, who are commanded to mourn for their relatives (Lev. 21:3) (CCA59). See Kohein, Care for the Dead; Mourning.
  6. That a kohein who had an immersion during the day (to cleanse him from his uncleanness) shall not serve in the Sanctuary until after sunset (Lev. 21:6) (negative). See Kohein.
  7. That a kohein shall not marry a divorced woman (Lev. 21:7) (CCN140). See Prohibited Marriages and Illegitimate Children; Kohein.
  8. That a kohein shall not marry a harlot (Lev. 21:7) (CCN138). See Prohibited Marriages and Illegitimate Children; Kohein.
  9. That a kohein shall not marry a profaned woman (Lev. 21:7) (CCN139). See Prohibited Marriages and Illegitimate Children; Kohein.
  10. To show honor to a kohein, and to give him precedence in all things that are holy (Lev. 21:8) (CCA50). See Kohein.
  11. That a High Kohein shall not defile himself with any dead, even if they are relatives (Lev. 21:11) (negative). See Kohein, Care for the Dead.
  12. That a High Kohein shall not go (under the same roof) with a dead body (Lev. 21:11) It has been learnt by tradition that a kohein, who does so, violates the prohibition, “Neither shall he go in “, and also the prohibition “He shall not defile himself” (negative). See Kohein, Care for the Dead.
  13. That the High Kohein shall marry a virgin (Lev. 21:13) (affirmative). See Prohibited Marriages and Illegitimate Children; Kohein.
  14. That the High Kohein shall not marry a widow (Lev. 21:14) (negative). See Prohibited Marriages and Illegitimate Children; Kohein.
  15. That the High Kohein shall not cohabit with a widow, even without marriage, because he profanes her (Lev. 21:15) (negative). See Prohibited Marriages and Illegitimate Children; Kohein.
  16. That a person with a physical blemish shall not serve (in the Sanctuary) (Lev. 21:17) (negative).
  17. That a kohein with a temporary blemish shall not serve there (Lev. 21:21) (negative). See Kohein.
  18. That a person with a physical blemish shall not enter the Sanctuary further than the altar (Lev. 21:23) (negative).
  19. That a kohein who is unclean shall not serve (in the Sanctuary) (Lev. 22:2-3) (negative). See Kohein.
  20. To send the unclean out of the Camp of the Shechinah, that is, out of the Sanctuary (Num. 5:2) (affirmative).
  21. That a kohein who is unclean shall not enter the courtyard (Num. 5:2-3) This refers to the Camp of the Shechinah (negative). See Kohein.
  22. That the kohanim shall bless Israel (Num. 6:23) (CCA58). See Kohein.
  23. To set apart a portion of the dough for the kohein (Num. 15:20) (CCA57). See Kohein.
  24. That the Levites shall not occupy themselves with the service that belongs to the kohanim, nor the kohanim with that belonging to the Levites (Num. 18:3) (negative). See Kohein, Levi.
  25. That one not a descendant of Aaron in the male line shall not serve (in the Sanctuary) (Num. 18:4-7) (negative).
  26. That the Levite shall serve in the Sanctuary (Num. 18:23) (affirmative). See Levi.
  27. To give the Levites cities to dwell in, these to serve also as cities of refuge (Num. 35:2) (affirmative). See Levi.
  28. That none of the tribe of Levi shall take any portion of territory in the land (of Israel) (Deut. 18:1) (negative). See Levi.
  29. That none of the tribe of Levi shall take any share of the spoil (at the conquest of the Promised Land) (Deut. 18:1) (negative). See Levi.
  30. That the kohanim shall serve in the Sanctuary in divisions, but on festivals, they all serve together (Deut. 18:6-8) (affirmative). See Kohein.

T’rumah, Tithes and Taxes

  1. That an uncircumcised person shall not eat of the t’rumah (heave offering), and the same applies to other holy things. This rule is inferred from the law of the Paschal offering, by similarity of phrase (Ex. 12:44-45 and Lev. 22:10) but it is not explicitly set forth in the Torah. Traditionally, it has been learnt that the rule that the uncircumcised must not eat holy things is an essential principle of the Torah and not an enactment of the Scribes (negative). See Brit Milah: Circumcision
  2. Not to alter the order of separating the t’rumah and the tithes; the separation be in the order first-fruits at the beginning, then the t’rumah, then the first tithe, and last the second tithe (Ex. 22:28) (negative) (CCI19).
  3. To give half a shekel every year (to the Sanctuary for provision of the public sacrifices) (Ex. 30:13) (affirmative).
  4. That a kohein who is unclean shall not eat of the t’rumah (Lev. 22:3-4) (negative). See Kohein.
  5. That a person who is not a kohein or the wife or unmarried daughter of a kohein shall not eat of the t’rumah (Lev. 22:10) (negative). See Kohein.
  6. That a sojourner with a kohein or his hired servant shall not eat of the t’rumah (Lev. 22:10) (negative). See Kohein.
  7. Not to eat tevel (something from which the t’rumah and tithe have not yet been separated) (Lev. 22:15) (negative) (CCI18).
  8. To set apart the tithe of the produce (one tenth of the produce after taking out t’rumah) for the Levites (Lev. 27:30; Num. 18:24) (affirmative) (CCI12). See Levi.
  9. To tithe cattle (Lev. 27:32) (affirmative).
  10. Not to sell the tithe of the herd (Lev. 27:32-33) (negative).
  11. That the Levites shall set apart a tenth of the tithes, which they had received from the Israelites, and give it to the kohanim (called the t’rumah of the tithe) (Num. 18:26) (affirmative) (CCI13). See Kohein, Levi.
  12. Not to eat the second tithe of cereals outside Jerusalem (Deut. 12:17) (negative).
  13. Not to consume the second tithe of the vintage outside of Jerusalem (Deut. 12:17) (negative).
  14. Not to consume the second tithe of the oil outside of Jerusalem (Deut. 12:17) (negative).
  15. Not to forsake the Levites (Deut. 12:19); but their gifts (dues) should be given to them, so that they might rejoice therewith on each and every festival (negative). See Levi.
  16. To set apart the second tithe in the first, second, fourth and fifth years of the sabbatical cycle to be eaten by its owner in Jerusalem (Deut. 14:22) (affirmative) (CCI14) (today, it is set aside but not eaten in Jerusalem).
  17. To set apart the second tithe in the third and sixth year of the sabbatical cycle for the poor (Deut. 14:28-29) (affirmative) (CCI15) (today, it must be separated out but need not be given to the poor).
  18. To give the kohein the due portions of the carcass of cattle (Deut. 18:3) (according to the Talmud, this is not mandatory in the present outside of Israel, but it is permissible, and some observant people do so) (CCA51). See Kohein.
  19. To give the first of the fleece to the kohein (Deut. 18:4) (according to the Talmud, this is not mandatory in the present outside of Israel, but it is permissible, and some observant people do so) (CCA52). See Kohein.
  20. To set apart t’rumah g’dolah (the great heave-offering, that is, a small portion of the grain, wine and oil) for the kohein (Deut. 18:4) (affirmative) (CCI11). See Kohein.
  21. Not to expend the proceeds of the second tithe on anything but food and drink (Deut. 26:14). Anything outside of things necessary for sustenance comes within the class in the phrase “Given for the dead” (negative).
  22. Not to eat the Second Tithe, even in Jerusalem, in a state of uncleanness, until the tithe had been redeemed (Deut. 26:14) (negative).
  23. Not to eat the Second Tithe, when mourning (Deut. 26:14) (negative).
  24. To make the declaration, when bringing the second tithe to the Sanctuary (Deut. 26:13) (affirmative) (CCI17).

The Temple, the Sanctuary and Sacred Objects

  1. Not to build an altar of hewn stone (Ex. 20:22) (negative).
  2. Not to mount the altar by steps (Ex. 20:23) (negative).
  3. To build the Sanctuary (Ex. 25:8) (affirmative).
  4. Not to remove the staves from the Ark (Ex. 25:15) (negative).
  5. To set the showbread and the frankincense before the L-rd every Shabbat (Ex. 25:30) (affirmative).
  6. To kindle lights in the Sanctuary (Ex. 27:21) (affirmative).
  7. That the breastplate shall not be loosened from the ephod (Ex. 28:28) (negative).
  8. To offer up incense twice daily (Ex. 30:7) (affirmative).
  9. Not to offer strange incense nor any sacrifice upon the golden altar (Ex. 30:9) (negative).
  10. That the kohein shall wash his hands and feet at the time of service (Ex. 30:19) (affirmative). See Kohein.
  11. To prepare the oil of anointment and anoint high kohanim and kings with it (Ex. 30:31) (affirmative). See Kohein.
  12. Not to compound oil for lay use after the formula of the anointing oil (Ex. 30:32-33) (CCN145).
  13. Not to anoint a stranger with the anointing oil (Ex. 30:32) (negative).
  14. Not to compound anything after the formula of the incense (Ex. 30:37) (CCN146).
  15. That he who, in error, makes unlawful use of sacred things, shall make restitution of the value of his trespass and add a fifth (Lev. 5:16) (affirmative).
  16. To remove the ashes from the altar (Lev. 6:3) (affirmative).
  17. To keep fire always burning on the altar of the burnt-offering (Lev. 6:6) (affirmative).
  18. Not to extinguish the fire on the altar (Lev. 6:6) (negative).
  19. That a kohein shall not enter the Sanctuary with disheveled hair (Lev. 10:6) (negative). See Kohein.
  20. That a kohein shall not enter the Sanctuary with torn garments (Lev. 10:6) (negative). See Kohein.
  21. That the kohein shall not leave the Courtyard of the Sanctuary, during service (Lev. 10:7) (negative). See Kohein.
  22. That an intoxicated person shall not enter the Sanctuary nor give decisions in matters of the Law (Lev. 10:9-11) (negative).
  23. To revere the Sanctuary (Lev. 19:30) (today, this applies to synagogues) (CCA18). See Synagogues, Shuls and Temples.
  24. That when the Ark is carried, it should be carried on the shoulder (Num. 7:9) (affirmative).
  25. To observe the second Passover (Num. 9:11) (affirmative).
  26. To eat the flesh of the Paschal lamb on it, with unleavened bread and bitter herbs (Num. 9:11) (affirmative).
  27. Not to leave any flesh of the Paschal lamb brought on the second Passover until the morning (Num. 9:12) (negative).
  28. Not to break a bone of the Paschal lamb brought on the second Passover (Num. 9:12) (negative).
  29. To sound the trumpets at the offering of sacrifices and in times of trouble (Num. 10:9-10) (affirmative).
  30. To watch over the edifice continually (Num. 18:2) (affirmative).
  31. Not to allow the Sanctuary to remain unwatched (Num. 18:5) (negative).
  32. That an offering shall be brought by one who has in error committed a trespass against sacred things, or robbed, or lain carnally with a bond-maid betrothed to a man, or denied what was deposited with him and swore falsely to support his denial. This is called a guilt-offering for a known trespass (affirmative). See Asham: Guilt Offering.
  33. Not to destroy anything of the Sanctuary, of synagogues, or of houses of study, nor erase the holy names (of G-d); nor may sacred scriptures be destroyed (Deut. 12:2-4) (CCN157). See The Name of G-d.

Sacrifices and Offerings

  1. To sanctify the firstling of clean cattle and offer it up (Ex. 13:2; Deut. 15:19) (at the present time, it is not offered up) (CCA53).
  2. To slay the Paschal lamb (Ex. 12:6) (affirmative).
  3. To eat the flesh of the Paschal sacrifice on the night of the fifteenth of Nissan (Ex. 12:8) (affirmative).
  4. Not to eat the flesh of the Paschal lamb raw or sodden (Ex. 12:9) (negative).
  5. Not to leave any portion of the flesh of the Paschal sacrifice until the morning unconsumed (Ex. 12:10) (negative).
  6. Not to give the flesh of the Paschal lamb to an Israelite who had become an apostate (Ex. 12:43) (negative).
  7. Not to give flesh of the Paschal lamb to a stranger who lives among you to eat (Ex. 12:45) (negative).
  8. Not to take any of the flesh of the Paschal lamb from the company’s place of assembly (Ex. 12:46) (negative).
  9. Not to break a bone of the Paschal lamb (Ex. 12:46) (negative).
  10. That the uncircumcised shall not eat of the flesh of the Paschal lamb (Ex. 12:48) (negative). See Brit Milah: Circumcision
  11. Not to slaughter the Paschal lamb while there is chametz in the home (Ex. 23:18; Ex. 24:25) (negative).
  12. Not to leave the part of the Paschal lamb that should be burnt on the altar until the morning, when it will no longer be fit to be burnt (Ex. 23:18; Ex. 24:25) (negative).
  13. Not to go up to the Sanctuary for the festival without bringing an offering (Ex. 23:15) (negative).
  14. To bring the first fruits to the Sanctuary (Ex. 23:19) (affirmative).
  15. That the flesh of a sin-offering and guilt-offering shall be eaten (Ex. 29:33) (affirmative). See Qorbanot: Sacrifices and Offerings
  16. That one not of the seed of Aaron, shall not eat the flesh of the holy sacrifices (Ex. 29:33) (negative).
  17. To observe the procedure of the burnt-offering (Lev. 1:3) (affirmative). See Olah: Burnt Offering.
  18. To observe the procedure of the meal-offering (Lev. 2:1) (affirmative). See Food and Drink Offerings.
  19. Not to offer up leaven or honey (Lev. 2:11) (negative).
  20. That every sacrifice be salted (Lev. 2:13) (affirmative).
  21. Not to offer up any offering unsalted (Lev. 2:13) (negative).
  22. That the Court of Judgment shall offer up a sacrifice if they have erred in a judicial pronouncement (Lev. 4:13) (affirmative).
  23. That an individual shall bring a sin-offering if he has sinned in error by committing a transgression, the conscious violation of which is punished with excision (Lev. 4:27-28) (affirmative). See Chatat: Sin Offering.
  24. To offer a sacrifice of varying value in accordance with one’s means (Lev. 5:7) (affirmative).
  25. Not to sever completely the head of a fowl brought as a sin-offering (Lev. 5:8) (negative).
  26. Not to put olive oil in a sin-offering made of flour (Lev. 5:11) (negative).
  27. Not to put frankincense on a sin-offering made of flour (Lev. 5:11) (negative).
  28. That an individual shall bring an offering if he is in doubt as to whether he has committed a sin for which one has to bring a sin-offering. This is called a guilt-offering for doubtful sins (Lev. 5:17-19) (affirmative). See Asham: Guilt Offering.
  29. That the remainder of the meal offerings shall be eaten (Lev. 6:9) (affirmative).
  30. Not to allow the remainder of the meal offerings to become leavened (Lev. 6:10) (negative).
  31. That the High Kohein shall offer a meal offering daily (Lev. 6:13) (affirmative).
  32. Not to eat of the meal offering brought by the kohanim (Lev. 6:16) (negative).
  33. To observe the procedure of the sin-offering (Lev. 6:18) (affirmative). See Chatat: Sin Offering.
  34. Not to eat of the flesh of sin offerings, the blood of which is brought within the Sanctuary and sprinkled towards the Veil (Lev. 6:23) (negative).
  35. To observe the procedure of the guilt-offering (Lev. 7:1) (affirmative).See Asham: Guilt Offering.
  36. To observe the procedure of the peace-offering (Lev. 7:11) (affirmative). See Zebach Sh’lamim: Peace Offering.
  37. To burn meat of the holy sacrifice that has remained over (Lev. 7:17) (affirmative).
  38. Not to eat of sacrifices that are eaten beyond the appointed time for eating them (Lev. 7:18) The penalty is excision (negative).
  39. Not to eat of holy things that have become unclean (Lev. 7:19) (negative).
  40. To burn meat of the holy sacrifice that has become unclean (Lev. 7:19) (affirmative).
  41. That a person who is unclean shall not eat of things that are holy (Lev. 7:20) (negative).
  42. A kohein’s daughter who profaned herself shall not eat of the holy things, neither of the heave offering nor of the breast, nor of the shoulder of peace offerings (Lev. 10:14, Lev. 22:12) (negative). See Kohein.
  43. That a woman after childbirth shall bring an offering when she is clean (Lev. 12:6) (affirmative). See Birth.
  44. That the leper shall bring a sacrifice after he is cleansed (Lev. 14:10) (affirmative).
  45. That a man having an issue shall bring a sacrifice after he is cleansed of his issue (Lev. 15:13-15) (affirmative).
  46. That a woman having an issue shall bring a sacrifice after she is cleansed of her issue (Lev. 15:28-30) (affirmative).
  47. To observe, on Yom Kippur, the service appointed for that day, regarding the sacrifice, confessions, sending away of the scapegoat, etc. (Lev. 16:3-34) (affirmative).
  48. Not to slaughter beasts set apart for sacrifices outside (the Sanctuary) (Lev. 17:3-4) (negative).
  49. Not to eat flesh of a sacrifice that has been left over (beyond the time appointed for its consumption) (Lev. 19:8 ) (negative).
  50. Not to sanctify blemished cattle for sacrifice on the altar (Lev. 22:20) This text prohibits such beasts being set apart for sacrifice on the altar (negative).
  51. That every animal offered up shall be without blemish (Lev. 22:21) (affirmative).
  52. Not to inflict a blemish on cattle set apart for sacrifice (Lev. 22:21) (negative).
  53. Not to slaughter blemished cattle as sacrifices (Lev. 22:22) (negative).
  54. Not to burn the limbs of blemished cattle upon the altar (Lev. 22:22) (negative).
  55. Not to sprinkle the blood of blemished cattle upon the altar (Lev. 22:24) (negative).
  56. Not to offer up a blemished beast that comes from non-Israelites (Lev. 22:25) (negative).
  57. That sacrifices of cattle can only take place when they are at least eight days old (Lev. 22:27) (affirmative).
  58. Not to leave any flesh of the thanksgiving offering until the morning (Lev. 22:30) (negative).
  59. To offer up the meal-offering of the Omer on the morrow after the first day of Passover, together with one lamb (Lev. 23:10) (affirmative). See The Counting of the Omer.
  60. Not to eat bread made of new grain before the Omer of barley has been offered up on the second day of Passover (Lev. 23:14) (CCN101). See The Counting of the Omer.
  61. Not to eat roasted grain of the new produce before that time (Lev. 23:14) (CCN102). See The Counting of the Omer.
  62. Not to eat fresh ears of the new grain before that time (Lev. 23:14) (CCN103). See The Counting of the Omer.
  63. To bring on Shavu’ot loaves of bread together with the sacrifices which are then offered up in connection with the loaves (Lev. 23:17-20) (affirmative).
  64. To offer up an additional sacrifice on Passover (Lev. 23:36) (affirmative).
  65. That one who vows to the L-rd the monetary value of a person shall pay the amount appointed in the Scriptural portion (Lev. 27:2-8) (affirmative).
  66. If a beast is exchanged for one that had been set apart as an offering, both become sacred (Lev. 27:10) (affirmative).
  67. Not to exchange a beast set aside for sacrifice (Lev. 27:10) (negative).
  68. That one who vows to the L-rd the monetary value of an unclean beast shall pay its value (Lev. 27:11-13) (affirmative).
  69. That one who vows the value of his house shall pay according to the appraisal of the kohein (Lev. 27:11-13) (affirmative). See Kohein.
  70. That one who sanctifies to the L-rd a portion of his field shall pay according to the estimation appointed in the Scriptural portion (Lev. 27:16-24) (affirmative).
  71. Not to transfer a beast set apart for sacrifice from one class of sacrifices to another (Lev. 27:26) (negative).
  72. To decide in regard to dedicated property as to which is sacred to the Lord and which belongs to the kohein (Lev. 27:28) (affirmative). See Kohein.
  73. Not to sell a field devoted to the Lord (Lev. 27:28) (negative).
  74. Not to redeem a field devoted to the Lord (Lev. 27:28) (negative).
  75. To make confession before the L-rd of any sin that one has committed, when bringing a sacrifice and at other times (Num. 5:6-7) (CCA33).
  76. Not to put olive oil in the meal-offering of a woman suspected of adultery (Num. 5:15) (negative).
  77. Not to put frankincense on it (Num. 5:15) (negative).
  78. To offer up the regular sacrifices daily (two lambs as burnt offerings) (Num. 28:3) (affirmative).
  79. To offer up an additional sacrifice every Shabbat (two lambs) (Num. 28:9) (affirmative).
  80. To offer up an additional sacrifice every New Moon (Num. 28:11) (affirmative).
  81. To bring an additional offering on Shavu’ot (Num. 28:26-27) (affirmative).
  82. To offer up an additional sacrifice on Rosh Hashanah (Num. 29:1-6) (affirmative).
  83. To offer up an additional sacrifice on Yom Kippur (Num. 29:7-8) (affirmative).
  84. To offer up an additional sacrifice on Sukkot (Num. 29:12-34) (affirmative).
  85. To offer up an additional offering on Shemini Atzeret, which is a festival by itself (Num. 29:35-38) (affirmative).
  86. To bring all offerings, whether obligatory or freewill, on the first festival after these were incurred (Deut. 12:5-6) (affirmative).
  87. Not to offer up sacrifices outside (the Sanctuary) (Deut. 12:13) (negative).
  88. To offer all sacrifices in the Sanctuary (Deut. 12:14) (affirmative).
  89. To redeem cattle set apart for sacrifices that contracted disqualifying blemishes, after which they may be eaten by anyone. (Deut. 12:15) (affirmative).
  90. Not to eat of the unblemished firstling outside Jerusalem (Deut. 12:17) (negative).
  91. Not to eat the flesh of the burnt-offering (Deut. 12:17). This is a Prohibition applying to every trespasser, not to enjoy any of the holy things. If he does so, he commits a trespass (negative).
  92. That the kohanim shall not eat the flesh of the sin-offering or guilt-offering outside the Courtyard (of the Sanctuary) (Deut. 12:17) (negative).
  93. Not to eat of the flesh of the sacrifices that are holy in a minor degree, before the blood has been sprinkled (on the altar), (Deut. 12:17) (negative).
  94. That the kohein shall not eat the first-fruits before they are set down in the Courtyard (of the Sanctuary) (Deut. 12:17) (negative).
  95. To take trouble to bring sacrifices to the Sanctuary from places outside the land of Israel (Deut. 12:26) (affirmative).
  96. Not to eat the flesh of beasts set apart as sacrifices, that have been rendered unfit to be offered up by deliberately inflicted blemish (Deut. 14:3) (negative).
  97. Not to do work with cattle set apart for sacrifice (Deut. 15:19) (negative).
  98. Not to shear beasts set apart for sacrifice (Deut. 15:19) (negative).
  99. Not to leave any portion of the festival offering brought on the fourteenth of Nissan unto the third day (Deut. 16:4) (negative).
  100. Not to offer up a beast that has a temporary blemish (Deut. 17:1) (negative).
  101. Not to bring sacrifices out of the hire of a harlot or price of a dog (apparently a euphemism for sodomy) (Deut. 23:19) (negative).
  102. To read the portion prescribed on bringing the first fruits (Deut. 26:5-10) (affirmative).

Ritual Purity and Impurity

  1. That eight species of creeping things defile by contact (Lev. 11:29-30) (affirmative).
  2. That foods become defiled by contact with unclean things (Lev. 11:34) (affirmative).
  3. That anyone who touches the carcass of a beast that died of itself shall be unclean (Lev. 11:39) (affirmative).
  4. That a lying-in woman is unclean like a menstruating woman (in terms of uncleanness) (Lev. 12:2-5) (affirmative).
  5. That a leper is unclean and defiles (Lev. 13:2-46) (affirmative).
  6. That the leper shall be universally recognized as such by the prescribed marks. So too, all other unclean persons should declare themselves as such (Lev. 13:45) (affirmative).
  7. That a leprous garment is unclean and defiles (Lev. 13:47-49) (affirmative).
  8. That a leprous house defiles (Lev. 14:34-46) (affirmative).
  9. That a man, having a running issue, defiles (Lev. 15:1-15) (affirmative).
  10. That the seed of copulation defiles (Lev. 15:16) (affirmative).
  11. That purification from all kinds of defilement shall be effected by immersion in the waters of a mikvah (Lev. 15:16) (affirmative).
  12. That a menstruating woman is unclean and defiles others (Lev. 15:19-24) (affirmative).
  13. That a woman, having a running issue, defiles (Lev. 15:25-27) (affirmative).
  14. To carry out the ordinance of the Red Heifer so that its ashes will always be available (Num. 19:9) (affirmative). See Parah Adumah: Red Heifer.
  15. That a corpse defiles (Num. 19:11-16) (affirmative). See Care for the Dead.
  16. That the waters of separation defile one who is clean, and cleanse the unclean from pollution by a dead body (Num. 19:19-22) (affirmative).

Lepers and Leprosy

  1. Not to drove off the hair of the scall (Lev. 13:33) (negative).
  2. That the procedure of cleansing leprosy, whether of a man or of a house, takes place with cedar-wood, hyssop, scarlet thread, two birds, and running water (Lev. 14:1-7) (affirmative).
  3. That the leper shall shave all his hair (Lev. 14:9) (affirmative).
  4. Not to pluck out the marks of leprosy (Deut. 24:8) (negative).

The King

  1. Not to curse a ruler, that is, the King or the head of the College in the land of Israel (Ex. 22:27) (negative).
  2. To appoint a king (Deut. 17:15) (affirmative).
  3. Not to appoint as ruler over Israel, one who comes from non-Israelites (Deut. 17:15) (negative).
  4. That the King shall not acquire an excessive number of horses (Deut. 17:16) (negative).
  5. That the King shall not take an excessive number of wives (Deut. 17:17) (negative).
  6. That he shall not accumulate an excessive quantity of gold and silver (Deut. 17:17) (negative).
  7. That the King shall write a scroll of the Torah for himself, in addition to the one that every person should write, so that he writes two scrolls (Deut. 17:18) (affirmative). See Torah.


  1. That a Nazarite shall not drink wine, or anything mixed with wine which tastes like wine; and even if the wine or the mixture has turned sour, it is prohibited to him (Num. 6:3) (negative).
  2. That he shall not eat fresh grapes (Num. 6:3) (negative).
  3. That he shall not eat dried grapes (raisins) (Num. 6:3) (negative).
  4. That he shall not eat the kernels of the grapes (Num. 6:4) (negative).
  5. That he shall not eat of the skins of the grapes (Num. 6:4) (negative).
  6. That the Nazarite shall permit his hair to grow (Num. 6:5) (affirmative).
  7. That the Nazarite shall not cut his hair (Num. 6:5) (negative).
  8. That he shall not enter any covered structure where there is a dead body (Num. 6:6) (negative).
  9. That a Nazarite shall not defile himself for any dead person (by being in the presence of the corpse) (Num. 6:7) (negative).
  10. That the Nazarite shall shave his hair when he brings his offerings at the completion of the period of his Nazariteship, or within that period if he has become defiled (Num. 6:9) (affirmative).


  1. That those engaged in warfare shall not fear their enemies nor be panic-stricken by them during battle (Deut. 3:22, 7:21, 20:3) (negative).
  2. To anoint a special kohein (to speak to the soldiers) in a war (Deut. 20:2) (affirmative). See Kohein.
  3. In a permissive war (as distinguished from obligatory ones), to observe the procedure prescribed in the Torah (Deut. 20:10) (affirmative).
  4. Not to keep alive any individual of the seven Canaanite nations (Deut. 20:16) (negative).
  5. To exterminate the seven Canaanite nations from the land of Israel (Deut. 20:17) (affirmative).
  6. Not to destroy fruit trees (wantonly or in warfare) (Deut. 20:19-20) (CCN191).
  7. To deal with a beautiful woman taken captive in war in the manner prescribed in the Torah (Deut. 21:10-14) (affirmative).
  8. Not to sell a beautiful woman, (taken captive in war) (Deut. 21:14) (negative).
  9. Not to degrade a beautiful woman (taken captive in war) to the condition of a bondwoman (Deut. 21:14) (negative).
  10. Not to offer peace to the Ammonites and the Moabites before waging war on them, as should be done to other nations (Deut. 23:7) (negative).
  11. That anyone who is unclean shall not enter the Camp of the Levites (Deut. 23:11) (according to the Talmud, in the present day this means the Temple mount) (CCN193).
  12. To have a place outside the camp for sanitary purposes (Deut. 23:13) (affirmative).
  13. To keep that place sanitary (Deut. 23:14-15) (affirmative).
  14. Always to remember what Amalek did (Deut. 25:17) (CCA76).
  15. That the evil done to us by Amalek shall not be forgotten (Deut. 25:19) (CCN194).
  16. To destroy the seed of Amalek (Deut. 25:19) (CCA77).