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 And while many of those mitzvot may well appear outdated or even foolish when read on our smart phones while sipping a latte, it’s quite a collection of golden rules by which to a full and worthwhile life while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.
A List of the 613 Mitzvot (Commandments)
• 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).
- To know that G-d exists (Ex. 20:2; Deut. 5:6) (CCA1). See What Do Jews Believe?.
- Not to entertain the idea that there is any god but the Eternal (Ex. 20:3) (CCN8). See What Do Jews Believe?.
- Not to blaspheme (Ex. 22:27; in Christian texts, Ex. 22:28), the penalty for which is death (Lev. 24:16) (negative).
- To hallow G-d’s name (Lev. 22:32) (CCA5). See The Name of G-d.
- Not to profane G-d’s name (Lev . 22:32) (CCN155). See The Name of G-d.
- To know that G-d is One, a complete Unity (Deut. 6:4) (CCA2). See What Do Jews Believe?.
- To love G-d (Deut. 6:5) (CCA3). See What Do Jews Believe?.
- To fear Him reverently (Deut. 6:13; 10:20) (CCA4).
- Not to put the word of G-d to the test (Deut. 6:16) (negative).
- To imitate His good and upright ways (Deut. 28:9) (CCA6).
- To honor the old and the wise (Lev. 19:32) (CCA17).
- To learn Torah and to teach it (Deut. 6:7) (CCA14). See Torah.
- To cleave to those who know Him (Deut. 10:20) (the Talmud states that cleaving to scholars is equivalent to cleaving to Him) (CCA16).
- 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.
- Not to take away from the commandments of the Torah (Deut. 13:1) (CCN160). See Torah.
- That every person shall write a scroll of the Torah for himself (Deut. 31:19) (CCA15). See Torah.
Signs and Symbols
- To circumcise the male offspring (Gen. 17:12; Lev. 12:3) (CCA47) See Brit Milah: Circumcision.
- To put tzitzit on the corners of clothing (Num. 15:38) (CCA10). See Tzitzit and Tallit.
- To bind tefillin on the head (Deut. 6:8) (CCA9). See Tefillin.
- To bind tefillin on the arm (Deut. 6:8) (CCA8). See Tefillin.
- To affix the mezuzah to the doorposts and gates of your house (Deut. 6:9) (CCA12). See Mezuzah.
Prayer and Blessings
- 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.
- To read the Shema in the morning and at night (Deut. 6:7) (CCA11). See Jewish Liturgy.
- To recite grace after meals (Deut. 8:10) (CCA13). See Birkat Ha-Mazon: Grace After Meals
- Not to lay down a stone for worship (Lev. 26:1) (CCN161).
Love and Brotherhood
- To love all human beings who are of the covenant (Lev. 19:18) (CCA60). See Love and Brotherhood.
- Not to stand by idly when a human life is in danger (Lev. 19:16) (CCN82). See Love and Brotherhood.
- Not to wrong any one in speech (Lev. 25:17) (CCN48). See Speech and Lashon Ha-Ra.
- Not to carry tales (Lev. 19:16) (CCN77). See Speech and Lashon Ha-Ra.
- Not to cherish hatred in one’s heart (Lev. 19:17) (CCN78). See Love and Brotherhood.
- Not to take revenge (Lev. 19:18) (CCN80).
- Not to bear a grudge (Lev. 19:18) (CCN81).
- Not to put any Jew to shame (Lev. 19:17) (CCN79).
- 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).
- 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).
- To rebuke the sinner (Lev. 19:17) (CCA72).
- To relieve a neighbor of his burden and help to unload his beast (Ex. 23:5) (CCA70). See Love and Brotherhood.
- To assist in replacing the load upon a neighbor’s beast (Deut. 22:4) (CCA71). See Love and Brotherhood.
- 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
- Not to afflict an orphan or a widow (Ex. 22:21) (CCN51).
- Not to reap the entire field (Lev. 19:9; Lev. 23:22) (negative) (CCI6).
- To leave the unreaped corner of the field or orchard for the poor (Lev. 19:9) (affirmative) (CCI1).
- Not to gather gleanings (the ears that have fallen to the ground while reaping) (Lev. 19:9) (negative) (CCI7).
- To leave the gleanings for the poor (Lev. 19:9) (affirmative) (CCI2).
- Not to gather ol’loth (the imperfect clusters) of the vineyard (Lev. 19:10) (negative) (CCI8).
- To leave ol’loth (the imperfect clusters) of the vineyard for the poor (Lev. 19:10; Deut. 24:21) (affirmative) (CCI3).
- Not to gather the peret (grapes) that have fallen to the ground (Lev. 19:10) (negative) (CCI9).
- To leave peret (the single grapes) of the vineyard for the poor (Lev. 19:10) (affirmative) (CCI4).
- Not to return to take a forgotten sheaf (Deut. 24:19) This applies to all fruit trees (Deut. 24:20) (negative) (CC10).
- To leave the forgotten sheaves for the poor (Deut. 24:19-20) (affirmative) (CCI5).
- Not to refrain from maintaining a poor man and giving him what he needs (Deut. 15:7) (CCN62). See Tzedakah: Charity.
- To give charity according to one’s means (Deut. 15:11) (CCA38). See Tzedakah: Charity.
Treatment of Gentiles
- To love the stranger (Deut. 10:19) (CCA61). See Love and Brotherhood.
- Not to wrong the stranger in speech (Ex. 22:20) (CCN49).
- Not to wrong the stranger in buying or selling (Ex. 22:20) (CCN50).
- Not to intermarry with gentiles (Deut. 7:3) (CCN19). See Interfaith Marriages.
- To exact the debt of an alien (Deut. 15:3) (affirmative).
- To lend to an alien at interest (Deut. 23:21) According to tradition, this is mandatory (affirmative).
Marriage, Divorce and Family
- To honor father and mother (Ex. 20:12) (CCA41).
- Not to smite a father or a mother (Ex. 21:15) (CCN44).
- Not to curse a father or mother (Ex. 21:17) (CCN46).
- To reverently fear father and mother (Lev. 19:3) (CCA42).
- To be fruitful and multiply (Gen. 1:28) (CCA43).
- That a eunuch shall not marry a daughter of Israel (Deut. 23:2) (CCN136).
- That a mamzer shall not marry the daughter of a Jew (Deut. 23:3) (CCN137). See Prohibited Marriages and Illegitimate Children.
- That an Ammonite or Moabite shall never marry the daughter of an Israelite (Deut. 23:4) (negative).
- Not to exclude a descendant of Esau from the community of Israel for three generations (Deut. 23:8-9) (negative).
- Not to exclude an Egyptian from the community of Israel for three generations (Deut. 23:8-9) (negative).
- 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.
- To take a wife by kiddushin, the sacrament of marriage (Deut. 24:1) (CCA44). See The Process of Marriage: Kiddushin and Nisuin.
- That the newly married husband shall (be free) for one year to rejoice with his wife (Deut. 24:5) (affirmative).
- 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).
- Not to withhold food, clothing or conjugal rights from a wife (Ex. 21:10) (CCN42). See The Marital Relationship.
- That the woman suspected of adultery shall be dealt with as prescribed in the Torah (Num. 5:30) (affirmative).
- 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).
- 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).
- To divorce by a formal written document (Deut. 24:1) (affirmative). See The Process of Obtaining a Divorce.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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).
- That the widow formally release the brother-in-law (if he refuses to marry her) (Deut. 25:7-9) (CCA46).
Forbidden Sexual Relations
- Not to indulge in familiarities with relatives, such as kissing, embracing, winking, skipping, which may lead to incest (Lev. 18:6) (CCN110).
- Not to commit incest with one’s mother (Lev. 18:7) (CCN112). See Prohibited Marriages and Illegitimate Children.
- Not to commit sodomy with one’s father (Lev. 18:7) (CCN111).
- Not to commit incest with one’s father’s wife (Lev. 18:8) (CCN113). See Prohibited Marriages and Illegitimate Children.
- Not to commit incest with one’s sister (Lev. 18:9) (CCN127). See Prohibited Marriages and Illegitimate Children.
- Not to commit incest with one’s father’s wife’s daughter (Lev. 18:11) (CCN128). See Prohibited Marriages and Illegitimate Children.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Not to commit incest with one’s fathers sister (Lev. 18:12) (CCN129). See Prohibited Marriages and Illegitimate Children.
- Not to commit incest with one’s mother’s sister (Lev. 18:13) (CCN130). See Prohibited Marriages and Illegitimate Children.
- Not to commit incest with one’s father’s brothers wife (Lev. 18:14) (CCN125). See Prohibited Marriages and Illegitimate Children.
- Not to commit sodomy with one’s father’s brother (Lev. 18:14) (CCN114).
- Not to commit incest with one’s son’s wife (Lev. 18:15) (CCN115). See Prohibited Marriages and Illegitimate Children.
- Not to commit incest with one’s brother’s wife (Lev. 18:16) (CCN126). See Prohibited Marriages and Illegitimate Children.
- Not to commit incest with one’s wife’s daughter (Lev. 18:17) (CCN121). See Prohibited Marriages and Illegitimate Children.
- Not to commit incest with the daughter of one’s wife’s son (Lev. 18:17) (CCN122). See Prohibited Marriages and Illegitimate Children.
- Not to commit incest with the daughter of one’s wife’s daughter (Lev. 18:17) (CCN123). See Prohibited Marriages and Illegitimate Children.
- Not to commit incest with one’s wife’s sister (Lev. 18:18) (CCN131). See Prohibited Marriages and Illegitimate Children.
- Not to have intercourse with a woman, in her menstrual period (Lev. 18:19) (CCN132).
- Not to have intercourse with another man’s wife (Lev. 18:20) (CCN124).
- Not to commit sodomy with a male (Lev. 18:22) (CCN116).
- Not to have intercourse with a beast (Lev. 18:23) (CCN117).
- That a woman shall not have intercourse with a beast (Lev. 18:23) (CCN118).
- 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
- 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”).
- Not to travel on Shabbat outside the limits of one’s place of residence (Ex. 16:29) (CCN7). See Shabbat.
- To sanctify Shabbat (Ex. 20:8) (CCA19). See Shabbat.
- Not to do work on Shabbat (Ex. 20:10) (CCN6). See Shabbat.
- To rest on Shabbat (Ex. 23:12; 34:21) (CCA20). See Shabbat.
- To celebrate the festivals [Passover, Shavu'ot and Sukkot] (Ex. 23:14) (affirmative).
- To rejoice on the festivals (Deut. 16:14) (CCA21).
- To appear in the Sanctuary on the festivals (Deut. 16:16) (affirmative).
- To remove chametz on the Eve of Passover (Ex. 12:15) (CCA22). See Passover.
- To rest on the first day of Passover (Ex. 12:16; Lev. 23:7) (CCA25). See Passover.
- Not to do work on the first day of Passover (Ex. 12:16; Lev. 23:6-7) (CCN147). See Passover.
- To rest on the seventh day of Passover (Ex. 12:16; Lev. 23:8) (CCA27). See Passover.
- Not to do work on the seventh day of Passover (Ex. 12:16; Lev. 23:8) (CCN148). See Passover.
- To eat matzah on the first night of Passover (Ex. 12:18) (CCA23). See Passover.
- That no chametz be in the Israelite’s possession during Passover (Ex. 12:19) (CCN3). See Passover.
- Not to eat any food containing chametz on Passover (Ex. 12:20) (CCN5). See Passover.
- Not to eat chametz on Passover (Ex. 13:3) (CCN4). See Passover.
- That chametz shall not be seen in an Israelite’s home during Passover (Ex. 13:7) (CCN2). See Passover.
- To discuss the departure from Egypt on the first night of Passover (Ex. 13:8) (CCA24). See The Passover Seder.
- Not to eat chametz after mid-day on the fourteenth of Nissan (Deut. 16:3) (CCN104). See Passover.
- 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.
- To rest on Shavu’ot (Lev. 23:21) (CCA28). See Shavu’ot.
- Not to do work on the Shavu’ot (Lev. 23:21) (CCN149). See Shavu’ot.
- To rest on Rosh Hashanah (Lev. 23:24) (CCA29). See Rosh Hashanah.
- Not to do work on Rosh Hashanah (Lev. 23:25) (CCN150). See Rosh Hashanah.
- To hear the sound of the shofar on Rosh Hashanah (Num. 29:1) (CCA30). See Rosh Hashanah.
- To fast on Yom Kippur (Lev. 23:27) (CCA32). See Yom Kippur.
- Not to eat or drink on Yom Kippur (Lev. 23:29) (CCN152). See Yom Kippur.
- Not to do work on Yom Kippur (Lev. 23:31) (CCN151). See Yom Kippur.
- To rest on the Yom Kippur (Lev. 23:32) (CCA31). See Yom Kippur.
- To rest on the first day of Sukkot (Lev. 23:35) (CCA34). See Sukkot.
- Not to do work on the first day of Sukkot (Lev. 23:35) (CCN153). See Sukkot.
- To rest on the eighth day of Sukkot (Shemini Atzeret) (Lev. 23:36) (CCA37). See Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah.
- Not to do work on the eighth day of Sukkot (Shemini Atzeret) (Lev. 23:36) (CCN154). See Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah.
- To take during Sukkot a palm branch and the other three plants (Lev. 23:40) (CCA36). See Sukkot.
- To dwell in booths seven days during Sukkot (Lev. 23:42) (CCA35). See Sukkot.
- 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.
- Not to eat the flesh of unclean beasts (Lev. 11:4) (CCN93). See Animals that may not be eaten.
- 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.
- Not to eat unclean fish (Lev. 11:11) (CCN95). See Animals that may not be eaten.
- 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.
- Not to eat unclean fowl (Lev. 11:13) (CCN94). See Animals that may not be eaten.
- 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.
- Not to eat a worm found in fruit (Lev. 11:41) (CCN98). See Animals that may not be eaten.
- Not to eat of things that creep upon the earth (Lev. 11:41-42) (CCN97). See Animals that may not be eaten.
- Not to eat any vermin of the earth (Lev. 11:44) (CCN100). See Animals that may not be eaten.
- Not to eat things that swarm in the water (Lev. 11:43 and 46) (CCN99). See Animals that may not be eaten.
- Not to eat of winged insects (Deut. 14:19) (CCN96). See Animals that may not be eaten.
- Not to eat the flesh of a beast that is terefah (lit torn) (Ex. 22:30) (CCN87). See Kosher slaughtering.
- Not to eat the flesh of a beast that died of itself (Deut. 14:21) (CCN86). See Kosher slaughtering.
- 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.
- Not to eat a limb removed from a living beast (Deut. 12:23) (CCN90). See Kosher slaughtering.
- Not to slaughter an animal and its young on the same day (Lev. 22:28) (CCN108).
- Not to take the mother-bird with the young (Deut. 22:6) (CCN189). See Treatment of Animals.
- To set the mother-bird free when taking the nest (Deut. 22:6-7) (CCA74). See Treatment of Animals.
- Not to eat the flesh of an ox that was condemned to be stoned (Ex. 21:28) (negative).
- Not to boil meat with milk (Ex. 23:19) (CCN91). See Separation of Meat and Dairy.
- 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.
- Not to eat the of the thigh-vein which shrank (Gen. 32:33) (CCN1). See Forbidden Fats and Nerves.
- Not to eat chelev (tallow-fat) (Lev. 7:23) (CCN88). See Forbidden Fats and Nerves.
- Not to eat blood (Lev. 7:26) (CCN89). See Draining of Blood.
- To cover the blood of undomesticated animals (deer, etc.) and of fowl that have been killed (Lev. 17:13) (CCA49).
- 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).
- Not to do wrong in buying or selling (Lev. 25:14) (CCN47).
- Not to make a loan to an Israelite on interest (Lev. 25:37) (CCN54).
- Not to borrow on interest (Deut. 23:20) (because this would cause the lender to sin) (CCN55).
- 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).
- To lend to a poor person (Ex. 22:24) (even though the passage says “if you lend” it is understood as obligatory) (CCA62).
- 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).
- Not to take in pledge utensils used in preparing food (Deut. 24:6) (CCN58).
- Not to exact a pledge from a debtor by force (Deut. 24:10) (CCN59).
- Not to keep the pledge from its owner at the time when he needs it (Deut. 24:12) (CCN61).
- To return a pledge to its owner (Deut. 24:13) (CCA63).
- Not to take a pledge from a widow (Deut. 24:17) (CCN60).
- Not to commit fraud in measuring (Lev. 19:35) (CCN83).
- To ensure that scales and weights are correct (Lev. 19:36) (affirmative).
- Not to possess inaccurate measures and weights (Deut. 25:13-14) (CCN84).
Employees, Servants and Slaves
- Not to delay payment of a hired man’s wages (Lev. 19:13) (CCN38).
- That the hired laborer shall be permitted to eat of the produce he is reaping (Deut. 23:25-26) (CCA65).
- That the hired laborer shall not take more than he can eat (Deut. 23:25) (CCN187).
- That a hired laborer shall not eat produce that is not being harvested (Deut. 23:26) (CCN186).
- To pay wages to the hired man at the due time (Deut. 24:15) (CCA66).
- To deal judicially with the Hebrew bondman in accordance with the laws appertaining to him (Ex. 21:2-6) (affirmative).
- Not to compel the Hebrew servant to do the work of a slave (Lev. 25:39) (negative).
- Not to sell a Hebrew servant as a slave (Lev. 25:42) (negative).
- Not to treat a Hebrew servant rigorously (Lev. 25:43) (negative).
- Not to permit a gentile to treat harshly a Hebrew bondman sold to him (Lev. 25:53) (negative).
- Not to send away a Hebrew bondman servant empty handed, when he is freed from service (Deut. 15:13) (negative).
- 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).
- To redeem a Hebrew maid-servant (Ex. 21:8) (affirmative).
- Not to sell a Hebrew maid-servant to another person (Ex. 21:8) (negative).
- To espouse a Hebrew maid-servant (Ex. 21:8-9) (affirmative).
- To keep the Canaanite slave forever (Lev. 25:46) (affirmative).
- Not to surrender a slave, who has fled to the land of Israel, to his owner who lives outside Palestine (Deut. 23:16) (negative).
- Not to wrong such a slave (Deut. 23:17) (negative).
- 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
- That a man should fulfill whatever he has uttered (Deut. 23:24) (CCA39).
- Not to swear needlessly (Ex. 20:7) (CCN29).
- Not to violate an oath or swear falsely (Lev. 19:12) (CCN31).
- To decide in cases of annulment of vows, according to the rules set forth in the Torah (Num. 30:2-17) (CCA40).
- Not to break a vow (Num. 30:3) (CCN184).
- To swear by His name truly (Deut. 10:20) (affirmative).
- Not to delay in fulfilling vows or bringing vowed or free-will offerings (Deut. 23:22) (CCN185).
The Sabbatical and Jubilee Years
- To let the land lie fallow in the Sabbatical year (Ex. 23:11; Lev. 25:2) (affirmative) (CCI20).
- To cease from tilling the land in the Sabbatical year (Ex. 23:11) (affirmative) (Lev. 25:2) (CCI21).
- Not to till the ground in the Sabbatical year (Lev. 25:4) (negative) (CCI22).
- Not to do any work on the trees in the Sabbatical year (Lev. 25:4) (negative) (CCI23).
- 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).
- 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).
- To sound the Ram’s horn in the Sabbatical year (Lev. 25:9) (affirmative).
- To release debts in the seventh year (Deut. 15:2) (CCA64).
- Not to demand return of a loan after the Sabbatical year has passed (Deut. 15:2) (CCN57).
- 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).
- To assemble the people to hear the Torah at the close of the seventh year (Deut. 31:12) (affirmative)
- To count the years of the Jubilee by years and by cycles of seven years (Lev. 25:8) (affirmative).
- To keep the Jubilee year holy by resting and letting the land lie fallow (Lev. 25:10) (affirmative).
- Not to cultivate the soil nor do any work on the trees, in the Jubilee Year (Lev. 25:11) (negative).
- 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).
- Not to gather the fruit of the tree in the Jubilee Year, in the same way as in other years (Lev. 25:11) (negative).
- To grant redemption to the land in the Jubilee year (Lev. 25:24) (affirmative).
The Court and Judicial Procedure
- To appoint judges and officers in every community of Israel (Deut. 16:18) (affirmative).
- 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).
- To adjudicate cases of purchase and sale (Lev. 25:14) (CCA67).
- To judge cases of liability of a paid depositary (Ex. 22:9) (affirmative).
- To adjudicate cases of loss for which a gratuitous borrower is liable (Ex. 22:13-14) (affirmative).
- To adjudicate cases of inheritances (Num. 27:8-11) (CCA73).
- To judge cases of damage caused by an uncovered pit (Ex. 21:33-34) (affirmative).
- To judge cases of injuries caused by beasts (Ex. 21:35-36) (affirmative).
- To adjudicate cases of damage caused by trespass of cattle (Ex. 22:4) (affirmative).
- To adjudicate cases of damage caused by fire (Ex. 22:5) (affirmative).
- To adjudicate cases of damage caused by a gratuitous depositary (Ex. 22:6-7) (affirmative).
- To adjudicate other cases between a plaintiff and a defendant (Ex. 22:8) (affirmative).
- Not to curse a judge (Ex. 22:27) (CCN63).
- That one who possesses evidence shall testify in Court (Lev. 5:1) (affirmative).
- Not to testify falsely (Ex. 20:13) (CCN39).
- That a witness, who has testified in a capital case, shall not lay down the law in that particular case (Num. 35:30) (negative).
- That a transgressor shall not testify (Ex. 23:1) (CCN75).
- That the court shall not accept the testimony of a close relative of the defendant in matters of capital punishment (Deut. 24:16) (CCN74).
- Not to hear one of the parties to a suit in the absence of the other party (Ex. 23:1) (CCN65).
- To examine witnesses thoroughly (Deut. 13:15) (affirmative).
- Not to decide a case on the evidence of a single witness (Deut. 19:15) (CCN73).
- 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).
- 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).
- That, in capital cases, one who had argued for acquittal, shall not later on argue for condemnation (Ex. 23:2) (negative).
- To treat parties in a litigation with equal impartiality (Lev. 19:15) (affirmative).
- Not to render iniquitous decisions (Lev. 19:15) (CCN69).
- Not to favor a great man when trying a case (Lev. 19:15) (CCN70).
- Not to take a bribe (Ex. 23:8) (CCN71).
- Not to be afraid of a bad man, when trying a case (Deut. 1:17) (CCN72).
- Not to be moved in trying a case, by the poverty of one of the parties (Ex. 23:3; Lev. 19:15) (CCN66).
- Not to pervert the judgment of strangers or orphans (Deut. 24:17) (CCN68).
- Not to pervert the judgment of a sinner (a person poor in fulfillment of commandments) (Ex. 23:6) (CCN67).
- 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).
- Not to execute one guilty of a capital offense, before he has stood his trial (Num. 35:12) (negative).
- To accept the rulings of every Supreme Court in Israel (Deut. 17:11) (affirmative).
- Not to rebel against the orders of the Court (Deut. 17:11) (CCN158).
Injuries and Damages
- To make a parapet for your roof (Deut. 22:8) (CCA75). See Love and Brotherhood.
- Not to leave something that might cause hurt (Deut. 22:8) (CCN190). See Love and Brotherhood.
- To save the pursued even at the cost of the life of the pursuer (Deut. 25:12) (affirmative). See Life.
- 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
- Not to sell a field in the land of Israel in perpetuity (Lev. 25:23) (negative).
- 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.
- That houses sold within a walled city may be redeemed within a year (Lev. 25:29) (affirmative).
- Not to remove landmarks (property boundaries) (Deut. 19:14) (CCN85).
- Not to swear falsely in denial of another’s property rights (Lev. 19:11) (CCN30).
- Not to deny falsely another’s property rights (Lev. 19:11) (CCN36).
- Never to settle in the land of Egypt (Deut. 17:16) (CCN192).
- Not to steal personal property (Lev. 19:11) (CCN34).
- To restore that which one took by robbery (Lev. 5:23) (CCA68).
- To return lost property (Deut. 22:1) (CCA69).
- Not to pretend not to have seen lost property, to avoid the obligation to return it (Deut. 22:3) (CCN182).
- Not to slay an innocent person (Ex. 20:13) (CCN32). See Life.
- 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).
- Not to rob by violence (Lev. 19:13) (CCN35).
- Not to defraud (Lev. 19:13) (CCN37).
- Not to covet what belongs to another (Ex. 20:14) (CCN40).
- Not to crave something that belongs to another (Deut. 5:18) (CCN41).
- Not to indulge in evil thoughts and sights (Num. 15:39) (CCN156).
Punishment and Restitution
- That the Court shall pass sentence of death by decapitation with the sword (Ex. 21:20; Lev. 26:25) (affirmative).
- That the Court shall pass sentence of death by strangulation (Lev. 20:10) (affirmative).
- That the Court shall pass sentence of death by burning with fire (Lev. 20:14) (affirmative).
- That the Court shall pass sentence of death by stoning (Deut. 22:24) (affirmative).
- To hang the dead body of one who has incurred that penalty (Deut. 21:22) (affirmative).
- That the dead body of an executed criminal shall not remain hanging on the tree over night (Deut. 21:23) (negative).
- To inter the executed on the day of execution (Deut. 21:23) (affirmative)
- Not to accept ransom from a murderer (Num. 35:31) (negative).
- To exile one who committed accidental homicide (Num. 35:25) (affirmative).
- To establish six cities of refuge (for those who committed accidental homicide) (Deut. 19:3) (affirmative).
- Not to accept ransom from an accidental homicide, so as to relieve him from exile (Num. 35:32) (negative).
- 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).
- Not to plow nor sow the rough valley (in which a heifer’s neck was broken) (Deut. 21:4) (negative).
- To adjudge a thief to pay compensation or (in certain cases) suffer death (Ex. 21:16; Ex. 21:37; Ex. 22:1) (affirmative).
- That he who inflicts a bodily injury shall pay monetary compensation (Ex. 21:18-19) (affirmative).
- 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).
- That the violator (of an unbetrothed virgin) shall marry her (Deut. 22:28-29) (affirmative).
- 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).
- Not to inflict punishment on Shabbat (Ex. 35:3) (because some punishments were inflicted by fire) (negative). See Shabbat.
- To punish the wicked by the infliction of stripes (Deut. 25:2) (affirmative).
- 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).
- Not to spare the offender, in imposing the prescribed penalties on one who has caused damage (Deut. 19:13) (negative).
- To do unto false witnesses as they had purposed to do (to the accused) (Deut. 19:19) (affirmative).
- Not to punish any one who has committed an offense under duress (Deut. 22:26) (negative).
- 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).
- Not to prophesy falsely (Deut. 18:20) (CCN175).
- 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
- Not to make a graven image; neither to make it oneself nor to have it made by others (Ex. 20:4) (CCN9).
- Not to make any figures for ornament, even if they are not worshipped (Ex. 20:20) (CCN144).
- Not to make idols even for others (Ex. 34:17; Lev. 19:4) (CCN10).
- Not to use the ornament of any object of idolatrous worship (Deut. 7:25) (CCN17).
- Not to make use of an idol or its accessory objects, offerings, or libations (Deut. 7:26) (CCN18). See Grape Products.
- Not to drink wine of idolaters (Deut. 32:38) (CCN15). See Grape Products.
- Not to worship an idol in the way in which it is usually worshipped (Ex. 20:5) (CCN12).
- Not to bow down to an idol, even if that is not its mode of worship (Ex. 20:5) (CCN11).
- Not to prophesy in the name of an idol (Ex. 23:13; Deut. 18:20) (CCN27).
- Not to hearken to one who prophesies in the name of an idol (Deut. 13:4) (CCN22).
- Not to lead the children of Israel astray to idolatry (Ex. 23:13) (CCN14).
- Not to entice an Israelite to idolatry (Deut. 13:12) (CCN23).
- To destroy idolatry and its appurtenances (Deut. 12:2-3) (affirmative).
- Not to love the enticer to idolatry (Deut. 13:9) (CCN24).
- Not to give up hating the enticer to idolatry (Deut. 13:9) (CCN25).
- Not to save the enticer from capital punishment, but to stand by at his execution (Deut. 13:9) (negative).
- A person whom he attempted to entice to idolatry shall not urge pleas for the acquittal of the enticer (Deut. 13:9) (CCN26).
- 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).
- Not to swear by an idol to its worshipers, nor cause them to swear by it (Ex. 23:13) (CCN13).
- Not to turn one’s attention to idolatry (Lev. 19:4) (CCN16).
- Not to adopt the institutions of idolaters nor their customs (Lev. 18:3; Lev. 20:23) (CCN21).
- Not to pass a child through the fire to Molech (Lev. 18:21) (negative).
- Not to suffer any one practicing witchcraft to live (Ex. 22:17) (negative).
- Not to practice onein (observing times or seasons as favorable or unfavorable, using astrology) (Lev. 19:26) (CCN166).
- Not to practice nachesh (doing things based on signs and portents; using charms and incantations) (Lev. 19:26) (CCN165).
- Not to consult ovoth (ghosts) (Lev. 19:31) (CCN170).
- Not to consult yid’onim (wizards) (Lev. 19:31) (CCN171).
- Not to practice kisuf (magic using herbs, stones and objects that people use) (Deut. 18:10) (CCN168).
- Not to practice kessem (a general term for magical practices) (Deut. 18:10) (CCN167).
- Not to practice the art of a chover chaver (casting spells over snakes and scorpions) (Deut. 18:11) (CCN169).
- Not to enquire of an ob (a ghost) (Deut. 18:11) (CCN172).
- Not to seek the maytim (dead) (Deut. 18:11) (CCN174).
- Not to enquire of a yid’oni (wizard) (Deut. 18:11) (CCN173).
- Not to remove the entire beard, like the idolaters (Lev. 19:27) (CCN177).
- Not to round the corners of the head, as the idolatrous priests do (Lev. 19:27) (CCN176).
- Not to cut oneself or make incisions in one’s flesh in grief, like the idolaters (Lev. 19:28; Deut. 14:1) (CCN28).
- Not to tattoo the body like the idolaters (Lev. 19:28) (CCN163).
- Not to make a bald spot for the dead (Deut. 14:1) (CCN164).
- Not to plant a tree for worship (Deut. 16:21) (negative).
- Not to set up a pillar (for worship) (Deut. 16:22) (CCN162).
- Not to show favor to idolaters (Deut. 7:2) (CCN20).
- Not to make a covenant with the seven (Canaanite, idolatrous) nations (Ex. 23:32; Deut. 7:2) (negative).
- Not to settle idolaters in our land (Ex. 23:33) (negative) (CCI26).
- To slay the inhabitants of a city that has become idolatrous and burn that city (Deut. 13:16-17) (affirmative).
- Not to rebuild a city that has been led astray to idolatry (Deut. 13:17) (negative).
- Not to make use of the property of city that has been so led astray (Deut. 13:18) (negative).
Agriculture and Animal Husbandry
- Not to cross-breed cattle of different species (Lev. 19:19) (according to the Talmud, this also applies to birds) (CCN142).
- Not to sow different kinds of seed together in one field (Lev. 19:19) (CCN107).
- 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.
- 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.
- Not to sow grain or herbs in a vineyard (Deut. 22:9) (negative).
- Not to eat the produce of diverse seeds sown in a vineyard (Deut. 22:9) (negative).
- Not to work with beasts of different species, yoked together (Deut. 22:10) (CCN180).
- That a man shall not wear women’s clothing (Deut. 22:5) (CCN179).
- That a woman should not wear men’s clothing (Deut. 22:5) (CCN178).
- Not to wear garments made of wool and linen mixed together (Deut. 22:11) (CCN181).
- To redeem the firstborn human male (Ex. 13:13; Ex. 34:20; Num. 18:15) (CCA54). See Pidyon Ha-Ben: Redemption of the Firstborn.
- To redeem the firstling of an ass (Ex. 13:13; Ex. 34:20) (CCA55).
- To break the neck of the firstling of an ass if it is not redeemed (Ex. 13:13; Ex. 34:20) (CCA56).
- Not to redeem the firstling of a clean beast (Num. 18:17) (CCN109).
Kohanim and Levites
- That the kohanim shall put on priestly vestments for the service (Ex. 28:2) (affirmative). See Kohein.
- Not to tear the High Kohein’s robe (Ex. 28:32) (negative). See Kohein.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- That a kohein shall not marry a divorced woman (Lev. 21:7) (CCN140). See Prohibited Marriages and Illegitimate Children; Kohein.
- That a kohein shall not marry a harlot (Lev. 21:7) (CCN138). See Prohibited Marriages and Illegitimate Children; Kohein.
- That a kohein shall not marry a profaned woman (Lev. 21:7) (CCN139). See Prohibited Marriages and Illegitimate Children; Kohein.
- To show honor to a kohein, and to give him precedence in all things that are holy (Lev. 21:8) (CCA50). See Kohein.
- 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.
- 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.
- That the High Kohein shall marry a virgin (Lev. 21:13) (affirmative). See Prohibited Marriages and Illegitimate Children; Kohein.
- That the High Kohein shall not marry a widow (Lev. 21:14) (negative). See Prohibited Marriages and Illegitimate Children; Kohein.
- 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.
- That a person with a physical blemish shall not serve (in the Sanctuary) (Lev. 21:17) (negative).
- That a kohein with a temporary blemish shall not serve there (Lev. 21:21) (negative). See Kohein.
- That a person with a physical blemish shall not enter the Sanctuary further than the altar (Lev. 21:23) (negative).
- That a kohein who is unclean shall not serve (in the Sanctuary) (Lev. 22:2-3) (negative). See Kohein.
- To send the unclean out of the Camp of the Shechinah, that is, out of the Sanctuary (Num. 5:2) (affirmative).
- 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.
- That the kohanim shall bless Israel (Num. 6:23) (CCA58). See Kohein.
- To set apart a portion of the dough for the kohein (Num. 15:20) (CCA57). See Kohein.
- 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.
- That one not a descendant of Aaron in the male line shall not serve (in the Sanctuary) (Num. 18:4-7) (negative).
- That the Levite shall serve in the Sanctuary (Num. 18:23) (affirmative). See Levi.
- To give the Levites cities to dwell in, these to serve also as cities of refuge (Num. 35:2) (affirmative). See Levi.
- That none of the tribe of Levi shall take any portion of territory in the land (of Israel) (Deut. 18:1) (negative). See Levi.
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- 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).
- To give half a shekel every year (to the Sanctuary for provision of the public sacrifices) (Ex. 30:13) (affirmative).
- That a kohein who is unclean shall not eat of the t’rumah (Lev. 22:3-4) (negative). See Kohein.
- 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.
- That a sojourner with a kohein or his hired servant shall not eat of the t’rumah (Lev. 22:10) (negative). See Kohein.
- Not to eat tevel (something from which the t’rumah and tithe have not yet been separated) (Lev. 22:15) (negative) (CCI18).
- 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.
- To tithe cattle (Lev. 27:32) (affirmative).
- Not to sell the tithe of the herd (Lev. 27:32-33) (negative).
- 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.
- Not to eat the second tithe of cereals outside Jerusalem (Deut. 12:17) (negative).
- Not to consume the second tithe of the vintage outside of Jerusalem (Deut. 12:17) (negative).
- Not to consume the second tithe of the oil outside of Jerusalem (Deut. 12:17) (negative).
- 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.
- 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).
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- Not to eat the Second Tithe, even in Jerusalem, in a state of uncleanness, until the tithe had been redeemed (Deut. 26:14) (negative).
- Not to eat the Second Tithe, when mourning (Deut. 26:14) (negative).
- To make the declaration, when bringing the second tithe to the Sanctuary (Deut. 26:13) (affirmative) (CCI17).
The Temple, the Sanctuary and Sacred Objects
- Not to build an altar of hewn stone (Ex. 20:22) (negative).
- Not to mount the altar by steps (Ex. 20:23) (negative).
- To build the Sanctuary (Ex. 25:8) (affirmative).
- Not to remove the staves from the Ark (Ex. 25:15) (negative).
- To set the showbread and the frankincense before the L-rd every Shabbat (Ex. 25:30) (affirmative).
- To kindle lights in the Sanctuary (Ex. 27:21) (affirmative).
- That the breastplate shall not be loosened from the ephod (Ex. 28:28) (negative).
- To offer up incense twice daily (Ex. 30:7) (affirmative).
- Not to offer strange incense nor any sacrifice upon the golden altar (Ex. 30:9) (negative).
- That the kohein shall wash his hands and feet at the time of service (Ex. 30:19) (affirmative). See Kohein.
- To prepare the oil of anointment and anoint high kohanim and kings with it (Ex. 30:31) (affirmative). See Kohein.
- Not to compound oil for lay use after the formula of the anointing oil (Ex. 30:32-33) (CCN145).
- Not to anoint a stranger with the anointing oil (Ex. 30:32) (negative).
- Not to compound anything after the formula of the incense (Ex. 30:37) (CCN146).
- 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).
- To remove the ashes from the altar (Lev. 6:3) (affirmative).
- To keep fire always burning on the altar of the burnt-offering (Lev. 6:6) (affirmative).
- Not to extinguish the fire on the altar (Lev. 6:6) (negative).
- That a kohein shall not enter the Sanctuary with disheveled hair (Lev. 10:6) (negative). See Kohein.
- That a kohein shall not enter the Sanctuary with torn garments (Lev. 10:6) (negative). See Kohein.
- That the kohein shall not leave the Courtyard of the Sanctuary, during service (Lev. 10:7) (negative). See Kohein.
- That an intoxicated person shall not enter the Sanctuary nor give decisions in matters of the Law (Lev. 10:9-11) (negative).
- To revere the Sanctuary (Lev. 19:30) (today, this applies to synagogues) (CCA18). See Synagogues, Shuls and Temples.
- That when the Ark is carried, it should be carried on the shoulder (Num. 7:9) (affirmative).
- To observe the second Passover (Num. 9:11) (affirmative).
- To eat the flesh of the Paschal lamb on it, with unleavened bread and bitter herbs (Num. 9:11) (affirmative).
- Not to leave any flesh of the Paschal lamb brought on the second Passover until the morning (Num. 9:12) (negative).
- Not to break a bone of the Paschal lamb brought on the second Passover (Num. 9:12) (negative).
- To sound the trumpets at the offering of sacrifices and in times of trouble (Num. 10:9-10) (affirmative).
- To watch over the edifice continually (Num. 18:2) (affirmative).
- Not to allow the Sanctuary to remain unwatched (Num. 18:5) (negative).
- 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.
- 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
- 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).
- To slay the Paschal lamb (Ex. 12:6) (affirmative).
- To eat the flesh of the Paschal sacrifice on the night of the fifteenth of Nissan (Ex. 12:8) (affirmative).
- Not to eat the flesh of the Paschal lamb raw or sodden (Ex. 12:9) (negative).
- Not to leave any portion of the flesh of the Paschal sacrifice until the morning unconsumed (Ex. 12:10) (negative).
- Not to give the flesh of the Paschal lamb to an Israelite who had become an apostate (Ex. 12:43) (negative).
- Not to give flesh of the Paschal lamb to a stranger who lives among you to eat (Ex. 12:45) (negative).
- Not to take any of the flesh of the Paschal lamb from the company’s place of assembly (Ex. 12:46) (negative).
- Not to break a bone of the Paschal lamb (Ex. 12:46) (negative).
- That the uncircumcised shall not eat of the flesh of the Paschal lamb (Ex. 12:48) (negative). See Brit Milah: Circumcision
- Not to slaughter the Paschal lamb while there is chametz in the home (Ex. 23:18; Ex. 24:25) (negative).
- 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).
- Not to go up to the Sanctuary for the festival without bringing an offering (Ex. 23:15) (negative).
- To bring the first fruits to the Sanctuary (Ex. 23:19) (affirmative).
- That the flesh of a sin-offering and guilt-offering shall be eaten (Ex. 29:33) (affirmative). See Qorbanot: Sacrifices and Offerings
- That one not of the seed of Aaron, shall not eat the flesh of the holy sacrifices (Ex. 29:33) (negative).
- To observe the procedure of the burnt-offering (Lev. 1:3) (affirmative). See Olah: Burnt Offering.
- To observe the procedure of the meal-offering (Lev. 2:1) (affirmative). See Food and Drink Offerings.
- Not to offer up leaven or honey (Lev. 2:11) (negative).
- That every sacrifice be salted (Lev. 2:13) (affirmative).
- Not to offer up any offering unsalted (Lev. 2:13) (negative).
- That the Court of Judgment shall offer up a sacrifice if they have erred in a judicial pronouncement (Lev. 4:13) (affirmative).
- 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.
- To offer a sacrifice of varying value in accordance with one’s means (Lev. 5:7) (affirmative).
- Not to sever completely the head of a fowl brought as a sin-offering (Lev. 5:8) (negative).
- Not to put olive oil in a sin-offering made of flour (Lev. 5:11) (negative).
- Not to put frankincense on a sin-offering made of flour (Lev. 5:11) (negative).
- 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.
- That the remainder of the meal offerings shall be eaten (Lev. 6:9) (affirmative).
- Not to allow the remainder of the meal offerings to become leavened (Lev. 6:10) (negative).
- That the High Kohein shall offer a meal offering daily (Lev. 6:13) (affirmative).
- Not to eat of the meal offering brought by the kohanim (Lev. 6:16) (negative).
- To observe the procedure of the sin-offering (Lev. 6:18) (affirmative). See Chatat: Sin Offering.
- 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).
- To observe the procedure of the guilt-offering (Lev. 7:1) (affirmative).See Asham: Guilt Offering.
- To observe the procedure of the peace-offering (Lev. 7:11) (affirmative). See Zebach Sh’lamim: Peace Offering.
- To burn meat of the holy sacrifice that has remained over (Lev. 7:17) (affirmative).
- Not to eat of sacrifices that are eaten beyond the appointed time for eating them (Lev. 7:18) The penalty is excision (negative).
- Not to eat of holy things that have become unclean (Lev. 7:19) (negative).
- To burn meat of the holy sacrifice that has become unclean (Lev. 7:19) (affirmative).
- That a person who is unclean shall not eat of things that are holy (Lev. 7:20) (negative).
- 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.
- That a woman after childbirth shall bring an offering when she is clean (Lev. 12:6) (affirmative). See Birth.
- That the leper shall bring a sacrifice after he is cleansed (Lev. 14:10) (affirmative).
- That a man having an issue shall bring a sacrifice after he is cleansed of his issue (Lev. 15:13-15) (affirmative).
- That a woman having an issue shall bring a sacrifice after she is cleansed of her issue (Lev. 15:28-30) (affirmative).
- 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).
- Not to slaughter beasts set apart for sacrifices outside (the Sanctuary) (Lev. 17:3-4) (negative).
- Not to eat flesh of a sacrifice that has been left over (beyond the time appointed for its consumption) (Lev. 19:8 ) (negative).
- 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).
- That every animal offered up shall be without blemish (Lev. 22:21) (affirmative).
- Not to inflict a blemish on cattle set apart for sacrifice (Lev. 22:21) (negative).
- Not to slaughter blemished cattle as sacrifices (Lev. 22:22) (negative).
- Not to burn the limbs of blemished cattle upon the altar (Lev. 22:22) (negative).
- Not to sprinkle the blood of blemished cattle upon the altar (Lev. 22:24) (negative).
- Not to offer up a blemished beast that comes from non-Israelites (Lev. 22:25) (negative).
- That sacrifices of cattle can only take place when they are at least eight days old (Lev. 22:27) (affirmative).
- Not to leave any flesh of the thanksgiving offering until the morning (Lev. 22:30) (negative).
- 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.
- 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.
- Not to eat roasted grain of the new produce before that time (Lev. 23:14) (CCN102). See The Counting of the Omer.
- Not to eat fresh ears of the new grain before that time (Lev. 23:14) (CCN103). See The Counting of the Omer.
- 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).
- To offer up an additional sacrifice on Passover (Lev. 23:36) (affirmative).
- 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).
- If a beast is exchanged for one that had been set apart as an offering, both become sacred (Lev. 27:10) (affirmative).
- Not to exchange a beast set aside for sacrifice (Lev. 27:10) (negative).
- That one who vows to the L-rd the monetary value of an unclean beast shall pay its value (Lev. 27:11-13) (affirmative).
- 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.
- 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).
- Not to transfer a beast set apart for sacrifice from one class of sacrifices to another (Lev. 27:26) (negative).
- 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.
- Not to sell a field devoted to the Lord (Lev. 27:28) (negative).
- Not to redeem a field devoted to the Lord (Lev. 27:28) (negative).
- 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).
- Not to put olive oil in the meal-offering of a woman suspected of adultery (Num. 5:15) (negative).
- Not to put frankincense on it (Num. 5:15) (negative).
- To offer up the regular sacrifices daily (two lambs as burnt offerings) (Num. 28:3) (affirmative).
- To offer up an additional sacrifice every Shabbat (two lambs) (Num. 28:9) (affirmative).
- To offer up an additional sacrifice every New Moon (Num. 28:11) (affirmative).
- To bring an additional offering on Shavu’ot (Num. 28:26-27) (affirmative).
- To offer up an additional sacrifice on Rosh Hashanah (Num. 29:1-6) (affirmative).
- To offer up an additional sacrifice on Yom Kippur (Num. 29:7-8) (affirmative).
- To offer up an additional sacrifice on Sukkot (Num. 29:12-34) (affirmative).
- To offer up an additional offering on Shemini Atzeret, which is a festival by itself (Num. 29:35-38) (affirmative).
- To bring all offerings, whether obligatory or freewill, on the first festival after these were incurred (Deut. 12:5-6) (affirmative).
- Not to offer up sacrifices outside (the Sanctuary) (Deut. 12:13) (negative).
- To offer all sacrifices in the Sanctuary (Deut. 12:14) (affirmative).
- To redeem cattle set apart for sacrifices that contracted disqualifying blemishes, after which they may be eaten by anyone. (Deut. 12:15) (affirmative).
- Not to eat of the unblemished firstling outside Jerusalem (Deut. 12:17) (negative).
- 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).
- 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).
- 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).
- That the kohein shall not eat the first-fruits before they are set down in the Courtyard (of the Sanctuary) (Deut. 12:17) (negative).
- To take trouble to bring sacrifices to the Sanctuary from places outside the land of Israel (Deut. 12:26) (affirmative).
- 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).
- Not to do work with cattle set apart for sacrifice (Deut. 15:19) (negative).
- Not to shear beasts set apart for sacrifice (Deut. 15:19) (negative).
- Not to leave any portion of the festival offering brought on the fourteenth of Nissan unto the third day (Deut. 16:4) (negative).
- Not to offer up a beast that has a temporary blemish (Deut. 17:1) (negative).
- 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).
- To read the portion prescribed on bringing the first fruits (Deut. 26:5-10) (affirmative).
Ritual Purity and Impurity
- That eight species of creeping things defile by contact (Lev. 11:29-30) (affirmative).
- That foods become defiled by contact with unclean things (Lev. 11:34) (affirmative).
- That anyone who touches the carcass of a beast that died of itself shall be unclean (Lev. 11:39) (affirmative).
- That a lying-in woman is unclean like a menstruating woman (in terms of uncleanness) (Lev. 12:2-5) (affirmative).
- That a leper is unclean and defiles (Lev. 13:2-46) (affirmative).
- 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).
- That a leprous garment is unclean and defiles (Lev. 13:47-49) (affirmative).
- That a leprous house defiles (Lev. 14:34-46) (affirmative).
- That a man, having a running issue, defiles (Lev. 15:1-15) (affirmative).
- That the seed of copulation defiles (Lev. 15:16) (affirmative).
- That purification from all kinds of defilement shall be effected by immersion in the waters of a mikvah (Lev. 15:16) (affirmative).
- That a menstruating woman is unclean and defiles others (Lev. 15:19-24) (affirmative).
- That a woman, having a running issue, defiles (Lev. 15:25-27) (affirmative).
- 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.
- That a corpse defiles (Num. 19:11-16) (affirmative). See Care for the Dead.
- 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
- Not to drove off the hair of the scall (Lev. 13:33) (negative).
- 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).
- That the leper shall shave all his hair (Lev. 14:9) (affirmative).
- Not to pluck out the marks of leprosy (Deut. 24:8) (negative).
- Not to curse a ruler, that is, the King or the head of the College in the land of Israel (Ex. 22:27) (negative).
- To appoint a king (Deut. 17:15) (affirmative).
- Not to appoint as ruler over Israel, one who comes from non-Israelites (Deut. 17:15) (negative).
- That the King shall not acquire an excessive number of horses (Deut. 17:16) (negative).
- That the King shall not take an excessive number of wives (Deut. 17:17) (negative).
- That he shall not accumulate an excessive quantity of gold and silver (Deut. 17:17) (negative).
- 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.
- 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).
- That he shall not eat fresh grapes (Num. 6:3) (negative).
- That he shall not eat dried grapes (raisins) (Num. 6:3) (negative).
- That he shall not eat the kernels of the grapes (Num. 6:4) (negative).
- That he shall not eat of the skins of the grapes (Num. 6:4) (negative).
- That the Nazarite shall permit his hair to grow (Num. 6:5) (affirmative).
- That the Nazarite shall not cut his hair (Num. 6:5) (negative).
- That he shall not enter any covered structure where there is a dead body (Num. 6:6) (negative).
- That a Nazarite shall not defile himself for any dead person (by being in the presence of the corpse) (Num. 6:7) (negative).
- 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).
- 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).
- To anoint a special kohein (to speak to the soldiers) in a war (Deut. 20:2) (affirmative). See Kohein.
- In a permissive war (as distinguished from obligatory ones), to observe the procedure prescribed in the Torah (Deut. 20:10) (affirmative).
- Not to keep alive any individual of the seven Canaanite nations (Deut. 20:16) (negative).
- To exterminate the seven Canaanite nations from the land of Israel (Deut. 20:17) (affirmative).
- Not to destroy fruit trees (wantonly or in warfare) (Deut. 20:19-20) (CCN191).
- To deal with a beautiful woman taken captive in war in the manner prescribed in the Torah (Deut. 21:10-14) (affirmative).
- Not to sell a beautiful woman, (taken captive in war) (Deut. 21:14) (negative).
- Not to degrade a beautiful woman (taken captive in war) to the condition of a bondwoman (Deut. 21:14) (negative).
- 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).
- 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).
- To have a place outside the camp for sanitary purposes (Deut. 23:13) (affirmative).
- To keep that place sanitary (Deut. 23:14-15) (affirmative).
- Always to remember what Amalek did (Deut. 25:17) (CCA76).
- That the evil done to us by Amalek shall not be forgotten (Deut. 25:19) (CCN194).
- To destroy the seed of Amalek (Deut. 25:19) (CCA77).
This comes to you from our Viking Longship, Forseti, tied up in the very heart of the City of Bordeaux on its completely renewed waterfront. We’ve had a wonderful three weeks of travel in France, including a week’s wine tasting cruise through the rivers of Bordeaux, but it’s time to get back to work. And since I know I won’t have wifi on the flight across the pond tomorrow, please excuse my attempt to get this done before we leave.
If you’re anything like me, from the time you arrive in Las Vegas and/or Amsterdam, it will be:
- non-stop vendor/industry meetings,
- exhibition hall booth visiting (I make a valiant effort each year to stop at everything single booth, but especially the US show (with no connection to the Amsterdam one) has gotten so large that many of these visits are flybys – no disrespect intended),
- session attending,
- session delivery,
- intense but wonderful hallway and restroom exchanges,
- time with valued colleagues and long-standing industry friends,
- an occasional meal and more than an occasional drink,
- tweetups and meetups,
- our annual Brazen Hussies gatherings, and more.
I will soon celebrate my 69th birthday (it’s 9/24, and yes, I’ll be turning 70 in 2015, a landmark birthday in so many respects) and am basking in the afterglow of another year well-lived. Living large, personally and professionally, honors those who never got this far, and the number of loved ones who didn’t grows longer with each passing year. One of the byproducts of aging that’s rarely discussed is how many friends and family members you outlive, and each one of those losses really hurts.
As I’m finalizing my own preparations for these conferences, I thought you might enjoy a few tips from my personal list. And like all good twitterstreams, please read from the bottom up:
#HRTechConf bonus tip: This is where I had planned to suggest that you read my entire blog, from 11/9/2009 forward, but that seemed really pushy. Instead, just read those posts that are relevant to your purpose in Las Vegas and/or Amsterdam. I can’t help but encourage you to focus on the posts that discuss what’s happening in HRM software that’s just out of sight, what you should be looking for “derriere le mirroir.” What you don’t know can cost you dearly!
#HRTechConf tip #10: Get dates for #HRTechConf and #HRTechEurope 2015 on your calendar and in your budget right now. With Steve Boese’s inaugural HR Tech behind him, I’m sure he’ll be planning the 2015 show with an ever increasing feel for what changes he wants to make going forward. I’m counting on Steve doing a bang-up job of continuing the tradition of great session topics and presenters which has made the US show the absolute best in class even as he gives it the Boese touch. And Marc Coleman and Peter Russell will be one year further along, in 2015, with their own show’s growth and learning curve. Ron and I are already planning for next year, and I hope you will do so ASAP.
#HRTechConf tip #9: Talk, talk, talk and listen, listen, listen because sharing questions, ideas and experiences with colleagues is the point. Bring your list of the folks you follow most on Twitter and make it a point to meet them. Come up to me after my sessions and hit me with your questions. And do feel quite comfortable approaching almost anyone about anything reasonable; it takes a village, and that’s HR Tech all over.
#HRTechConf tip #8: Bring a swag carrier if you’re flying in or plan to carry your #Monster home in your lap. Ron can’t imagine coming home from #HRTechConf in Las Vegas without a new monster, and who’s going to tell him that we’re overrun with them here at HQ? And if you’re a vendor doing some swag planning, we love: umbrellas (the rainy season is on right now, and you can never have too many), interesting stress reduction toys, cuddly creatures (why doesn’t anyone ever give away big stuffed alligators), shoe bags (those soft ones in which you pack your shoes when traveling), towels (all sizes appreciated), t-shirts (medium for Ron, XL for me — embarrassing but true), but please no more vendor-branded iPad covers. The risk of meeting with Vendor A with your iPad wrapped in Vendor B is too high.
#HRTechConf tip #7: Leave room in your schedule for serendipity and for nature breaks — well at least nature breaks. I’ve met some amazing women during those nature breaks; I can’t speak for what goes on in the men’s room. Having spent the last three weeks in France, I think their idea of shared restrooms — common sink area and a collection of stalls into which you slip as they become available — has real merit. Why should women be waiting on line while stalls in a separate men’s room are free? And sharing the sinks would also provide mixed gender ad hoc discussions of conference-related topics — or not.
#HRTechConf tip #6: Attend as many sessions as possible. I do because they’re excellent, and in Vegas there’s NO sales crap allowed. Woe be it unto any vendor who tries to slip a sales pitch into their session because I’m sure the Kutik has bequeathed to Steve Boese his gong and one of those long sticks with the curved ends they used in vaudeville to pull bad acts off the stage. Organizers of the Amsterdam conference, which is a much younger show, are working hard to ensure that program content is as free as possible of overt selling from the stage, and you should be prepared to support them in this effort with suitable rude noises if a vendor goes into marketing/sales mode.
#HRTechConf tip #5: Don’t try to attend > 3 vendor parties after a long first day of sessions. I hate missing all those great parties, but my party all night and work all day years are behind me — and behind many to most of you. Save at least a few brain cells for the second day of sessions; you’ll thank me if you do.
#HRTechConf tip #4: Plan your conference in advance. With what vendors do you want to schedule extended and/or private demos? Make those appointments now. What attendees with whom you share specific issues/vendors/industry concerns/etc. do you want to meet? And if you’re all on the same true SaaS product, you won’t have to waste a minute asking each other what release you’re on! Do that outreach and arrange those meetings now. Pick your sessions and, because there are too many good ones for just one person, find a buddy with whom you can divide and conquer. Better yet, bring a whole team to these conferences and cover the ground.
#HRTechConf tip #3: Carry a water bottle and refill it every chance you get. Convention center climates are designed to dessicate, and they never have enough refreshment stations. I could suggest that you bring a flask, but we HR people would never make such a suggestion.
#HRTechConf tip #2A: Assume that the convention center will be too cold/too hot/too drafty/too whatever, and dress accordingly. We’ll be overrun with executives from across the industry, buyers and sellers, so you may want to lose the flipflops, cutoffs, and anything that reveals parts of you that I’d rather not see. Here I’m showing my personal biases, but business casual does not translate in my book into anything lower down the sartorial scale than clean pressed jeans, a similarly clean ironed t-shirt with at least short sleeves, most of your tattoos tactfully covered, and shoes. Of course, these suggestions only apply to the granddaddy of HR technology shows, the big Kahuna, in Las Vegas. Our Continental colleagues lean toward business formal, as in dark suit and tie. Hmm….
#HRTechConf tip #2: Wear your most comfortable walking shoes. There will be few places to sit except in sessions and long convention center distances. Yes, I know that my younger female colleagues will want to show off those Manolo platform spikes — the latest in fashionista circles — and I don’t blame you, but be sure you’ve got a suitably designed male colleague at the ready to carry you after the first hour. Having done my fair share of spike heel time, I’m convinced that there’s a direct connection to my now arthritic joints. It doesn’t matter what shoes I’ll be wearing as I flash by on my magic carpet. And speaking of that magic carpet, we finally found, in an English antique shop, a suitable horn.
#HRTechConf tip #1: For vendors of greatest interest, do your homework in advance, preparing the mental scenarios that you’d like to see, so that booth time is hands-on demo time. And be sure to spend time on the floor checking out some of the newer/smaller vendors. There’s a ton of innovation going on in our industry, and it isn’t always on offer at the flashiest booths. In spite of the heavy industry consolidation, rumor has it that there will be more booths this year in Vegas than last, and I for one am not very familiar with some of the smaller European vendors for whom Amsterdam is their chance to shine.
This is Steve Boese’s first year programming and co-chairing HR Technology in Las Vegas, and I’m sure he’s had his hands full with the enlarged program and sold-out exhibition hall. Please join me not only in wishing Steve well but in cutting him some slack as we attend his first ever HR Technology Conference as our fearless leader. I very much appreciate Steve’s including me in this year’s program and look forward to doing my part to continue the tradition of “better each year” conferences over which Bill Kutik presided for so long.
[ It's HR technology conference season, and we'd better get our shit together if we're going to get the maximum value from our time spent at these conferences. That means knowing what questions we're trying to answer before we're bombarded with vendors telling us that whatever they're selling is the answer to our not-yet-formulated-clearly questions. That's why I published the original version of this post on 9-12-2011, just in time for the 2011 HR Technology Conference, and I did an updated edition for the 2012 conference. I had planned to do another updated version for the 2013 HR Tech Conference in Las Vegas and the 2013 HR Tech Europe Conference in Amsterdam (which by now you all know are not connected), but then I found myself wanting not only to update the questions but also to provide my thoughts on the answers -- and boy was that a dark hole from which it took weeks to extricate myself. For 2014, writing this while our river boat is docked at Libourne, France, I've done a thorough update and added a few more of my own thoughts on the answers to these questions. So what you're getting here is a mix: lots of questions with my current thoughts on the answers to some of them. But please note that this is really intended as a "starter kit" of possible questions rather than a definitive list. Please feel free to use my questions as a starting point, but your own questions should be much more specific and complete. As always, in the spirit of full disclosure, you should presume that I'm working or have worked with many of the major vendors in our space whether they are mentioned or not, that my thinking is certainly informed by the smart people with whom I work across the vendor/thought leader/influencer communities, and that I have strong biases (on full view across this blog) about what constitutes great HRM and great HRM enterprise software. Given my already stated plans to wind down my consulting practice, I've clearly stepped over the "trying to be ecumenical line" and cast caution to the winds with my thoughts on some of these questions.] Unlike my good friend and fellow Enterprise Irregular Ray Wang, there are no Naomi clones. Just this solo consultant who’s been trying to save the world from bad HRM and bad HR software for more years than most of you have been alive. And while I’ve been a pretty productive and hard worker, there were never enough hours to support every HR exec who called about their always interconnected, whack-a-mole HRM delivery systems issues. So I have referred a lot of business to capable colleagues, suggested useful reading/conferences/discussion groups/etc., and helped as many as I could directly. With the winding down of my consulting practice over the last two years, there have been a lot more of those referrals. But knowing the questions is the first important step toward getting good answers regardless of whether you’re doing it yourself or getting (hopefully great) 3rd party advice. Toward that end, and presuming that you have studied my methodology for strategic HRM and HRMDS planning, I thought you might enjoy my list [updated as of 9/9/2014] of the HRMDS issues that have given rise to so many of these requests for assistance. Some combination of these issues almost always has been the impetus for that first call/email/DM/whatever from a global HR executive, and they also permeate the online HR technology conversations. Unfortunately, it usually takes a broader planning effort to make sure that sir/madam HR leader isn’t playing that loser’s game of whack-a-mole in resolving these types of issues. You know that game: no sooner do you put one issue to rest than two more rear their ugly heads, and soon you’re entangled, not unlike Gulliver, by a hairball of these issues. So what are the issues? In no particular order, but now with some of my thoughts about the answers:
- Can we afford to/should we upgrade our licensed, on-premise ERP/HRMS? In most cases, IMO the answer is a resounding no. However, you might be the one in many for whom this is still a sensible course of action, at least until the newer true SaaS ERP/HRMS/TM (yes, with truly and deeply integrated talent management capabilities because core HRMS and TM are inextricably intertwined) have matured sufficiently for your industry/geography/business requirements. But if you do plan to wait, please keep an eye on the future because it’s racing toward you, and use this time wisely to rethink every aspect of your HRM policies/practices/data and coding structures/processes/business rules/etc. for the current era.
- Can we afford/manage the integration of separate talent management applications? Here too, in most cases, IMO the answer is a resounding no. But here too you might be the one in many for whom this is still a sensible course of action — and for the very same reasons and with many of the very same caveats as in #1 above. When you develop object models for talent management, the sheer number and complexity of the interconnections are revealed, and it is those interconnections which argue for more rather than less integration of the resulting applications and business processes. That said, some TM processes are less interconnected than others, so there are options here if — IF — you study carefully those interconnections.
- Are we better served by getting our talent management capabilities already integrated with our system of record’s (SOR’s) foundation from our SOR’s vendor than by piecing together/layering on a variety of separate talent management applications, no matter how supposedly integrated they may be? Yes, but only if that so-called integrated talent management software is really integrated rather than glued together with some complex set of marketing-speak “integrations” across disparate object models, architectures, and underlying assumptions about HRM. With so much M&A across the HR technology industry, not to mention separate development efforts at the same firm, many brands now own a hodge podge of HRM software, including talent management software. While many of these applications may be quite good on their own, most are not integrated in the deep, profound way that’s only achieved through organic development of an HRMS/TM suite based upon a shared set of object models, architecture and development environment. But, and it’s a huge BUT, organic development doesn’t necessarily produce great software. So we need both deeply integrated and great HRMS/TM. That’s the ideal, but all manner of approximations and combinations may work for you depending on your current HRMDS and your overall HRMS/TM strategy. Here too, modeling the domain leads to an understanding of what it is about core HRMS and TM which are inextricably intertwined and where there are less interconnected areas. But please note: if you plan to embed predictive analytics, calculated on the fly across a wide range of HRM processes, you’d better ensure that all of these are resting on a common object model, with a common approach to effective-dating etc. so that your analytics aren’t a house built on sand.
- Are the so-called integrated talent management capabilities from our SOR’s (system of record’s) vendor truly integrated or are they in some stage of being interfaced and given a more or less common user experience? This is where those “killer” scenarios (and do search my blog on that phrase to find many posts covering the actual scenarios) come in along with your vendor’s own documentation. If there are integration processes/documentation/roadmaps etc., then you know a priori that you’re not dealing with the deepest level of integration only achieved during an organic build. Should you care? That depends entirely on where you need deep integration and where perhaps you don’t, and this is another great question best answered via using your own vision of HRM.
- Does our system of record’s (SOR’s) coding structures/data granularity/data accuracy/data-entry style self service/processes/business rules/etc. support talent management at the level we need? Let me say for the umpteenth time that you can’t do succession planning (executive or more broadly), position-based staffing, position-based organizational design (or even great org charts), workforce planning at any level of granularity, and so much more in TM if you don’t include a reasonable understanding and implementation of position in your coding structures. No pain, no gain. Organizations which continue to implement new software on top of outdated processes, data and coding structures, and business rules are fooling themselves. Yes, you’ll be able to deliver analytics of some flavor to mobile devices, but you won’t have valid analytics or know if you’re even asking the right questions.
- Are the right capabilities available in our SOR and/or have they been implemented properly? So many of the ERP/HRMSs implemented with the help of major SIs were customized within an inch of their lives, often at the customer’s insistence — “we’ve always done it this way” — thus becoming a nightmare to upgrade. And with that huge sunk cost, on-premise ERP/HRMSs are going to have a long tail. But there’s a potentially huge opportunity cost to not having up-to-date capabilities, of not being agile in the face of business change, of not being able to attract and engage workers with a consumer user experience, etc. That opportunity cost can and must be measured as part of making the business case for staying on or moving off of your current SOR; use only TCO (total cost of ownership) at your peril.
- How can we bring our data entry-style self service into the mobile and social world? The bad news is that if you don’t build it, they won’t come — or they’ll sidestep everything you provide in favor of the consumer apps they know and love. Today’s workforce, especially those special folks with scarce KSAOCs who fill the key roles driving business outcomes, expect high quality technology enablement of their business processes, to include a consumer grade (but industrial strength) user experience. And they vote with their feet.
- If we’re running on an ERP/HRMS, should we upgrade in place, implement that vendor’s next gen (when it’s ready, and whether or not it’s more or less next gen than we need), mix and match, or consider the options from other brands? I think I’ve already answered this, but let me say it one more time. Whatever else you consider, it’s absolutely necessary to take a hard look at all your options and not just those from your incumbent. This will be a new implementation even if you stay with your incumbent’s next generation, so you might as well take a look around before you make these decisions.
- Will our smaller/weaker but still independent core HRMS vendor(s) be able to make needed regulatory, architectural and functionality investments in their products? Will they be around long enough and with sufficient resources to deliver on mobile, social, global, analytics, gamification and so much more? This is an easy one because facts are facts. Just look at the track record of M&A in our industry, and you can see how many once independent players are now owned by aggregators, including private equity-funded aggregators. And while many of these products are still around, with some getting decent levels of maintenance investment, I believe it’s now clear that the weak are not going to inherit the software kingdom as we move aggressively to true SaaS.
- Lots of our vendors are describing their latest products as SaaS. How would we know if that’s true? Why should we care? Please, please read my posts on these points (just search for “true SaaS” to get them all) before concluding that if it’s hosted and subscribed you’ll be just fine.
- If our current vendors aren’t true SaaS as Naomi has defined it, are they likely to be viable long-term? Are there other workable definitions that make sense for some vendors? Sure. For example, one major vendor, Oracle, has a very different view of true SaaS than I do, and they have the long tail of their installed base plus almost unlimited resources to ensure that their point of view has legs. However, you should still educate yourself, if you’re a PeopleSoft or even EBS HCM customer, about the real compare and contrast between Fusion HCM and your other options. And that said, do read my posts on the business benefits of true SaaS as I define it to be sure that you’re going to get those benefits via someone else’s definition of same, no matter the size of their marketing budget.
- Is it the right time to make the leap to a newer, SaaS generation of integrated HRMS/TM which are building out talent management functionality very quickly as well as their global capabilities? It’s clearly no longer a question of whether but of when. All the major vendors of licensed on-premise HRMS/TM are moving as fast as their legs can carry them to take themselves to the cloud as well as to build out their cloud offerings, so they clearly are betting on a SaaS future (whatever their definitions). And there could be substantial $$ savings which would argue persuasively for a sooner rather than later leap. But our timing may be linked to an energizing event, e.g. the arrival of a new CIO who’s experienced with true SaaS and was brought in to move us there faster and/or the arrival of a giant bill from our vendor for extended support of an aged HRMS.
- Should we stick to our older on-premise ERP/HRMS and add one or more talent management applications on top? With what approach to interfacing and/or integration? Forget integration if you go down this path as the best you can do is a great job of two-way interfaces. But if you must stay where you are for core HRMS — see above for potential reasons — then by all means figure out how to fill the gaps with interfaced talent management applications. The key to making this work is to really understand the limitations of and maintenance workload associated with these interfaces so that your expectations are in line with the reality delivered.
- What types of social technology capabilities should we consider for HRM? Across our organization? Unleashed within what processes? I’m a big believer in use case-based unleashing of a rich assortment of collaboration tools rather than just providing those collaboration tools and expecting customers to do the unleashing. One reason I feel this way is that results-oriented collaboration can degrade quite easily into time-wasting social noise. Another is that to achieve meaningful collaboration requires a full rethink of all the incentives and barriers to human collaboration, e.g. job descriptions, performance goals, and organizational designs.
- Should we be looking for social tech within the foundations of our HRMS/TM unleashed where we want them or looking at specific social apps? Not to sound like a weasel consultant, but the correct answer is both. Fundamental collaboration tools — embedded, user-created video content; discussion forums and threads; LinkedIn deeply connected to all worker/applicant KSAOC profiles and so much more — don’t all need to be built because many either open source or commercial capabilities can be made a part of the HRMS/TM foundations. But whether built or bought and deeply embedded, there are considerable use cases for embedding a wide range of collaboration tools into the foundations of all HRMS/TM software.
- Is it better to provide social technology capabilities that are specific to an HRM process or to provide broad access to those capabilities across HRM with a build it and they will come approach? See comments on 14-15 above.
- What policies are needed to balance the value of social technology with protecting our intellectual property, personal data privacy, and organizational productivity?
- Should we be looking for mobile capabilities within the foundations of our HRMS/TM unleashed where we want them or looking at specific mobile apps?
- Is it better to provide mobile technology capabilities that are specific to an HRM process or to provide broad access to those capabilities across HRM? What’s this I hear about “mobile first” design, and why is that better?
- What policies are needed to balance the value of mobile technology, including “Bring Your Own Device” (so BYOD) with protecting our intellectual property, personal data privacy, and organizational productivity?
- Are there obvious HRMDS targets for outsourcing? Of course there are, so are we doing as much of this as makes sense for us? Subscribing true SaaS is a form of outsourcing but here we’re referring to outsourcing an entire HRM process where the provider delivers the results so an agreed service level. I’ve long thought that background checking and US tax filing were obvious candidates for outsourcing to specialist providers. Other great candidates include KSAOC assessment development and administration, US benefits administration, and those other regulatory processes, like garnishment management, which aren’t deeply interconnected with core HRMS/TM and which do benefit mightily from economies of scale.
- Are there areas within the HRMDS that just don’t make sense to do any way other than via outsourcing? Background checking, tax filing, payroll in countries where we have small populations, development of generic learning content and/or KSAOC assessments come immediately to mind. See above.
- What impact would outsourcing specific HRMDS components have on our ability to present an integrated view of organizational HRM data?
- What impact would outsourcing specific HRMDS components have on our ability to provide embedded, actionable analytics?
- Are there areas within the HRMDS that just don’t make sense to do any way other than via tightly integrated components? Here core HRMS comes immediately to mind.
- What impact would using best-of-breed solutions for specific HRMDS components have on our ability to present an integrated view of organizational HRM data?
- What impact would using best-of-breed solutions for specific HRMDS components have on our ability to provide embedded, actionable analytics?
- What are the characteristics of an HRM process that lend themselves to either tight or loose coupling with our core SOR?
- Our ERP/HRMS is described as licensed/on-premise, and we’re paying 22% of retail in annual maintenance. Are we getting enough value to justify those annual payments?
- Will our vendor’s next generation be free to us because of those annual maintenance payments? Are they essentially giving away their cloud software, at least for a time, or providing major discounts in order to keep us in the family?
- Are there alternatives to making those on-premise maintenance payments? Are their other sources for basic maintenance, especially if we’re on an older release?
- Will our talent management software vendor(s) survive and prosper? What’s at risk if we’ve bet on a vendor that gets acquired?
- With all the consolidation going on in talent management, how can we determine if our vendors will be acquirers or be acquired? Does it matter?
- Is it more important for us to get talent management right than to invest further in our administrative HRM foundations or will poor administrative foundations cripple our talent management efforts?
- Do we really have to build/maintain the whole data warehouse apparatus just to get obvious analytics? To support actionable analytics at the “point of sale?” So embedded in employee and manager self service?
- Why can’t our payroll provider (yes, we outsourced that years ago) support the variety of workers, work roles, work schedules, total compensation plans, and other practices that we’re now using or need to use? What are our options here?
- What about our global payroll requirements? We’ve got large populations in a few countries and very small populations scattered everywhere else? Should we handle this ourselves?
- Are there truly global payroll providers whose capabilities are integrated and priced well?
- And what impact will the coming changes in health care, talent management, social learning, globalization, HR technology, workforce diversity, executive compensation caps, government austerity programs, [you name the issue] have on our aging, too many moving parts, never implemented well and/or too expensive to maintain HRM delivery system — and on our ability to deliver the HRM outcomes our organization expects?
- We seem to have a disconnect between our administration and strategic HRM data — could that be the result of disconnected systems, data definitions, organizational responsibilities, HRM business rules, etc.?
- What changes should we be making in our HRM policies and practices to support a more social, mobile and global workforce? Won’t our software vendors provide these?
- I keep hearing about social/mobile/global/embedded analytics/the importance of integrated talent management/[you name the hot topic here], but these capabilities seem to be add-ons at added cost etc. from our primary vendors. Is that right?
- How do I push more and more responsibility for HRM to managers and to the workforce without having a whole range of compliance/productivity/decision-making problems? How do I provide these users with enough embedded intelligence to enable effective decision-making? To enable correct and timely HRM transactions?
- Every time I ask for a briefing on the current state of our HRMDS, my eyes glaze over from the complexity and detail. How do I know if we have more moving pieces than we need? If we have the right pieces? If we’re spending the right amount to achieve our needed outcomes?
- How can we keep all the pieces well playing together? How much bailing wire and chewing gum does it take to keep everything running?
- Our CEO asked me if we have the HRM capabilities we need to help the organization deliver improved business outcomes. Frankly, I haven’t got a clue.
- How can I find enough resources to invest in strategic HRMDS components when everything’s being starved because of the black holes of administrative HRM, including compliance, which really don’t drive business outcomes no matter how well-done they are?
- Cloud/smoud — my CIO is deadset against it but all the hot new software is built for it. What do I do? I could be flippant and say just wait for your CIO to be replaced, but that’s not very helpful. Perhaps you could provide your CIO with selected readings? Show him/her what true SaaS already in use — and yes, you’ve already got some, perhaps a lot, of SaaS in your organization — is delivering for the business.
- I know we need analytics, but which ones? My team has proposed 217, all of which sound interesting and potentially relevant, but what I really need are the half dozen that would tell me how we’re really doing? One of my favorite metrics for linking what HRM does to organizational outcomes is to calculate the average contributions to revenues and profits of each FTE workers (so both employees and contingent workers). In a for profit organization, increasing revenues and profitability are central to both survival and success, so why not start there? Going deeper, you want to highlight those aspects of HRM which drive revenue and profitability per FTE.
- Social sourcing sounds wonderful, and everyone’s doing it, but is it really applicable to our need for [place your scarce KSAOC list here]? I’m a big believer in social sourcing, using public services like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to broadcast opportunities and research potential candidates. But, and it’s a big BUT, the power of such broadly-based communities works best for those who have built up considerable street cred within these communities. If I tweet a link about job opportunities in the HR technology industry, there’s a huge probability that likely candidates are among my followers. But if I tweet the need for a nuclear physicist for a faculty position at MIT, there’s a much lower probability that my followers will include likely candidates. Building a positive and useful presence online, for yourself and for your organization, takes time and a ton of effort. If you intend to use such presence as a sourcing mechanism, there’s no time to lose because it will take considerable elapsed time before you’re ready to source effectively.
And now for a few of my personal favorites, those calls for help that I can no longer provide, just for laughs.
- We bought the software, signed up for maintenance, and have it loaded on our computer. But it seems to sit there waiting for us to tell it what to do. Is that right? Doesn’t it come loaded with “best practices?” We budgeted for a “vanilla” implementation on that expectation.
- My global head of talent is telling me that we must get all of our talent applications from the same vendor in order to get the deep process and data integration that he tells me integrated TM requires. If we do that, buy everything from a single vendor, will it really truly scouts’ honor be fully integrated?
- The last guy who’s able to maintain the extensive COBOL code we used to create our highly customized Cyborg/Genesys/Tesseract/Integral/MSA/[put your favorite truly over-the-hill essentially payroll but now doing everything imaginable application brand here, and with full knowledge on my part that all of these brands are getting some level of quite sincere regulatory support and other updates from their current owners] has gone out on emergency long term disability, and we never did get him to document that code. Help!
- My predecessor insisted that we needed an enterprise-level ERP/HRMS. Four years and millions of $$ later, we’re not implemented, the SI (systems integration) leader (the new one, his predecessor was promoted) tells me that we don’t have either our organizational structure nor our jobs defined right to meet the analytical requests I’ve made of the system, the release we’ve been implementing seems to have been overtaken by the vendor’s newest release (and that’s the one that has the improved user experience that we really need), and now my new golfing buddy (who’s a partner at another SI) suggests that what we’ve selected is gross overkill for our 500 person, entirely US-based call center business for which our financials are moving “into the cloud,” whatever that means. When I told a trusted HR exec colleague about all of this, she said don’t make another move until you talk to Naomi.
All laughs aside, these are really tough questions, all of them. And you know that I’ve got a bunch more, along with my thoughts on how to answer them, across my blog. When you put these questions into the context of a specific organization, of your organization, answering them is worthy of your best efforts. So “Follow the Yellow Brick Road” then delve into the details to develope their own answers. If you are facing any of these questions, please do your homework and don’t be flimflammed. I’ll look forward to adding your questions to my collection above, so do send them to me.
[When I wrote the original version of this post for Father's Day 2010, I never planned to update and then reprise this post annually. But as each Father's Day has approached, my sense of loss increases. I so wish my Dad were still here to share with me and my sister the laughter and tears of everyday living. And, now that I can afford to do it, with my time and not just money, I would so love to spend more time with him, hearing the stories of his childhood as well as of mine. Ron and I have large paintings of our two fathers above a archway in our home built for this purpose, and they are very much with us in spirit. They lived at opposite ends of the country, could not have come from more different backgrounds, and they only met a couple of times in their lives. But I know they would be very happy playing pinochel with each other wherever they may be now. ]
My father, Jack Samuel Bloom, was in many respects quite an ordinary man. But from my Dad I inherited:
- his ability to tell a good story, to make a point while making you laugh;
- his commitment to active friendship, the kind of friendship that does what you need even when you don’t know you need it;
- his belief that any day on which you wake up is already a good day, that the gift of life is too precious to waste; and
- his habits of meticulous book-keeping, calendar-keeping, and commitment-keeping.
From my Dad I also inherited his love of reading and the sheer joy of opening a new book. Later I discovered that for me, being rich meant being able to buy any book I wanted to read and never having to browse in second-hand bookshops unless I was looking for treasure. Jewish families like ours, in the early 50′s, bought their children a copy of the World Book Encyclopedia, one volume at a time on a payment plan that they could scarcely afford, so that their children would be better educated than they were. I remember my Dad reading that encyclopedia cover to cover, Aardvark to Zebra, even the boring bits (and there were many such), and perhaps that’s where I also learned that reading some books was about more than having the pleasure of meeting their words.
My Dad taught me to swim almost before I could walk by carrying me on his back as he swam from the gentle shores of White Sands Beach, in Old Lyme, Connecticut to the floating raft in the waters of Long Island Sound. I’ve loved swimming and being in/around the water ever since. I have no fear of the ocean’s waves and can still feel his support whenever I’m over my head. But I can also remember his advice when it came to swimming in open, choppy water: “keep your mouth closed.” Words to live by in many of life’s “choppy water” situations.
We buried my Dad on my 50th birthday. He spent just a few days in hospital, having not been ill before his unexpected collapse just as I was about to deliver a presentation at the 1995 SAPPHIRE conference in Phoenix. To my Dad’s funeral came many hundreds of people we didn’t know whom he had helped, quietly, without ever being asked. In his retirement, he had “adopted” older members of our synagogue who needed rides to doctors’ appointments, help paying their bills, or just an hour’s companionship. Without the financial means of major philanthopy, he found the means for active philanthropy, through the gift of his own time and caring.
By the time I launched my own business in 1987, the cost of long distance calls, so daunting when I first left home in ’63, were much more affordable, and I called him most days in the late afternoon even when I was onsite with clients (which was most of the time in those early days). Those calls always started with:
- Dad: How’s business?
- Naomi: Business is great.
- Dad: Are your clients paying their bills on time?
- Naomi: Yes, they sure are.
- Dad: Are their checks clearing the bank?
- Naomi: Absolutely.
When you know that those early clients were firms like Bank of America, Hewlett Packard and International Paper, something my Dad certainly knew, this ritual opening to our calls goes from being merely odd to very odd, unless you also know that being a small retailer all his life shaped forever my Dad’s view of Accounts Receivable.
From there we’d go on to the events of his and my day, and to what was happening across the Bloom family and the larger Jewish community in which I grew up. I don’t remember my Dad ever calling me — long distance calls were for emergencies only among his generation — but I know he loved my calls because he reported on them to the group of men with whom he ate breakfast every day at a local deli.
I’ve always said yahrzeit for my Dad at the appropriate times in our Jewish calendar, and I think of him every day, but I miss him especially on Father’s Day. If you’re lucky enough to still have your Dad, don’t wait for Father’s Day to call him. And if you are a Dad, the gift of your time, of your self, is so much more important than anything you could ever buy with your money.
SAP Founders 1988 — Klaus Tschira On The Left
[The first version of this post was published May 25th, 2013 during the run-up to SAPPHIRE NOW 2013 and very shortly after SAP announced Lars Dalgaard's departure and Vishal Sikka's increased responsibilities -- and very important responsibilities they were. Now here we are, nearly one year later, with Vishal gone, Bill McDermott as solo CEO, Shawn Price gone, Mike Ettling now head of SaaS and on-premise HCM, and so many more organizational changes which you can read about by skimming a year's worth of SAP's press releases. Unfortunately, on careful rereading, the post below seems just as relevant now as it was then. So, with just a few corrections for clarity and clearly marked additions to reflect a year's passage, I bring you my continuing concerns about SAP. In the spirit of full disclosure: SAP has not been a client in many years, and then my work with them was quite limited. However I have worked with many of their direct HCM competitors, including Workday, ADP, Ceridian, and Ultimate.]
I’ve always had a warm spot in my heart for SAP. When I published my first (and thus far only) 700+ page book in 1994 (“Human Resource Management and Information Technology: Achieving A Strategy Partnership”), Klaus Tschira, one of SAP’s founders, became a big fan of my work, and me of his.
Early on, Klaus understood and believed in the power of object models and object-oriented development as well as in the importance of strategic HRM (so going a lot further than making merely administrative improvements in HRM), and he translated those views into SAP’s HCM products over the many years that he led HCM product strategy and development. Our friendship started because we were simpatico when it came to enterprise software.
But it was while I was in Phoenix in 1995 to speak at SAPPHIRE that I was the beneficiary of Klaus’ great humanity. My father collapsed while I was at SAPPHIRE, and I raced home to be with him. Klaus gave my presentation for me, making sure that I didn’t feel I was dropping the ball on him and SAP, for which I will always be grateful. My Dad never regained consciousness, but I was with him and able to support my sister and Mom through the difficult end-of-life decisions facing us — and to do so without any professional guilt. So, even when I’m being critical of some aspect of SAP’s products, leadership, business practices, etc., I’m rooting for their survival and success.
Therefore, amidst all the discussion yesterday [added 5-31-2014: as well as over the last month] about the latest major organizational changes at SAP (and there have been many such over the years I’ve been following SAP), I kept looking for the silver lining. No surprise that Lars decided to leave as many had predicted this. And no surprise that SAP is betting on HANA; what else should they do? Sad that their track record with HCM business leaders has been so poor, but it’s even sadder that there are so few highly visible women in SAP’s executive ranks [updated 6-1-2014 with many thanks to Jarret Pazahanick: there is now one, Ingrid-Helen Arnold]. But what really troubled me was that, not only via SAP’s own communications but also across the twitterverse and blogosphere, there was very little discussion of what SAP really needs to do in order to restore this giant of the last generation of business applications to being a successful competitor for the next generation. And while I tweeted my thoughts on this yesterday, I felt they deserved a blog post of their own.
I believe that SAP needs a coherent, integrated and comprehensive next generation true SaaS applications strategy across all their product domains, and then to have delivered on this yesterday. And since delivery yesterday isn’t possible, then they need to deliver on this at the earliest possible moment. While innovative development platforms and databases are powerful and potentially disruptive, applications still run the world. And with today’s expectations of embedded analytics, mobile delivery, built-in collaboration and social everything, the speed of in-memory applications as well as analytics is needed to unleash the predictive analytics which are our collective future requires. So, as SAP’s huge installed base of on-premise customers, but more importantly customers lacking the needed applications foundations for success in the 21st century, make the move to “Blooming SaaS” in order to reap the significant business benefits of doing so, SAP must be ready to compete AGAIN for every single one of these customers.
Once upon a time, Business ByDesign was supposed to be that next generation, but that doesn’t seem to have panned out, and ByD has been relegated to the lower end of the market after much architectural reworking and without a very strong HRMS/TM capability. And then, after buying the very expensive SuccessFactors, we were told that SAP’s next generation true SaaS offering would be some combination of SuccessFactors for TM, a greatly upgraded and rearchitected Employee Central (and the metadata framework thus introduced has been a very good start) for HRMS, a hosted rendition of SAP’s workhorse global payroll (now rebranded “cloud” payroll), some extrapolation of ByD’s financials and many more bits and pieces that lay well beyond my areas of expertise. But in my opinion, that’s not good enough. SAP’s customers, and SAP itself, deserve a lot more.
I think it’s [added 5-31-2014: long past] time for SAP to pick an architecture, development platform, database, object models and everything else that’s needed in the foundation and then to bring to market a whole new applications suite. If HANA Cloud Platform is that architecture, development platform, database and more of the needed foundation, that would be terrific. But even if that’s true, even if everything else we need as to effective-dating, inheritance, security, etc. etc. is contained within the HANA cloud platform, even if HANA provides a fully models-driven, metadata-rich, definitional development environment, there’s still a lot of heavy lifting needed to develop next generation object models across all the applications domains served by SAP. And then those next generation applications must be reincarnated or built fresh on top of those object models on the HANA Cloud Platform.
That sounds like a ton of work, so I’m hoping that much of this is already done and just needs some pulling together. [Added 5-31-2014: But my much more knowledgeable colleagues, who follow SAP more broadly and deeply than I do, don't appear to think that SAP is anywhere close to achieving what I believe they must.] Wherever SAP is on the road to fulfilling the next generation dreams of their current customers and of the market, there’s not a moment to lose. As for me, I’m hoping yesterday’s [added 5-31-2014: or all the latest SAP] organizational changes make this happen ASAP.
As some of you know from my tweets, I tap danced last night as part of a very special adaptation of a classic Fibber McGee and Molly radio show at our annual fundraiser, Radio Daze: OnStage With Florida Rep. It was quite a night, a successful and really fun evening, with many thanks to the Board members, staff and volunteers who made it happen.
There really wasn’t a rehearsal of my act as we ran out of time in a very busy pre-event scramble, so no one, including me, had a clue if I would make a total fool of myself, fall down go boom (although there were several doctors in the audience had I needed resuscitation), or put on a show. Well, I survived my dance number by shortening it gracefully, and I’d like to think that my efforts helped inspired the spontaneous donations, but my 30 seconds of fame aren’t the subject of this post. For that, we need to go back a few years.
At a Florida Rep Board retreat (I’ve been a proud Board member for many years), we did a team building exercise in which each member had to tell the others a few things about themselves that no one was likely to know. In addition to getting to know each other a little better, those stories revealed a lot of hidden talents. Through those stories and the conversations that followed, I learned that one member speaks Armenian, another’s mother and father were jailed in South Africa for their anti-Apartheid work when she was still a schoolgirl, and one of the others is a pretty impressive ballroom dancer (something I can confirm first hand after last night). As for me, I sang in folk clubs in the 60’s, owned half of a BMW R69S and rode it all over the UPenn campus in spite of not being able to reach the ground from the seat by giving total strangers with long legs a ride on the back, and had been thrown out of tap dancing classes as a young girl (in spite of those classes being taught by a cousin) for being disruptive.
All of that hidden talent was only revealed when someone got us talking about it. Would I have put such items on LinkedIn? Probably not, because they wouldn’t have struck strike me as job-related. But last night, in the interests of raising money for our nationally-reviewed professional theater, in doing my job as a Board member, I pulled out that hidden talent and let ‘er rip. And that got me thinking about what other hidden talents lay forgotten or simply not uncovered and never recorded because, at the time, they don’t seem job-related.
LinkedIn does provide sections to capture our philanthropic activities and other interests, but without classifying the related capabilities with endorsements, how easily are they searched? And what about your enterprise talent management processes and systems? Are they designed to tease out your workforce’s otherwise hidden talents? Do you have the conversations with colleagues that are needed to learn not only how well they’re equipped to perform the obvious requirements of their jobs but also what else they might be able to do if an appropriate situation arose? Reviewing this post with The Wallace brought forth the suggestion that LinkedIn and enterprise talent management systems provide places to capture “things we’re able to do but hope no one discovers,” “things we’re able and willing to do if compensated appropriately,” and “things we once did which are now legal/culturally acceptable/in demand for which our KSAOCs could be resurrected.” KSAOCs on steroids!
I don’t know if last night was the start or the finish of my tap dancing career, but I’m more committed than ever to ferreting out the potentially useful hidden talents of friends and colleagues. Of course, there are some talents that should definitely remain hidden, and tap dancing may have been one such of mine.
Hi, I’m Naomi, Your HR Tech SmartyPants Robot
Last week I was privileged to deliver a presentation to the top women execs at ADP about the future of HR and HR technology. Sounds straightforward enough, but it wasn’t. My presentation wrote itself, and it demanded that I title it: ” A Tale of Two Futures.”
One of those futures I described as extrapolative, and one I described as discontinuous, all of which I’ll describe in a later post. But the place to start this discussion and series of posts on the impact I believe smart machines and robotics will have on the world of work and on the workforce, not to mention on the HR profession and HR departments, is with the highest level business planning HRM considerations that I’ve been writing/speaking/consulting about since the mid-1980’s. [Note: For those of you who have worked with the IP I've licensed across our industry, the next section should be familiar.]
Until recently, one major thread running through within this business planning process, which connects HRM planning to organization planning, went something like this (clearly this is a massive over-simplification, and my HRM object model notes here go on for many, many pages):
- What is the nature of the work that must be done to create our products/services?
- What are the KSAOCs (knowledge, skill, ability and other deployment-related characteristics — my very own term — which humans may possess and which are) needed to do this work?
- Would we be better off (in terms of costs but also quality, risks, time to market, environmental impacts, and many other factors) doing this work within our organization or buying the results of this work from a 3rd party?
- For that work which we think is best done by a 3rd party and purchased as results, what are the best mechanisms/sources/terms and conditions/etc. for purchasing this work as results?
- For that work which we think is best done within our organization, will we be better off (again, in terms of costs but also quality, risks, time to market, environmental impacts, and many other factors) using legal employees (legal here isn’t referring to the specific legal requirements of any particular country — that comes later — but rather the broader definition of employee, which is always defined at the country level) versus contingent workers?
- For that work which is best done in-house but via contingent workers, what are the best mechanisms/sources/terms and conditions/etc. for contracting with and onboarding effectively(yup! the old days of leaving all of this to procurement are long gone, and we know now that HR must be involved deeply in the whole life cycle of these workers) the necessary contingent workers?
- For that work which is best done in-house via legal employees, what are the best sources/terms and conditions/etc. for hiring and onboarding effectively the necessary legal employees?
- …. tons more but that’s enough for now.
Now this same business planning process looks different in some very important ways (again, a massive over-simplification):
- What is the nature of the work that must be done to create our products/services?
- What are the KSAOCs (knowledge, skill, ability and other deployment-related characteristics — my very own term — but with a definitional change to make clear that these KSAOCs are independent of their delivery mechanism, which could be human or not) needed to do this work?
- Would we be better off (in terms of costs but also quality, risks, time to market, environmental impacts, and many other factors) doing this work within our organization or buying the results of this work from a 3rd party?
- For that work which we think is best done by a 3rd party and purchased as results, what are the best mechanisms/sources/terms and conditions/etc. for purchasing this work as results?
- For that work which we think is best done within our organization, will we be better off (again, in terms of costs but also quality, risks, time to market, environmental impacts, and many other factors) using legal employees (legal here isn’t referring to the specific legal requirements of any particular country — that comes later — but rather the broader definition of employee, which is always defined at the country level) versus contingent workers versus smart machines versus humanoid robots?
- For that work which is best done in-house but via contingent workers, what are the best mechanisms/sources/terms and conditions/etc. for contracting with and onboarding effectively(yup! the old days of leaving all of this to procurement are long gone, and we know now that HR must be involved deeply in the whole life cycle of these workers) the necessary contingent workers?
- For that work which is best done in-house via legal employees, what are the best sources/terms and conditions/etc. for hiring and onboarding the necessary legal employees?
- For that work which is best done in-house via smart machines, what are the best sources, terms and conditions/etc. for acquiring and onboarding (yes, there are some very minimal onboarding steps needed, e.g. human involvement in “feeding the beast” in the way that IBM’s Watson requires knowledge owners to educate it, but more about that in a later post in this series) the necessary smart machines, most of which effort is best left to procurement because these smart machines are mostly categorized as “plant & equipment?”
- For that work which is best done in-house via humanoid robots, what are the best sources, terms and conditions/etc. for acquiring and onboarding (and here there’s much more of an onboarding story than with merely smart machines, e.g. showing our new best friend around the facility, assigning it to a team and to specific tasks, ensuring it has the necessary security to access facilities as it moves around doing those tasks, etc.) the necessary humanoid robots?
- …. tons more but that’s enough for now.
I’ve been thinking about all of this a lot, and from as many angles as my Talmudic training suggests, and I’ll be writing a lot more in this series. But for now, this is probably enough to send jolts through every HR professional and HRM object modeler among the mishpocheh. Indeed, the robots are coming, and HR had better think about what role the want/need to take where R2D2 is concerned.
[I posted my first such wish list 1/29/2013, and just writing it lifted my spirits. So, I thought to myself, why not do it again?]
Carnac In Bloom
If any of us really knew what was going to happen in 2014, wouldn’t we keep it to ourselves and invest accordingly? Furthermore, anyone worth their salt in the industry thought leader/observer/influencer game is living under zillions of non-disclosures and embargoes, making any attempt at predictions fraught with potential legal peril as stuff you’re not allowed to know seeps into the part of your brain that’s doing the predicting. And just predicting something that’s an obvious extrapolation from what any fool can see doesn’t seem worthy of the Great Carnac turban.
So, although I love reading everyone else’s predictions, especially those which paint cogent pictures of technology and/or competitive landscapes while providing a ton of useful context for making their predictions, I’m continuing to focus my energies on what I want to happen. What would I make happen if my magic wand, bought years ago at FAO Schwarz, could be recharged? What would I ask him to do if The Wallace really could perform magic? How would I change the practice of HRM and HR technology, and the KSAOCs of the relevant professionals, if I were a (hopefully benign) dictator? What would the all knowing, all seeing Carnac the Magnificent do if she were in charge?
This could have become a very long list of changes I’d like to make in “life, the universe and everything,” but I’ve tried to control myself and focus solely at the intersection of HRM and IT. Thus, I’ve left out whole swaths of desireable changes in technology (like wishing that Microsoft would develop a sensible object model for the contacts functionality in Outlook, e.g. so that folks could have seasonal addresses and households could be grouped together with email and mobile info by person), in business (like wishing that the financial executive thieves who stole our financial security in the great recession would go to jail and that politicians who lie would branded with a giant L on their foreheads), in society (like wishing for freedom and democracy to spread as quickly as do certain diseases simply through intimate contact), and in my personal life (like wishing I were tall/thin/blond/likely to live 100 years), and so many more types of wishes. But I digress.
For the record, here is my short list of wishes for my professional world. From now on:
- No one will call themselves an HRM business analyst or product manager unless they came pretty close to my view of the needed KSAOC profile for that role. If you think this is a worthy goal, here’s my profile (now a little dated but still a good place to start).
- No one will call themselves an HR systems professional unless they had gotten their hands dirty developing custom or packaged software, configuring business rules in custom or packaged software, modeling the objects and then bringing them to life via definitional development, managing effective-dated meta-data, or similar. It’s really not enough to have mastered some report-writer and to know the names and UX color schemes of all the vendors.
- No HRM software vendor will deliver so flawed an underlying data design or object model that even I can identify three significant flaws in the first ten minutes of their demo. And that means getting job and position right, incorporating contingent workers and community members (as in collaboration communities) everywhere they belong (and no where that they don’t belong), and providing for the inherently recursive nature of work unit, work location, KSAOCs and more. I really am going to out the very next vendor of new software (and here I’m trying to be sensitive to the fact that much legacy software doesn’t — although it should — pass muster when it comes to how well the underlying object model supports 21st century HRM), no matter for what intended target market, which is a throwback to the flawed data designs of yesteryear. I REALLY AM!
- No analytics will be presented to innocent managers, employees, executives or others not previously bludgeoned into understanding crap data unless the underlying data on which it’s based is clean. Furthermore, all analytics, with just a click/touch/point/smile, will be explained in terms of how they’re derived, what the results mean/could mean, and what to do to address those results, with these layers of explanation pushed or pulled appropriately based on what the customer is trying to do.
- All HR leaders will be the very model of a modern HR leader who understands how to select and deploy technology to support HRM’s responsibilities for driving business outcomes. If you think this is a worthy goal, here’s my “starter kit.”
- Vendors who dissemble about or obfuscate their business strategy, product capabilities and roadmaps, or in other aspect of their answers to prospect/customer questions will experience the full impact of liar, liar, pants on fire. And that includes throwing FUD at the competition, persuading prospects/customers to a course of action that serves the vendor better than it does that buyer organization, and pretending (in the face of all evidence to the contrary) that their first priority is serving their prospects/customers/market when they’re really serving Mammon.
- All prospects/customers who are ill-prepared, ill-informed, ill-mannered etc. in their interactions with vendors will experience the buyer equivalent of liar, liar, pants on fire via an Emperor has no clothes video gone viral on YouTube. Buyers who haven’t a clue about their real business needs, who insist on zillion line item RFPs, who abdicate all responsibility to so-called consultants (unless they pass my tests 1 & 2 above with flying colors), and so much more, and especially those who don’t know the difference between great software/vendors and merely mediocre ones, deserve exactly what they get — and that’s exactly what they will get via my wish list.
- No one will call themselves analyst/influencer/thought leader/etc. unless they actually conduct objective research from which they draw and publish analysis (for analyst), actually have some demonstrated influence on the behavior of HR professionals and/or HRM vendors (and influence isn’t measured by Twitter followers or blog post readers but by actual changed in behavior attributable to your work), actually product meaningful insights or other forms of thought leadership that are respected widely. In my wishful thinking neighborhood at the intersection of HRM and IT, we’ll have very high standards for what we expect in the work of those who want us to think of them as analysts, influencers and/or thought leaders.
- No one will “paint the roses red,” e.g. by calling whatever they’re selling SaaS, integrated, or effective-dated. Vocabulary does shape our thinking, and in my wishful thinking world, words will have meanings that are more concrete than jello.
- The impact on work and workers of advances in automation and robotics will be anticipated by industry and governmental leaders such that we will be able to balance the needs of organizations to take full advantage of the cost savings and performance enhancements from the best of technology and the needs of society to minimize the negative impacts from these same advances in technology.
Writing this wish list has been totally cathartic. Having made every conceivable mistake in my career, not to mention having been ignorant on so many occasions, I know how hard it will be to achieve even a good start on accomplishing my wish list. But just because something is really hard to achieve doesn’t mean we should give up, because this is important. With $$$ pouring into HR technology and executives finally realizing that effective HRM really does matter, these next few years will be our best opportunity to realize my wish list. So, just like in losing weight (but that’s another set of wishes on which my track record is VERY spotty), the journey begins with that first step. And I hope to see all of you along the road to HRM and HR technology nirvana.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about both business and applications integration. You may have read my modest rant on the bastardization of the term integration as used to describe how applications are connected. You also may have seen my videocast comments on the reasons why I think that your HRMS and core talent management applications (so performance, staffing, compensation, development, succession etc.) deserve a very high degree of what I mean by integration.
On that same videocast, there was also a good bit of discussion about the inherent connections between core financial applications and your HRMS, but I think there’s a lot more to say on this point, especially given a recent inquiry on same from my colleague Emma Snider. It was Emma’s questions to me in the wake of that videocast that are the immediate impetus for this post, although it’s been on my list for some time.
With respect to our having discussed the connections between financial and HCM applications on the referenced videocast, she asked: “In your opinion is this because HR and finance truly are going to start working together much more, so HR should be concerned with what finance is using in terms of technology, and vice versa? Are the two functions really destined to team up?”
To these good questions, here’s how I responded [with my responses to Emma edited by me here for greater clarity]:
“First, finance and HR are inherently connected in a purely business sense in that (1) the bulk of most organizational costs (which can be 70% to 80% in businesses which are predominantly service-based) are related to their workforce, (2) understanding what it is about HRM that moves the dial on revenues and profitability goes to the heart of measuring and enhancing organizational performance, and (3) there’s no way to manage business outcomes without integrating financial and HR data quickly and cleanly, analyzing that data quickly and cleanly (to include predictive analytics), and then delivering that analysis directly to decision makers at their point of decision-making, i.e. as embedded analytics, at their speed of thought. From a systems perspective, finance and HR share many enterprise level objects — including work unit, work location, person, account, contract, and many more — and place many of the same demands on system architectures, from the needs for widespread user access and effective-dating done systemically with full retroactive processing to the need for managing geographically-based regulatory requirements via powerful inheritance capabilities across and within SaaS tenants. So, on both a business and systems basis, there’s a natural affinity between these two domains which argues persuasively, especially at a time of embedded analytics, for them to be integrated (as I define that term) in a systems sense and working well together in a business sense.
There’s a lot more to be said on this subject, but I hope this gives you a sense of where my head’s at when it comes to making the business case for considerable “Blooming” integration across financials and your HRMS — and I can’t wait for the comments to fly.
Painting The Roses Red
Given the active discussion (debate?) over on LinkedIn about my proposed definition of true SaaS (now renamed “Blooming SaaS,” this post was intended to be more of an insistence on precise definitions than a disparagement of other business/deployment/architectural options in enterprise HRM software), I thought I’d rattle a few more cages. In the interests of encouraging a lively discourse, here I’m tackling the concept of applications integration. If you think that there’s grade inflation in our schools and in workforce performance measurement, that’s nothing compared to what’s happened to the humble term integration as applied to HRM applications software.
Once upon a time, in a kingdom far away, we had two terms for the way in which applications might be connected. We called them interfaced, when disparate applications were connected, and integrated, when applications were built from the ground up to be inherently connected. Everyone understood the differences, and there was peace in the land of (then) data processing.
Interfaced meant that we would pass a file (which could well have been on a reel of tape carried quite literally from one system to another, at least in the very early days of my career, or a transmitted electronic file or an agreed and shared Web service in more recent years) containing data written by one system that was intended to be read by another. The format of that interface file was either imposed by the more powerful (politically or economically) of the two systems’ owners (e.g. health care plan providers, to this day, have considerable leverage when they insist that incoming employer files be formatted to their receiving specs) or negotiated agreed mutually (as was the case when two independent systems, even those owned by the same vendor, needed to move data between them). And even as the technology for interfaces has advanced considerably (although delimited electronic file transmissions are still in wide use), what’s important to note here is that an interface does not impact directly the sending or receiving system. The sending system knows how to create the interface and the receiving system knows how to use it, but they are otherwise just as independent as is AMEX from Amazon when I charge purchases on the latter to my credit card with the former. In spite of their near real-time and highly automated exchange of agreed protocol messages, their connections still fit my definition of an interface.
In that same far away kingdom, once upon a time, integrated meant that although an application may have consisted of many automated processes/reports/edits/user views/whatever, they had all been developed against the same data design and architecture with the same programming standards applied across all the related code and, most importantly, with the same underlying assumptions about the subject matter domain applied across the entire application or set of applications as defined by the underlying data definitions. Even as data designs evolved to database schemas and on to object models incarnated as objects, even as architectures evolved to take advantage of cooperative computing and layered designs and to address the needs of connected/social/mobile/self-service/global computing, and even as I lost complete track of how today’s enterprise applications are really constructed (along with many of you), I (some would say foolishly) continued to used the term integrated to refer to applications that were developed against the same object model and architecture with the same definitional development standards applied across all the related functionality and, most importantly, with the same underlying assumptions about the subject matter domain applied across the entire application or set of applications as defined by the underlying object definitions.
And then, when I wasn’t looking, the evil witch stole those very clear and quite different definitions of interfaced and integrated and replaced them with an absolute muddle so that HRM software vendors doing interfaced (but with some truly creative approaches to (1) ensuring that user experiences were consistent across disparate applications, (2) doing reporting/analytics/etc. against a consolidated data store, and (3) minimizing the differences across their applications in terms of domain assumptions) applications could describe their offerings as integrated. Clearly those vendors appropriating integrated to mean interfaced (but very cleverly so) felt that the term integrated communicated more goodness than interfaced or they wouldn’t have appropriated it. But in doing so, they forced the vendors with truly integrated application suites, what we’ll now dub “Blooming integration,” to search for a new term that means what the old integrated meant before there was grade inflation.
So out came unified, organic and G-d only knows what else to distinguish between those applications that were in fact integrated by my definition and those that were interfaced, again by my definition, no matter how sexy or attractively that interfacing is done. Well, bah humbug on that. None of these terms have the gravitas of integrated, and the vendor marketeers that stole integrated for their own nefarious purposes know that. So just as I did with “Blooming SaaS,” I’m going to offer the stamp of “Blooming Integrated” to those vendors who really qualify — and call the rest “Blooming Interfaced,” again no matter how effectively it’s done.
But why should customers and users of HR technology care about any of this or is this really just an “inside baseball” discussion among dilettantes with nothing better to do? These distinctions should matter a ton to customers and users because every dollar that must be spent on maintaining those non-Blooming integrations is a dollar that’s not going to be spent on product enhancements, customer support, thought leadership, and so much more. And the greater the inherent interconnectedness of the underlying processes and objects of those non-Blooming integrated applications, the more money must be spent — now and forever — on keeping those non-Blooming integrated applications tied together as much as possible.
I’ll leave it for another post to dig into which HRM applications most need to be “Blooming Integrated” versus those which very conveniently can be left to connect via great, highly leveraged interfaces. But there’s a good taste of where my thoughts are going in the recent #Predict14 videocast sponsored by Workday, beginning at minute 3.30, with more discussion here. Hopefully, this gives you a little something to chew on mentally when you’ve chewed yourselves beyond full with Christmas dinner. And may I close with my heart-felt prayer for a little more peace on earth in 2014.