Pinker: “A History of Violence”

Some of the evidence has been under our nose all along. Conventional history has long shown that, in many ways, we have been getting kinder and gentler. Cruelty as entertainment, human sacrifice to indulge superstition, slavery as a labor-saving device, conquest as the mission statement of government, genocide as a means of acquiring real estate, torture and mutilation as routine punishment, the death penalty for misdemeanors and differences of opinion, assassination as the mechanism of political succession, rape as the spoils of war, pogroms as outlets for frustration, homicide as the major form of conflict resolution—all were unexceptionable features of life for most of human history. But, today, they are rare to nonexistent in the West, far less common elsewhere than they used to be, concealed when they do occur, and widely condemned when they are brought to light.


The Shema

Deuteronomy 6: 4–9
דברים פרק ו פסוקים ד-ט

Masoretic Hebrew to
word-by-word English translation,
with audio, romanization,
and English translation

Hashem Israel listen
is one
our God


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שמע ישראל יהוה אלהינו יהוה אחד׃
romanization Sh’ma Yis’ra’eil Adonai Eloheinu Adonai echad.
English Listen, Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.

Continue reading The Shema
"Hashem" means "the name." Many Hebrew speakers use "Hashem" or "Adonai" instead of "יהוה" to show their respect to God by not taking his name lightly and only using the proper name in prayers.