Why will Rabbi Perl be Eating Pears tonight at 9pm?

Senate to Sit In Pairs

Rabbi Perl to enjoy a few pears to honor the Democratic and Republican legislators who are pairing off to sit together for the annual State of the Union speech in a symbolic gesture of bipartisanship.

Some of the combinations are intriguing. Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, the epitome of East Coast liberalism, and Republican Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, a symbol of conservative intransigence, are putting aside their differences to cross the political aisle for a night.

Pairing in Judaic Leadership

In Jewish religious history, there was an age known as the era of the Zugos, or “Pairs”, during the Second Temple period.

A high court of 71 scholars known as the Sanhedrin provided the religious and often political leadership of the Jewish people. It was led by a ‘Pair’ of scholars, firstly a Nasi “the president” and secondly his assistant with the title of Av Bet Din, or “head of the court”.

Studying in Pairs

Jews seldom study Torah alone; most commonly, Jews study Jewish texts in pairs, a method known as havruta ("fellowship"). In havruta, the pair struggles to understand the meaning of each passage and discusses how to apply it to the larger issues addressed and even to their own lives.

The Talmud particularly extols the value of learning in pairs: "Two scholars sharpen one another" (BT Ta'anit7a)--two scholars, through discussion and debate, help to sharpen each other's insight into the text.

Never Boil Eggs in Pairs

When boiling eggs, it is customary to boil at least three eggs at a time.