Introducing EtzMitzvot.com - Rebooting the Greatest Commandments Project

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Fine Kineti readers, I’m pleased to announce a new renewed project that I think you’ll enjoy: EtzMitzvot.com

What is it? An interactive visual map of every commandment in the Torah. It’s a fun way to explore the Torah from a thousand-foot view. Try it out and touch, hover, or click some commandments.

This isn’t a new project per se, but a revived one. Any of you longtime Kineti readers remember the Greatest Commandments Project? EtzMitzvot.com is that project revived through modern web technology. The idea is, take all 613 commandments in the Torah and map them into a massive visual tree. For example,

Love your neighbor as yourself is at the root of the tree
      >  Respect the elderly branches off that
                    > Honor your mother and father branches off that

And so on.

The end result is a huge, interactive visual containing all the commandments as a tree (commandments tree = etz mitzvot in Hebrew) – a fantastic sight to see, even if I say so myself.

The project was inspired by Messiah’s words in the gospels:

The Torah teachers asked him, "Rabbi, what is the greatest commandment in Torah?" He answered them, "Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength. This is the first and greatest commandment. The second, like it, is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. All the Torah and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

That last sentence inspired this project, “all the Torah and Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

I took that sentence literally, imagining it as a beautiful visual with the greatest commandments at the very top and the other 611 commandments all branching off from those big 2 ones in hierarchical form.

That’d be something to behold, wouldn’t it?

I set out to build this thing about 4 years ago. We made lots of progress; mapped about 100+ commandments. I wrote software to generate the giant commandments tree, etz mitzvot. Open sourced it. Got open source contributions from others. It was super cool!

Then life happened, and I let it stagnate. I haven’t added new commandments to this project in over a year.

To that I say, no more! To life, my precious Messianic Mitzvot project! Smile

You’ll see a blog post each week here on the Kineti blog, adding a commandment (or three) to EtzMitzvot until all 613 commandments are mapped.

New technology, new functionality

But, there’s a problem: when we started this project, the project was basically a big, static JPG image. Not interactive. And huge; we’re talking 50,000 pixels by 20,000 pixels image, just under a hundred MB in size. Just to load it in your browser would take about several seconds to download, and several more to render it.

And given we still had some 500 commandments to go, that’s just not sustainable.

So, I had an idea. How about we rejigger things so that we don’t spit out an image, but instead use the power of the modern web to show all these God-breathed righteous instructions? SmileThrow a little interaction in alongside it?

Heck yeah!

So, I sat down last week and ported the Greatest Commandments Project to use modern web technologies. Thanks to technologies like D3.js, instead of a giant, cumbersome image, we have an interactive web app that lets you click commandments and expand them out and play with the whole visual tree.

In summary, we’ve revived the Greatest Commandments project with new technology, new functionality, a new website, and renewed effort.

Enjoy! Let me know what you think.

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Husband, dad, disciple of the Jewish Messiah Yeshua, technologist. Author of Chavah Messianic Radio, MessianicChords, and EtzMitzvot. @judahgabriel


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