Shibboletha peculiarity of pronunciation, behavior, mode of dress, etc., that distinguishes a particular class or set of persons.
It's a great word. The difference of quality that seperates a group from another, we see this daily in our lives.
The origins of this word is from the Hebrew word of the same spelling, found in judges 12:4-6. It is the word the Gileadites (under the command of Jepththah) used to differentiate the Ephraimites, and prevent them from crossing the Jordan river. It acted as a password, since the Ephraimites could not pronounce it. That day 42000 Ephraimites died. Put to contrast, the 9/11 incident totaled to a death toll of 3,000 souls.
Though tragic and gruesome it had a different meaning for me. What is our "shibboleth"? What differentiates us from the rest of the world? The factor in every single one of us that truly makes every being unique?
To start, the difference between us and animals is their lack of soul. They have flesh and thought, but they do not have soul, or conscious, as others would say. The properties of having moral thoughts, the thoughts of humanity, and of course the deep thoughts we humans are capable of achieving.
Progressing forward, what differentiates the different cultures of human kind? Different qualities of each race, such as skin color and hair color? The differnt fashion styles and food? The shape of the land and the different beliefs and traditions? Yes. Every single difference counts toward our uniqueness.
Then there is Catholicism. Argueably the biggest religion thus far, with over a billion followers. What differenciates us from the rest? Nothing, except for the mustard seed of faith each Christian and Catholic holds in our hearts. The strong fire of passion for The Lord.
Finally there's you. A man of his own unique quality. Many think power and popularity is what differentiates human kind, whether for good or for bad. Yet we forget, the spirit that lies within us, that burns at a different temperature from everyone else. The soul that defines who we are, the different emotions that each of us hold dear.
What is the conclusion to all this? The "shibboleth" of every single of us, the different password that defines who you are. You are special, we all are.