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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Jan. 16, 2003 / 22 Teves, 5764

You are in the (Divine's) army now

By Rabbi Berel Wein


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Pedigree or not, all of us must become Levites


http://www.jewishworldreview.com | The kohanim and Leviim (priests and Levites) form a distinct and special group among the Jewish people. The Torah grants them special privileges and the Jewish people as a whole accord them special honors. In Temple times, they were the custodians and public servants of Israel in the Temple service. The gifts and tithes of Israel supported them and they were exempted from many civic responsibilities and national duties. They were to be devoted to the service of G-d and of Israel, a holy and dedicated cadre of teachers, role models and public servants.


Even today, when Temple services in Jerusalem are nonexistent and the kohanim andLeviim receive no tithes or special gifts from the rest of Israel, they still receive special honors in the synagogue and family and are viewed with unique respect and honor. In the enslavement of the Jews in Egypt, which is described in this week's Torah reading, the tribe of Levi was exempted from the physical toil of forced labor. Moshe (Moses) and Aharon (Aaron), the first kohanim, were the leaders of Israel and it is through their hands that the deliverance from Egyptian bondage was achieved. We all know that being a kohen or a Levi is a matter of Jewish patrilineal descent. But nevertheless, there is a clearer and much more universal definition of being a member of this group that the Torah provides, and that definition includes all of us, in fact, every human being on earth.

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Rabbi Moshe ben-Maimon, known as Maimonides, in his magnum opus Mishna Torah, states: "What differentiated the tribe of Levi…was that they were designated and separated from the others in order to devote themselves to the service of G-d, to teach G-d's righteous ways and just statutes to the many…Therefore, they were held apart from worldly ways and mundane tasks; they did not participate in the battles of war; they did not inherit or acquire land for themselves. Rather, they were G-d's army… and the Blessed One sustained them, for it is written: "I am your share and your inheritance." And this is true not only for the tribe of Levi exclusively, but "for every human being that enters this world, whose spirit moves one and one understands of one's own knowledge and will that one wishes to be apart and to stand before the L-rd and serve and obey Him, to know G-d and to walk righteously as the Creator intended; to remove the yoke of the many schemes that man pursues — such a person is sanctified and is the holy of holies. The L-rd will be that person's share and inheritance forever and the L-rd will provide for this holy person in this physical world as well, so that the person will be able to have that which is sufficient for life, as the L-rd so provided for the kohanim and Leviim."


This most powerful statement contains within it the essence of the Jewish worldview of life and its purpose. Maimonides declares: "Everyone can be a Levi!" That was the hard lesson of Egyptian bondage — namely, that the way for a Jew to escape the physical bondage of society that otherwise engulfs one is to be a Levi. It is because of this insight, that Moses and Aaron become the leaders of Israel and the redeemers and role models for all generations of Jews.


But in our time, perhaps even in past times, family descent is an insufficient guarantee of the spiritual future of any individual Jew, and certainly of Jewish society as a whole. The road of assimilation in American Jewish life is littered with the descendants of great Jews of previous generations. Hillel had it right when he said; "If I am not for myself, then who will be for me?" It is not sufficient for Ephraim to be a Levi by descent and pedigree only. He must become a "Maimonides Levi" and the accomplishment of that is dependent completely upon him… It takes years of Torah (Bible) study, personal sacrifice and unwavering commitment to become a "Maimonides Levi."


The taskmasters of Egyptian bondage, in all of their attractive and unattractive guises, are persistent and cruel in our society, especially towards the young. Moses and Aaron call out to redeem but sometimes we don't hear or listen to them. But the truth of the matter is that we all would like to be Leviim. And true Leviim — "Maimonides Leviim" — never toil in the bondage of the Egyptian Pharaoh.

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Rabbi Berel Wein is one of Jewry's foremost historians and founder of the Destiny Foundation. He has authored over 650 tapes, books and videos which you can purchase at RabbiWein.com. Comment by clicking here or calling 1-800-499-WEIN (9346).

© 2004, Rabbi Berel Wein