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In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
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

Why there's hope amidst the destruction

By Rabbi Yonason Goldson


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The Consolation of Exile

An 18th Century rebbe's teaching about our days


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Reunited with his long-lost son, saved from the ravages of famine, witness to the reconciliation of a family torn apart by strife and mistrust — what father would not be at peace with the world?

All the more so after a virtual lifetime of tribulations: forced into conflict with a wicked brother intent upon manipulating their father and expropriating their grandfather's legacy, forced to flee for his life after exposing his brother's duplicity, forced to contend against a scheming uncle determined to deceive and swindle him with every imaginable connivance, and finally forced to abandon all hope of seeing the completion of his life's mission in the form of his twelve sons forging themselves into the foundation of a holy nation — such had been the life of the patriarch Jacob as he stood before Pharaoh after discovering that his beloved son Joseph was still alive.

And Jacob lived in the land of Egypt for 17 years (Genesis 27:28). Says the Zohar, the kabbalistic Book of Splendor, he lived a life of contentment, forgetful of all the years of suffering that had filled his life.

But how could this be so?

Jacob knew well the prophecy revealed to his grandfather, Abraham, that his children would face four generations of slavery and find themselves pushed to the brink of spiritual and cultural extinction. He knew as well, despite the alleviation of his own personal grief, that his children and their children stood at the outset of the most bitter struggle for survival any people had ever known. Fully aware what lay ahead, how could Jacob have lived out the last years of his life in peace and contentment?

THE FRAGRANCE OF EDEN
In the middle 18th Century, the leaders of the blossoming Chassidic movement included the pious Rebbe Menachem Mendel of Vitebsk. One afternoon, the rebbe's wife came running in through the front door. "Mendel, Mendel," she exclaimed. "There's a man outside shouting that the Messiah has arrived!"

Upon hearing this news, Rebbe Menachem Mendel's eyes grew wide. He leapt to his feet and ran to the window, which he threw wide open. He then stuck his head out the window and deeply sniffed the air. After a moment, he regained his composure, closed the window, and muttered, "A Meshugah! Just some nut case."

How could the rebbe know, simply by sniffing the air, whether or not the Messiah had truly arrived?

The sages tell us that, after the Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed, the entire world experienced a physical decline proportional to the spiritual loss. Fruits became smaller and tasted less sweet. Colors become less bright, and music sounded less beautiful. The last echoes and the last traces of the paradise that was Eden vanished from the earth. However, all is not lost forever. When the messianic era arrives, the world will be restored to the way it was in the days of the Temple — indeed, as it was in the days of Eden.

The sages also teach us that smell is the most spiritual of all our senses. Therefore, because a world with the Messiah is palpably more spiritual than a world without the Messiah, the quickest way for Rebbe Menachem Mendel to determine whether the messianic era had indeed arrived was to sniff the air. Upon discerning that the air had not acquired the fragrance of Eden, the rebbe knew that the Days of Redemption remained away in the future.

But one detail of the story still requires explanation. A century later, Rebbe Menachem Mendel's great-grandson wondered why his saintly forefather needed to run to the window. Why could he not simply smell the air inside his house to discover whether the Messiah had arrived?

CONNECTION WITH THE FUTURE
Most of us, as we look forward to an eagerly-awaited event, count down toward the moment of that event's arrival with increasing impatience. Either of two reasons may apply. One the one hand, we may feel anxiety, fearing that the anticipated event will somehow fail to materialize. On the other, we may feel frustration, that circumstances are out of our hands, and that we must resign ourselves to the slow unfolding of time and happenstance to bring our objective within reach.

Under such conditions, time slows to a crawl, and the object of our anticipation remains distant from us until the instant it actually arrives.

However, if we are actively and integrally involved in bringing our objective closer, then we are neither helpless nor uncertain. When we engage the future by applying ourselves diligently to shaping its form and complexion, then we bring the future into the present, connecting ourselves with a still-distant goal so that we feel as if we have reached it long before it actually arrives.

Because Rebbe Menachem Mendel devoted every moment of his life to divine service, to Torah study, to acts of kindness, and to personal piety, every moment of his life was therefore connected to the arrival of the messianic era. For him, therefore, it was as if the time of the Messiah had already arrived. Consequently, the fragrance of his own home already carried the fragrance of Eden. Only by checking the air outside his house could the rebbedetermine whether the Messiah had come.

Similarly, when Jacob foresaw the generations of suffering that faced his descendants, he did not despair. Rather, he recognized that the culmination of his efforts, the product of his years of bitter toil, was to position his children so that each and every one of them could engage in the struggle of good against evil, of battling against corrupt enemies without and the impulses of selfishness and self-deception within.

At this moment, with the long darkness of exile stretching before him into the future, Jacob found consolation in the confidence that he had done all he could to bring the final destiny of mankind closer to its fulfillment. And just as he had finally come to know peace at the end of his life, so would his children at the End of Days.

When our enemies grow bolder, when our friends counsel us to make peace with enemies who reject peace, when the community of nations looks upon the overwhelming odds against which we stand and condemn us as aggressors — then, in the darkness of our exile, amidst intellectual dishonesty and moral blindness, we remember the consolation of our forefather Jacob, and we take comfort, as he did, in the approaching light of redemption that waits for us just beyond the horizon.

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JWR contributor Rabbi Yonason Goldson teaches at Block Yeshiva High School in St. Louis, MO, where he also writes and lectures. Visit him at http://torahideals.wordpress.com .






© 2008, Rabbi Yonason Goldson