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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

Bringing the Divine Home

By Rabbi Ephraim Buchwald





At one of the most spiritually uplifting moments in history, a debate emerges about how to serve the Almighty. It continues til this day

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | This week's Torah reading, Beshalach, contains many historic and dramatic moments. The narrative describes the departure of the People of Israel from their enslavement in Egypt, as well as the miraculous splitting of the Red Sea, the statutes and judgments given at Marah, the manna that fell from heaven, the well that followed the people of Israel in the wilderness and the war with Amalek.

Yet despite these many themes, this coming Sabbath is known as Shabbos Shira, the Sabbath of Song, which of course refers to Exodus chapter 15, and the song that was sung by Moses and the children of Israel as praise to G-d in acknowledgment of the miraculous parting of the waters of the Red Sea, enabling the people's salvation from the hands of the Egyptians.

The reason that this Sabbath is known as Shabbos Shira despite the many other important themes is because according to Rabbinic tradition at the moment that the Israelites sang their song, the people's souls attained the highest state of exaltation, their hearts became wellsprings overflowing with Torah, and the sounds of their words was comparable to the voice of the Almighty.

Rabbi Eliyahu Kitov, in his extraordinary "Book of Our Heritage," points out that with the power of this song, the people of Israel implanted song and rejoicing in the hearts of Israel until the end of all generations. That is the reason, say the rabbis, that the Shira, the song, begins with an unusual introductory phrase: Exodus 15:1 "Va'yom'roo lay'mor," and they spoke saying (in the present tense), underscoring that the song that the people spoke at the sea, resulted in the continuous uttering of song for all future generations.

The Shira that was sung at the crossing of the sea is a most powerful paean of praise to the Almighty who rescued the fleeing Israelites. The introductory words of the song (Exodus 15:2): "Oh'zee v'zimraht yah va'y'hee lee lee'shoo'ah," G-d is my might and my praise and he has been my salvation, reflect the thorough exultation of the people. At that euphoric moment, the Jews saw G-d so clearly and manifestly that the Israelites could literally point their fingers and say: "Zeh kay'lee v'ahn'vay'hoo, Eh'loh'kay ah'vee vah'ah'ro'm'men'hoo," This is my G-d and I will praise him, the G-d of my fathers, and I will exalt him! Clearly, the spirit and power reflected in these words are virtually unparalleled in the annals of human history.

Aside from the extraordinary beauty and passion of these words, this particular poetic praise of G-d, as is true of many of the words of the Torah, harbors a powerful philosophical and theological message. In the second half of this lyrical verse the poet declares, "The G-d of my father and I will exalt him," the implication being that the G-d of family traditions is worthy of being raised up and held high in an honored place. In contrast, the first part of the verse declares, "This is my G-d and I will praise Him" underscoring a personal, emotional relationship with G-d. How do we reconcile the opposing concepts of these two phrases?


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Tradition posits that there are two types of spiritual believers. Some religionists believe simply because of family tradition, while others believe only after much search, study and analysis. Both these believers are alluded to in the opening lines of the central Jewish prayer, the Amidah—the central, silent devotion. The Amidah prayer begins with the words, "Baruch atah Hashem Eh'lo'kay'nu v'elo'kay ah'vo'say'nu," Blessed art You G-d, our G-d and G-d of our fathers, "Eh'lokay Avraham, Eh'lokay Yitzchak, v'Eh'lokay Yaakov," The G-d of Abraham, the G-d of Isaac, and the G-d of Jacob.

There are people who believe in G-d simply because it is their family tradition.

Some people blindly adopt their family's religious traditions simply because their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents were believers. Our Amidah prayer as well, indicates that Jacob believed because his father Isaac was a believer, and that Isaac believed because his father Abraham believed. That's what's clearly implied in the Amidah text: "Eh'lo'kay ah'vo'say'nu," the G-d of our fathers.

But, the opening text of the Amidah also speaks of "Eh'lo'kay'nu," our G-d?! Note that the text does not read "Eh'lo'kay Avraham, Yitzchak, v'Yaakov," the G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? But rather the G-d of Abraham, the G-d of Isaac, and the G-d of Jacob. Clearly Jacob believed in G-d because of his father, and because of Isaac's tradition, but Jacob also struggled and wrestled with the concept of G-d so that he could relate to G-d in his own personal and unique manner. The beliefs of Isaac and of Abraham were also the result of intense personal quests.

That's exactly what's underscored in the verse we cited of the Shira. The people sang out: "Eh'loh'kay ah'vee vah'ah'ro'm'men'hoo," The G-d of my father—I can exalt and raise Him up. If I relate to G-d only as the G-d of my father, all I can do is put G-d on a pedestal and hold Him high.

However, if I relate to G-d as "zeh kay'lee"—if G-d is my G-d—then "v'ahn'vay'hoo," I can exalt Him. Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch (1808-1888, the great Bible commentator and leader of German Jewry) states that the word, ahn'vay'hoo, stems from the root word "nah'veh," which means home. If G-d is truly my G-d, says Rabbi Hirsch, if I've built a personal relationship with G-d through study and analysis, then I can bring G-d home.

Jewish religious and family traditions mandate that our people believe collectively in G-d. But for the contemporary Jew it is particularly important to work on our personal beliefs and our personal relationships with G-d—so that we can indeed bring G-d home.

May you be blessed.

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Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald heads the National Jewish Outreach Program.


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