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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

The Need for Heresy in faith

By Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo





Why Moses succeeded in his Divine mission while other, more "pure" men, may well have failed


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Leadership is one of the most difficult qualities for man to achieve. It requires a rare combination of wisdom, courage, knowledge and experience. Very few people possess all these qualities and even fewer know the art of combining them in a balanced way.

When looking into the personality of Moses we learn an astonishing story of how he became capable of undertaking the apparently most challenging leadership role in human history: Liberating a few million slaves from an anti-Semitic dictatorship and transforming them into a nation of G0d, with the additional mission of teaching mankind the highest level of ethics.

One might think that the ability to inspire a few million people to love G0d would necessitate the best religious education with only the finest teachers. Such a person should, after all, be holy, and that would require a well-protected environment into which outside heretical ideologies cannot penetrate and where secularism plays no role. Only under such conditions could a man evolve who would be great enough to experience an encounter with G0d, receive His teachings and inspire millions.

But in reading the story of Moses, we are confronted with an altogether different truth.

When Moses first leaves the palace of Pharaoh to visit his own enslaved brothers, he is struck by the hard realities of life. Right in front of him an Egyptian strikes a Hebrew, possibly with the intention of killing him. With no hesitation, Moses smites the Egyptian and buries him in the ground.

This is most astonishing.

Why would Moses take the side of the Israelite? Brought up in the world of Egyptian culture and instructed by elite Egyptian educators, possibly receiving private tutelage from Pharaoh himself to prepare him for the monarchy of Egypt in years to come, Moses must have seen the Egyptian as a compatriot. This was a man of his own culture! Why take any action against him and defend the Israelite?

Still, it is clear that Moses had warm feelings towards the Jew, despite the fact that Jews were total foreigners to him. This is made very evident by the text when it tells us, "He came to see his brothers." Whether Moses was actually told that he was of Jewish stock is not clear, but it is doubtful. His identifying with "his brothers" must therefore be the result of an inner voice that told him of his shared destiny with the Israelites. This must have put Moses in a very difficult position. Psychologists would no doubt raise the question of dual loyalties. How was he going to be the next Pharaoh while feeling strong sympathy for the Jews, who were considered arch enemies of the Egyptian regime? What was he going to do to resolve this?

POSSIBLY THE MOST RADICAL DECISION EVER MADE IN HUMAN HISTORY
A deeper reading of one verse may give us some insight into this psychological quandary. After the Egyptian attacks the Israelite, we read:

"And he (Moses) turned this way and that way, and he saw there was no man, and he smote the Egyptian and hid him in the sand." (Exodus 2:12)

As suggested by an unknown commentator, this may allude, albeit in an allegorical way, to Moses' situation: Moses suddenly realized that he was living in two worlds. While his youth was spent in the world of Egyptian culture, as far as knowledge, art and religion were concerned his heart was elsewhere. Deep down he heard a Jewish voice demanding the opposite of everything Egypt stood for. It is for this reason that "he looked this way and that way." Moses realized that he was at a crossroads in his life and that "there was no man." As long as he did not decide to which world he belonged, he lacked identity. He would have neither character nor strength unless he would make up his mind where he really belonged. Consequently, he made the decision there and then that he was to be a Jew and therefore he "smote the Egyptian man" within himself and (allegorically) buried him in the sand.

It is this decision that turned the world on its head, steering mankind in a completely different direction. This decision, taken in the blink of an eye, is possibly the most radical one ever made in human history. It brought a whole new world into existence. It was the first step towards the realization of monotheism and ethical living becoming the greatest players in the history of mankind. When Moses decided in favor of his authentic Jewishness, he laid the foundation for becoming not only the greatest leader of all time, but also the most Godly of all men. He was able to speak with G0d and receive the Torah, the most profound religious ethical code, which gave birth to Judaism and later its offspring, Christianity, as well as Islam and even the secular ethical code by which many countries conduct their affairs to this day.


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But Moses must also have realized that by ending his ambivalent situation, he would be destroying his entire Egyptian future. Not only could he no longer aspire to become the new monarch of Egypt, but he would surely turn the whole of Egypt against him and become a wanderer and refugee with no money or future. And so he did. He became a rebel and ran for his life.

It is only after this heroic act that G0d revealed Himself to Moses at the burning bush, viewing him as a man suited to be the leader of the Jewish people and able to speak with Him on a daily basis. This is most surprising. Would G0d not have preferred for his people a leader who had been educated in a strong religious environment by the best educators and protected from the influences of the outside world? How would a man, who was raised in a foreign world committed to idol worship and absent of all morality, emerge as the most outstanding leader of G0d's nation and the greatest religious teacher of all time?

"Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm," said Publilius Syrus. But it is resistance and the rebel within a person that creates the real leader. Leadership, borne of opposition, can only emerge in an environment at odds with the comfortable. The man who can swim against the current knows its strength and will therefore become stronger himself.

We owe almost all our inner strength not to those who have agreed but to those who have opposed us.

Had Moses been educated in a strong religious environment with the best educators to guide and protect him from the influences of the outside world, he could never have become Moses. Only in a foreign environment that challenged all Jewish moral criteria could a man like Moses emerge.

HAVING THE TOOL TO NOT LOOK LIKE A FOOL
While it is most important that we give our children and ourselves the best education possible, we will succeed in creating strong religious personalities only when we ensure that they are confronted with strong ideological opposition. We should build religious schools in which students are constantly challenged in their beliefs and commitment, in order to give them the religious tools to explain and defend these beliefs.

In fact, they should learn how to challenge the very teachings that oppose religious tradition. To make this happen, believing teachers should bring to the attention of their students critiques against the tradition and show them how these criticisms could be answered through the world of wisdom as found in the Talmud, Midrash and writings of Jewish philosophers. A reading of Spinoza's Tractatus and Nietzsche's critique of religion would do wonders in our academies. John Locke's "A Letter Concerning Toleration" should be studied and debated along with the tractate of Sanhedrin. The teachings of Sartre should be challenged by Chassidic texts such as those of the Kotzker Rebbe and the Mei Hashiloach. This would sharpen the minds of students and show them the profundity of the Jewish tradition. They would learn how to challenge these secular works or in fact, through them, deepen some of the most important Jewish teachings. It would generate a new appreciation of what Judaism is all about; make it much more relevant and vital.

Once in a while, a religious institution should invite an apikores (heretic) and make him challenge the students' beliefs. The debate that would follow would spark a whole new way of seeing what Judaism really has to offer. Instead of shunning such a proposal, it should be encouraged. Sure, this can only be done with mature and serious students and it needs to be carefully guided, but it would create strong religious Jews who know what they stand for, enjoy the challenge and move Judaism forward.

Judaism was born out of opposition, rebellion and protest. It overthrew and outlived mighty empires and gave the world a radically new understanding of itself. Judaism has nothing to fear. It has prevailed over all those who critiqued it but it has also learned much about itself by listening to opposing voices. Through these voices, it has been able to sharpen its own claims and if necessary change its mind when the inadequacy of these claims has become clear. Only in this way will it continue to play a central role in the future of mankind.

We need new religious leaders, but they will only emerge when those we have today stop fearing any and every challenge to Judaism. It is easy to be brave from a safe distance but that does not create great leaders. Judaism was built with courage. Let us overcome fear and behold its wonder. Let Judaism be challenged; it will only improve.

As C.S. Lewis once said, "Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point."

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JWR contributor Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo is a world-renowned lecturer and ambassador for Judaism, the Jewish people, the State of Israel and Sephardic Heritage.

© 2011, Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo