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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

The Death Watch

By Rabbi Yonason Goldson



Time Space Fabric from Bigstock




Are you ready for the end of time?

JewishWorldReview.com | Whether or not you're a fan of science fiction, it's always intriguing when our life in the present imitates the art of our past.

In Robert A. Heinlein's first published story, Life-line, Professor Pinero builds a machine that can predict any person's day of death. To verify Pinero's claim, a committee of scientists submit to his examination, after which their names are sealed in separate envelopes, each with the date-of-death printed on the outside, and locked away for future verification. The first to die is Pinero himself, murdered by zealots who believe he is tampering with Fate. Upon learning of Pinero's death, the chairman of the science committee calls for the box of envelopes and, after determining that Pinero had accurately predicted his own demise, burns the whole batch of envelopes to ashes.

So… what would you do? If it were possible to predict the day of your death, would you want to know?

Well, now you can.

More or less.

Fredrik Colting has already taken 3000 orders for his new digital watch, the Tikker.

Instead of a singlerow of numbers, the Tikker has three. One row tells the time like any ordinary watch. However, a second row displays years, months, and days, while a third row displays hours, minutes, and seconds, inexorably counting down toward -- you guessed it -- the day you will die.

Mr. Colting has nicknamed his invention the happiness watch. Of course, there are no guarantees that the watch is accurate. But it does come programmed with a formula similar to the U. S. Government Life Expectancy Calculator.

The wearer enters date of birth, sex, ethnicity, a few personal habits and voila! the Tikker begins ticking off the time he has left to live. So why call it the happiness watch? Mr. Colting believes that a greater awareness of how much time we have left will make us value that time more, so that we will live more virtuous and fruitful lives. He may be right. According to NPR, scientists all over the world have observed that by contemplating death, people acquire a deeper sense of the value of life and become inclined to show increasing generosity. However, when NPR interviewed psychologist Sheldon Solomon of Skidmore College, they learned that other studies indicate just the opposite.

Reflections on death make people xenophobic, sometimes to the point of hostility and even physical aggression.

"When [Christians were] reminded of their mortality first, now they hated the Jewish people," says Dr. Solomon. "And that's not about Christians per se. In Israel, if you have Jewish people thinking about dying, they dislike Arabs and Christians. In India, if you have Indians think about dying, they dislike Pakistanis, and so on."

So NPR tried its own experiment. Reporters recruited Jeff and Theresa Rosenthal (each of whom has about thirty years to go, according to the Tikker) to wear the watch for 24 hours. Jeff started off with a burst of passion for life, but his mood soon gave way to morbid impatience. On the other hand, Theresa's early feelings of anxiety gradually dissipated before a sense that all was well with the world. "Colors are brighter," she reported. "I feel almost like what you feel when you're first in love." Theresa plans to buy herself a Tikker when it comes out. Jeff couldn't wait to take his off. So why the difference?

COUNTING THE SANDS OF TIME
A chassidic traveler turned in at an inn to stay the night. The next morning he approached the innkeeper. "As tired as I was from my journey, I could not sleep last night," he said. "The clock in my room must be enchanted. Every time it chimed I felt a rush of joy, until I couldn't resist the urge to get out of bed and dance with abandon. Where did you get it?"

"The clock belongs to another traveler who had no money to pay for his room," replied the innkeeper. "He left the clock with me as security until he could return to pay his bill."

The chassid interrogated the innkeeper further until he concluded: "This clock must have been handed down from the holy Rebbe of Lublin.

"A clock is generally a source of depression," the chassid continued. "It ticks off the moments of our lives, perpetually reminding us of lost opportunities and unrealized dreams.

"But the Rebbe of Lublin lived his life utilizing every moment in pursuit of spiritual perfection. For him, every chime of the clock heralded the nearing arrival of the messianic era and his own reward of eternal bliss in the World to Come. This clock has become a harbinger of joyful tidings."



A TIME TO WEEP, AND A TIME TO LAUGH
Hope or despair? Joy or depression? Time is a complicated matter, which is why the sages of the Talmud recorded ample teachings to make us aware of how we should use the days and years of our lives:


  • Hillel says: "Do not believe in yourself until the day you die." Complacency is the surest recipe for mediocrity. One who constantly expects more from himself will experience the constant exhilaration of accomplishment.

  • Rabbi Eliezer says: "Repent one day before you die." Needless to say, no one can know the moment of his death. Daily self-reflection leads to self-improvement and a life with no regrets.

  • Rabbi Tarfon says: "The day is short, the task is abundant, the laborers are lazy, the reward is great, and the Master of the house is insistent." As George Bernard Shaw put it, youth is wasted on the young, since they haven't learned to appreciate the value of a moment. When we consider how much we have to achieve in so few years, we cannot help but use our time wisely, thereby enjoying the rewards of a life well-lived.

  • Akavya ben Mahalalel says: "Reflect upon three things and you will not come to the hand of sin -- Know from where you came, where you will go, and before Whom you will have to give justification and accounting for all your deeds."

    There can be no more depressing notion than the idea that this world is a great accident and that nothing will remain of us after we are gone. Why will the Almighty judge us for all our actions? Because everything we do matters!

  • Rabbi Yaakov says: "This world is like an entry hall before the World to Come. Prepare yourself in the entry hall so that you may be allowed to enter the banquet hall."

    How much time do you spend preparing for a date or a business meeting? Should you put any less effort into getting ready to meet eternity?


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PREPARING FOR THE END OF DAYS
Then Jacob called for his sons and said: "Gather around so I can tell you what will befall you in End of Days" (Genesis 49:1).

The sages tell us that our father Jacob, as he lay on his deathbed, intended to reveal to his sons when the messianic era would arrive. But the Almighty withdrew Jacob's spirit of prophecy so that he lost his vision of the future. Instead, he gave his sons blessings before his soul left this world.

As the beginning of the long and painful Egyptian exile loomed before the incipient Jewish nation, Jacob thought to ease his children's anxiety by showing them a vision of their ultimate redemption. But knowledge of the future changes the future. So the Almighty took the words out of Jacob's mouth, leaving his sons -- and us -- uncertain of how much collective time we have remaining.

But why did Jacob substitute blessings for knowledge of the future?

Jacob's blessings were not mere platitudes or bromides. Rather, he gave each son a deeper insight into himself, a greater awareness of his unique strengths or weaknesses so that he would be prepared to engage the world to the limits of his potential and utilize the time he had on earth without worrying about how much time he had left.

Ultimately, we're better off not knowing what is to come.

But either way, when we appreciate how our time in this world gives us an opportunity to gain entry to a far better place, every moment becomes a priceless gift and every day becomes filled with the expectation of a joyful future.


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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. He is author of Dawn to Destiny: Exploring Jewish History and its Hidden Wisdom, an overview of Jewish philosophy and history from Creation through the compilation of the Talmud, now available from Judaica Press. Visit him at http://torahideals.com .






© 2013, Rabbi Yonason Goldson