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 Feb. 11, 2005 / 2 Adar I, 5765

Is the Divine beyond us or within us?

By Rabbi David Aaron

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Misconceptions of Biblical proportions about the Creator

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The Torah (Exodus 25:8) recounts that G-d instructed the Israelites to build a sanctuary, telling Moses, "Let them build a sanctuary and I will dwell in them." Note that G-d did not say, "I will dwell in the sanctuary." G-d said, "in them."

Is G-d beyond us or within us?

One day my son Ananiel and my two daughters, Leyadya and Ne'ema, burst into my study. They had obviously been fighting over something and were very upset. I could see that I was chosen to be the lucky arbitrator to resolve another case of sibling rivalry. They shouted at each other, "You go, you ask Daddy." "No, no! You go, you go." Finally Ananiel, who was five at that time, took the challenge and said, "O.K., O.K. Daddy, isn't it true that G-d is a boy?"

Ne'ema and Leyadya, ages eight and nine, had tears in their eyes. I could hear them silently pleading with me, "Please no, please no. Tell us it's not true. It's bad enough our brother is a boy. Surely, G-d is really a girl."

I said to them, "G-d is not a boy and G-d is not a girl. G-d is beyond that. We may talk about G-d as if He is a boy. But we really don't mean it literally."

They all looked at me in shock and confusion. There was this awkward silence, and then suddenly my son blurted out, "You're wrong! He's a boy." And he stomped out of the room.

Unfortunately, many adults actually believe that G-d is male. And it seems from a first glance at the Book of Genesis that the Torah would agree. Throughout G-d is referred to as "He." Although in much of Jewish tradition we find G-d described as a father and king, there are references to G-d also as a "She," as mother or queen.

However, those of us who are in the know understand that all this is metaphor.

According to Kabbalah, G-d is beyond descriptions that use neat and easy logical categories of either/or.

Most people think that G-d is infinite. But that is incorrect. The infinite is that which goes on and on in space. However, G-d created space and is therefore not bound to the laws and limitation of space. If we describe G-d as infinite, what we really mean is that G-d is spaceless. Infinite is the opposite of finite, while spaceless means "free from the limitations of space." The One who is spaceless is free to be both beyond space and within space simultaneously. Therefore, G-d is beyond this finite world and yet G-d completely inheres every inch of the earth.

Most people think that G-d is eternal. But that is incorrect. Eternity would be that which goes on and on in time. But G-d created time and is therefore not confined to the limitations of time. If we describe G-d as eternal, what we really mean is that G-d is timeless. The eternal is the opposite of the temporal, while timeless means "free of the limitations of time." The One who is timeless is free to be both beyond time and within time at the same time. Therefore, G-d is both beyond time and yet within every moment, completely filling it with His entire presence.

And when we say that G-d is One, we really mean that G-d is non-dual. One is limited; it is the opposite of many. But non-duality is free of the confines of one or many. Non-duality is free to be beyond the many and within the many. Therefore, G-d is beyond you, me, and everyone else in this world, and yet also within us.

How can the unlimited be expressed within the limited? How can the unlimited G-d be expressed within time, space, and finite beings?

If the unlimited could not be expressed within the limited, then that would be a limitation. Ultimate freedom must include the freedom to choose to be restricted. Otherwise freedom wouldn't be free; it would imply a limitation of choices  —  you could not choose to be restricted and limited.

Therefore, according to Kabbalah, G-d is free to be both beyond time and within each moment, beyond space and within every inch, beyond multiplicity and within billions of finite human beings. G-d is free to be manifest as one hundred percent transcendent and yet also one hundred percent immanent.

Of course, this is a contradiction and is not logical. However, we have to always be reminded that all this is from our limited point of view. From G-d's perspective there are not two aspects to the Divine. It is only when we describe the divine truth with our limited language that we need to speak in this paradoxical way. As one sage put it, Kabbalah is not the path to paradise but to paradox.

Kabbalah explains that the manifestation of divine transcendence is identified with the power of masculinity. However, the manifestation of divine immanence is identified with the power of femininity.

In Kabbalah, masculinity is the power of rational detachment, the ability to see from outside as an objective observer. Femininity is the power to empathize, to be intimate, the ability to feel a situation from the inside, as a participant.

The Torah teaches that the first human being was created in the image of G-d. However, the verse that expresses this in Genesis is very strange. Here is the translation from the Soncino Press version, chapter 1, verse 27: "And G-d created man in His own image, in the image of G-d He created him; male and female He created them."

Was the first human being a "him" or a "them"? The answer is yes! The first human being was a single whole entity that included two sexes. The first human was not really male but actually beyond genders  —  including both male and female.

At a Jewish wedding ceremony, a blessing is recited that might seem puzzling: "Blessed are You, G-d, King of the universe, who created the human being in Your image." It might seem that this blessing would be more appropriately recited at the birth of a child than at a wedding. However, when a child is born you really do not see the full image of G-d. The full image of G-d is only manifest when the male and female unite.

The manifestation of G-d as outside of time, space, and finite beings is described as masculine. The manifestation of G-d as within time, space, and finite beings is described as feminine.

Therefore, G-d is not male or female. G-d is not beyond us or within us. G-d is beyond the either/or.

It is up to us to become a living sanctuary; to think, speak and act in ways that empower us to experience G-d's joyous truth.

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The Secret Life of G-d  

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JWR contributor Rabbi David Aaron is the founder and dean of Isralight, an international organization with programming in Israel, New York South Florida, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Toronto. He has taught and inspired thousands of Jews who are seeking meaning in their lives and a positive connection to their Jewish roots.

He is the author of the newly released, The Secret Life of G-d, and also the author of Endless Light: The Ancient Path of Kabbalah to Love, Spiritual Growth and Personal Power , Seeing G-d and Love is my religion. (Click on links to purchase books. Sales help fund JWR.) He lives in the old City of Jerusalem with his wife and their seven children.

© 2005, Rabbi David Aaron