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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 wonder of it all

By Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo


Man as World Puppet Master from Bigstock



Religion is the art of knowing what to do with wonder. Too bad all too often that's not the way it's practiced


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | "This feeling of wonderment is the source and inexhaustible fountain-head of his desire for knowledge. It drives the child irresistibly on to solve the mystery, and if in his attempt he encounters a causal relationship, he will not tire of repeating the same experiment ten times, a hundred times, in order to taste the thrill of discovery over and over again….The reason why the adult no longer wonders is not because he has solved the riddle of life, but because he has grown accustomed to the laws governing his world picture. But the problem of why these particular laws and no others hold remains for him just as amazing and inexplicable as for the child. He who does not comprehend this situation misconstrues its profound significance, and he who has reached the stage where he no longer wonders about anything, merely demonstrates that he has lost the art of reflective reasoning. "

            —Max Planck, Scientific Autobiography, NY, 1949, pp 91-93]


In this week's Torah portion, Ki Sisa, we find a fascinating passage concerning Moses' descent from Sinai. We are informed that Moses decided to cover his face with a mask after realizing that his facial skin had become radiant causing people to withdraw and not dare approach him (Exodus 34: 29-35).

What is utterly surprising, however, is that contrary to common belief, Moses walked daily throughout the Israelite camp with his mask on, as long as he did not speak with the people. But once he had to speak to them he deliberately took it off, revealing his luminous face. Instead of accommodating them by making it easier to approach him, it seems that he wanted to bring them into an altogether different spiritual setting before repeating the words of the Divine as he had heard them. By taking off the mask he exposed them to this divine radiance, which caught them by complete surprise. The purpose, then, was to catch them off guard.


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Human beings can quickly become desensitized to even the most astonishing stimuli once they get used to them. The wonder will wear off. For Moses' radiance to have an ongoing effect it had to be hidden so that when he would reveal his face the Israelites would be deeply moved by its luminance. Only under those conditions could they fully appreciate and value the Divine's words. Otherwise even His words would become mediocre. Familiarity breeds contempt.

Religion is the art of knowing what to do with wonder. To ensure that it does not fall back into complacency, it must never become everydayness. In fact, this has become one of its greatest challenges during the last few hundreds years. While in the days of Moses and the prophets it was experienced as a majestic representation of the new, and with deep religious excitement, over the centuries this wonder has been replaced by a devastating familiarity. Religion has put on a permanent mask that is never removed.

By thoroughly misunderstanding what life is all about and believing that we have solved most problems concerning the mystery of life, we have become mentally shut off from the possibility of the extraordinary and unprecedented. We have deadened our capacity to be surprised.

With the passing of time, we have turned religion into an institution, a dogma and a ritual into which everything needs to fit neatly. But religion is really about an upheaval in the soul and the need to break with all sorts of idols. To live with spiritual trepidation in which man realizes that he was created from dust but has the capacity to reach Heaven. Whether or not man succeeds will depend on his ability and willingness to stand in awe.

A religion that comforts but does not challenge? We have turned faith into a lame doctrine in which the courage to shatter callousness has been sidetracked. It has been transformed into a sweet and comfortable religion in which man can slumber and never wake up.

Today's religion has paradoxically made modern man believe that Divine revelation is impossible. How, after all, can it claim that the Divine can enter our world when it has utterly rejected the notion that surprise is the great spiritual mover for authentic religious life? How can one uphold a belief in the revelation at Sinai when one simultaneously has bought into a spiritual stagnancy by thinking that scientific investigation is all there is and wonder is no longer to be part of our experience?

Revelation is based on the notion of infrequency. Its authenticity and truth is to be found in its being different from all other experiences. Its uniqueness is that it cannot be compared to any other event. It is sui generic. Once we attempt to explain it, it has lost its very purpose and essence. If we extinguish the spark of its singularity it is reduced to insignificance.

We need people who can teach us to take off our mask — which by now has merged with our skin — and show us the original glow of the Divine's word, as Moses did.

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

© 2012, Rabbi Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo

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