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December 2, 2014

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

Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

By Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer




Memory of historic events is central to the Seder. But it also helps to release us from the burden of the past


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Last year during filming BBC1's program about the Seder, I was asked a question by one of the participants that challenged my thinking and enriched my Seder experience.


We had just finished reciting the Aramaic passage Ha lachma anya, which recalls the bread of affliction our ancestors ate in Egypt, when I was asked if we had reached the point in the Seder where we have symbolically left Egypt? I struggled to respond because the Seder is not a straightforward enactment of the journey from oppression to freedom.


The Seder begins with a symbolic gesture of freedom (drinking the Kiddush [sacrament] wine in a reclining position) indicating redemption but then, as if retreating back in time, this is shortly followed by dipping vegetables into salt water to evoke the tears of servitude.


The recital of the first half of Hallel indicates that we are free but this is then followed by eating bitter herbs, symbolically placing us back in Egypt. The Haggadah text itself veers erratically between passages that call to mind oppression and passages that stir up impressions of freedom in no particular order.


The Seder is by no means a linear journey from bondage to freedom; rather, like a post-modern novel, it plunges one in at out of the story with scant regard for the timeline. The Seder experience is not about travelling back in time but rather it's about transcending time altogether.


The reason the Seder is so evocative is because it collapses time; generations, memories, dreams and hopes. Be they individual, familial or communal. And this is liberating because time, or more accurately one's awareness of it, can be terribly oppressive; the weight of the past, unfulfilled dreams, the trauma of change, the desperate desire sometimes to go back in time and relive certain moments, the need to hold on to the present, the awareness of constant ticking of the clock, the lengthening of the shadows. Freedom from the tyranny of time may be what the Seder is all about.


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One of the great post-modern novels, The Sound and the Fury, by William Faulkner, set in the south after the American civil war, tells the story of the erosion of the once proud Compson family.


Time weighs heavily like a burden on the main protagonist and eldest son, Quentin Compson. His entire world is rapidly changing along with his family's fortunes. He seeks in vain to halt the advance of time and in the end it destroys him.


At one point he picks up a watch his father gave him and he recalls his father's words: "I give you the mausoleum of all hope and desire... I give it to you not that you may remember time, but that you might forget it now and then for a moment and not spend all your breath trying to conquer it."


On Seder night, for a brief moment, we forget time and experience the point where past, present and future intersect. This collapsing or condensing of time was manifest at the very first Seder when our ancestors in Egypt beheld His revelation at midnight; midnight being the immeasurable space between two days, a time that is not made of time.


However, there is a problem with collapsing time and that is that we cannot live without the awareness of the passage of time. The passage of time enables us to cherish what we have, it helps heal wounds and pain, it gives us things to look forward to; it gives us perspective.


The tragedy of a life unable to experience the passage of time is evident in the youngest Compson brother, the severally mentally disabled Benji. As he has no concept of time he experiences constant and fresh pain and loss.

Faulkner said of Benji: "To that idiot, time was not a continuation, it was an instant, there was no yesterday and no tomorrow, it all is this moment, it all is [now] to him. He cannot distinguish between what was last year and what will be tomorrow, he doesn't know whether he dreamed it or saw it."


The downside of transcending time is utter disorientation. The tragedy of the Compson brothers is that Quentin is unable to transcend time, while Benji cannot begin to grasp time. Both are cursed and suffer terribly, although in different ways, as a result.


Maybe that is why immediately after the Seder we begin the most time-conscious ritual of all: counting the Omer, as if to reinforce the importance of time in our lives.


While the Seder creates the magical experience of collapsed time, it can only be momentary. We must inevitably get back to the temporal world; we cannot truly conquer time but we might forget it now and then for a moment and not spend all our breath trying to conquer it.


Seder night presents this opportunity and if grasped its magic will continue to be felt all year long.

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer is the CEO of the Spiritual Capital Foundation.

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© 2014, Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer. This article first appeared in The London Jewish Chronicle

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