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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 May 30, 2008 / 15 Iyar 5768,

The Divine's eternal, unconditional love

By Rabbi A. Henach Leibowitz


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No matter how far or how low we have fallen, He is always waiting for us


“And the Divine spoke to Moshe in the desert of Sinai ”

                        —   Numbers 1:1


The Midrash (Bamidbar Rabbah 1:2) tells us that the Jews in the time of the prophet Jeremiah had sinned greatly. The people felt that they had created such a wide chasm between themselves and the Divine that it was impossible for them ever to ever repent. Jeremiah prophetically gave the Divine's answer: "Have I been a desert to the Jewish Nation? A land of darkness? Why do My people say, 'We have been separated from You, we will come no more to You'?" (Jeremiah 2:31).

The Midrash explains the Divine's response. He was telling the Jewish people that they are still beloved. By using the example of a desert, the Divine was reminding them that when they had been a fledgling people in the Wilderness of Sinai they could not even tell that they were actually in a forbidding desert.

The Divine provided them with manna to eat; the Clouds of Glory shaded them, killed the snakes and scorpions, and smoothed out the path before them by flattening the mountains and raising up the valleys. The Divine was in essence telling Jeremiah's generation, "I have shown you how much I love you — you are close to Me and repenting is certainly possible."

The miracles the Divine performed for Jewry in the desert were outstanding indicators of the Divine's love for the generation He saved from slavery in Egypt. How, though, did those wonders prove that the Divine's love and closeness would still exist so many years and a myriad of sins later?

The Jews of Jeremiah's time knew quite well the story of the Exodus from Egypt, yet they felt that their generation was far less worthy than the generation that stood at Sinai. Jeremiah's contemporaries despaired that the closeness The Divine once felt for them had disappeared due to their sins. How did The Divine's statement convince them that His love would still allow them to return to Him?


The people of Jeremiah's generation originally felt that the Divine's love for the Jewish people was dependent upon our national level of religiosity and righteousness.

They metaphorically looked in their mirror, saw their low spiritual state of affairs, and became despondent.

When the Divine reminded them of His kindness to our forefathers in the desert, He was showing them that His abundant kindness far surpassed even that which these great people deserved. The message is that the Divine's love for the Jewish people is unconditional — like that of a father to a son. His love for us never wanes and is not dependent on our spiritual level. Just as a father loves his child under any circumstances, so too, the Divine loves us beyond what we deserve, even when we are mired in the depths of sin.

As the Chovos HaLevavos states in Shaar HaBitachon (Chap. 3, First Principle): "The sixth [condition to have trust in the Divine] is that one should be aware of the Divine's overwhelming goodness to him, and that due to His great kindness and beneficence, the Divine bestowed good upon him from the very beginning, not because the person deserved it, and not because the Divine had any need to do so, but rather out of generosity, goodness and kindness ."


Often we find ourselves in a time of difficulty, perhaps faced with an illness, the loss of a job, or any type of suffering. A caring friend reminds us to trust in the Divine, to have bitachon (faith) that the Divine will save us in any circumstance. When we try to focus on that message of hope, our vision often becomes blurred by feelings of despair.

"What if I don't deserve the Divine's kindness? I have committed so many sins, why would He want to save me?"

At these times of hopelessness we must remind ourselves of the Divine's unconditional love. It would be very shortsighted and even nave to believe that the kindness the Divine has shown us throughout our lives extends only to what we deserve and not well beyond.

No one can look into himself and honestly think that he has been so righteous that the Divine owes him health and happiness. Rather, just as our parents' love for us is unqualified and constant, so too, the Divine's love is absolute, and we can rely on His salvation under any circumstances.

At the same time we can apply Jeremiah's pasuk, and his message, to ourselves. We shouldn't let our past mistakes discourage us from attempting to change and improve ourselves. We are never separated from the Divine. No matter how far or how low we have fallen, He is always waiting for us, like a patient, loving father, to turn back to Him in sincere teshuvah. If we internalize this message of the Divine's eternal, unconditional love, we will feel, in turn, feelings of love towards the Divine, which will provide a powerful motivation to begin the first steps of genuine repentance.

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One of America's senior Torah sages, Rabbi A. Henach Leibowitz has been the dean of the Rabbinical Seminary of America, in Queens, New York for more than 50 years. The institution has branches and affiliates all across North America and Israel.

This article was prepared by two of the sage's disciples, Rabbi Aryeh Striks and Rabbi Shimon Zehnwirth, and excerpted from the just released book, "Pinnacle of Creation: Torah insights into human nature".


Previously:

Perverting sincerity
Do 'clothes make the man'?
Divine vindictiveness?

© 2007, Mesorah Publications, Ltd.