JWR Schticks and groans

In this issue
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)


The Grass is Always Greener After the Apocalypse

By Rabbi Yonason Goldson

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Confronting the moral quandary of man against nature

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Well, there goes the neighborhood.

That's what I thought when I came home to find my next-door neighbor cutting his grass - for the first time since autumn. This was bad news. With the front yard of my other neighbor already short-cropped and neatly clipped, my own bedraggled lawn now stood out in sharp, unpretty relief.

For some mysterious reason, the zoysia grass that dominates my front lawn is the last in the neighborhood to awaken each year from dormancy. Even worse, a variety of other grasses shoot up energetically with the outbreak of spring, speckling my lawn in malignant clumps that make the zoysia appear all the more anemic. In contrast to the golf course-like greens on either side of me, my patch of stringy yellow turf seemed to beckon for a rough-cut, whitewashed sign proclaiming CONDEMNED!

My yard guys had yet to appear after the winter hiatus and hadn't returned my phone calls. Were they out of town? Had they given up yard work for house painting or auto repair? It didn't matter. Only one course of action remained: I would have to cut the grass myself.

My sensibilities cried out against the wrongness of it all. The Creator did not plant grass upon His earth that it should be cut. He intended that it should grow, that it should go to seed, that it should produce new grass, and that the cycle should continue, uninterrupted by the meddling hands of Man. Cutting the lawn was a symbol of the same intrusive practices responsible for the destruction of the ozone layer and global warming, for deforestation and the extinction of new species every day, for Japanese kudzu smothering the southwest and Venezuelan hyacinths choking the Everglades. It all starts here, hacking down new growth sown by the Divine Hand to conform to some arbitrary aesthetic mean, branding every bayou a quagmire to justify turning it into a landfill or a parking lot. Was I now to become a part of this?

"How about doing mine when you finish yours?" I called to my neighbor. Let him be the one to destroy the planet.

"You're welcome to borrow my mower when I finish," he said.

Terrific. Out of the frying pan, into the quagmire.

Should I leave my lawn uncut to protest the destruction of the world's ecosystem? No, my neighbors wouldn't understand that I was making a political statement. Even worse, I would likely be cited by the city for crimes against civilization.

And, worst of all, a small inner voice insisted that as an upstanding community member, as a father and a teacher, I had an obligation to uphold standards and preserve the status quo for the general welfare of the collective.

Bah. Humbug.

My neighbor finished. "You want to use it now?" he asked.

Of course not, you infidel. But I didn't say that: he would only have thought me rude. Instead I just smiled and nodded.

He showed me how to operate the mower then went inside, mercifully, so not to behold me in my degradation.

You know what? It wasn't so bad. I even felt a kind of thrill as I assumed mastery over nature, subduing the power of the untamed wilderness, imposing order upon chaos. In fifteen minutes, the lawn looked great. I felt great. Maybe I should buy shares in John Deere. My only worry was that my wife might now expect me to mow the grass every two weeks. Well, maybe she wouldn't notice.

Half an hour later, as I was throwing the baseball with my son on our newly manicured front yard, my wife pulled into the driveway.

"Honey," she cried. "The lawn looks great. You cut it yourself?"

Rats. She noticed.

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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. Visit him at http://torahideals.wordpress.com .

© 2009, Rabbi Yonason Goldson