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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

It's midnight — have your neighbors ascended to heaven?

By Rabbi Yonason Goldson





When Prophecies Don't Come True

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | There's something we love about a prophecy unfulfilled. But let's be honest: even if we mocked those who eagerly awaited rapture this past Saturday, were we not the least bit discomfited by a little voice whispering from some distant corner of our minds, "But what if this time they're right?"

When I was a little boy growing up in California, I occasionally found my peaceful night's sleep troubled by predictions of the massive earthquake that will someday plunge my childhood home into the Pacific Ocean. When I was in college, astronomers warned that the alignment of the planets could send the earth spinning out of its orbit. Somewhere in between, climatologists predicted that a series of arctic winters presaged a global descent into the next ice age. (Now, a mere generation later, they insist that we face the catastrophic melting of earth's polar ice caps.)

Religious prophecies, however, prick our incredulity most of all. Although as many as 90 percent of Americans claim to believe in the Divine, the notion of a Deity who takes an active role in our lives may arouse consternation more than comfort. After all, if the Master of Creation is ever watching, listening, and recording our words, thoughts, and deeds, who among us will be able to stand before His heavenly tribunal when we depart this mortal coil? We may have invoked the specter of Santa Claus to frighten our children into compliance, but we're far too old to believe in such fantasies ourselves. Aren't we? If we truly believe in the Almighty, then it takes only a simple step of logic to conclude that He created the universe with both a plan and a purpose. By definition, the Divine is infinite (since, if He were not, some higher power would necessarily have had to create Him); consequently, He could only have been motivated to create us for our benefit, not His own. And since the physical world we inhabit is filled with much suffering and apparent injustice, it is only logical to assume that this world is merely a place of transition through which all must pass to reach the place of spiritual radiance where the righteous will dwell for all eternity.


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This kind of metaphysical reasoning leads to the inevitable conclusion that the Almighty is both aware of and involved in every aspect of our lives, and that the seeming chaos of human history is in fact all part of some profound and deeply veiled master plan. Such awareness offers comfort that our world is not as random as it appears and that our turbulent lives are ultimately meaningful. At the same time, we are haunted by the prospect that we will eventually have to give an accounting of our souls and endure the consequences of our misdeeds.

Faced with such uncertainty, randomness may not seem so bad after all. Indeed, the failure of one more doomsday prophecy allows us to relax in the knowledge that Judgment Day is not yet upon us.

For those of us who are true believers, however, the End of Days is in reality another day closer, even if we place little confidence in those occasional fringe elements who claim to have insider information. History is our guide; we have been down this road before. Prior to Nebuchadnezzar's exile of the Jewish nation to Babylon in the fifth century Before the Common Era, the prophet Jeremiah assured the Jews that after 70 years the Almighty would return them to the Land of Israel. When Nebuchadnezzar conquered the city of Ashkelon in the Hebrew year 3320 (439 Before the Common Era), the Jewish people started counting.*

Exactly sixty nine years later, Darius the Mede defeated the Babylonians, and the Jews came under Persian rule. The following year, Darius's successor, King Cyrus, granted the Jews permission to return to Israel and to rebuild their Temple. But the Jews had become comfortable as guests in their new country, and only a minority elected to uproot their lives by returning to their ancestral homeland. Failing in their commitment, they forfeited the divinely granted right to return. Cyrus changed his mind, and the Jews remained in exile.

But what of the prophecy? The Almighty is not limited in His ways or means. Seven years after the conquest of Israel, Nebuchadnezzar had exiled ten thousand sages and King Jehoyachin, hoping to subdue his rebellious subjects by separating them from their spiritual leaders. 68 years later, against the vehement objections of the leading sage Mordechai, the Jews attended a party held by King Ahasuerus to celebrate his victory over the G0d of the Jews. Once again, the Jewish people forfeited the merit necessary for redemption, and the second chance to count 70 years came and went uneventfully.

Eleven years after the exile of the sages, Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem and exiled the remained of the Jewish people to Babylon. Exactly 70 years later, prodded by the wicked Haman's attempted genocide, the Jews finally showed their trust in the Almighty and earned the right to return to their land.

If you can see the future, you change the future. If mankind would know the date of our ultimate redemption, we would wait passively for the moment and thereby fail to earn it. And so we understand that the reason for messianic prophecy is to provide us with confidence that our fate is truly in the hands of heaven and to reassure us that our Creator has not abandoned us to happenstance. Ultimately, we are masters of our own fate, in the sense that we will bring about the fulfillment of the Divine's promise through our faithfulness, our virtue, and our good deeds.

Would-be prophets may come and go, but destiny is on our side.

*Secular scholars may contest these dates, which are based on Jewish records and historical traditions.


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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. He is author of Dawn to Destiny: Exploring Jewish History and its Hidden Wisdom, an overview of Jewish philosophy and history from Creation through the compilation of the Talmud, now available from Judaica Press. Visit him at http://torahideals.com .






© 2010, Rabbi Yonason Goldson