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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

Why happiness will always be elusive

By Rabbi B. Shafier





What the gurus, inspirational speakers, and hucksters know that you don't --- until now

JewishWorldReview.com | Like a mantra, people utter the words, "I will be happy when…" Each person has his own fill-in for the blank, but whatever it is, his happiness depends on it. It might be the newest car, the fanciest house, the corner office, or the wardrobe worth dying for. It could be the right spouse, acceptance into medical school, that great job, or people who understand me… Each person has his own value system and his own criteria, but he clearly knows, "Once I get it, I will finally be happy."

Yet an amazing thing happens. He does finally get it! And lo and behold, he still isn't happy. What happened? It was all that he needed. It was all that he wanted. He finally has it. Why isn't he satisfied? What is the problem?

The problem is that he isn't living the way his life was planned. If you use a fine surgical instrument to pry open a window — it does a lousy job, and it ruins the blade. When you live in a way other than your Creator intended, life just doesn't work well. And slowly, after a lifetime wasted, you learn that money doesn't fill your soul. Pleasure and honor just don't satisfy your inner needs. Oh, they look so alluring. They exert this almost magical pull, but they never work. At the core of your essence, you remain empty. And like drinking when you are hungry, as soon as the excitement of finally getting it passes, you find yourself more unsatisfied than before.

Unfortunately, most people discover this way too late in the game to do anything about it.

THE MOST ENJOYABLE ACTIVITY IS GROWING
The Divine created the human to grow. It is in his very nature. Growth is the activity that brings him the most joy. Hashem put man into this world with many challenges and much to accomplish. When man uses his life appropriately, he achieves inner balance and harmony; he is at peace with himself. The sun is shining bright. The birds are chirping. The colors are so vibrant — he is so alive. He is happy. When he uses his life for any other purpose, he finds himself empty and unsatisfied, listless, with a constant need to fill a void within.


STIMULATION AND INSPIRATION

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This is one of the great ironies of life. The more a person focuses on purpose and meaning, the more bountiful is his life. The more he focuses on taking in all of the pleasures this world has to offer, the less he enjoys them. Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we may die is a formula for finding less pleasure and less enjoyment in life. The hedonist is bound to fail because his existence becomes just an endless race to fill an ever widening gulf within. This isn't a quirk in the system, and it isn't by accident. It is part of the design.

Make no mistake, pleasures have their place — they are tools to be used. When a person is content, he is better able to serve his Creator. By properly using the luxuries and comforts of this world, man elevates himself. He transforms the mundane into the holy and is better suited for his mission. By doing this, he also elevates the world itself because he is using it for its intended purpose. He enjoys this world and gains the World to Come.

THE FIVE-STAR HOTEL CALLED LIFE
We are in this hotel called life for but a few short years. Nevertheless, the Creator designed it as a five-star accommodation with many luxuries and amenities. The Divine created a custom-made world with flowers and trees, sunrises, and mountain tops for our use. All of the extraordinary beauty was put here for us. The orange, the apple, the pear, and the banana were created for us to enjoy. The flavors, textures, and aromas in food didn't have to be there. Nor did color. He invested great wisdom into creation for our pleasure. It isn't the reason we are here. But it is part of the design. The difficult part is not losing our way, not mistaking the passing for the permanent, the hotel for our home.

The reason man can't find happiness is that he isn't focused on why he was created. Assuming that this world is the end all and be all of Creation, man pursues everything but what he was put here for, and so he lives out of sync with his very nature. Then, for some "strange reason," nothing seems to satisfy him. So he begins that elusive search for happiness — in all the wrong places.

If a person wants to live a meaningful, satisfying life, he needs to understand himself. He must relate to the needs of his soul. The only way that he can do this is by finding his mission in life, finding out why the Divine created him, and why He put him into this thing we call life.


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JWR contributor Rabbi B. Shafier is the author, most recently, of Stop Surviving, Start Living, from which this essay was excerpted.


Previously:

Travel Brochures and the World to Come

Your role of a lifetime

A Yellow Belt in Five Styles








© 2011, Rabbi B. Shafier