First Person

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

The Secret to Becoming Historical (Spiritual) Heroes

By Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb

Achieving the context for personal inner growth and outer action | This week, we begin a new book of the Bible, the fourth of the five books of Moses. In English, we are familiar with the title of this book as Numbers. This title is indeed apt because of the copious census material to be found in the opening chapters.

However, in Hebrew, the book is known as "Bemidbar," which means "in the desert," or better, "in the wilderness." The people of Israel, after leaving Egypt, are doomed to forty years of wandering there. What personal meaning can we glean from this wilderness experience?

The historian Arnold Toynbee described a process common to great cultures and great heroes. He called this the dynamic of "withdrawal and return." In Toynbee's view, achieving greatness requires long periods of withdrawal from society, followed by re-entry and return.

The hero must go through a stage of solitude and alienation in preparation for rejoining the historical arena. In that stage, through introspection and often through deprivation and suffering, the hero learns and grows, enabling his return to a world ready for innovative leadership.

Moses himself is an excellent example of Toynbee's dynamic. He withdrew for decades from the world of action, wandered in the desert as a shepherd, until his enlightenment, and then returned, reluctantly but forcefully, to the scene of world history.

The episodes we read in the synagogue for the next many weeks detail the "withdrawal" experience. The wilderness years are the crucial preparation for the return of the people of Israel to the theater of world history.

Toynbee's insights can apply to each of us as individuals, even if we are not quite historical heroes. We each act in a world of our own, and we each need our periods of withdrawal.

Developmentally, withdrawal comes to human beings during adolescence. The adolescent years are preparatory to our "return" to the world of responsibility. They are a moratorium of sorts, during which we learn and experiment to equip ourselves for the return to the world of maturity.


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Throughout life, however, if we are to effectively accrue new and deeper learnings, we need periodic times of withdrawal. These times can be the "breaks" in our daily lives, vacations, travel, and the distractions of hobbies and vocational interests.

For men and women of faith, these episodes of withdrawal are the religious experiences that prepare us to rejoin the material world, the world of deeds and physical realities.

The prophet Jeremiah longed to retreat into the desert; a dramatic example of such a withdrawal. The contemporary Jew learns to consider the "withdrawal" opportunities offered by our tradition. They include prayer, contemplative study, song, and intense "I-and-Thou" fellowship.

Judaism has wisely built into our lives the weekly rhythm of Sabbath and weekday as a way of mirroring the pattern of withdrawal and return. The Jewish Sabbath offers each of us a context for the prayer, study, and fellowship, which comprise the essence of "withdrawal."

The deeper and more spiritual aspect to the withdrawal is relevant even to those who do not think of themselves as "spiritual". Withdrawal in this deeper sense is a context for inner transformation and an opportunity for profound learning. It is also a time to define the objectives of the "return" and the strategies to achieve them.

For me, this paradigm is what Jewish practice is all about. Daily prayer is a time for withdrawal. The Sabbath is such a time, as are the major festivals. And the solemn days of the year, especially Yom Kippur, are special withdrawal opportunities. Each is followed by a return to the "real world," a "return" for which we are better prepared because of our "withdrawal" respite.

Achieving the rhythm of "withdrawal and return" is a vital personal task. The "wilderness" experience of which we will read in the book of Numbers must be understood as a period of national preparation and transformation. And our faith provides us with the context for our own "withdrawal and return," for personal inner growth and outer action.

Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb, PhD is currently the Executive Vice President, Emeritus of the Orthodox Union.

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© 2013, Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb