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December 2, 2014

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

Of course life is ‘fair’ . . . not that it matters

By Rabbi B. Shafier





Don't justify 'inequality', master it

JewishWorldReview.com | There was a novel written a number of years ago that opens with a young, professional football player who is preparing for the upcoming Super Bowl game. He is riding his bike on a country road to get into shape for the big game, and he enters a long curving tunnel. Unbeknownst to him, a car is speeding into the tunnel from the opposite direction, heading directly for him.

The angel of death on duty that day is new to the job. He sees the crash coming and decides, "Why wait? Why make him go through the gore and the mess?" So instead of actually waiting for the inevitable crash, he takes the football player out of his body at the very last moment before the accident, and brings him up to Heaven.

However, the angel of death made a mistake. Any normal person driving his bike through that tunnel would have crashed and been killed. But this man was an athlete with highly keen instincts; he would have veered off at the last minute and not been hit. He should be alive. But it's too late. His body is buried; he is up in Heaven. What do they do now?


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The Heavenly court meets and decides they have no choice but to send him back. To do that, they have to find someone whose time is up and put the football player back into that body. The closest they can come up with is a rich tycoon living in an exclusive mansion. So this athlete finds himself in the flabby body of a wealthy snob with an entire staff of butlers and maids. The cute part of the story is how he plans to get his sagging, pampered, new body into shape for the Super Bowl only weeks away. He gets the prim and proper servants to run football drills with him on the front lawn of the stately mansion as he practices his passes.

While this is a charming story, it illustrates a significant concept: that football player found himself occupying a body. He opened his eyes and found himself in a life.

That exact experience happened to every one of us. The Divine took us and hand-selected a life to be the ideal setting for us to allow us to grow. We were put into this body and told, "Go live your life!"

WE DON'T GET TO CHOOSE
We tend to take far too much credit for that which was given to us, and too much blame for what wasn't. No one woke up one morning and said, "Lord, I think you should create me with a 180 IQ . . . No, make that an 80 IQ." "Lord, I think I should be 62?, strapping and strong. No, on second thought, I would rather be 54?, puny and weak."

Our life settings have been chosen for us, and we have no input in the process. Smart or dumb, attractive or ordinary, talented or not. These are the backdrops against which we live our lives, the scenery and landscape that surrounds us. But they don't define us.

Just as our external conditions are set, so, too, is much of our inner makeup. Our temperament has been hard-wired into us at birth. Studies show that whether a child is bold or timid, extroverted or shy, can be determined at twenty-two months of age. It is simply the nature the child is born with.

Granted, a person can work on himself. He can learn to overcome weaknesses and change the level of some of his personality traits. But each individual was given a certain predisposition and tendencies at birth. These are part of the stage settings of his life. He was born into a role, and this is the backdrop against which he plays.

And that is the point — no one gets to choose. Each individual is born into an exact generation, into a given family, in a specific birth order, with a precise family dynamic. That might include a domineering older brother or a whiny younger sister. It might mean being born with a silver spoon in your mouth or into the grip of poverty. Introverted or extroverted, bold or timid, robust or weak, tall or short, handsome or not. With specific talents and abilities, and an exact level of intelligence, each person is placed into the ideal setting for him. Our lives fit us like a hand in a glove, with each situation custom-designed by our Creator for that individual.

When a person understands this, life itself is fair. If not, then it makes no sense at all. How do you explain why some people have it so easy and yet others have it so hard? Why are some people born talented and others not? Why are some people born crippled? Or deaf or blind? Why is there autism in the world? What about polio?

If our condition in this world really mattered, there would be no answer to these questions. If this world were the reason for Creation, then none of these situations would be fair. But that is the point: none of them matter; they are simply different life settings. We are but actors on the stage. Our role is to play our part — rich or poor, handsome or ugly, successful or not. We aren't judged by the part we play, but how we play it. The role is irrelevant. The props don't define us. The only thing that matters is what we do with our time on this planet.


Previously:

Why happiness will always be elusive

Travel Brochures and the World to Come

Your role of a lifetime

A Yellow Belt in Five Styles


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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:








© 2011, Rabbi B. Shafier