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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 Sept. 19, 2006 /26 Elul, 5766

Dynamic beginnings, Dynamic Lives

By Rabbi Akiva Tatz


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | As the energy of time cycles through its phases, it reaches peaks which are specific to its seasons. The energy which lends itself to inspiring and revitalizing the "point of beginning" peaks at Rosh Hashanah, the New Year. One who wishes to elevate and amplify his power of new creation, his ability to be always new and self-generating, should utilize the spiritual power of Rosh Hashanah to the fullest.

Let us delve into the idea of Rosh Hashanah to discover the energies which are manifest in order to be able to best use this opportunity. Strengthening the inspiration of the first phase of experience is the key to building the strength and stamina needed for the second, the phase of diminished inspiration.

Rosh Hashanah is the beginning of the year. The spiritual forces operating at moments of beginning are unique. "Hakol holech achar harosh — Everything goes after the beginning." The entire course of any process is determined by its beginning. This is because a beginning is a conception, and conception represents the laying down of the genes which are the blueprint for everything which is built later. The spiritual rule is that the closer to the moment of conception, the more potent and critical the forces. A small injury to the human body may not be of major significance in an adult; a fetus during its development is much more sensitive to such an event; and a minute change to the genes may have the most far-reaching results imaginable.

At the moment of conception all details are being coded most potently; it is therefore the most critical moment. No subsequent moment can ever have the intensity and significance of that first moment. The flash of conception contains everything; all later development is simply a revelation of what was created during that first flash.


Rosh Hashanah is the conception of the year and the next ten days are its gestation. That is why these days are so critical to the whole year. That is why a person is judged for the entire year as he appears on Rosh Hashanah — the personality as it exists then is the core; it will take supreme effort later to change. Change on Rosh Hashanah is much easier — one can manipulate the "genes" of one's character then. People of spiritual knowledge take extreme care to live perfectly on Rosh Hashanah — the year is being conceived.

Many have a custom not to sleep at least during the morning hours; they wish to lay down the genes of the year in consciousness, not oblivion.

What is the source of this special energy? The first Rosh Hashanah ever, which of course must represent its true nature most powerfully, was the day of the Creation of man. That day of Creation was the world's first Rosh Hashanah and its climactic event was the Creation of the human. That is why the day always retains its power to re-create man! When we genuinely and intensely decide to elevate our personalities on Rosh Hashanah, become inspired to live the coming year as higher beings, we are using the day's deeply rooted energy as the day of human creation. The day has the power to energize real change and help a person become unrecognizably different.


There is an idea that Adam was created at the very place which would later be the mizbei'ach (altar) in the Holy Temple.

"Adam mi'makom kaparaso nivra — Adam was created from the place of his atonement." His very first moment of life was generated from earth which was gathered from all parts of the world, but which was concentrated on the one spot which would later become the site of sacrifices — that activity which most powerfully atones and brings man close to the Divine. His moment of creation is at once the most intense newness possible and also contains the element of the most intense change possible — from sin to atonement, which is really new creation itself. Hence the unfathomable power of Rosh Hashanah to help us become new. Little wonder that the mystical custom is to minimize sleep.


The service of the day reflects this idea of reaching for the root. The order of prayer is based on Malchuyos (kingship), Zichronos (memory), and Shofros (shofar-blowing).

Malchuyos (kingship) represents the effort of renewing the root of all Creation and all service — establishing that the Divine's rule is absolute and primary. Before accepting the yoke of specific mitzvos (religious duties), we must accept the Divine's kingship in general, as expressed in the famous allegory of a great king who was asked to decree laws for a country. The king agreed only on condition that the people first accept his sovereignty over them; only then would his laws be binding and meaningful.

The root of Creation is the Divine's kingship, and so too is the root of all spiritual growth. This realization is the most primary of all on Rosh Hashanah and it requires a delving into the deepest level of desire during the prayer service to reach the consciousness of and desire for the Divine's complete rule.

Zichronos (memory) represents the idea of remembering, in true spiritual depth, the points of origin of the world and of the Jewish people and its destiny. This deep form of memory is a reentering of the male phase of new conception — to go back to the initial flash or spark and relive it vividly and literally. The root of zachor, "remember," is identical with zachar, "male." The connection should be obvious. Maleness is exactly that — a carrying over of the distilled essence of all previous generations in a seed, which will form the next generation. The seed is a "memory" of the past. In fact the word "memory" and "seed" are numerically equivalent. The work of memory, reliving the flash of creation, is perfectly fitting and necessary for Rosh Hashanah.

Shofros (shofar-blowing) indicates, along the lines we have been discussing, reaching for the heart, reaching for the root of the neshoma (soul) and the personality. The essence of the shofar is that it has a voice but no words. The mystics explain that the voice is the root of speech and contains far more than the individual finite words. Words may convey information, but the voice conveys the person. This is why prophecy is referred to as "voice," not words. When the Divine tells Abraham to listen to Sarah's prophetic advice the verse says "Shma b'kola — Listen to her voice," not "Listen to her words."

the Divine tells the prophet, "Kra b'garon, al tachsoch — Cry out in your throat, do not hold back." Prophecy is not from the mouth, the origin of words, but from the throat, the origin of raw sound. The blessing we pronounce on hearing the shofar is "lishmo'a kol shofar," to "hear the voice of the shofar." The shofar is raw sound, a raw cry, and that is why it has the power to open the soul. All the words in the world cannot convey the emotion of a scream of a child in the night. The shofar is that scream.


Rosh Hashanah correctly lived should leave one supercharged.

The energy achieved should be so great that the rest of the year can be lived accordingly — not as a continuation but as a constant experience of newness! Spark must become flame and that flame must spark a new blaze; always.

That is Jewish living. There is a mystical idea that being alive today because one was alive yesterday is called dying. Being really alive means that one's life is generated today, not as a passive result of the past but as an explosion of newness now and always.


INSPIRED BY THIS ARTICLE?

This is but one of more than a dozen uplifting and philosophical essays from "Inspiring Days: Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Beyond --- Visions and Pathways for Spiritual Growth & Personal Potential".

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The Hebrew root ani meaning "I" has two fascinating derivatives, ana and ayin. The word ayin means "is not"; ana is much harder to translate — it indicates an inexpressible pleading or longing as in "Ana Hashem hoshi'a na," the longing for redemption. These words, ayin, "is not," and ana, intense hope for the future, also mean "from where" and "to where."

When one asks, "Where have you come from?" one says me'ayin ba'ta? When one says, "Where are you going?" one says ana telech (or le'an)? But if one stops to consider the literal meaning of these expressions, a most inspiring depth becomes apparent: me'ayin ba'ta — "From where have you come?" literally means "You come from nothingness." And ana telech — "Where are you going?" literally means "You are going to an inexpressibly great dimension."

Hebrew, the language of holiness, is pregnant with spiritual depth. The simple, mundane idea of a person arriving from some previous place is expressed in common Hebrew as the transition from nothingness to his present state (yesh me'ayin — something from nothing!). In other words, the spiritual grasp of this moment is that it is relative to the previous moment as existence compared to nothingness. That is newness. And from this moment to the next, the explosion is so great that it cannot be translated. That is the striving of a spiritually sensitive person, to generate new inner life continually.

The patriarch Abraham says of himself, "Va'anochi afar va'efer — And I am dust and ashes." Torah is never mere poetry; every nuance has infinite meaning. What is the meaning of "dust and ashes"?

The idea is this. Ashes are the bare elements left when a substance has been completely burned. "Dust" of the earth is the rich soil in which growth takes place. Abraham, who most profoundly represents the idea of newness, of being the father, the founder of the Jewish people, who forged a whole new way of living, sees himself as constantly incinerating what he has become in order to use those elements as soil for new growth. No element of his development is allowed to continue passively, here today because it was here yesterday. All of his being is distilled into a memory which is the nucleus for a new birth — constantly. That is the power of chiddush, self-generating newness, the source of spiritual life and growth.

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Rabbi Dr. Akiva Tatz is a former medical officer in the South African Defense force. He is a senior lecturer at the Jewish Learning Exchange in London, England and founder of the Jerusalem Medical Ethics Forum. He is the author of Worldmask, The Thinking Jewish Teenager’s Guide to Life, and Letters To A Buddhist Jew. His essay in this collection, appears in Living Inspired, published by Targum Press.

© 2006, by K'hal Publishing. excerpted from "Inspiring Days: Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Beyond --- Visions and Pathways for Spiritual Growth & Personal Potential"