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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 Sept. 26, 2008 / 26 Elul 5768

The shofar and the Echo of Sinai

By Rabbi Yonason Goldson


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The sound of freedom resonates in the call for unity


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The Israeli army stands on alert, poised to attack. Opposing the Jewish force is an uncompromising enemy claiming sovereignty over the land that has been the cornerstone of Jewish tradition for centuries. Neither reason nor diplomacy has had the slightest impact upon the enemy's outlook, permitting no other recourse than a full-scale military offensive.

These were the headlines only a few years ago, and circumstances in Israel are not so different now. But the same conditions prevailed more that three thousand years old, when the Jewish people crossed the Jordan River to occupy the land that had been first promised to their patriarchs five centuries earlier.

To establish and preserve an ethically and spiritually elevated society, the Jews could not live along side peoples steeped in immorality. And so Joshua, the leader of the Jews, sent forth his message to the inhabitants of the land: if they agreed to renounce murder, theft, idolatry, and adultery, then they could live together with the Jews as neighbors; if they were unwilling to accept these terms, then they were free to leave; but if they refused either option, then they should prepare for war.

With few exceptions, the Canaanite nations chose war over either conformance to an ethical code or repatriation elsewhere.

The first military encounter drew near with the encampment of the Jewish army opposite the fortified city of Jericho. Intimidated by the size of the Israelite camp, the residents of Jericho shut themselves inside the great walls that surrounded the city and prepared for the Jewish onslaught.

UNCONVENTIONAL RULES OF ENGAGEMENT
The Jews, however, employed an unorthodox strategy. For six consecutive days the Jewish army marched around the perimeter of the city; and on the seventh day, when the Jews sounded the shofar, the walls of the city sank into the ground, enabling the Jewish soldiers to swarm into the city and easily conquer the astonished inhabitants.

Since the Almighty does not perform miracles haphazardly, why did Jericho have to fall through divine intervention? Could the Jews not have defeated the city conventionally, as they had in the desert and would in their subsequent battles? And what is the special significance of their victory coming about through the blowing the shofar?

The battle of Jericho followed only a few days after the Jewish people's entry into the Land of Israel. Throughout the preceding forty years, the Jews had lived in the desert, fed by the manna from heaven, guided by the pillar of fire, and protected by the clouds of glory. But from the moment they crossed over the Jordan River, all the open manifestations of the divine presence departed instantaneously and left them to live according to the natural laws of the physical world.

From that time forward, the Almighty concealed His presence, requiring us to seek Him out by recognizing the intelligent design behind the intricate workings of nature. Instead of allowing ourselves to become numb to the wonders that surround us, it is our obligation to find inspiration in the multifaceted miracle that is Creation.

The great danger of physical existence, however, is that we easily forget that we are essentially spiritual beings. All the gratification offered by that the material world seduces us, while our own mastery over the world we live in makes us arrogant. And when we convince ourselves that success and prosperity reside in our own might and the strength of our own hands, we lose our appreciation for our place in the community of Man and come to believe that there is no power or authority greater than ourselves.

THE BATTLEFIELD OF THE SOUL
And so, at the moment of their transition from supernatural to natural existence, the Jewish people received a dramatic reminder that even within the natural course of events, success or failure depends not upon military armaments or tactics, but upon our own sense of place in the natural order. As the Jews circled the walls of Jericho, the call of the shofar summoned them back to when they stood together at Sinai, as one man and with one heart, to accept upon themselves the mission that defines the Jewish people as a nation, to strive together toward spiritual and moral self-perfection.

Tragically, we often fail to take the call of the shofar to heart. Rather than fostering appreciation and unity, we respond to our successes with disregard for both our fellow Jews and our national destiny, so that lasting success slips repeatedly through our fingers.

Jewish history illuminates our failures in the harshest light. The glory of the first Temple gave way to civil war and national humiliation. The accomplishments of the Hasmoneans devolved into the murderous reign of Herod and the Roman occupation. The golden age of Spanish Jewry culminated in the Inquisition and the Edict of Expulsion. And the pillars of the Jewish communities of Europe splintered before the wanton violence of the Crusades and vanished amidst the ashes of the Holocaust.

Today, more than ever, when Israel continues to face military aggression from every side, and when militant secularism and religious extremism threaten people of faith throughout the world, Rosh HaShonah offers every one of us a priceless opportunity. When we hear the call of the shofar, let us hearken back to the time when Jewish national identity was forged at Sinai and remember that, ultimately, our success depends not upon the strength of our hands but upon our commitment to our identity and our commitment to one another.

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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. Visit him at http://torahideals.wordpress.com .






© 2008, Rabbi Yonason Goldson