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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 Oct. 20, 2008 /21 Tishrei 5769

Still One Torah

By Gary Rosenblatt


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One of the great miracles is not only that this ancient text — the core of our faith — is revered and found to contain endless lessons and interpretations, but that for all of our differences as Jews, we still read from the same page — or more accurately, scroll


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Wouldn't it make more sense for us to celebrate the Torah with fervor and merriment on Shavuos, when we received it, rather then on Simchas Torah, when we finish reading it?

After all, when someone gives you a book, or any other gift, you thank him or her for such thoughtfulness and generosity at the moment of presentation, not after you've completed your use of it (though your mother taught you to do that, too).

Maybe one reason why Shavuos, marking the giving of the Torah to Moses and the Jewish people at Mt. Sinai, is observed in a cerebral way — it's a tradition to stay up all night and study Torah — and why Simchas Torah is a time of great joy, is precisely because we most appreciate the Torah's value after we've had a chance to read and study it. And as a sign of how thankful we are for this precious gift, the first thing we do after completing the annual cycle of Torah reading in synagogue is to start right in again from "the beginning," literally, with Genesis and the Creation.

That's what Jews all over the world will be doing this weekend as they celebrate Simchas Torah, singing songs like "Etz Chaim He" (the Torah is "a tree of life") and "Ki Haym Chayenu" (the Torah's words "are our life").

To me, one of the great miracles of this observance is not only that this ancient text — the core of our faith — is revered and found to contain endless lessons and interpretations, but that for all of our differences as Jews, we still read from the same page — or more accurately, scroll.

In synagogues throughout the world, each Torah is handwritten in a timeless tradition by scribes who painstakingly take ink and quill in hand, as prescribed, and copy each letter on parchment, with awe and attentiveness. If even one letter is in error, or too faded to read, the Torah must be repaired before it can be used by the congregation.

After centuries, we may disagree endlessly about the truest meaning of the text, but not about the words themselves.

Remarkable, no?

On Simchas Torah, there is something dizzyingly illogical about the portion read in the synagogue. We begin with Moses' final blessing to his people, delivered lovingly, tribe by tribe. This is followed by his death on Mt. Nebo, after being granted one longing look into the land of Israel. And then we read of the world coming into being, from a formless void, to the culmination of the seventh day, the Sabbath.

On reflection, we realize the message here is that the Torah is a continuum of creation and completion, of death and of life, of human failure and divine perfection.

The Sabbath, we are told, is a taste of heaven. It is G-d's handiwork. We on earth, though — even our great leader Moses — never quite reach the Promised Land.

But we are comforted in knowing the cycle goes on. Offering Moses only a glimpse of Israel in their last encounter, G-d tells him consolingly, "I will give it to your offspring." Each of us is mortal but the chances for human renewal are eternal.

For me, the most tender moment of all synagogue rituals during the year is the Simchas Torah ceremony of "Kol Hanaarim", when all the children — from infants in their parents' arms to pre-bar and bat mitzvah youngsters — are called to the Torah to recite the blessing together, chanting in one voice a praise of G-d for giving us "the Torah of truth."

It is a great honor, sometimes bestowed and sometimes auctioned off, to be the adult reciting the blessing with the children, and I can still see the smile on my late father-in-law's face when he was given that aliyah, shepherding his young grandchildren under his tallis.

In our shul, the sight of hundreds of children huddled under an enormous, handcrafted canopy of a tallis, dedicated in memory of a beloved nursery school teacher in the community, is a most poignant reminder of the continuity theme that drives our faith and our people.

Sometimes lost amidst the kiddie parades and flag-waving and dancing with the scrolls on Simchas Torah is the realization that we have been given a most valuable gift that can and should change our lives. The Torah is sacred, and is treated, at least outwardly, with reverence. That is why we stand in the synagogue when the ark is opened and the scrolls revealed, and why we kiss them when they pass by.

But the greatest honor we can give the Torah, on this holiday and throughout the year, is to take its words to heart, affirming our belief in the holiness of its truths, and of each other.

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JWR contributor Gary Rosenblatt is Editor and Publisher of the New York Jewish Week. To comment, please click here.

© 2008, NY Jewish Week