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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

Faces and face-lifts in antiquity

By Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo



Abraham's message for modernity may be of the most value to the young


“G0d has given you a face

And you make yourselves another?”

                     —   Shakespeare, Hamlet, 3.1.149


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | It is a remarkable fact that in Western civilization old age is seen by most people as a curse. According to statistics more money and time is spent on concealing the signs of old age than on finding ways to prevent heart disease or cancer. Old age is perceived as a defeat. Too many people consider being retired synonymous with being retarded. There is a strong sense of being useless and rejected, with a feeling of emptiness and boredom.

This stands in direct contrast to Judaism. How revealing is the fact that according to Jewish Tradition it was Abraham who specifically asked and begged G0d, not just to allow him long productive years, but also to show the physical signs of getting old in years.

In Genesis (24:1) we read: "And Abraham was old, well advanced in years." The Talmud (Bava Metzia 87a) points to the redundancy of this verse: It asks, if Abraham was old, why do we need to know that he was well advanced in years? What does "advanced in years" add to "And Abraham was old."?

To this the Talmud gives a most remarkable answer: "Until Abraham, people did not grow old, i.e. they did not show signs of becoming older. And (since Abraham and his son Isaac looked alike) people who saw Abraham said: This is Isaac and people who saw Isaac said: This is Abraham. Abraham then prayed to grow old, i.e. to show signs of ageing and this is the meaning "And Abraham was old."

In other words: Not only was Abraham advanced in years, but he also showed his old age by way of his facial and bodily appearance. In this way there was a distinctive difference between him and his son. Instead of Abraham trying to hide his old age by dying his hair and perhaps by way of a facelift, he asked G0d to make him look old according to his years! This was in contrast to the earlier generations in which people would advance in years, but without any physical indication, till they suddenly died at a ripe age. They continued to look young and resemble their children.

To fully appreciate this observation we need to remember another Talmudic teaching: In Genesis (25:9) we are confronted with another redundant sentence: "And these are the generations of Isaac, the son of Abraham; and Abraham begat Isaac." Here again the Talmud asks why it is necessary to tell us that Abraham begat Isaac when in the earlier part of the verse we are already told: "These are the generations of Isaac, the son of Abraham."

To this the Talmud responds: "The cynics of the time were saying: Sarah became pregnant by Abimelech. See how many years she lived with Abraham without being able to have child by him! (See Genesis, chapter 20 where Sarah is taken into the palace of Abimelech, King of Gerar, with the intention of marrying her, but returned her to Abraham after Abimelech realized that Sara was in fact married to Abraham). What did the Holy One blessed be He do? He made Isaac's facial expressions exactly resemble those of Abraham, so that everyone had to admit that Abraham begat Isaac. This is what is meant by the words: "And Abraham begat Isaac", n.l. that there was clear evidence for everybody to see that Abraham was the father of Isaac." ( Baba Metzia 87a)

G0d decided to make Isaac resemble Abraham so that the cynics of that generation could not claim that Isaac was an illicit child of Sara. By doing so the integrity of Abraham and Sarah was divinely protected. But this came with a high price: The loss of individuality. If Isaac resembled his father to the extent that people could not differentiate between them, then a great injustice was done to the very meaning of their being. What is man if he is not different from all others? Once two people are identical, their personal authenticity is exchanged for false luster, for camouflage and deception. Every man is more than himself, he represents the unique. Parents are not to be their children and children should not be the replica of their parents.

It was Hilary Putnam who once said: Every child has the right to be a total surprise to her or his parents. Human beings should be told that they are more than half of what they are by imitations. Once we deny the uniqueness of all human beings we breed resentment and an inferiority complex. (To refrain from imitation is the best revenge, Marcus Aurelius once said) Above all we must make sure that originality stays at the center of our lives. It is an expression of protest against imitation. About man it is stated that G0d created him in His image. It does not state that He made them in His image.

In Western Civilization there is a belief that human beings are valuable because they are part of the human race, but it was Judaism which made the point that the human race is of great significance because it exists of human beings. But such can only be true when it exists out of an abundance of specific individuals, as a community of individuals, rather than a herd or a multitude of nondescripts.

The signs of old age are signs of experience and wisdom. While it is true that it is not by years but by disposition that wisdom is acquired, and that many never live a meaningful life, only accumulating unspent youth without ever making use of it and stay permanently immature even in old age, it is still true that wisdom comes with old age. (How true the observation of Mark Twain that our youth should start at the end of our lives!)

When Abraham asked G0d to make him appear old, he did not just ask for a "facedown", he asked for his spiritual beauty to steal inward. As such he remained himself with added new dimensions.

For the authentic religious personality this is of crucial importance. Religion can only be experienced and lived when carried out in a state of originality. Any imitation of fellow worshippers is serving oneself and not G0d. Religion is an attempt to search for G0d, the ultimate Original.

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JWR contributor Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo is a world-renowned lecturer and ambassador for Judaism, the Jewish people, the State of Israel and Sephardic Heritage. His latest book is "For the Love of Israel and the Jewish People".


© 2010, Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo