Donate to JWR

Home
In this issue
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

An evil seed that didn't have to be

By Binyamin L. Jolkovsky
Based on ideas developed by Rabbi Ahron Rapps




Esau, and eventually his descendants, would become Jewry's arch-enemy. History just doesn't happen. The lives of those who are at its center deserve examining. What can be learned from Easu's?


According to the Sages, Easu possessed great spiritual qualities. His father, after all was Isaac, a direct link to Abraham. And he was Isaac's oldest son.


But like so many born with potential, Esau never brought his gifts to fruition. The development and growth that was to be the purpose of his life never occurred.


At birth Esau had features — particularly, hair — of somebody considerably older. And it is for this reason that he was so named, according to the foremost commentator, Rashi. The name Esau is a derivative of the Hebrew word "assa", meaning "make." Esau emerged from his mother's womb already "made", so to speak.


What was it about Esau's hair, though, that made this so evident?


Rabbi Judah Loew, known as the Maharal of Prague (1525-1609) and one of the most seminal thinkers in the post-medieval period, explains the essence of hair. The human body grows and, eventually, reaches its maturity; at which point it is complete. Hair, however, grows and grows, only to be shorn. The hair of the head never reaches completeness. With his full mane, Esau, at birth, appeared to have skipped the growth that all people must experience to reach their destiny. He was identified as one who must rise above his born nature and become spiritually complete. Yet instead of conquering his pre-dispositions, his life's choices would make him the personification of one who never fulfilled his great potential.


One of those choices that would ultimately impact Esau's spiritual makeup was his lack of circumcision.


The Maharal wonders why the Divine left it to man to complete the physical structure of a human being when everything else in our world seems to have been put in working order. He answers that the act of circumcision, for those commanded to observe it, was entusted to teach that just as we must physically complete ourselves, we are likewise required to spiritually complete ourselves. Through the process of circumcision, we are able to glean the actual purpose of our lives.

Without the desire to grow, tomorrow is condemned to the inadequacy of today

When Esau was young, according to the Sages, there was a concern that due to his ruddiness, if his foreskin were removed, he might bleed to death. When Esau became physically stable, he rebelled and refused to perform this religious duty. He refused to embrace his purpose of life; to develop and perfect his spiritual nature.


The Torah describes at length the exchange between Jacob and Esau about the birthright. One verse in particular epitomizes Esau's worldview: "Here I am going to die," proclaimed the man who was to be Isaac's spiritual heir, "so what good is the birthright to me?"


To Esau, the future is indeed bleak, for without the desire to grow, tomorrow is condemned to the inadequacy of today. He would not live a life of development; to one day have his great spiritual destiny realized. But in Jacob, we see a future.


In describing why Yaakov (Jacob) was so called, the Torah says it was because Isaac's son emerged grasping his brother's heel.


The lowliest part of a person's body is the heel (eikev); it is closest to the ground. The head is the highest and closer to the heavens. In the Holy Tongue, the letter "Yud" is used to portray the future when referring to a third person. Our forefather Jacob was named "Yaakov" — eikev plus a "Yud" — to reveal to us that he will take the ultimate end and give it a future.


Our sages tell us, "Jacob, in some sense, didn't die." Absolute death is found only by one who has died while alive. Our responsibility is to recognize our latent imperfections and strive to develop our spiritual potentials. The Divine gave us His Torah and mitzvos (religious duties) with which to grow and realize what we truly are meant to be.


May we merit to truly represent the holy children of Jacob.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes inspiring articles. Sign up for our daily update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment by clicking here.

© Yated Neeman