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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 Dec. 3, 2004 / 20 Kislev, 5765

Can You Surpass Yourself?

By Rabbi David Aaron


Not only can you transcend nature, you must transcend nature



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The Torah (Bible) relates how the Pharaoh had a dream about seven lean cows and seven fat cows, followed by a dream about seven lean stalks of wheat and then seven fat stalks of wheat. He woke up in a panic, and turned to his dream interpreters to help him decipher the meaning of his dreams, but none of them could. Their answers were not satisfying to him; they seemed false and contrived, not at all in accordance with Pharaoh's own intuition.


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Fortunately, one of the people working for Pharaoh suddenly remembered a man named Joseph, a Jewish dream interpreter who was in prison at the time. Pharaoh ordered Joseph to be brought into the palace and related the dreams to him. When the Pharaoh had finished, Joseph said, "These dreams are about economics. These dreams are about agriculture. They are telling you that there will be seven good years of plenty followed by seven bad years of drought and famine." The Pharaoh immediately knew Joseph was right.


After he had finished explaining the dream, Joseph, in a bold display of chutzpa, laid out a brilliant economic plan to save Egypt from the impending famine.


This whole story may seem a bit bizarre. How could the finest dream interpreters of Egypt, who were living in an agricultural society, miss the most obvious interpretation about dreams dealing with wheat and cows? What was it about Joseph that enabled him to see so clearly the message of Pharaoh's dreams?


Only a Jewish boy could offer such an interpretation because he was the only one in Egypt who did not think like an idolater. In Egypt the Nile was a G-d because it was the source of their agricultural wealth. The Nile had a very consistent natural pattern of overflowing its banks and irrigating the area, and therefore it was a G-d. Nobody among the Egyptians could offer an interpretation like Joseph offered, because such an interpretation is the very antithesis of idolatry. It would be heretical.

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For those who deify nature, you can't say that nature is going to suddenly stop. The Nile had been flowing along its natural course, in a regular pattern for thousands of years and the Egyptians couldn't imagine that could ever change. But Joseph knew that G-d is not nature. His interpretation was a direct message to the Egyptians from the one and only G-d, that nature isn't necessarily consistent, nor is it reliable. Nature must answer to a higher power — its Creator — because only He can stop and start at will the natural processes of the world. Idolatry is the antithesis of Judaism. While people tend to associate idolatry with bowing down to rocks and trees, that is only part of the equation, and not the essence of idolatry. The deification of nature is the justification of man's animalistic drives, the perfect excuse to do whatever comes "naturally" to us. The ultimate moral implications of idolatry were demonstrated to us by Nazi Germany. Hitler was a pagan, who boldly stated:


Yes, we are barbarians! We want to be barbarians! It is an honorable title Providence has ordained that I should be the greatest liberator of humanity. I am freeing men from the dirty and degrading self-mortifications of a false vision (a Jewish invention) called "conscience" and "morality." 1


The Jewish message to the world is that you can surpass yourself. Human beings are not animals. They are not victims to their wild instincts. Nature doesn't rule, and therefore, not only can you transcend nature, you must transcend nature. You have free will; you were created in the image of G-d. You mirror the ultimate reality — G-d — Who is beyond nature, and therefore you too can transcend nature.

1 See Hermann Rauschning's books: Hitler Speaks and Voice of Destruction

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JWR contributor Rabbi David Aaron is the founder and dean of Isralight, an international organization with programming in Israel, New York South Florida, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Toronto. He has taught and inspired thousands of Jews who are seeking meaning in their lives and a positive connection to their Jewish roots.

He is the author of the newly released, The Secret Life of G-d, and also the author of Endless Light, Seeing G-d and Love is my religion. (Click on link to purchase books. Sales help fund JWR.) He lives in the old City of Jerusalem with his wife and their seven children.

© 2004, Rabbi David Aaron