Home
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 Dec. 21, 2007 / 12 Teves 5768,

Perverting sincerity

By Rabbi A. Henach Leibowitz


Printer Friendly Version

Email this article


Why and how do-gooders go wrong

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The tribe of Dan, according to Genesis 49:16, was blessed by our forefather Jacob to embody the middah — attribute — of truth and justice. The foremost commentator, Rashi (ibid.) tells us that the blessing also refers specifically to Samson, a descendent of Dan, who judged our nation and meted out justice to the Philistines.


The Talmud (Pesachim 4a) tells of a man who insisted on going to court to settle all his business dealings. He was never able to settle monetary disagreements by means of negotiation and compromise, but always required the decision of a rabbinic tribunal. Evidently, the Talmud continues, this man was from the tribe of Dan. Why? Because he carried within him the attributes mentioned in Jacob's blessing.


The question begs to be asked: what connection is there between this man's behavior and Jacob's blessing?


Jacob, with all his holiness and purity, gave a blessing to benefit Dan and his descendants with good character traits. How could the blessing of justice and truth have resulted in the negative attributes of mistrust and stubbornness in this person?


Every member of the tribe of Dan was indeed blessed with a precious legacy, a priceless gift genetically transmitted throughout the generations. This special aptitude for justice, like any other positive character trait, is susceptible to distortion and needs constant vigilance to refine and clarify its true meaning and keep it distinct from deceivingly similar negative attributes. The person referred to in the Talmud did not genuinely care about his inheritance — truth and justice. In his passion for justice, he demanded his due absolutely — not one penny that was rightfully his could ever be forfeited to someone else. Rather than give in and compromise, he chose to go to court — for the sake of justice!


Because he did not exert himself to learn how to appropriately apply, and sometimes limit, the attributes he had inherited, he ended up perverting his inherently good characteristics and using truth and justice to create discord and dissension in his daily life.


OUR GREATEST TREASURE
Every person is blessed with certain good attributes, whether they are genetically transmitted, inculcated through upbringing, or independently acquired. A few moments of thought should enable us to identify the ethical strong points we possess. Once we have ascertained these particular ones, it is important for us to study their true meaning, learn about their proper application, and map out the guidelines and limits Chazal (the sages) have prescribed for their implementation. The shy and reserved person may be fortunate in being able to easily avoid strife, but he must know when it is mandatory that he speak up and fight for religious causes. The outgoing and friendly person may benefit emotionally from bringing others happiness and reaching out to his less Torah-educated brethren, but he must know when it is better to keep quiet and leave things unsaid. One who is steeped in the ideals of justice and truth must know when to give in, even though he is right.


Our charcters are our treasures. Like diamonds in the rough, they need to be correctly cut and polished to bring out their true brilliance. Care is required to prevent foreign influences from dulling the fiery purity of these gems. If we value these precious gifts, we will constantly polish and maintain them in their Torah-ordained settings, allowing them to shine and illuminate our lives with their radiance, beauty, and splendor.

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


INSPIRED BY THIS ARTICLE?
BUY THE BOOK ...
at a discount by clicking HERE .

Comment by clicking here.

One of America's senior Torah sages, Rabbi A. Henach Leibowitz has been the dean of the Rabbinical Seminary of America, in Queens, New York for more than 50 years. The institution has branches and affiliates all across North America and Israel.

This article was prepared by two of the sage's disciples, Rabbi Aryeh Striks and Rabbi Shimon Zehnwirth, and excerpted from the just released book, "Pinnacle of Creation: Torah insights into human nature".


Previously:

Do 'clothes make the man'?
Divine vindictiveness?

© 2007, Mesorah Publications, Ltd.