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

A Yellow Belt in Five Styles

Rabbi B. Shafier

A powerful message for the young --- and those who care about them

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Probably the greatest cost to a person living life without a clear purpose is that he won't reach a fraction of his potential. He will become like the young man who was a yellow belt in five styles of karate.

When this fellow was in grade school, he was fascinated with the martial arts, so he convinced his parents to let him study karate. He enrolled in a school and learned the stances, the kicks, and the punches. He was a diligent student, and after about a year of training, he was ready for his yellow belt test, the first rank. He took the test and passed.

Shortly after that, his family moved to another city, but the only karate school he could find there practiced a different style of karate. So he began again from the basics, with new stances, new kicks, and new punches. Again he progressed well, and again he took his yellow belt test — now in the new style — and passed.

Soon the time came for him to go away to high school. In that city, he again searched for a karate school, and the only one he could find taught a third style of karate. So he had to start from the basics with the new stances, new kicks, and new punches. And in this style as well, he was awarded a yellow belt. Midpoint through high school, he switched schools, and began the same process again.

At the end of five years of disciplined training, this young man had attained the rank of yellow belt in five styles — a beginner! Had he spent the same amount of time and effort in one style, he would have attained the rank of black belt — a master. The ironic part was that he applied himself and worked hard, but because his focus kept changing and he had to start from the beginning over and over again, his advancement was stymied. At the end, he remained a rank beginner.

This story has a message. Most people spend their lives with changing priorities. That which is important at one stage becomes insignificant at another. To a young boy growing up in America, sports are king. That is what really counts in his world. But that doesn't last; it is soon replaced by friends and being popular. As he matures, grades and what college he gets into become the measure of success. Within a short while, his career and making money are all that really matter. Yet this also passes, and shortly, he will trade away huge amounts of his wealth to build his reputation. As he nears retirement, his health and his future nursing home become his primary concern.


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Throughout life, whatever is precious and coveted at one stage becomes devalued and traded away when new priorities take over. The currency is constantly changing. The result of this is that while someone may do well at each stage in life, the totality of what he accomplished may not amount to much. He became a yellow belt in five styles.

One of the costs of not asking the fundamental questions of life is that people end up in some rather sad situations. Often, at the end of a person's life — when it is too late to do anything about it — he has bitter regrets about the way he spent his time.

The Mesillas Yesharim teaches us that the first principle of leading a successful life is knowing what you want out of it. Know where you are headed. Know your currency, know your value system, and then set goals in accordance with it.

But therein lies the problem. How does a young person know where life will bring him when he is older? Which human is wise enough to know where he will be in twenty years? How can anyone know what he will consider important and valuable when he is in a different stage of life?

When you ask a five-year-old, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" he might tell you he wants to be a fireman, a policeman, or a basketball player. In reality, he isn't telling you what he wants to be when he grows up. He is telling you what he wants to be now, if he were grown up.

He is telling you, based on his five-year-old understanding of life, what he values and considers important. He can't tell what he will value when he is older. He has no way of knowing what he will consider important and significant then. He is telling what he wants to be now. And according to his current understanding of the world, he would like to be Superman, Batman or a UPS driver.

In this sense, one of the most difficult things for any human to do is to set a life course that will make him happy thirty years in the future. How can anyone possibly know what will be important to him then? How can we know what we will consider successful then?

The Mesillas Yesharim tells us that the Divine didn't just create man and leave him to figure it all out. He didn't design an entire world for man, put him into it with a mission, and then stand aside saying, "But I am not going to tell you what it is. It's a secret. Go figure it out."

The Lord gave us a clear, definitive blueprint, an exact guidebook with clear directions on how to live our lives and the underlying reasons for it. The key to true success is to open that book, learn its words of truth, and mold our lives accordingly.



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JWR contributor Rabbi B. Shafier is the author, most recently, of Stop Surviving, Start Living, from which this essay was excerpted.

© 2011, Rabbi B. Shafier