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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

Resolved: How to grasp the incomprehensible

By Rabbi B. Shafier





No, life does not make sense --- until embracing a superficially simple notion

JewishWorldReview.com | Imagine that you are invited to an exclusive health club. You've never been there, but you know the layout. On the right side is the gym; on the left is the spa. The gym is the area where people work out. It has all of the exercise equipment: the elliptical machines, the weights, the treadmills. The spa is the place to relax. It has the sauna, the steam room, and the massage tables.

You decide it's been a stressful week, so you head straight for the spa. But by mistake, instead of turning left, you turn right and find yourself in the gym. You look around and see red-faced men everywhere, grunting and sweating. You let out a cry, "Who needs all this equipment? What's all this running, pumping and pushing about? Whoever designed this spa did a lousy job!"

This is an apt parable for Creation. When the Divine made man, He created two worlds: This World and The World to Come. This World is the gym. This is where we work out, where we grow and become bigger and better people. The World to Come is the spa. That is where we enjoy the results of our work. Each world has its place, each world has its purpose. We were put in this world for a few short years to accomplish our mission. Then we leave it and enjoy our accomplishments in the World to Come.


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This parable is so fundamental to understanding life that without it, nothing under the sun makes much sense. If a person attempts to make sense out of life without realizing that we were put on this earth to grow and then to enjoy our accomplishments in the World to Come, then he will find many, many questions that have no answers. Not questions that he doesn't know the answers to — questions that have no answers.

THE ANSWER — WHY THE DIVINE CREATED THE WORLD
The Mesillas Yesharim explains that the Divine created man to give to him. However, it must be something that he worked for — not something that was given to him. To enable man to earn his reward, the Alimighty created two worlds: this world and the World to Come. This world was designed with the challenges, trials and situations that allow man to perfect himself. The World to Come was designed to allow man to enjoy the reward of his labors. In accordance to the level of perfection that man reaches here in this world, he is able to enjoy the presence of the Divine in the World to Come. This world is the corridor to the World to Come — which is the purpose of Creation.

Two worlds — each with its role, each with its purpose. The key point is that the World to Come isn't an addendum to life. It isn't an afterthought. It's the reason that He created the moon, the sun, the heavens and all that it contains. It's the reason that He made man. It's the reason for life. If a person doesn't understand this he has little chance of understanding anything that goes on in this world. Because he hasn't stopped to ask that critical question: what did the Manufacturer intend it to be used for?

Is it any wonder that people have questions about life? They are looking at only half of the picture. The purpose of it all, the reason for it all, isn't in their vision. So, of course, the whole thing makes no sense. And they have many, many questions. Questions about Lord. Questions about the system. Questions about the justice of it all. Why is life so hard? Why is there so much suffering in the world? Why do bad things happen to good people? Many, many questions — and no answers.

All of these questions are built on one premise: life ends in the grave. When we die, it's game over. We're dead and no more. If that were correct, then their questions are valid. Life makes no sense. It truly isn't fair. However, once a person understands the reason for life, then all of these quandaries vanish like smoke.

A PERFECTLY IMPERFECT WORLD
Why it is that man suffers so? Why did the Divine design a custom-made world with such care and concern, yet purposely make it so hard for man to enjoy those features? Granted He made the orange, the pear, and the grape, but He also made man in a manner that it is very hard for him to enjoy these things. Why do it?

When we come to the core realization of why the Divine put us here, we view life very differently. Our station here isn't significant; it is a vehicle, and in that context it makes sense. We begin to see the form and the flow of this world. While we may not know the answer to every question posed by man, we have a framework to base our answers upon. The patterns of our experiences weave a tapestry of meaning and beauty. All of the questions melt away as reason and perception set in. The more time we spend on this journey of understanding, the more the pieces fit together. Once we get it, life itself makes sense.


Previously:

Of course life is 'fair' . . . not that it matters

Why happiness will always be elusive

Travel Brochures and the World to Come

Your role of a lifetime

A Yellow Belt in Five Styles


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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.







© 2012, Rabbi B. Shafier