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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 May 11, 2007 / 23 Iyar 5767

Climb Every Mountain, Then Analyze the Top

By Rabbi David Gutterman


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Of locations, contracts and ultimate purposes


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | A few years ago, I read a New Age book titled Surfing the Himalayas. The story begins with the protagonist snow-boarding down a mountain. As he comes careening down this mountain — as fate, serendipity or bashert would have it — he collides with a Buddhist monk. And thus begins, you've guessed it: his spiritual journey. "A lot of interesting things happen at mountains," our New Age ba'al teshuvah proclaims. But friends, we, the Jewish people, know a thing or two about mountains. And so, I invite you to join me as I attempt to make a mountain out of a ... mountain.


Vay'daber Hashem El Moshe B'har Sinai Leimor: "And the Divine spoke these words to Moses at Mount Sinai saying ... " begins this week's Torah reading. Indeed, a lot of interesting things happen at mountains. But why is our Torah concerned with the location of revelation? If Sinai were a REIT (real estate investment trust limited partnership), I could very well understand that "location, location, location" is essential for determining the net asset value. But is this an operative and necessary principle in our spiritual portfolio?


I would submit to you that when the Torah identifies the locus of revelation, it has less to do with geography and more to do with orientation. Or put differently, I believe that our tradition is saying something unequivocal about the nature of being a Jew. If men are from Mars and women are from Venus, then Jews are from Sinai.


The Midrash suggests that Sinai was the moment and the place where the Jewish people entered into a marriage with the Almighty. And does not a marriage require fidelity and mutuality? A sacred covenant was entered into between the Holy One and the people Israel. We have a word for this — it's called a bris. The terms of the bris are rather straightforward. G-d will be G-d, and we are to be the Jewish people.


Yes, interesting things happen at mountains. The Torah mentions three explicit names for Sinai which, I believe, stunningly demonstrate this mutuality and partnership. They are: Har HaElokim, mountain of G-d; Har Sinai, mountain of Sinai; and Har Choreiv, literally, mountain of the sword. Why these names?


Listen to the words of the Midrash. The "mountain of G-d" is invoked not to indicate the location of revelation, but to indicate the fact of revelation. G-d revealed Himself. But where did G-d choose to reveal himself? And this is important — at Sinai. Sinai, the rabbis tell us means: sana es ha'el'yonim v'ahav es ha' tach'tonim: G-d, as it were, "hated the celestial realm and loved the lower realm."


In other words, Sinai means that G-d wants this world, this sentient existence of flesh and blood, of emotion and passion, to be the world that is elevated through our sacred deeds and ennobled through our soulful endeavors. And how can this be achieved? By the Jewish people remaining faithful to our part of the contract through a commitment to and engagement with Torah. And if we do so, then the Torah itself will become our protector — our cherev, our "sword," as it were. In a word, the relationship between G-d and the people Israel is synergistic, symbiotic and, dare I say, Sinai-itic.


May I share with you a favorite story? Two friends are speaking, one turns his head to the other and says, "I don't understand. Why is there hunger in G-d's world? Why is there injustice in G-d's world? Why is there oppression in G-d's world?"


His friend responds: "Why are you asking me? Why don't you ask G-d?"


To which his friend sheepishly replies: "Because I'm afraid that G-d will ask me these same questions."


As we continue our journey to Shavuos (Pentecost) and the piece of real estate called Sinai, let's recall that, indeed, "a lot of interesting things happen at mountains."

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Rabbi David Gutterman is the executive director of the Vaad: Board of Rabbis of Greater Philadelphia. Comment by clicking here.


© 2007, Rabbi David Gutterman