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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

LIFE IS NOW: Creating Moments of Joy, Courage, Kindness, and Serenity



        To buy the book this series is based upon at a discount, please click HERE.



Many people live in the past, brooding over bad choices they'd made or someone's negative behavior to them years ago. Others live in the future, worrying about events that may happen --- or may not. Here is the way to achieve lives of joy, courage, love and serenity is to live in the moment, to see the wonders of the present, to feel gratitude for what is happening right this minute. Right now we're writing our life stories, and we can choose how the script will read. Right now we can put behind us self-doubt, anger, frustration.

Right now, we can choose happiness.


Finding better ways


In 1964, I read a poem that moved me greatly. It was written, in Hebrew, by the late Rabbi Eliyahu Eliezer Dessler and was published in the third volume of his classic works Michtav MeEliyahu.

Here is an English translation:

"The past is only memories. The future is but illusory hopes.

Focus on the present.

For that is where your life really is.

And it consists only of tests."

(Rabbi E.E. Dessler - Michtav MeEliyahu, vol. 3, p. 306)


I memorized the poem and have repeated it frequently over the years. It is profound. This short poem sums up one of the most important lessons we all need to live our lives to the fullest. I first read this poem decades ago. I recently reflected on how understanding this poem could have saved so many people from much distress and suffering.

Much distress comes from needlessly thinking about past comments people thoughtlessly made. Much distress comes from being obsessed about past mistakes and errors, instead of learning from them and internalizing the wisdom gained.

Much distress comes from worrying about potential suffering that doesn't happen. Or, if the worrisome event actually takes place, it is much easier to handle than expected. Or the trouble causes many beneficial effects. If we could see the entire big picture instead of worrying about it, we would have smiled and appreciated what the Almighty sent our way.

Past experiences have shaped our lives and who we are. What we have already thought, said, and done in the past has created who we are now. Our past has a tremendous impact on our lives. But since everything that has happened in the past has already happened, we can only make positive choices of what we plan, say, and do in the present. We can't change the past, but we can change the future.

Memories are valuable. Not remembering the past is one of the greatest handicaps a person can have. But being hampered and limited by the past is also a serious handicap. The greater our ability to master focusing on what we can think, say, and do now in the present, the more we will be able to transcend limitations of the past.

We need to plan for the future. We need the wisdom to realize the future results of what we say and do. It's possible to imagine how great everything will turn out. But imagination is not reality: We can't possibly know what will actually be in the future.

Reality is in the here and now. We live each moment of each day "now, in the present." Now we think any of the thoughts that we choose to think. Now we choose to say or not to say something. Now we decide what we will do or not do at any given moment. What is the essence of each moment of life? It is Divinely orchestrated tests and challenges. Rabbi Dessler's poem is based on the first chapter of the classic mussar book, Mesilas Yesharim, adapted into English as "Lights Along the Way. There we read that everything is a test to help us elevate ourselves. Wealth is a test. Poverty is a test. When all is going well and we experience tranquility, that is a test. And when we are faced with difficult life challenges, they are a test as well.

When you are well prepared for a test and know that you are skilled, that you are able to do great work, you actually enjoy the tests that you take. They don't make you anxious or nervous. You feel an inner pleasure in knowing that you are passing the test.

Sometimes you know that a test is going to be difficult. But if the potential benefits of doing well on the test are magnificent, you mentally and physically prepare in every way you can to excel on the test. You devote all your time and energy to build up your skills and talents. You celebrate each bit of progress and improvement. Preparing to master the challenges we face gives our life purpose and meaning. Actually doing well is a source of great joy. Those who realize that life is for growing and developing from each and every challenge, each day of our lives, live a life of joy.

Someone complained to me, "My life is full of one disappointment after another. I feel frustrated and upset when I think about all the things that haven't worked. When I think about my future, I don't expect that things will get much better. I feel simply awful most of the time. My life is dull and empty. I know that nothing is seriously wrong with my life. But overall I'm far from experiencing the joy and enthusiasm that I was always hoping for."

"You're not alone," I told him. "But from what you told me about your life, you are only one attitude away from totally transforming your life.

"You have experienced many disappointments in the past. The problem is that you relive them over and over again. The more you focus on those past disappointments, the more they color your life.

"It's like you have an autobiography called, 'My Life Until Now.' You don't like what you are reading, yet you keep reading the same disappointing chapters over and over again, and you're skipping the happy chapters. That's not a very intelligent way to spend one's time.

"In reality, you have much to be grateful for about the past. Moreover, you did accomplish much more than you are now giving yourself credit for. But it would be much wiser to keep your major focus on the present. Frustration comes from comparing what is to what you feel ought to be. When you make wise choices in the present and spend less time focusing on the past, much of your frustration will disappear.

"What you focus on expands. Your life challenge is to appreciate all that you can appreciate about the present. Your life challenge is to experience more joy in your present prayers and Torah study. Your life challenge is how to become a kinder more compassionate person and to experience more joy for the good that you do while you are doing it. Your life challenge is to constantly develop your character traits in the present.

"When you increase your level of understanding that every moment of your life is a challenge to choose wiser thoughts, words, and actions, you will experience more meaning and purpose each and every day. Every day is significant. Every day is valuable. Every day you can grow and develop yourself from that day's challenges."

After a week, I received feedback: "I'm amazed. This one change of focus can make such a major difference! I feel like I am living in a totally different world. The overriding frustration has been replaced by an excitement for life. Each day, I look forward to the good I can do that day. I don't need to wait for the long-term results to realize that each day I am doing something meaningful."


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