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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

Cleaving to the Divine (Dveikus) as a Way of Life

By Debbie Greenblatt



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Dveikus means attachment to the Divine: feeling so connected to Him that you feel His presence; that you fear and love Him. We have a dilemma. How can a physical and limited being sense the spiritual and infinite Divine Presence?


One answer lies in our ability to find commonality with the Divine within ourselves. To the extent to which we emulate His ways — i.e. the interactions that He exhibits in t


his world — to that degree we can hope to forge a connection. A person who has never performed a selfless act is unable to recognize and acknowledge selflessness in others. He suspects ulterior motives rather than selflessness (Rabbi Dessler). Similarly, if we don't find within ourselves the attributes ascribed to the One Above, how can we develop a sense of His presence? It would be outside the ken of our experience.


The purpose then of our character development is to reach the state of connection called dveikus. There are those who say that the purpose of Torah and its duties is to fulfill the mandate of and to Him you shall cleave (Deut. 10:19). As with each trait, each duty is a pathway toward that connection (Toldos Yaakov Yosef, Parashas Chayei Sarah, as cited by Nesivos Shalom).

When the Jewish people stood at Mount Sinai and heard the Divine speak, we heard the first two of the Ten Commandments. The first one, I am the Lord your G0D, includes all the positive commandments, while the second on: You shall not recognize the gods of others. In My presence, includes all the negative commandments. All the positive duties move us toward the encounter we had at Sinai when all our senses experienced the Divine Presence. All the negative duties guard us against anything that would interfere with that experiential understanding. And so the Maharal (d. 1609) says: All religious dutiess are meant to cause a person to have an attachment to he Divine ( Nesivos Olam, Nesiv HaAhavah). That is the inner core, the soul, of our service of the Divine.


The Chofetz Chaim (d. 1933) tells of a businessman who continually undersold his competition. When he was asked how he managed to do that, he replied, "It's no problem. I sell my products for less than I pay for them." The Chofetz Chaim comments that this man is guilty of the only unforgivable sin in business — which is to forget that the purpose is to earn a profit. In Torah and religious duties, it would be just as unforgivable to forget that the goal is to forge a personal connection with the Divine.


A woman came to speak to a counselor. She is married 20 years, has 12 children, and is very unhappy. The situation has begun to affect the children. The counselor asks her about her life. The woman proceeds to describe the efficiency with which she runs her home. Each child is trained to do his or her share, and she is proud of them. "And how is your relationship with your husband?" the counselor probes.




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"What do you mean by relationship?" replies the distraught woman. "I do what I have to do, and he does his thing."


"But don't you spend time together?" presses the counselor. "What would be the point?" answers the woman.


This woman missed the mark entirely. She got the details clearly, but she missed the message. All the details are valuable as an expression of the core of the home, which is the connection between husband and wife. Similarly, the details of Torah and Judaism are meant to be both the expression of, and the means by which to attain, this core connection with the Divine.


Exercise: The next time you fulfill a religious duty, or learn Torah, think: What am I trying to accomplish through this? I am trying to come closer to Him.


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