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 June 16, 2009 / 24 Sivan 5769

Career v. Careersism

By Rabbi Dr. Asher Meir

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Q. I notice that many people are single-mindedly devoted to advancing in their careers. Does Judaism teach us anything about this?

A. People enter a line of work for a number of reasons: because it will enable them to earn a good living; because it suits their talents and inclinations; because it makes a contribution to humanity; because it will enable a person to obtain recognition; because the workplace is a pleasant place to be. In many cases, all of these legitimate goals are advanced when a person remains committed to a single line of work and often to a single employer; this is when a job becomes a career.

When does a career, which is generally a positive thing, become careerism, which is fraught with problems? When career goals are disproportionately important. While all the above considerations are certainly legitimate and some are even worthy, Jewish tradition would assign them less importance than other goals in life, including raising a family and commitment to Torah study.

The Mishna teaches us not to give exaggerated importance to wealth, even while acknowledging the benefit of a decent living: "Teach you son a clean and easy profession, and pray to Whom all wealth and possessions belong. For there is no profession in which there is not both poverty and wealth, for poverty is not from the profession and wealth is not from the profession, rather all is according to merit." (1)

Honor and recognition also need to be kept in perspective. The Mishna tractate Avos repeatedly acknowledges the importance of proper honor, admonishing us to give proper honor to our friends, our students and our teachers, and stating that honor is fitting for the righteous. But this same tractate warns, "Envy and desire and honor drive a person from the world" (2), and "Don't covet honor beyond your learning" (3).

Even saving the world, important as it may be, needs to be placed in perspective. G-d created the world, and commanded man to occupy himself with improving it. Even in the Garden of Eden, Adam was bidden to "cultivate and watch" the garden. (Genesis 2:15.) But God also commanded man to "be fruitful and multiply" (Genesis 1:28), and commanded the Jewish people to study and obey the Torah. Working for the public benefit is praiseworthy, but we need to recognize that ultimately G-d is in charge of the world, and improving it requires adhering to His ground rules.

Just as in secular law no one is so indispensable as to be above the law if he commits a crime, in Jewish law no one is so indispensable that he is exempt from his social and religious obligations. The Torah indicates this by stating that a king must write a Torah scroll, "And it shall be with him all the days of his life." (Deuteronomy 17:19.) The Mishnah likewise tells us that when a person is committed to a city of refuge due to manslaughter, he is not released "even if the people of Israel need him, even the chief general of Israel such as Yoav ben Tzruiah". (4)

The value of work and career are legitimated in Jewish tradition. Earning a decent living, finding an outlet for our talents, attaining a measure of recognition -- all these have their place. Certainly having an active role in the material progress of the world is of religious value. But all these things have to be kept in perspective. They are various facets of a total life which includes family life and religious devotion. A career is fine, but we should not let it cross the line into careerism.

SOURCES: (1) Mishna, Kiddushin 4:14. (2) Mishna, Avos 4:21 (3) Mishna, Avos 6:4. (4) Mishna, Makkos 2:7.


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JWR contributor Rabbi Dr. Asher Meir, formerly of the Council of Economic Advisers in the Reagan administration, is Research Director of the Business Ethics Center of Jerusalem, Jerusalem College of Technology. To comment or pose a question, please click here.


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