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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 23 Sivan 2964 (795 BCE)

King Jeroboam of Israel prevents pilgrimage to Jerusalem

By Rabbi Yonason Goldson


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Our sages teach us that jealousy, desire, and the craving for honor destroy a person's portion in the World to Come. Jeroboam ranks among the most infamous figures in Jewish history, a brilliant Torah scholar with the potential to achieve immeasurable greatness who overreached himself by setting his sights on that which G-d had not intended for him. In his quest for power and position that he was not meant to have, Jeroboam forfeited all the honor and influence that could have been his, including eternal reward in the World to Come


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The reign of King Solomon stands out as the most glorious era in Jewish history. Solomon's father, King David, had conquered all Israel's enemies and subdued unfriendly nations all around. The Jews lived in unprecedented peace and prosperity, and by the time Solomon's laborers completed the First Temple in the eleventh year reign, the Jewish nation had become the spiritual and material envy of the world.

But even when all is well people find excuses to complain. The Jewish people, resentful of Solomon's heavy taxation and conscription of workers, sent a delegation to Solomon's son, Rehoboam, asking him to lighten their load. Rehoboam understood that what they really wanted was for the king to concede a measure of his own authority to the people in the form of a limited monarchy.

The tribal leaders had orchestrated events to pressure Rehoboam into making concessions. They had waited for his coronation, on the occasion of which custom demanded that the king offer a gesture of mercy, to present their grievances. They had arranged for the coronation ceremony to take place in the territory of Ephraim rather than in the king's own territory of Judah. And they had had appointed Jeroboam ben Nevat to present their demands to Rehoboam.

Once a high-ranking official in the royal service, Jeroboam had fled to Egypt after publicly rebuking Solomon for showing inadequate sensitivity for the poor pilgrims who traveled to Jerusalem for the festivals. Although his brazenness had branded him a rebel, it was precisely because of Jeroboam's passionate defense of his countrymen, together with his unparalleled scholarship, that G-d sent the prophet Achiyah HaShiloni to proclaim his destiny. "I shall build for you an enduring dynasty," declared the prophet in the name of the Almighty, "just as I built for David, and I shall give Israel to you."

However, where David had earned the merit to establish an eternal dynasty through a lifetime of self-sacrifice, Jeroboam's claim upon the monarchy remained conditional: G-d promised him a dynasty like David's only "if you walk in My ways and keep My Torah."

THE DISREGUARDED COUNSEL
Wary of Jeroboam's popularity and the people's discontent, Rehoboam tried to stall for time, promising to present his answer in three days. He then went to his father's advisors to ask their counsel. These elders advised Rehoboam neither to demand subservience, lest he goad the people into rebellion, nor to promise concessions, lest he erode the authority of the crown. "If you will be a servant to the people today," they said, and address the people with kindness and concern, "then they will be your servants always." They advised Rehoboam further to give his answer immediately and not allow the three days to pass, lest the people have time to organize against him.

Rehoboam received the elders' counsel with skepticism and turned to his friends for advice. Well-intentioned but inexperienced, his friends warned him that the people would exploit any show of weakness. If Rehoboam lost the people's respect now, his friends cautioned, he might never gain it back. Preferring the advice of his friends, Rehoboam returned to the people and declared that, "my father flogged you with whips, but I will flog you with the tails of scorpions."

Concerning Rehoboam the Talmud says: "The building of youth is destruction and the destruction of elders is building." The counsel of Rehoboam's young friends, intended to strengthen the kingdom by coercing the people into submission, achieved precisely the opposite effect. The counsel of the elders, although appearing to weaken the power of the king, would have won the people's loyalty and secured the stability of the monarchy.

Angered by Rehoboam's threats, and having Jeroboam to lead them, the people declared their secession from Rehoboam's authority and made Jeroboam their king. Of the twelve tribes descended from the sons of Jacob, ten joined together in their rebellion against Rehoboam and formed the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Only two tribes remained loyal to Rehoboam: his own tribe of Judah, and the tribe of Benjamin, whose territory included a portion of the Temple and who therefore felt more closely connected to the Davidic dynasty.

To his credit, Rehoboam followed the orders of G-d's prophet and did not lead his army into a civil war. In later years, however, the kingdom of Judah and the kingdom of Israel would clash violently over disputed borders until the unity that is the most essential element for the success of the Jewish people disintegrated entirely.

THE FORGOTTEN PROMISE
As a great scholar and a popular leader, chosen to rule by G-d and promised a dynasty equal to David's, Jeroboam should have comfortably settled into his new role as King of Israel and led the people into an age of peace and prosperity.

But the same jealousy and contempt for the House of David that had prompted Jeroboam to publicly rebuke Solomon now metastasized into a paranoid obsession that his own kingdom might somehow be torn away from him even before it had become fully established.

With the ripening of the first fruits in early summer, the Jews of the Northern Kingdom prepared to bring their yearly offerings to Jerusalem. This vexed Jeroboam, who feared that when the people arrived in the Holy City they would become so swept up in the joy, the grandeur, and the solidarity of the moment that they would long for the days when the Jews were one nation. Imagining the worst, Jeroboam convinced himself that the people would then forsake him and declare their loyalty once again to Rehoboam and Judah.

Jeroboam had good reason for concern. No structure in the world inspired such awe and majesty as the Solomon's Temple. The facade was 120 cubits (180 feet) high with huge golden doors. The great stone altar in the court yard towered over the heads of the people who came to bring their offerings in an unceasing procession of animals as the Levites sat upon the courtyard steps and played upon their instruments while reciting King David's Psalms set to beautiful music.

Of course, the prophecy that Jeroboam's dynasty would endure should have assured him that the people would not reject him. But his paranoia so affected his reasoning that he could conceive no other outcome if he allowed his subjects to go up to Jerusalem.

And so Jeroboam contrived a plan to prevent the people from going. On the 23rd day of the month of Sivan, he placed border guards along the roads leading from Israel into Judah. Knowing that the people might rebel against him if he didn't allow them access to their place of worship, Jeroboam erected two golden calves, one in the northern territory of Dan and one in the southern city of Beth-El, then issued a proclamation that the people were to worship before these calves instead of traveling to the Temple.

A LESSON UNLEARNED
Jeroboam took the idea of golden calves directly from the Golden Calf in the desert: Jeroboam's calves were intended as intermediaries to HaShem, similar to way that the Temple itself enables the people to focus their attention on a specific point in time and space in order to better conceptualize that they were standing in the presence of G-d. One critical distinction, however, is that the Temple was never worshiped itself. An even more fundamental difference is that the Temple was commanded by the Almighty, in contrast to the Torah's explicit prohibition against fashioning or worshipping graven images, even if the intent is to use them as a means of connecting with G-d.

Although the people began worshipping at Jeroboam's altars only as a means of directing their offerings and their prayers to the Divine, over time many began to worship the calves themselves and to believe that they possessed independent power. Jeroboam continued erecting altars and appointing invalid non-priests in positions of divine service, until all resemblance to authentic Jewish worship had disappeared. For this reason, every evil king of Israel is said to have "continued in the way of Jeroboam;" having laid the path, he bears responsibility for everyone who followed it.

Our sages teach us that jealousy, desire, and the craving for honor destroy a person's portion in the World to Come. Jeroboam ranks among the most infamous figures in Jewish history, a brilliant Torah scholar with the potential to achieve immeasurable greatness who overreached himself by setting his sights on that which G-d had not intended for him. In his quest for power and position that he was not meant to have, Jeroboam forfeited all the honor and influence that could have been his, including eternal reward in the World to Come.

Moreover, Jeroboam set his kingdom on a course the led to its ultimate destruction. Eventually, the Northern Kingdom was conquered by the Assyrian King Sancheriv, who dispersed the captive Jews among his empire until all knowledge of them was lost. And the Kingdom of Judah, influenced by the idolatry of its neighbor, slipped into corruption itself and was subsequently conquered by the Babylonian ruler Nebuchadnezzar.

But the lessons of history did not go unlearned forever. Babylon fell, and the Jews returned to their homeland to rebuild their Temple, to try again to learn the lessons of history.


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JWR contributor Rabbi Yonason Goldson teaches at Block Yeshiva High School in St. Louis. Comment by clicking here.


Previously:

First printed Torah commentary
Yahrtzeit of Rabbi Samson Rafael Hirsch
The Septuagint
End of the Great Flood
First Day of Creation
Reprise at Sinai
Tu B'Av: Repentance and the foundations of love
Sin of the Golden Calf: Understanding the how and why and resulting Divine punishment
The day the sun stood still
Nemirov massacres and the Chmielnicki uprising
Independent Judea under Shimon HaMaccabee
The Great Revolt begins
Dedication of new walls of Jerusalem

© 2006, Rabbi Yonason Goldson