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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 Oct. 3, 2005 /29 Elul, 5765

Remember us for life

By Jonathan Rosenblum


Eternal life can be experienced in this world


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Beginning on Rosh Hashanah and continuing through Yom Kippur, we add at the start of every Shemoneh Esrai prayer, "Remember us for life, O King, Who desires life?" What precisely is this life for which we pray? Do we have anything more in mind than that we not die in the year to come?


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Most people conceive of life as series of moments, each presenting some opportunity for pleasure. When that opportunity is not realized, the moment is dead. But even when we succeed in achieving a certain sensory exhilaration, a moment later that sensation has passed forever and is unrecoverable.


Viewed in this fashion, life is a succession of little deaths, which we use to count down to our ultimate demise.


Life so defined is inevitably experienced in the debit column. We are like someone at the amusement park waiting half an hour for a thirty second roller coaster ride. The moments of sensory excitement will inevitably be far fewer than the intervals in between.


Life in the Torah's terminology, however, is always something eternal, continuous. The source of life is described as a constantly flowing spring — mayim chayim — and when we attach ourselves to that never ceasing spring, we experience eternity.


That life is referred to as chayei olam haba — the life of the World to Come. But it is a mistake to conceive of it as something that takes place only after we die, as a reward for our actions in this world. Every day in our prayers we say, "He has planted eternal life within us." Eternal life can be experienced in this world.


To experience eternal life means to rejoice in the very fact of our existence, unconnected to anything outside of ourselves. That rejoicing derives from the recognition that we exist only because G-d brought us into being and sustains us at every moment.


When we pray for life on Rosh Hashanah, we pray to be connected to the Source of life. We express our longing for original moment of Creation, for the point in time before the yetzer hara (Evil Inclination) entered inside Adam, when it still was something wholly external to him in the form of the serpent. We long for the moment in time when nothing existed besides the awareness of the connection to the Divine.


The Shofar (ram's horn) of Rosh Hashanah helps us return to that moment of freedom from the yetzer hara. On the one hand, it reminds us of the original breath of Divine inspiration: "And G-d breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and he was a living being" (Genesis 2:7). With that breath of life, the Divine placed within Adam a portion of Himself. As the Ramban writes, "One who blows into the nostrils of another, gives him from his own soul."


The sounds of the Shofar precede speech and all articulated understanding. They recall the primordial moment of the soul struggling to become aware of its own existence — the baby's first cry as it enters the world. The sounds of the Shofar come from a place prior to consciousness, a place too deep for expression in words, from the cheleik Eloka mi'ma'al — the Divine portion from Above.


All that exists is an expression of the Divine will. But only Man contains within Him a portion of the Divine. Only He is aware of the source of his existence, and has the ability to proclaim His Creator. The Targum translates "a living being" into Aramaic as "a speaking being," for to live is to make some singular statement about the Creator.


To rejoice in the awareness of our own existence is to recognize ourselves as absolutely unique. That uniqueness derives from our ability to reveal some aspect of the Divine in a manner that no one else can. No one else can make the same statement, for no one else was born with the same constellation of talents, no one else was born into the same familial or historical situation, and no one will confront the same exact challenges.


The joy of existence, then, is the knowledge that one's life has a purpose, a mission. In the Zichronos section of the Mussaf prayer, we recite: "Every living being passes before You — a man's action and his mission." Beyond the commandments that are equally incumbent on every Jew, each one of us was created with a unique mission. And we will be judged according to our fulfillment of that mission, no less than according to our performance of the mitzvas.


The task of Rosh Hashanah is to ascertain the nature of our unique mission. The Mishnah describes four times during the year when the world is judged, and at each such period an offering was brought in the Temple appropriate to the judgment. On Sukkos (Tabernacles), for instance, when the world is judged for water, a water libation was brought on the Holy Temple's Altar.


So what is brought on Rosh Hashanah? On Rosh Hashanah, we bring ourselves. We stand in absolute solitude before the Creator, as He calls upon us to answer the question: Why was I created? What do I have to contribute to the world that no one else can?


No one can ever answer that question with absolute certainty, but we can at least enunciate an approach. First, each of us must identify our own special abilities and talents, for these are the G-d-given tools for the achievement of our mission. Rabbi Yisroel Salanter, founder of the Mussar (Jewish ethical) movement, used to say that as bad as it is for a person not to know his faults, it is far worse not to know one's strengths. For those strengths are the primary tools for the fulfillment of his or her unique role in the Divine plan.


Next we must ask ourselves: What do I see in the world about me that needs repair? We should never assume that just because we have noticed a problem in need of fixing that everyone else has as well, and that someone of greater abilities will rectify the problem. The fact that we noticed may be part of our mission.


Having identified what is unique about ourselves, we can plot our direction for the coming year. And with that vision for the future comes a renewed sense of purpose, a feeling of attachment to the Source of all life.


May we all be inscribed and sealed for life.


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JWR contributor Jonathan Rosenblum is a columnist, author and Israeli director of Am Echad. Send your comments to him by clicking here.

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© 2005, Jonathan Rosenblum