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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 Sept. 12, 2007 / 29 Elul, 5767

Our uniquely individualized mission

By Jonathan Rosenblum


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Why "fear" is actually rooted in optimism


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Each of us has some mission in life that is ours and ours alone. No two human beings are born with the same talents or the same challenges; no two are born into the same familial situation or the identical time and place in human history. These unique aspects of each of us constitute the raw material within which our mission in life will unfold.


Targum Onekolos translates the words "a living being" in the verse (Genesis 2:7) ". . . And G-d blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being, as "l'ruach m'mal'la" — a speaking being. The ability to speak is thus intimately connected with the Divine soul that the Divine breathed into Adam. Each of us was brought into the world to "speak," to proclaim some aspect of G-d that no one else could. That proclamation is our mission in life.


In the section of the Rosh Hashanah prayers known as zichronos (remembrances), a similar idea appears. The prayer describes how "the remembrance of everything fashioned comes before You: everyone's deed and mission ( ma'aseh ish u'pikudaso)."


The Hebrew root pey-kuf-daled when used as a verb denotes an act of remembrance or recall. With respect to the Divine, there is no remembrance or recall in the same sense as with human beings, since G-d is incapable of forgetting. Rather it means that He focuses His attention, as it were, on some event or state that from a human perspective is in the past.


The same three-letter root in its noun form refers to a mission (pekuda) or task (tafkid). Thus the Divine's recall or remembrance, as on Rosh Hashanah, is connected to our unique mission in life.


Rabbi Shraga Feivel Mendlowitz, the Jewish education pioneer, used to stress that there are two aspects to G-d's remembrance on Rosh Hashanah. The first is a person's deeds, which refers to his or her religious observance (ma'aseh ish). The second is to the fulfillment of his or her unique mission in life (u'pikudaso). We might think that the former is the most important aspect of our judgment on Rosh Hashanah. But, Rabbi Shraga Feivel taught, that is not the case. The way that we fulfill our mission is often most determinative of our judgment on Rosh Hashanah.


The Divine's remembrance or recall is most often associated with His mercy. Both the Torah and Haftorah readings of the first day of Rosh Hashanah use terms of G-d's remembrance in connection with His answering the prayers of barren women.


"Ve'Hashem pakad es Sarah — And G-d remembered Sarah;" "Va'yizkareha Hashem — He remembered her [i.e., Channah]."


We beseech G-d on Rosh Hashanah to remember the Binding of Isaac and the ashes of Isaac. And it is clear enough how the remembrance of the Binding would arouse G-d's mercy towards their descendants. But we also invoke G-d's remembrance of our unique mission. What is there about that that unique mission that should arouse Divine mercy?


I would suggest that the remembrance that we were created with a specific mission serves, as it were, to "remind" the Divine of all the high hopes He invested in us at the moment of our Creation, when He implanted within us our Divine soul. Perhaps too it serves to remind G-d that He, so to speak, needs us, and that the purpose of Creation — the Revelation of the Divine's glory — depends in some measure upon every single one of us.


Neither G-d's high hopes for us, or even His "need" for us, contradicts the possibility of profound disappointment on His part at how far we have fallen short of fulfilling our assignment. Yet knowledge that each of us has been given such an assignment, and that we have a role to play in the Divine symphony should fill us with optimism.


That optimism is part of the elevation we feel in the period leading up to Rosh Hashanah. From Tisha B'Av, when we commemorate the destruction of the two Holy Temples, until Rosh Hashanah, we read the seven haftoros of consolation from the prophet Isaiah. Coming after the utter destruction of Tisha B'Av, the words of Isaiah hold out the possibility of rectification and forgiveness.


The possibility of forgiveness is no guarantee. And so the hope we feel as Rosh Hashanah approaches is tempered by our fear. Indeed our optimism is the cause of our fear, as it say's in the holy day's prayers: "For with You is [the power of ] forgiveness, in order that you should be feared." Without the possibility of forgiveness, there is no reason to fear. If we have lost the possibility of forgiveness, there is no further reason to guard our actions, since, in any event, complete destruction awaits us.


Our hopes for Rosh Hashanah are intimately bound to our unique mission in life since remembrance of that mission has the capacity to arouse G-d's mercy. But only if we do our part and attach ourselves to that mission.


That means reflecting deeply about everything that makes us unique in order that we discover our individual goal in life. It requires knowing our weaknesses, but, even more importantly, according to the founder of the Jewish ethics movement, Rabbi Yisrael Salanter, knowing our strengths, since those strengths are the primary material which we possess to execute our mission. And it means asking what our fellow Jews and/or the larger society are lacking, and which of those things that are lacking we have the ability to provide.


In order that the remembrance of our Divine mission pass favorably before Him, it must first fully engage us, as we prepare for the Day of Judgement.


May we be inscribed in the Book of Life.

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JWR contributor Jonathan Rosenblum is founder of Jewish Media Resources and a widely-read columnist for the Jerusalem Post's domestic and international editions and for the Hebrew daily Maariv. He is also a respected commentator on Israeli politics, society, culture and the Israeli legal system, who speaks frequently on these topics in the United States, Europe, and Israel. His articles appear regularly in numerous Jewish periodicals in the United States and Israel. Rosenblum is the author of seven biographies of major modern Jewish figures. He is a graduate of the University of Chicago and Yale Law School. Rosenblum lives in Jerusalem with his wife and eight children.


© 2007, Jonathan Rosenblum