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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. 26, 2007 / 14 Tishrei 5768

Why the Feast of Tabernacles epitomizes rejoicing

By Jonathan Rosenblum


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Succos is a lot more than a mere "harvest festival"


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | There is a mitzva (religious duty) of rejoicing on each of the three pilgrimage festivals of the Jewish calendar. We are encouraged to have festive meals, with meat and wine, and husbands are enjoined to buy their wives new clothing or jewelry for the holiday.


Yet of the three festivals only Succos is specifically known as zman simchaseinu — the time of our rejoicing.


When the Holy Temple stood, this rejoicing was expressed in the dancing and celebrations connected to the water libations throughout the festival. And even today, Succos retains a special place in the hearts of Jews in Israel, as attested to by the Succa huts going up everywhere, in religious and secular neighborhoods alike.


But what exactly is the special connection between Succos and joy? A hint to the answer lies in a puzzling Midrash. The Midrash asks why we begin building our succa hut immediately after our judgment for the coming year was sealed on Yom Kippur. The Midrash answers that perhaps the Jewish people received a judgment of exile, but in lieu of exile G-d accepts our leaving our homes and entering the succa.


To understand this Midrash, we must first understand the meaning of galus, exile. Our nearly 2,000-year exile began as a consequence of sinas chinam, causeless enmity, between Jews. Exile follows from sinas chinam not as a punishment, but to repair the failure of vision that gave rise to a lack of unity in the first place.


Sinas chinam, the habit of viewing our fellow man with a jaundiced eye, arises out of a view of the world as essentially an arena for competition over scarce goods. If we view the purpose of life as the acquisition of the largest possible slice of a fixed pie of material goods, then life becomes a zero sum game, in which someone else's victory is of necessity my loss.


In such a world, we are all competitors. The world of the spirit, by contrast, is not characterized by scarcity because its source is infinite. As a consequence, those whose primary focus is on spiritual matters do not experience life as unceasing competition.


In a yeshiva (Orthodox rabbinical seminary), for instance, the most respected students are those at the most elevated spiritual level. Rather than arousing jealousy, they arouse gratitude, for there is a recognition that every act of spiritual growth by one individual makes such growth easier for everyone else. In the world of the spirit, one person's attainments do not impose limits on others; they increase the spiritual potential of everyone.


Exile is G-d's way of redirecting our focus from the material to the spiritual world. It deprives us of our sense of security in the material world in the most dramatic fashion possible. Exile thus serves as a corrective to the hatred engendered by viewing the world solely in terms of competition over material goods.


Entering the succa hut is itself a miniature exile. Halacha (Jewish Law) requires that the succa be an impermanent dwelling. We leave a dwelling of ostensible security for one lacking that quality. By diminishing our connection to the material world, we thereby deepen our awareness of our relationship to G-d.


The Talmud explicitly connects the succa to reduced emphasis on the material world. It interprets the verse 'I caused the Children of Israel to dwell in booths when I took them out of Egypt' to mean that poverty suits the Jewish people. Only by throwing off our bondage to the physical world do we escape the spiritual depravity of Egypt.


Peace and unity are an outgrowth of the redirection of vision that we experience by dwelling in the succa. Every night in our prayers we express this intrinsic relation between succa and unity when we request G-d to 'spread over us Your succa of peace.' That unity is, in turn, related to the special simchas, rejoicing, of Succos.


Hebrew is not a language rich in synonyms, yet it has 10 terms for happiness. Simcha, says the Vilna Gaon, refers to a constant internal state — a sense of well-being that derives from awareness of a connection to G-d.


Simcha also describes a breaking down of barriers, of expansion through unification. Even our colloquial speech reflects this linkage of simcha to expansion beyond our own finite boundaries. When we refer to Simchas, we primarily mean weddings and births — i.e., the joining of two formerly separate individuals and their transformation into a family.


The physical world is one of boundaries, of finite objects. By contrast, the spiritual world is one of unity, because it is linked to one infinite source. Awareness of that unity is the greatest source of joy in life, and at no time of the year is it more accessible than on Succos.

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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