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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

Partners in creation

By Jonathan Rosenblum

Often peddled as "Jewish Arbor Day", Tu Bishvat, which is celebrated today, provides an opportunity to examine our Sages' understanding of the general purpose of life





http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Today is Tu Bishvat, which marks the "New Year" for tithing fruit trees, and which is traditionally celebrated by eating the fruits of the Holy Land.

Tu Bishvat also provides an opportunity to examine our Sages' understanding of the general purpose of life.

Fruits are man's soul food. In the original plan of Creation, fruit was to be the exclusive food for mankind. Every time a person eats of the fruit tree, says the Vilna Gaon, he absorbs a power that lies in the potential within the fruit and is capable of being realized by man.

The Torah specifically tells us that there is a connection between man and a fruit tree, and it is this connection that makes fruits uniquely suited to sustain man.

When laying siege to a city, we are forbidden to destroy the fruit trees surrounding the city: "Is the tree of the field a man that it should fall before you during a siege?" the Torah asks rhetorically. But the words were read by our Sages as a statement of fact as well: man is like the fruit tree.

The Vilna Gaon explains the intrinsic connection between man and a fruit tree with a gematria: the numerical value of the Hebrew word for tree, eitz, is the same as that of tzelem, image.

The fruit tree symbolizes that aspect of man in which he can be said to be "Godlike," to have been created in the Divine image. The Creator imbued man with the power to himself be a creator, to be a partner with G0d in creation, and it is that power of creativity which is represented by the fruit tree.

Fruits bear a relation to the tree that produces them which is different from everything else produced by living plants or animals.


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Animals do not create anything new --- rather they replicate themselves. Every cow is created "according to its kind," not as a unique individual. The birth of a calf does not represent something truly new; it does no more than add to the total number of cows in the world.

In the vegetable world, new plants grow from seeds, which are transformed and disappear in the process of growth. The seed and that which comes from it do not coexist. There is no creator together with its creation.

The fruit tree, on the other hand, brings forth fruits that do not resemble the tree itself. The fruits and the tree remain distinct entities, one does not replicate the other. At the same time, the tree is not transformed to produce the fruit; the tree and the fruit coexist.

The fruit vis-a-vis the tree thus appears as a creation from nothing. The tree is not depleted by the production of its fruits.

Man, too, produces fruits that are distinct from him and coexist with him. They, too, are a form of creation from nothing, as man is not depleted by the production of his "fruits."

These "fruits" take two forms: a man's offspring and his good deeds. Unlike the offspring of animals, a human being is not just one of a species - he is not interchangeable with any other person. Adam was created alone to teach us that each human being is a world unto himself; each person is born with a unique role in the Divine plan, which he alone can fulfill.

But even more central than the creation of offspring to a man's role as a producer of "fruits" are his good deeds.

The verse, "These are the generations of Noah --- Noah was a righteous man." (Genesis 6:9) teaches us, says Rashi, that the primary offspring of a righteous man are his own good deeds. Man's power to create is thus primarily expressed through those mitzvos (religious duties). Those mitzvos have the power to transform the world. That is what our Sages meant when they said that there is no commandment in the Torah within which there does not lie the power of revival of the dead.

The natural world is one of stasis. After the Flood, God promised that he would never again destroy the entire world, or suspend the orderly progression of the seasons. In such a world, scientific hypothesis can be tested through empirical observation of constant phenomenon.

Together with G0d's promise not to destroy the natural order, he also imposed the seven Noahide laws on all mankind. Those laws require no consent to become binding, no active human creativity.

The world of Torah and mitzvos, by contrast, is one of constant flux and change. For that reason, writes Nahmanides, there is no such thing in the world of Talmudic disputation as an irrefutable proof, as there is in geometry.

The study of Torah is the study of a perfect world coming into being --- as well as an agent which is bringing that world about, and not of a static reality in which empirical proofs are possible. Unlike the Noahide covenant, which contains no creative component from the human side, the mitzvos of the Torah are only binding by virtue of the collective assent of the Jewish people at Sinai.

We created this Sinaic covenant.

Most of us live our lives oblivious to the tremendous power God granted us when He created us in His image. We lead our lives as if we had no greater purpose than to move the furniture from one side of the room to the other.

On Tu Bishvat, as we eat of the fruits of the tree, we should reflect deeply on our great potential - nothing less than the ability to be a partner with G0d in the recreation of the perfect world destroyed by Adam's sin.

"I have placed My words in your mouth, and covered you with the shadow of My hand in order to plant the Heavens and lay the foundations of the earth, and say to Zion, 'You are My people'." (Isaiah 51:16). "Do not read My people, [as] 'ami' but rather, 'imi', with Me" (Zohar).

This means nothing less than being His partner in the creation of heaven and earth.

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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.






© 2011, Jonathan Rosenblum