In this issue
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

A spiritual budget

By Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski

Religious economics and being a ruler

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The Torah (Bible) relates the wars between Moab and the Amorites, and says, Regarding this the poets would say:

“Come to Cheshbon — let it be built and established as the city of Sihon''.”

  —   Numbers 21:27

The word that the Torah uses for ''poet,'' moshel, also means ''ruler.'' The word "cheshbon" is the Hebrew word for ''accounting.'' The Talmud, therefore, offers this interpretation of the above verse: ''Those who rule over themselves can make an accounting, calculating the gains and losses in life: the gain of a mitzvah [religious duty] as opposed to its cost, and the cost of a sin as opposed to its gain'' (Bava Basra 78b).

Much of western civilization lives under the influence of ''seizing the pleasure of the moment.'' The American economy is built upon credit, with people being urged to ''buy now, pay later.'' If people would calculate the ultimate cost of credit purchases which may be outrageous, they might delay buying things until they can afford to pay for them. But persistent and impressive advertising seduces people to get what they want, and to get it now. Blinded by their desires, people do not calculate.

How many people who know the long term danger of smoking render themselves oblivious to it because the desire for the immediate effects of smoking overwhelms their rational thought?

The Talmud's statement is correct. Only ''those who rule over themselves,'' who are not enslaved by their physical desires, can be objective and make an accurate accounting of the positives and negatives in life choices.

Animals do not ''choose.'' They follow their instincts and do whatever is most drives which they cannot resist. Human beings should take pride in being rulers. Allowing oneself to be governed by physical drives is essentially an abdication of one's humanity.

Once a person can be a ''ruler'' one can calculate ''the gain of a mitzvah as opposed to its cost, and the cost of a sin as opposed to its gain.'' I would like to share an example of this with you.


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Due to my extensive work in treating alcoholism and drug addiction I have been immersed among people whose entire life is focused on getting a momentary thrill for which they must pay dearly in the long run. Their addiction to chemicals has taken every vestige of self-rule from them.

Avi is one such person. His pursuit of the ''high'' of drugs led him to a career of crime. His convictions for burglary resulted in eight imprisonments for a total of sixteen of his thirty-four years. This was certainly a long term loss for a momentary ''high,'' but Avi had no self-rule. He lived under the tyranny of drug addiction.

After Avi underwent a successful rehabilitation, he once found an envelope with a very large sum of money. This was ostensibly ownerless money, which the finder has a right to keep. It just so happened that Avi knew to whom it belonged, and he returned it. What a turnaround, from burglarizing homes to returning lost money to its owner! Avi had attained self-rule.

I learned about this incident and congratulated Avi on his great progress. Avi said, ''In the days when I used drugs, I would get a high that lasted for perhaps 20 minutes. When it wore off, I felt worse than ever. The incident when I returned the money happened six months ago. Whenever I think of it, I still get a good feeling.''

When he was enslaved by his addiction, Avi could not calculate the long term cost he would have to pay for a fleeting pleasure. As a ''ruler,'' Avi was able to make an accounting, to calculate the loss of money, which he could have kept, as opposed to the good feeling of doing a mitzvah, which persisted for six months and would be with him forever.

We should become rulers over ourselves. Only then can we make an honest calculation, gaining the most out of life and avoiding severe losses.

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Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski, M.D. is a psychiatrist and ordained rabbi. He is the founder of the Gateway Rehabilitation Center in Pittsburgh, a leading center for addiction treatment. An Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, he is a prolific author, with some 30 books to his credit, including, "Twerski on Chumash" (Bible), from which this was excerpted (Sales of this book help fund JWR).

© 2008, Mesorah Publications, Ltd.

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