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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 June 22, 2012 / 2 Tamuz, 5772

Quantum leap to evil

By Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski




How — and why — the grounded, successful become (self-) destructive


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | When one reads the account of Korach's rebellion (Numbers 16:1-35), one is astounded by the incident. Not only was Moses the one who led the Jews from Egypt, but all the Israelites were eyewitnesses to the many miracles that were wrought through him. They saw him wave his staff over the Reed Sea, causing the waters to divide. There could be no doubt that he was commissioned by G-d to be the leader. How could anyone question the authenticity of Moses' leadership? It simply defies all logic.

The foremost commentator, Rashi, quotes the Midrash which raises this question: How could Korach, a wise and learned person, act so foolishly? The Midrash answers that Moses had appointed another Levite to be leader of the tribe of Levi, and Korach was envious of this.

Yet, this does not fully answer the question. Can envy so deprive a person of logical thinking that one would deny the evidence of one's own eyes?

Rabbi Chaim Shmulevitz (Sichos Mussar 5731:21) helps us understand this. He cites the Talmudic statement, ''Envy, lust and pursuit of acclaim remove a person from the world'' (Ethics of the Fathers 4:28). The expression ''remove a person from the world'' is rather strange. Rabbi Shmulevitz explains that the usual deviation from proper behavior is a very gradual one. The Talmud says that the tactic of the Evil Inclination is to seduce a person to commit a very minor infraction, then lead him on to progressively more serious transgressions (Shabbos 108b). That is the nature and order of the world. The Evil Inclination will not entice a person into doing something patently absurd.

However, if a person is overtaken by envy, one escapes the natural order of the world. One is no longer bound by logic. The passion of envy can be so great that it can overwhelm all rational thought, and leave one vulnerable to the Evil Inclination's seduction to behave in the most irrational manner. Envy indeed removes a person from the natural order of the world.


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That is what happened with Korach. Moses understood this, and delayed the trial until the next day (see Rashi to Numbers 16:5).

The Korach episode conveys a most important teaching. We are all vulnerable to envy, and envy is not a difficult emotion to identify. If you feel yourself being envious, do nothing for a while. Envy can suspend all logical thinking and make one do things that one will regret.

If you feel envious, ventilate your feelings to a friend or write them down. Read one of the ethical works about envy. This will help you realize that envy is a futile and destructive feeling. Before doing anything foolish that may be a reaction to your envy, seek the counsel of a friend or mentor. You may avoid making serious mistakes.


A variety of maladaptive behaviors that may result from unwarranted feelings of inferiority. One reaction is to think of oneself as superior to others and seek honor and recognition. I was thrilled to find a confirmation of this in the writings of Rabbeinu Yonah, who says, ''A vain person seeks to compensate for his feelings of lack by thinking himself superior to people whom he can consider to be beneath him'' (Rabbeinu Yonah al HaTorah, p. 156).

Korach was misled by both feelings of envy and pursuit of acclaim, hoping to depose Moses and replace him as leader. His championing of equality was merely a ploy, which was recognized by the wife of Ohn ben Peleth, who went on to prevent her husband from being involved.

Rabbi Yechezkel Levenstein (Kovetz Inyanim) states that logical thinking will enable a person to identify those traits that are destructive. Physiological drives are essential for survival and preservation of the species, but traits such as pursuit of acclaim contribute nothing to one's survival. These are actually counterproductive, resulting in frustration and wasteful expenditure of energy. One should, therefore, recognize them as challenges to be overcome in quest of spirituality.

Ramchal(Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzatto) says that if it were not for pursuit of acclaim, a person could get along with the bare necessities of life. One is often motivated to acquire luxuries in order not to appear inferior to others (Path of the Just, Ch. 11). Exhausting oneself in attempt to acquire more than the necessities of life may indeed ''remove a person from the world.''

Korach was physically removed from the world. While we may remain in the world physically, we must be very cautious about traits that do not contribute to survival, some of which can figuratively ''remove a person from the world.''

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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).

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