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 March 27, 2008 / 21 Adar II 5768


By Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski

Printer Friendly Version

Email this article

What the kosher laws tell us about how to treat 'lost causes'

“This is what you shall not eat . . . the camel . . . but its hoof is not split . . . the hyrax . . . its hoof will not split . . . the hare . . . its hoof was not split.”

                        —   Lev. 11:4-6

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | This portion of the Torah enumerates the kosher and non-kosher animals. In the English-language translation of the Hebrew Bible, all of the three above verses are translated as ''its hoof is not split.'' However, in the Hebrew, three tenses are used: ''is not split, will not split, was not split.'' This cannot be without significance.

Although the Torah is speaking about the non-kosher animals which we must reject, there is a message for us regarding our relationship with people, said Rabbi Yisroel of Salant.

We can reject something only if there is no hope whatsoever of any redemption. As objectionable as a person's present behavior may be, if he had a respectable heritage, i.e., family roots of decent people, we should realize that he undoubtedly has a nucleus of fine character traits within him, which can be unearthed and nurtured.

Even if one lacks such a heritage, there is always the possibility that one may change in the future. There are countless instances of people who have made major lifestyle changes, even late in their lives. Rejection can be justified only if there is no redeeming feature either in the past, present or future.

Since such criteria can never be met, there are no grounds for ever rejecting anyone.

There are times, or course, when a person's improper behavior warrants a modicum of rejection, but even then the rejection should not be absolute. The Talmud is critical even of the prophet Elisha for totally rejecting his errant servant, Gehazi. If distancing someone is called for, ''One should always push aside with the left (i.e., weaker) hand and attract with the right (i.e., stronger) hand'' (Sotah 16a).

The force of attraction should exceed the force of rejection.

Rabbi Yisroel of Salant was the father of the Mussar movement, which calls for highly ethical behavior. Yet he states that although we must denounce improper behavior, we should always look for redeeming features that will enable us to salvage even the most sinful person.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes inspiring articles. Sign up for our daily update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment by clicking here.

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).

© 2007, Mesorah Publications, Ltd.