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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

Be all that you should be

By Rabbi Berel Wein



Some brief thoughts about the Almighty and opportunities --- limited, lost and squandered


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The counting and chronicling of the ancient people of Israel -- particularly their tribal leaders -- fills a major portion of this week's Torah reading, Bamidbar. It's especially poignant, but also bittersweet.


We, the listeners of the words from the holy scroll, know in advance that, with few exceptions, all those counted and named are doomed to die in the desert; they are never to reach the Promised Land.


The Torah, of course, also knows this. Yet the Book of Books, which is always so precise in its language, spends significant space recording for posterity this. And does so in such detail. At the end of the day, however, all of these matters and names apparently serve no purpose in the development of the Jewish people and the conquest and settlement of the Land of Israel.

As far as I am able to see, the major commentators to the Torah deal with this problem only in an oblique and indirect fashion. I am not presumptuous enough to tread here on ground that the greats of Israel in the past have apparently avoided. Yet, I think that there is a great and important relevant message to us and to all generations. And that is that one should realize the tragedy of opportunity and inherent greatness squandered and brought to naught.


Wasted potential is tragic. And in national affairs it is often the deciding weakness that dooms a people. The careful detailing of the numbers and names of the generation that died in the desert emphasizes to us the tragedy of what could have been --- and the failure to achieve that goal.


Implicit in Judaism's idea of free will and free choice for human beings is the fact that the Lord presents us with opportunities. In His omniscience, He is aware of how man will make use of those opportunities. But as Maimonides explains, the Divine's foreknowledge of the results of our choices in no way influences or guides our abilities to make those choices as we wish.

The generation of the desert did not have to destroy itself with its wrong behavior and mistaken attitudes. It had the opportunity, because it was the dor deah — the generation of intellect and great potential — to build the Jewish people in a most positive fashion.


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Its tragedy therefore lies not only in its behavior of folly but rather in its failure to exercise its potential in a positive manner. Heaven apparently measures us not only by who and what we are, but also by who or what we could be.


Opportunities squandered are much more painful and damaging than having no opportunities present at all.


Hearing the names and numbers of the generation of the desert read to us this Sabbath should sober us and make us realize that opportunities should not be frittered away because of lack of vision, faith and will. We can ill afford another generation of the desert.

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JWR contributor Rabbi Berel Wein --- Jewish historian, author and international lecturer offers a complete selection of CDs, audio tapes, video tapes, DVDs, and books on Jewish history at www.rabbiwein.com Comment by clicking here.


© 2011, Rabbi Berel Wein

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