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December 2, 2014

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

On harvesting success

By Rabbi Berel Wein


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An ancient ceremony has a powerful lesson about the psychological makeup of modern man


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | One of the mitzvas — religious duties — described in this week's Torah reading (Deut. 26:1-29:8) is that of bikurim, the offering of the first-harvested fruit on the premises of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.

The Jewish farmer, after surviving the arduous task of planting and harvesting his precious and hard-won crops, brings the fruit of his labors to the kohen, priest, in Holy Temple in Jerusalem. There, upon handing over his basket of bikurim to the kohen and the altar, a prayer of thanksgiving and hope is recited.

At first blush, the language of that prayer appears to be out of place with what the bikurim ceremony is meant to commemorate. Instead of the expected and logical thanks for the rain, the sunlight and the bounty of the fertile earth, the prayer is a short review of ancient Jewish history. It tells of the travails of our founding forefathers, the descent of the tribes of Israel into Egyptian bondage, their eventual redemption from that bondage and their entry into the Holy Land, and the struggle of Israel to establish itself in its promised land.

And then the prayer almost abruptly switches to the acknowledgment of the Divine's bounty in helping the farmer bring this first-harvested fruit offering to the Temple. What is the import of this construction of the prayer? Why the history lesson? And what are we to make of this recitation of the prayer of bikurim?

People are justifiably proud of their accomplishments. After all, one's efforts and talents, time and struggle, are of no minor consequence in one's life. Many times, we feel that this is perhaps all we have to show for our years on earth. Therefore, there is a human tendency to view one's achievements in a somewhat exaggerated fashion — without being able to place the true accomplishment in realistic perspective. In life, individual or communal, nothing takes place in a vacuum.

There is always a past to our efforts and struggles, as we hope there will be a future to them as well. If we do not somehow see ourselves in the light of that past, we really cannot be aware of the true nature of our accomplishment in the present.

The disregard of the past is a common illness in Twentieth Century life. Much of secular society, and secular Jewry, blithely ignore the lessons of our past and of general history at large. Same-sex marriages, blind pagan worship of environment and nature, widespread use of addictive drugs, a disproportionate emphasis in life on sports and unwarranted adulation of athletes and the strong, feel-good and undemanding moral standards, all were staple components of the downfall of society in the Classical Era of Greece and Rome. But our world blithely ignores all of the lessons of the past. We see our society as being new and progressive, existing in a vacuum, cleverer by far than all generations that preceded us.

That is the false reality that the Torah warns about in this prayer of the bikurim service.

Before the Jewish farmer, proud of his achievements and confident of his future and success, proclaimed his personal victory in the holy Temple of the Divine, he first had to recite and remember a basic lesson of Jewish history. He had to admit that life and society did not begin with him, that his "first harvest" — bikurim — was preceded by many other such "first harvests."

This sobering assessment of life is realism — uncomfortable, disturbing, thought provoking, challenging and valuable.

The Torah prescribes this realism as the gateway to wisdom. We should all treasure our accomplishments in life. We should love and value our children and family. We can be proud of our companies, awards, enterprises and commercial successes. But we should be wise and cautious and remember our past in assessing our present.

The necessity to avoid hubris and be realistic about our achievements is the key to true human success.

That may be accomplished by studied knowledge and appreciation of our historic past.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in uplifting articles. Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Rabbi Berel Wein is one of Jewry's foremost historians and founder of the Destiny Foundation. He has authored over 650 tapes, books and videos which you can purchase at RabbiWein.com. Comment by clicking here or calling 1-800-499-WEIN (9346).

© 2008, Rabbi Berel Wein