Home
In this issue
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

The survival of society

By Rabbi Berel Wein



Misunderstanding the individual's role in the world around him


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | All societies are governed by standards of behavior, accepted norms and the setting of goals, both societal and personal. In dictatorships these norms, goals and challenges are set by the ruler or by an oligarchy that rules. In a democratic society the setting of standards must spring from the society itself. But what standards does such a society set for itself? Are these standards to be changeable, shifting, temporary of limited time and effect? Are they to cater to what the reality apparently is now? Or, perhaps they are to be those of long-standing tradition and historical perspective, standards that have been of proven value and inspiration. Perhaps standards should address how things should be.


This choice is, in my opinion, what lies at the heart of many of the internal conflicts that continue to divide our society and cause anguish to all concerned. The Jewish people for centuries on end always recognized that the standards, social, personal, religious and national, that they lived by were the standards set in the Torah and in the words and ideas of the Talmud, Midrash and other rabbinic writings. While it is true that the Jewish people as a whole and individual Jews as well, many (if not most) times failed to live up to those standards of morality, piety and inspired behavior, nevertheless the standards themselves were never tampered with.


No one dared to rewrite the Ten Commandments or revise the Torah rules of the sanctity of life, person, family, marriage. The bar may have been set very high for all Jews to reach at all times, but the bar was nevertheless never lowered in order to accommodate those of us who could not reach it. The Torah and its way of life remained as the ultimate challenge in Jewish existence, something always to strive for no matter how weak in flesh and spirit the Jews were.


STIMULATION AND INSPIRATION

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes "must-reading". Sign up for the daily update. It's free. Just click here.


With the coming of the ideas of the Emancipation, the Enlightenment, Haskala, urbanism, secularism, Marxism and other utopian schemes in the eighteenth century and thereafter, this attitude towards immutable standards began to change. In essence, standards were compromised; the bar was lowered to accommodate the public's behavior. And once that process began it has never been arrested. Under the protective slogans of academic freedom, artistic expression, pluralism, alternate lifestyles and liberalism, the traditional standards for Jewish society and life were lowered and in many cases completely eliminated.


The assault on the Jewish home and family that these new standards encouraged has wreaked much havoc in the Jewish world. The disappearance of millions of Jews from our society because of rampant assimilation over the last decades, when added to the destruction of the Holocaust, has created a demographic problem in the Jewish world of almost unparalleled proportions. Standards once dearly kept and with great personal sacrifice are today merely options and not very popular ones at that. Sabbath, family, marriage, tradition, moral behavior and sexual probity have all been sacrificed on the altar of a modernity that no longer maintains any absolute standards and treats every problem evenhandedly and with moral equivalency.


Standards by their very nature oppose the concept of unlimited personal freedom. The entire structure of Halacha and Jewish tradition is meant to create a sense of balance between the required personal freedom of an individual and the challenge of standards that order society and enhance personal behavior. High standards can lead to better societies and a life of greater quality.


I once had a teacher in college who gave everyone high marks no matter what their performance in class and tests warranted. Having also received a high mark, I nevertheless felt cheated since my high mark in no way reflected my valiant attempt to achieve a goal commensurate to a high and demanding standard. I think that much of the frustration, stress and dysfunction that so characterize modern Western society can be traced to the inner realization that our so-called achievements are not really being measured against any true standard. We therefore feel cheated because of the very laxity of standards that we craved and created.


A study of traditional Jewish standards of education, social behavior and faith would certainly help us all regain a sense of pride in ourselves and in Jewish society as a whole

Interested in a private Judaic studies instructor — for free? Let us know by clicking here.

Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment by clicking here.

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



© 2006, Rabbi Berel Wein

Quantcast