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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 March 30, 2007 / 11 Nissan 5767

Living the commanded life

By Rabbi Berel Wein


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as a means to fulfilling our ultimate life's purpose


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | There is a single Hebrew word that conveys much of the basic message of Judaism and the traditions of Torah life: "tzav", the first word — and name of — this week's Torah portion.


Even though we live, or believe that we do, in a world of ultimate free choice and personal autonomy, the structure of all civilizations and societies is that we are commanded to do certain things in life. Sometimes it is our family that makes these demands on us, other times it is our work or profession and still other times it is the government that intrudes upon our autonomy. There is always a piece of us, deeply hidden within the recesses of our psyche, which rebels against these intrusions on our private choices and lives.


The Torah recognizes this nature of ours and therefore emphasizes the necessary requirement of commandments that can thereby insure a moral lifestyle and a better society. Even the great Aaron, the paradigm of human goodness and peace, the holy High Priest of Israel, has to be commanded. The strength of being commanded — of "tzav" — is the bulwark of Jewish life and tradition. Without that ingredient of asher tzivanu — blessed be G-d Who has commanded us — there is no Judaism and ultimately no private or public Jewish life.


All of our lives, from the time of infancy onward, we are shaped and raised by commandments. The sages called this process "chinuch" — laying of a strong foundation for our lives. Thus, the word "tzav", which introduces our Torah portion this week, is not only to be understood in its literal and narrow meaning as it applies to the laws of sacrifices in the Temple and to the High Priest of Israel but it is to be seen as the basic expression of the values and mindset of Judaism in all of its aspects.


Special note should be made that this word "tzav" appears in conjunction with the commandments regarding the sacrifice of the olah in the Holy Temple. The olah, unlike any of the other sacrifices, was a sacrifice from which no human being obtained any immediate tangible benefit. It was completely consumed by the fire on the altar.


There must have been a hidden voice of hesitancy that resonated within the person bringing that sacrifice and even within the priest that was offering it up on the altar to be totally consumed. After all, of what value was a sacrifice if no one would derive any immediate value from its offering?


Because of the limited range of human logic as compared to G-d's infinity so to speak, the Torah emphasized here the word "tzav" — this is an order, a commandment — not subject to human logic or choice. Many times in life demands are made upon us there are illogical and sometimes appear even to be capricious, but nevertheless they must be met.


By realizing the innate necessity in life for "tzav" — for bowing to Divine Will and for obeying commandments, we therefore make our lives easier to live and more meaningful as well. And we also must realize that life at times demands an olah from us, selfless sacrifice that shows little immediate or tangible reward or benefit. We are here to serve. That is our ultimate life's purpose.

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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.


© 2006, Rabbi Berel Wein