In this issue

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

Worshiping oneself and calling it religion

By Rabbi Chaim Silver

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The Bible's warning against political correctness

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | There's a fundamental principle in Torah study: Not a single letter of the Good Book is superfluous. Yet this week's portion seems to break this rule — no less than eighteen times.

After each stage in the building of the Mishkan (tabernacle), the Torah declares, "Ka'asher Tzivah HaShem Es Moshe," "As the Divine commanded Moses." Would it not have been sufficient for the Torah to make this point just once, at the end of the portion; upon the completion of the tabernacle? What is to be learned from this repetition?

Rabbi Moshe Shapiro of Jerusalem explained that it is necessary for the Torah to repeat the phrase so many times to emphasize that every single aspect of the tabernacle was built exactly the way the Divine had commanded it. There was not even the slightest deviation or interpretation. The vessels, the walls, the Altar, everything was exactly the way as Moses was commanded.

The House of G-d — the place where we are intimate with the Creator of Heaven and Earth — needed to be fashioned according to His will and design.

There was, our sages note, a significant difference between the Moses' prophecy and those of the other prophets. A close reading of the original Hebrew narrative reveals a difference in wording when describing a session of prophecy for the latter prophets. After interacting with the Almighty, we are told by Scripture: "Ko Amar HaShem," or, " So said G-d".

This indicates that each of the latter prophets had to use his own understanding to interpret the vision of prophecy that he was shown. Since each person is different, so is his understanding of the Word of G-d. This is a lower level of prophecy which our sages refer to as Aspaktlaryah Sheino Me'irah, (an unclear vision). What they saw had to filter through their personality and perspective.

Moses, however, expressed his prophecies with the words "Zeh Hadavar" ("This is the word of G-d"). This is the highest form of prophecy known as Aspaktlaryah HaMe'irah, (a clear vision).

Our sages taught that the Divine Presence spoke from the throat of Moses. Moses revealed the prophecy in the exact manner in which the Almighty showed him without any interpretation or personal opinion. Moses was able to say Zeh Hadavar, this is exactly what the Divine said.

Maimonides lists in his Thirteen Principles of Faith our requirement to believe, without so much as a doubt, that the Torah we have in our possession today is, as noted above and cited in this week's reading, "As the Divine commanded Moses". We, today, are not living by values and standards that have been updated over the years. Rather, our allegiance is to the same Torah that was given at Sinai.

Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch (1808 —1888) famously described Judaism as having been "created by G-d to define man" and not vice versa. The Torah is an absolute value that never changes. If there is a discrepancy between the way we live and a Torah value, then we need to look at what changes occurred in us.

While we can apply certain teachings to modernity, our obligation is to conform to our Heritage and not the other way around. The slippery slope downward is when we make changes unauthorized by our sages and pass them off as normative Judaism.

We still struggle with the temptation to define G-d rather than conform to His definitions. Our communities are plagued with trying to reconcile eternal values with our modern lifestyle rather than trying to make our lifestyle conform to Judaism.

It seems to me that what is lacking in our modern world is a sense of Kedushah, holiness. It is well known that holiness is what we create when we perform any act with the Almighty's direction and intention in mind. The root of Kedushah is the word Kadosh, "set aside". It is often difficult to act in a way that conforms to the Divine's will because many times it requires self-sacrifice and commitment. We have desires that need to be satiated and goals that we wish to attain. Often they differ from the G-d's goals. This is the "Service of Self" rather than the "Service of the Almighty". We can only create holiness when we forgo what we have in mind for that which the Divine desires. This is how we bring meaning and purpose into our communities, families and lives.

The world today is tangled up in a mess of definitions and labels that have created divisiveness and tension and spends little time focusing on what is truly important. Our mission should not be to convince others of our point of view or show them how they are wrong, per se. We need to actualize our potential and to become as holy as we can by living a life according to the Divine's directive. We must ask ourselves constantly, even before performing the most insignificant act, if we are bringing holiness into our lives. Is this what we are striving to accomplish? Is this who we wish to become? No matter what we do, it needs to be done with a sense of holiness.

It is not enough to go through the motions of Torah observance but we must infuse our lives with a higher purpose. Our focus and purpose must emanate from a place of holiness.

The more we live a life of "As the Divine commanded Moses", the more connected we will feel to Torah and the more holiness we will create.

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Rabbi Chaim Silver is an Associate Member of the Young Israel Council of Rabbis.

© 2009, National Council of Young Israel