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 Nov. 17, 2008 / 19 Mar-Cheshvan 5769

The End of the Age of Reason

By Rabbi Yonason Goldson

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Given how bleak our world now seems, the most likely psychological response would be at least confusion, perhaps panic, and understandably despair. But a review of the course of human history predicted over 1500 years ago suggests an entirely different reaction

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | What does it mean when the unwavering predictability of life and nature begins to falter? What are we to think when the expected no longer cooperates with expectations, when events seem to chart their own headings without regard for logic or history, when the laws of nature seem to redefine themselves without regard for the constancy of nature, when human beings increasingly demonstrate a disregard for rationalism and self-preservation?

Thirty years ago, scientists predicted that we were headed into the next ice age, until they began telling us that life on earth is threatened by global warming. For a decade the oceans calmed and lulled us into forgetfulness of the storms that once ravaged our coasts, returning with a vengeance to strike not only the Gulf Coast and the Caribbean but also such unlikely targets as San Diego and Nova Scotia. Wildfires sweep again and again through California (the wealthiest state in the country, and possibly the world), even in mid-November.

All of this is old news, even as it continues to dominate the headlines. So is the global economy, so recently thought robust and secure, which has suddenly collapsed amidst a series of easily predictable blunders that were predicted by virtually no one. Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, AIG, and others — the most secure financial institutions in the business, touted by the venerable finance magazine Baron's only a year ago as the most secure investments on the market — collapsed almost overnight. Billions of dollars disappeared; the wealthy became impoverished. Even the big-three American automakers, the backbone of national industry, are tottering on the edge of insolvency.

Perhaps most astonishing has been economic guru Alan Greenspan's confession that he has been forced to reconsider axioms he has held sacrosanct for the last 40 years — namely, that businesses can be relied upon to act in their own self-interest. Hardly a radical philosophy, one might have thought. But the recent disastrous decisions of so many executives and so many institutions have prodded even the unshakable Mr. Greenspan to the brink of economic heresy.

Politically, the rebirth of a broken and bankrupt Russian to join the ranks of the world's great economic powers in less than a decade and revive the cold war echoes the rebirth of Germany under the National Socialists in the 1930s. Similarly, the rise of a politician utterly unknown only four years ago and lacking any substantive experience or credentials to become the first African-American president of the United States would defy human imagination had it not already come to pass.

The most likely psychological response would be at least confusion, perhaps panic, and understandably despair. But a review of the course of human history anticipated by the Talmud over 1500 years ago suggests an entirely different reaction:


Here is a partial list of what the sages of the Talmud predicted the future would bring. A generation in which troubles flow like a river, growing stronger without interruption, clearly descriptive of a time when news headlines would report greater catastrophes from day to day and week to week. A generation when the halls of divine wisdom become houses of immorality, describing an age when depravity would become acceptable under the new religions of political correctness and nonjudgmentalism. A time of both feast and famine, suggesting an era characterized by unimaginable disparity between the wealthy and the poor, rapidly shifting fortunes from rags to riches, and new records as stock markets spike and tumble from one day to the next.

The sages tell us to look forward to a time when children will have no respect for their parents, when heresy will become widespread and none will give rebuke, when the last penny will disappear from the purse, when those who trust in truth will wander like sheep. More cryptically, they tell us to look forward to a time when the generation has the face of a dog. Whereas dogs are best known for their loyalty, the sages foresaw a time when an entire generation would have only the face of a dog — maintaining the appearance of valuing loyalty while essentially forsaking the quality in favor of personal advantage and self-interest. Moreover, a dog walks out in front of its master, appearing as if it were the leader. The time would come, predicted the sages, when leaders would, dog-like, constantly look back for approval from the court of public opinion, standing out in front but asserting none of the qualities of leadership.

Perhaps most significantly, the sages tell us that the messianic era will arrive b'hesik haDa'as — when no one expects it. In an age when human resilience is strained beyond all natural limits by the tribulations of a world gone mad, when no one has attention for anything other than survival, when hopelessness has descended upon every corner of civilization, at that moment the ultimate redemption will turn the tables on the pundits who prophesy imminent disaster and total devastation.

Indeed, this interpretation becomes even more compelling given a more literal translation of hesik haDa'as: the failure of reason.

The great philosopher Rabbi Elyahu Dessler observed that, when we fail to recognize the hand of the Almighty in the blessings He bestows upon us, we may compel Him to force our recognition through the travails to which He subjects us. As he witnessed the specter of Nazi Germany from his home in northern England, Rabbi Dessler recognized the shadow of divine retribution sweeping over Europe during the Holocaust. To his discerning eye, the meteoric rise of a failed painter who, in six short years, resurrected a broken German nation and built the continent's greatest military power revealed the hand of Providence as clearly as any open miracle.

Reason had failed European Jews, who had themselves failed to see the Almighty's presence in their midst during the many years of prosperity they had enjoyed before Hitler came to power. In a supernatural reversal of fortunes, the unreasonable suffering of millions forced them — and us — to look at the world through entirely different eyes. History demands that we learn its lessons; and history has little patience with us when we don't.

Whether the era of ultimate redemption will arrive heralded by divine emissaries descending from the heavens or humbly, as the prophet says, riding on a donkey — either way, the inexplicable seismic shifts in climate, economics, politics, and human psychology warn us to expect the unexpected, to trust in neither our intellect nor the might of our hands, but only in the merit of our good deeds, our concern for our fellow men, and our commitment to the sanctity of Divine Law. By following this prescription, we can be confident — not of an easy passage, but of a secure and safe harbor at our journey's end.

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JWR contributor Rabbi Yonason Goldson teaches at Block Yeshiva High School in St. Louis, MO, where he also writes and lectures. Visit him at http://torahideals.wordpress.com .

© 2008, Rabbi Yonason Goldson