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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 Feb. 4, 2005 / 25 Shevat, 5765

The power to change   —   yourself and others

By Rabbi Baruch Lederman


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | A man once asked the great Talmudic sage, Hillel, to teach him the entire Torah while standing on one foot. Hillel answered, "That which is hateful to you, do not do to your friend. The rest is explanation. Go learn." Rebbi Akiva once made a similar statement: "Love your neighbor like yourself. This is the great rule of the Torah."


This week's Torah portion, Mishpatim, and indeed the entire Torah, teaches us many detailed laws of theft, damage, proper treatment of servants, guarding other peoples property responsibly, tale bearing, honest business practices   —   the list goes on and on. The great sages Hillel and Rebbi Akiva are teaching us that if we appreciate the other person's point of view with compassion and understanding, we will not come to commit any of these trespasses in the first place, as the following true story illustrates:


A woman was walking with her friend. They witnessed a mother berating her young daughter in a brutal manner. The little girl was cringing and you could see the terror on her face. The woman approached the mother. She said with sincere concern and respect, "I can see that you care about your child, and it's obvious that she has done things to get you angry. I also have children and sometimes lose my temper. I have some ideas that have helped me. You know your child better than I do, but perhaps my experiences can be helpful for you also."


Amazingly, the mother, who seemed just moments ago to be a terrible, evil person, calmed down right before their eyes. "I thank you for your offer. I feel at a total loss. I hate losing my temper. But I do it over and over again. I would love it if you could give me some tips." Indeed, the frustrated mother, with a little help from her friends, went on to make great strides, becoming a more fair and effective parent.


The friend, who had observed this whole scene, later asked privately, "All I wanted to do was tell off that horrible mother. I was fuming. No child should ever be treated like that. But if I did tell her off, it probably would have accomplished nothing   —   maybe even made things worse. You on the other hand treated her with kindness and compassion, and brought about such an incredible turn-around. How did you know to do what you did?"


"I never would have had a clue what to do or to think," replied the woman, "But some time ago, I heard a story about Rabbi Yisrael Meir Kagan, ztz"l, [known as the Chofetz Chaim] that changed my entire perspective. This amazing story has guided and inspired me ever since:"


Once, a burly, gruff looking, man who had served in the Russian army, entered a Jewish Inn and ordered a meal. When Jewish boys were drafted, it was usually the end of Yiddishkeit, religious observance, for them. The army brainwashed them to worship Mother Russia rather than G-d. He plopped himself down and ate in a most disgusting manner   —  stuffing an entire chicken down his mouth. It was revolting that this man, a Jew, could conduct himself in so repulsive a manner, not to mention the fact that he did not recite a bracha (blessing) or wear a yarmulke (ritual skullcap) while he ate.


The innkeeper and the others present were sickened and embarrassed by this display; though none dared say anything. The Chofetz Chaim happened to be a guest at that Inn. He saw the young man and slowly approached him. Everyone wondered, what would the Chofetz Chaim possibly say to this man. What could he say? Surely this oaf would not listen to any rebuke, even from such a holy man.


The Chofetz Chaim asked the man, "Is it true that you served in the Russian army?" "Yes," snorted the man, bracing his defenses for the oncoming tongue-lashing he was fully expecting.


"Tell me," began the Chofetz Chaim, "How did you manage to keep your Jewish identity in those circumstances? So many Jewish boys entered the army, only to eventually give up their Judaism. They are forced to serve for 25 years without any kosher food, Jewish holidays, or any other vestige of Judaism. Yet, when you could have easily gone to any Inn, you chose a Jewish one. You still identify as a Jew. I don't know if I could have done what you did. You are an inspiration. Where did you find the strength?"


The soldier, caught off guard and clearly moved, looked straight at the Chofetz Chaim, "It was so hard, they did everything to pound it out of us   —   to make us denounce and forget that we were Jews."


"It is a miracle that you made it through. Now you can begin to learn the Torah and observe mitzvos (religious duties) that you were deprived of all these years."


"But Rebbi, how can I possibly do that," the soldier, now sobbing bitterly, responded. He continued through his tears, "I want to return to my heritage, but I am so far removed. Surely it isn't possible for someone like me to learn."


"No," said the Chofetz Chaim, "It is still possible. It is always possible. I can show you how." As the soldier spoke to the Chofetz Chaim, the stones on his heart began to melt. Had the Chofetz Chaim not understood and appreciated this man's perspective, this amazing episode never would have occurred. What did happen was: from that day on, the former soldier began a path to repentance and as the years went by, developed into an observant, well learned Jew.

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

JWR contributor Rabbi Baruch Lederman is spiritual leader of Congregation Kehillas Torah in San Diego. Comment by clicking here.

© 2005, Rabbi Baruch Lederman