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 March 4, 2004 /11 Adar, 5764

The Wise, the Wicked and the Fool

By Leo Lieberman

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What the Purim story taught a 9 year-old about the world around him

http://www.jewishworldreview.com | Purim is certainly one of the happiest holidays in the Jewish calendar. After all, it has all the makings of the perfect story to delight young and old alike. There's a king and a beautiful queen — and a Jewish queen, no less! Now you can't get much better than that.

But you can! Because in this story even though there is a villain and such a villain you shouldn't know from. (But of course, you do, because after all, we do not live in an egg shell, and unfortunately the world has had its share of mamzerim.) Even though there is a Haman, there is also a Mordechai. And at the end of the story, Haman gets his, gets it in spades. (Whatever that means) The story has a happy ending and we can go back to eating our hamantaschen and drinking a little extra wine. Because, as you all know, getting a bit tipsy on Purim is a mitzvah, religious duty.

So that should be the end of the story. Except that I should wish you all a Happy Purim and may all your cookies be light and flaky and have three corners. Yes? No! Because as Tanta (Aunt) Pesha so often pointed out to me as I was growing up in the Bronx, "There is always a fly in the oatmeal."

And the fly in this case happens to be Queen Vashti.

In case you forgot the cast of characters, Vashti was the Queen before Esther. She was married to King Achashverus, the King of Persia. And if you remember when the King summoned her to appear before all his cronies for some hanky-panky, she said, "Thanky-but -no thanky!" That, of course, goes with the panky from the hanky. And since this was a king who expected everyone to respond "How high?" when he said JUMP! — POOF! Queen Vashti was history.

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Now, as a nine-year-old in the Talmud Torah in the Bronx, I worried about poor Vashti. She just disappeared from the story. I sort of liked Vashti. Here was a lady, before Women's Lib, who stood up for what she believed and wouldn't take garbage from the King. So I asked Morah Kramer, my teacher, about this and she told me to speak to the Rabbi who, of course, was busy but who told me that: "In those days..."

And when I told him that people were people and it didn't matter when they lived, his response was that the story had a happy ending and the Jews of Shushan in Persia survived. When I tried to interrupt, he offered me a hamantash that the rebbitzen had baked and told me to go back to my class.

I went back, but I was not a happy camper. I worried about Esther living with such a bossy husband, who had his former wife put away. (My buddy Sonny said that he had her head chopped off, but Morah Kramer said that it wasn't true.)

Still, what did become of Vashti? Did she go back to her Mama and Papa? Did she ever get married again? Maybe the next time it was to someone who wouldn't order her around. And that would be better than wearing a crown on her head.

And so I went to Tanta Pesha again and asked for her opinion. And she was not at a loss for words. (She never is.) She told me that in those days there were no places for wives who were mistreated, but anything was better than living with a man who was such a shtik holtz, a real fool, and that where ever she went she was better off.

And she pointed out, in this story the good guys came out ahead and the bad guys were punished. And that Queen Esther was one smart cookie, because she knew how to handle a fool, and that husband of hers, even though he was such a big-shot king, in Pesha's book, he was and he is and he always will be a fool.

Then she added, "Let me tell you what the wise men of old used to say: When the Messiah comes, the crippled will be able to walk and the blind will once again see, but the fool, well, he will always remain a fool."

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Excerpted from the book "Memories of Laughter and Garlic: Jewish Wit, Wisdom, and Humor To Warm Your Heart" by Leo Lieberman, who was awarded First Place by the American Jewish Press Association in the category of Excellence in Editorial and Commentary. (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.) Comment by clicking here.

© 2004, Leo Lieberman