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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

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 August 22, 2007 / 8 Elul, 5767

The Decalogue, dangerous? Advice for a society that cringes at commandments

By Rod Dreher


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Everybody with male children this summer seems to be reading the wonderful retro guidebook The Dangerous Book for Boys. I was startled, and pleased, to find — amid the knot-tying, semaphore-reading, poker playing and all things the Dennis the Menace set needs to know — a page dedicated to, of all things, the Ten Commandments.


The Decalogue, dangerous? The commandments certainly are regarded as hazardous by the Irritable-American community, which successfully petitions the courts to banish them from public life. At least these stalwart secularists give the Decalogue its due; most of us admire the Ten Commandments just enough to avoid taking them seriously. If we grasped how radical they truly are, we'd find them an offensive stumbling block to us middle-class moderns, who live in a rebellious age characterized by sociologist Daniel Bell as "the rejection of a revealed order, or natural order, and the substitution of the ego, the self, as the lodestar of consciousness."


We have lost the fear of the Lord -- and the absence of 'holy fear' makes us terrors unto ourselves and one another. Why? Because we know what humans who recognize no authority but themselves are capable of.



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Another dangerous book this summer, this one for grown-ups, is David Klinghoffer's marvelously lucid Shattered Tablets: Why We Ignore The Ten Commandments at Our Peril. It weaves theological insight with the author's reflections on living in a society (ours, alas) that has cast off the Decalogue's authority.


Mr. Klinghoffer is a religious Jew, but his argument is as sociological as it is theological. The Ten Commandments are far more than a list of taboos, Mr. Klinghoffer explains. They reveal what it means to live a fully human life, both as individuals and in community — and as commandments (not suggestions), they provide us with the psychological means of doing so.


That is, the justice of the commandments is guaranteed by the G-d who issued them — an all-powerful being who will judge individuals and cultures by these laws. The old-fashioned phrase "the fear of the Lord" meant precisely the respect men owed to G-d and his laws — a respect that, properly understood, bound their consciences and compelled their obedience.


Mr. Klinghoffer cites the work of noted Baylor University sociologist Rodney Stark, who found that across global cultures, the degree to which individuals believe in a personal G-d indicates how likely they are to behave morally. You don't have to believe in G-d to be good, but it demonstrably helps. Mr. Klinghoffer identifies the loss of the Ten Commandments' as responsible for America's cultural crises.


No surprise there: What else would you expect a believing Jew (or Christian) to say? But here's the thing: This is essentially the same conclusion reached by the late Philip Rieff, an agnostic who was one of the 20th century's most important social critics.


Mr. Rieff, a sociologist whose most important work dealt with psychology and religion, taught that all cultures develop from prohibitions, that is, the creative tension between the commanding "Thou shalt not" and the assertive "I will." We now dwell in an anti-culture, according to Mr. Rieff, in which we no longer feel the pull of old prohibitions against the expression of individual instinct and will to power.


In biblical terms, we have lost the fear of the Lord — and in Mr. Rieff's telling, the absence of "holy fear" makes us terrors unto ourselves and one another.


By placing the Self in the place of G-d, said Mr. Rieff, Western man has passed into a perilous state in which his fear, anxiety and loss of ultimate meaning can only be endured through pleasure-seeking and other therapeutic means. We latter-day Americans are wealthy and cultured, but we quickly approach a state of barbarism, which Mr. Rieff defined as "the sophisticated cutting off of the inhibiting authority of the past." Popular American Christianity, with its Jesus-As-Best-Friend rather than Sovereign Lord, is in Mr. Rieff's view an ersatz substitute.


What both the believing Jew Klinghoffer and the unbelieving Jew Rieff affirm is the absolute requirement of religious grounding to maintain a moral culture. We will live in holy terror — the fear of the Lord — or we will live in terror of ourselves and one another. Why? Because we know what humans who recognize no authority but themselves are capable of.


"How a culture thinks about G-d will go a long way toward determining how it thinks about other people," writes Mr. Klinghoffer. For all our historical crimes and failings, no culture in the history of the world has treated the individual with as much respect as the Western civilization, which derived its worldview largely from the Bible. If we lose the image of G-d as revealed in the laws He declared on Sinai, we will lose the Western image of the human person.


And then?


Many of us think of the Ten Commandments as noble sentiments from simpler days, worthy but naive concepts we left behind in Sunday school. Funny how the older you get — especially if you have children — the ideas you once dismissed or forgot about turn out to be the most important ones of all.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.


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Rod Dreher is assistant editorial page editor of the Dallas Morning News and author of the forthcoming "Crunchy Cons" (Crown Forum).

PREVIOUSLY

08/15/07: Playing the anti-science card
08/01/07: How the U.S. can avoid its own version of the fall of the Roman empire
07/24/07: Conservative author: Big business can be as dangerous a threat as big government
07/09/07: All quiet but the doleful pleas of a father who knows
06/28/07: When we let conspiracy theory masquerade as news, we fall prey to much more than deception
06/20/07: Stranded on Delta: They may love to fly, but it certainly doesn't show
06/13/07: When did conservatism start to mean never having to say you're sorry?
05/08/07: PBS darling gets abused by PC police
05/02/07: Impervious to beauty and deadened to depravity
04/20/07: What I know about being a loner
10/28/05: How the conservatives crumble

© 2007, The Dallas Morning News, Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.

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