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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 2, 2010 / 22 Menachem-Av, 5770

Revenge and Vindication

By Alan Douglas




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The artist Paul Gauguin said, "Life being what it is, one dreams of revenge." My favorite monument is the tomb of Yue Fei in Hangzhou, China. 12th century General Yue was a national hero, until a lying, bureaucrat named Qin Gui launched a scheme resulting in the general's head getting cut off. After learning the truth about Qin Gui's lies, the people built a temple in Yue Fei's honor.

For 900 years the Chinese have paid homage to Yue Fei, but they haven't forgotten the villain, Qin Gui either. Statutes of the evil Qin Gui and his wife, on their knees, face Yue Fei's tomb, begging for his forgiveness. Visitors to the temple pay their respects to the good Yue Fei, and then turn to curse the evil Qin Gui and his wife and then spit on their statutes. You have to be in awe of that much revenge over so many centuries. It will be hard for you to match it.

When I become angry and resentful, my wife asks, "How long are you going to keep pouting?" "Three hours and seventeen minutes" would be a normal response from me. My wife will then place it in perspective by replying, "Come on, that's only worth an hour and forty two minutes". When hurt by injustice; it is best for each of us to appraise what the hurt is worth. Rabbi Joseph Telushkin in "The Book of Jewish Values" quotes the recovering alcoholic's warning that, "Carrying resentments, is like letting someone whom you don't like, live inside your head rent free." Barry Diller was fired as head of Paramount movie studios, so he reacted by mounting an effort to win control of the studio, and he failed. When a reporter asked Diller, "What happened?" Diller replied, "They won. We lost. Next." To win in life, you can lick your wounds, you can find some form of closure, but you must move on. In the movie Stalag 17, the lead character, who was unjustly mistreated by his fellow American POWs, pauses just before he escapes the German prison camp and says, ""One more word…. If I ever run into any of you bums on a street corner, just let's pretend we never met before. Understand?" The heck with forgiveness, pouting or revenge, future happiness and success are real vindication. Allow me to demonstrate with a personal example.

My wife and I were enjoying dinner at Captain George's Seafood Restaurant. It is the kind of place you go for your sister's birthday. There is always a festive atmosphere at Captain George's since most of your fellow diners are celebrating a birthday, anniversary or special night out. A young couple sat at a large table, that could accommodate another eight people, awaiting the rest of their party. Their age and spiffy formal clothes made it clear they were headed to the Senior Prom. As time passed everyone in the restaurant couldn't help but notice that the teenage couple was still alone. The waitress whispered the story to us.

The girl's boyfriend broke up with her that morning and the boy with her now was her friend, filling in so she wouldn't miss the prom. One of her friends invited her to join a group having dinner at Captain George's but her "friend" was playing a joke on her by giving her by sending her to the wrong restaurant. The waitress retold the story in hushed tones to all the adjoining tables. It was embarrassing for the teenagers, and sad for the rest of us. The young couple faced the reality that they had been stood up and the target of a joke. They ordered their dinner and ate in silence.

Humiliation and rejection is a fire that burns for decades. After twenty-three failed attempts at getting a date in high school I learned that persistence isn't always a virtue. When invited to my high school reunions I think of the prison camp in Stalag 17. My high school yearbook reminds me how much better life is since high school.

As the waitress cleared our dirty plates I asked her to discretely bring us the tab for the young couple's dinner so we could pay it anonymously. Later, when the waitress informed the young couple that their check was already paid, the look of astonishment on their faces was genuine. It was like winning the lottery. They left the restaurant laughing and congratulating themselves on their good luck. The cruel teenagers had placed them in a humiliating situation. But it was also an opportunity. A mysterious stranger could develop superpowers and use his credit card to save the day. Those kids didn't just get a free fancy meal, they got a great story.

I took a moment to congratulate myself. When those kids arrived at the prom, I knew the jerks who set them up would snicker and ask "So how was dinner?" or "Have a good time at Captain George's?" But their targets would respond, "You won't believe what happened… " and tell how they were the guests of a mysterious windfall. This "practical joke" would live on as a fond memory for their intended victims. The teenage couple would spread word of their triumph at the prom. Fashions change, but the bullies who taunted me years ago are still around, and are just as popular, in today's high schools. This time my team had won.

As we were leaving Captain George's an older man and woman stopped us. "We heard what you did for that young couple and we just wanted to let you know we thought it was a really nice thing to do." I mumbled "Thank you" and my wife began to cry. They say living well is the best revenge.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in 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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JWR contributor Alan Douglas, an author, media executive, speaker, and attorney, lives con brio- except when he is grumpy.

© 2010 Alan Douglas

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