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December 2, 2014

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 Oct. 22, 2004 / 7 Mar-Cheshvan, 5765

Intimate with the Infinite

By Rabbi David Aaron


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Responsibility in spirituality



http://www.jewishworldreview.com | In this week's Torah portion G-d appeared to Abraham and yet He said nothing.


"G-d appeared to [Abraham] in the Plains of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance of the tent in the hottest part of the day. [Abraham] lifted his eyes and he saw three strangers approaching and ran towards them."


Until now G-d appeared to Abraham to instruct, promise or bless him. The Talmud (Sotah 14A) comments that G-d was visiting sick Abraham who was recuperating from his circumcision. What does this mean?


When you visit a person who is ill it is not in order to say something; your mere presence communicates your pure desire to identify with this person in his/her time of need. You go for the sole purpose of being there. So it was when G-d visited Abraham. For the first time G-d appears to Abraham only to be with him, identify with him and share this special moment.


Sometimes the highest moment of love is when we have nothing to say to each other. We just want to share each other's presence in silence.


You can be sure this moment was sheer ecstasy for Abraham. This profound meeting in itself was ample reward for fulfilling the mitzvah (religious duty) of circumcision. In fact, this kind of ecstatic intimacy with G-d is the ultimate reward for the fulfillment of any mitzvah.


This will be the eternal joy experienced in the World to Come, which is the era that follows the coming of the Messiah, as it is recorded in the Talmud:


There the righteous will sit with crowns on their heads enjoying the splendor of the Shechina — G-d's presence.


Maimonides explains:


They know and grasp the truth of G-dů this is the reward, no other reward could be better, this is the goodness, no greater goodness could follow.

BEING OR HAVING
How awesome an experience this must have been for Abraham, and yet upon seeing three strangers he, without hesitation, runs out to greet them and invite them into his home. As we read the Torah's description of Abraham anxiously preparing food for these strangers, we wonder how he was able to tear himself away from such an awesome G-d experience? The Talmud justifies Abraham's actions:


Inviting guests into your home is greater then receiving the very face of the Shechina.


How are we to understand this enigmatic statement?


Martin Buber, famous for his "I-Thou" philosophy, recounted a personal story, which he saw as a turning point in his spiritual ambitions.


One day while Buber was absorbed in a mystifying G-d experience he heard a knock at his door. Tearing himself away from his spiritual ecstasy, he opened the door. There stood a stranger, who obviously wished to be invited in. Although Buber did usher the man inside, the stranger sensed that he had come at an awkward time. Feeling uncomfortable, he was unable to communicate to Buber, so he apologized for disturbing and quickly departed. Some time later, Buber heard that a tragedy befell this man. He realized that this man had come to him with something pressing on his mind. Buber admitted that he really was not there for this troubled man because he was absorbed and entranced in a G-d experience.


This painful realization helped Buber discover the sharp difference between having a G-d experience and being in a relationship with G-d.


A G-d experience is just another form of a selfish desire. Some people like to have a lot of material wealth, and others prefer spiritual riches. These are just different forms of selfish desires.


However, an encounter and relationship with G-d fills a person with a profound sense of "responsibility" towards both G-d and His creations.

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Responsible people are those who are "able" to "respond." Such people are aware of themselves and others. Entering into a relationship with G-d only increases their love and sensitivity towards the needs of others.


That is the difference between a G-d experience and a G-d relationship. Imagine a woman who is meditating in a beautiful forest; the rays of the setting sun fill the scene with a serene glow and there is a gentle breeze whispering sounds of sweet tranquility. This woman claims to have achieved a great state of enlightenment. How can she know if she had a "G-d experience" or an encounter that advanced her relationship with G-d?


If this moment inspires her to take action to do something about improving the environment, or to do something for another person, then she can be sure this was an encounter with G-d.


However, if she remains insensitive and negligent to the daily responsibilities toward other individuals and the environment, then this was only a spiritual experience. This may just be another form of selfish "having," another kind of materialism — spiritual materialism. This was not love.


Greater than meeting the Divine is performing kindness to His creatures. This itself is the very fruit of such an encounter — the joy of responsibility. When you love G-d, you love all and always seek ways to put your love into action.


The ability to respond to the needs of others is G-d's gift to humanity. The power of covenant is expressed when we become G-d's partner in caring for this world.


In summary, the reward for entering into a loving relationship with G-d — what the Torah calls a covenant — is the feeling of love for G-d, G-d's love for you and your love for the world.

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

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Rabbi David Aaron is the founder and dean of Isralight, an international organization with programming in Israel, New York South Florida, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Toronto. He has taught and inspired thousands of Jews who are seeking meaning in their lives and a positive connection to their Jewish roots.

He is the author of the newly released, The Secret Life of G-d, and also the author of Endless Light, Seeing G-d and Love is my religion. (Click on link to purchase books. Sales help fund JWR.) He lives in the old City of Jerusalem with his wife and their seven children.






© 2004, Rabbi David Aaron