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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 Oct. 12, 2005 / 9 Tishrei, 5766

Whistling at N'eila

By Mordechai Schiller


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One of the best known Chasidic tales ... and yet the least understood — retold by a master storyteller


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The throng of men covered in wool prayer shawls swayed up and back like a white wheat field in the wind. They were saying ... or, Moishela wondered, was that singing? ... strange jarring words that he didn't understand.


Moishela looked at his father, who was also reading from that book with the boxy letters. The sound was a little like a song ... and a little like a cry.


The wool tallis (prayer shawl) of the other man next to him felt scratchy. The voices and words felt scratchy too. Moishela liked it better when his father took him along to watch the sheep. He liked the soft feel of their wool. He liked the soft sound of their baaing. But most of all, Moishela liked to play his little shepherd's whistle to the sheep. He talked, he sang, he cried to them ... all through his whistle.


"What are they saying, Poppa?"

"They are praying to G-d, Moishela. They are asking for a good year."

"I want to ask Him, too, Poppa. But I don't know the words ..."

"Just sit and be quiet...."

"I know what, Poppa ... I'll play my whistle!"

"No, Moishela! Not the whistle! Not now.... Not here!!!"


The men around them took no notice of the shepherd and his boy. They were all concentrating on the N'eila, the closing prayers of Yom Kippur. And they were concentrating on the Baal Shem Tov, the founder of the Chasidic movent. Never had they seen him so intense. The Baal Shem Tov's tallis was soaked through with sweat. His whole body shook. Then he stood stock-still. Then he started shuddering again.


The congregation prayed like never before. They cried, they trembled. They begged Heaven for mercy.


Moishela didn't understand the words. But he understood the crying. "Poppa, please! I have to play my whistle!"


"No! NO! Stop this! It's not allowed!" Moishela reached for his pocket. But before he could get out his whistle, his father grabbed his hand and held it tight inside the pocket. Throughout the N'eila prayers, Moishela struggled to free his hand. The men around them took no notice. They were totally absorbed in the prayers ... and in the Baal Shem Tov's Heavenly struggle.


Suddenly, a shrill sound burst through the room, above the roar of the prayers. Moishela puffed up his mouth to blow again. But the synagogue fell suddenly silent. Frightened, Moishela dropped his whistle. An angry murmur spread though the room.


Then a voice boomed over the crowd. "LEAVE HIM ALONE!" The Baal Shem Tov turned and faced them. But instead of tears or a scowl, they were shocked to see a smile on the Baal Shem Tov's face — a smile of intense joy.


"The entire day," the Baal Shem Tov said, "I felt the Gates of Heaven were closed. No matter how hard I banged at the Gates, they wouldn't open. Then, just when I thought all was lost, Moishela blew his whistle. He blew it with his whole heart! And the holy sound broke open the Gates and let my prayers through!"


Of all Chasidic tales, this is the best known ... and the least understood. It is always told as a hymn of praise to the virtue of simple sincerity. And, in truth, it is. The Sages teach us "Rachmana liba ba'ei — G-d wants the heart."


But sincerity is only the beginning. Sincerity is vital. But vitality without deeds is a tragic waste of potential. As a wise man in Jerusalem told me 33 years ago. If Moishela still blew his whistle the next Yom Kippur ... the Chasidic movement would have failed. The Baal Shem Tov did not strive to raise a generation of whistlers by N'eila.


Simple sincerity is the key that opens the lock. But once the lock is open, we still have to turn the handle, open the door ... and step in.


The same wise man gently kidded me about dabbling in Chasidism:


A man once brought his son to a shoemaker to learn the trade. After a few months, the father asked the shoemaker how his son was doing.

"He already knows two thirds of the trade!"

"Really? ... two thirds? That's remarkable!"

"Yes ... A shoemaker has to know how to drink — to keep his hands warm. He also has to know how to get scraps of leather here and there ... Your son already knows how to do both. Now, all he has to learn is the work!"


Then he added, with a twinkle, "You already know two thirds of Chasidism. Now all you have to learn is the work!"


I'm still learning.

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JWR contributor Mordechai "Morty" Schiller is a freelance writer, copywriter and marketing consultant.

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© 2005, Mordechai "Morty" Schiller