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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 Nov. 14, 2006 / 23 Mar-Cheshvan, 5767

Climbing Maslow's Pyramid

By Rosally Saltsman


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Rethinking one of psychology's most accepted theories


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Anyone who has taken psychology 101 has heard of Maslow's hierarchy of needs, also referred to as Maslow's pyramid because it is usually depicted as such.


Dr. Maslow identified the universal needs of every human being and classified them going from most basic to highest. His claim was that a person would not be able to realize his true potential and attend to his higher needs unless his lower needs were met. For example someone who is on the brink of starvation will not worry about getting his doctorate (unless trying to get his doctorate is the cause of his starvation).


Maslow's hierarchy lists human needs in this order: Physiological needs (food, water, air); Safety needs (shelter from cold, rain, snow, katyushas); belongingness needs (friends, family, community); Esteem needs (a job, appreciation, a title); Self Actualization needs (reaching one's creative potential, having one's article published).


On the surface, Maslow's argument makes sense. One occupied with basic survival will not have the time or energy to worry about making the social register, being published or receiving the Nobel prize. The ephemeral would be eclipsed by the basic physiological requirements of existence.


Although Dr. Maslow's model is one of the few things that I remember from psychology 101, it is easy to disprove. Firstly, much of the world's art and literature has come from people starving in garrets and living hand to mouth under leaky roofs. Need proof? Just go have a look at a Van Gogh or listen to Mozart. We wouldn't have much of our art and music if it weren't for starving writers and musicians living in angst and poverty.


Lehavdil, there are many brilliant Torah commentaries that were written by Rabbis living in poverty and cold and suffering persecution. Moreover, they claimed that their high level of erudition was a direct result of their poverty and even today many yeshivahs purposely maintain a spartan environment to increase the learning potential of their students. Bnei Brak is on of the poorest areas of Israel yet it is a bastion of Torah learning. Many of Judaism's greatest men and women were people who lived in meager circumstances yet rose above them to achieve a level of spiritual actualization that Maslow couldn't even imagine. Moreover, in many cases it was not in spite of but because of their dire circumstances that the allowed them to rise to the high spiritual levels that they did.


But the main thing wrong with Maslow's premise is that it goes counter to the basic premise of Judaism. The greatest self-actualization according to Judaism is achieving closeness to G-d. And the way to achieve closeness to G-d is to perform mitzvahs, the 613 commandments. Mitzvahs have no prerequisite preconditions. You do not need to be rich or even have a roof over your head to do a mitzvah. A person who doesn't have a lot to eat but makes a blessing on the food and shares it with others has sanctified both the food and himself before G-d. A person who doesn't earn much money but tithes it to share with those less well off than himself has performed an act of selflessness that defies his lower nature.


Maslow's premise, that we can only reach the higher parts of ourselves when our lowest needs are met doesn't take into account, our divine soul. It reduces our soul to the level of an animal. People have the tremendous capacity to overcome their circumstances and act in noble and G-dly ways even when they don't have all the resources at their disposal.


Many stories have been written about the self-sacrifice of Jews during the Holocaust to perform mitzvahs and to help others. But we don't have to go so far back. Roi Klein. The soldier who jumped on a grenade in July to save his fellow soldiers, relinquished his safety needs for a higher goal, the highest goal, saving the life of another. All the volunteers who went up North in last summer's war to help families huddling in shelters did not wait until it was safe to do so. Clearly personal safety was not a precondition for these people to achieve self-actualization.


Yom Kippur the holiest day of the year is the time when most Jews reach their highest point of transcendence. This is done not only in spite of the fact that they have no food or water for 25 hours but because of it. They are able to humble themselves before their Creator when they overcome their most basic physical desires in order to serve Him.


And while there is no question that friends and family enrich our lives, achieving success is not predicated upon their existence. Israel was built by the orphans of the Holocaust who bereft of family, friends and any relic of their past identities built the land of Israel physically and spiritually.


It would appear then that Maslow's pyramid lacks a solid foundation. Jewish history has shown that there is nothing that can stop a Jew from reaching the top and rising above his physical limitations when he connects to his spiritual essence.

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



JWR contributor Rosally Saltsman is an author and feature writer based in Petach Tikva, Israel, where she lives with her son, Josh, who inspires a lot of her work. Comment by clicking here.

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