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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 Dec. 29, 2005 /28 Kislev, 5766

Chanukah: What's Love Got To Do With It?

By Rabbi David Aaron


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What the Greeks understood about our relationship with the Divine




“ ... [T]he despotic kingdom of Greece rose up against Your people Israel to make them forget Your law and to lead them away from the statutes of Your will.”

                       — From the daily Chanukah prayer addition


In 2nd Century B.C.E, the Greek Seleucid Emperor Antiochus Epiphanes began a systematic campaign against Judaism, which he saw as an obstacle to the spread of Hellenist philosophy in Israel. He forbid certain forms of religious observance (such as circumcision, for example)  —  disobedience was punishable by death. He desecrated the Temple by sacrificing pigs there, and he put up a statue of the Greek god Jupiter in the Holy of Holies. Enraged, Mattathias the Maccabee and his five sons recruited a small army of Jews and launched a guerrilla war that is commonly known as the Maccabean revolt. After three years of aggressive fighting, this small Jewish army miraculously beat the huge and mighty Greek army. They took back control of Jerusalem and, on the 25th of the Hebrew month Kislev, re-dedicated the Temple and rekindled the light of Torah life.


Even though the Greeks wanted to do away with our commitment to Torah (Blible-centered) life, they found Torah study very interesting. They even had the Torah translated into Greek. But they thought that the Torah was written by human beings and should be studied only for the sake of the human wisdom it contained. To the Greeks, there was no such thing as Divinely given wisdom; there was only human wisdom, born out of logic.


However, many things in the Torah simply did not make sense to them.


I find that very often  —  when people are first exploring Judaism  —  they expect it to be logical and explainable. But if we could explain it all, then that would mean that the Torah is completely reasonable and rational. If the Torah were completely reasonable and rational, we wouldn't need a G-d to reveal such a Torah. A human being could reveal such a Torah. But if the Torah is a prophetic Divine revelation, then there are obviously going to be laws and commandments in it that are beyond our rationale. But it is essential to understand that the purpose of Torah and its commandments is not simply to teach wisdom and offer good advice for better living. The Torah and the commandments express the will of G-d  —  what G-d wants us to do. They enable us to establish a personal loving relationship with G-d.

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If the only things I was willing to do for my wife were the things that make sense to me, we might have a lot of arguments. But shouldn't I do what my loved one asks of me just because I love her? To fulfill her request is an opportunity to show her love and bond with her.


This is also true of our relationship to G-d, our Ultimate Loved One.


Of course, the Greeks did not believe that people should be trying to bond with deities. To them, a deity was an object for meditation. What's love got to do with it?


For the Greeks, intelligence was the highest achievement of the human being. And if the Jews studied Torah for that purpose, well then, fine. But for the Jews, the highest achievements of the human being were, and continue to be, responsibility and moral excellence. We value intelligence, we value learning, but that is because we believe that learning  —  G-d's law, the Torah  —  nurtures our loving relationship with G-d and leads us to be more moral. G-d loves us, cares for us and therefore, He gave us His Torah so that we can experience His love for us and we can express our love for Him.

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Rabbi David Aaron Archives

JWR contributor 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 Endless Light: The Ancient Path of Kabbalah to Love, Spiritual Growth and Personal Power , Seeing G-d and Love is my religion. (Click on links to purchase books. Sales help fund JWR.) He lives in the old City of Jerusalem with his wife and their seven children.



© 2005, Rabbi David Aaron