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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. 28, 2005 /25 Tishrei, 5766

Created in the image of love

By Rabbi David Aaron


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The power to be who you are


In the very opening sentences of the Torah (Bible) we are told that the first human being was created in G-d's own image. And what was that image? The first human being was actually a man and a woman — a single entity that included the two sexes. "And G-d created man in His own image, in the image of G-d created He him; male and female created He them" (Genesis 1:27).


In this union of male and female, in this oneness of opposites, the first human being reflected the image of G-d — a oneness that includes otherness and yet remains one.


This is a very important concept. A lone individual does not reflect the image of G-d; an individual in unity with another individual does. So until an individual makes a space to include another, and allows that other to do the same, we do not have the oneness that reflects the image of G-d. In other words, the image of G-d is love.


The Torah records that after the human being was created, G-d said: "It is not good for man to be alone."


G-d determines that the human being needs "a helper," but it is a while before Eve is created. Instead, all the birds and animals are created and the human being is asked to name them. At the conclusion of which, the Torah tells us that he did not find a helpmate.


What does naming the creatures have to do with finding a helpmate?


The Midrash explains that G-d was playing matchmaker. G-d was fixing up the first human being with all the animals in the garden. And Adam was going out on dates. Well, imagine Adam standing there in the lobby of the Paradise Motel. He is waiting anxiously and who walks in but... "That's a... that's an... elephant! Umm… this isn't going to work, G-d."


Poor Adam. He was surrounded by all these animals but he wasn't happy. Now why couldn't he be happy with an attractive giraffe or a cute little chicken? Because an animal is subordinate to man; it's not his equal. In fact, Adam was commanded to "have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth" (Genesis 1:28). Adam cannot overcome his loneliness and find true love with a subordinate being over whom he rules.


The Torah is very clear in describing an appropriate spouse. G-d said, "I will make a fitting helper who is "kenegdo" — against him, opposite and parallel to him. In other words, G-d will create for him someone who, in a very positive, respectful way, will stand opposite him and engage him on parallel ground.


An animal may be a great help to man in doing his work, but an animal cannot be the "significant other." You will not be ultimately satisfied in the quest for love unless it is with someone you acknowledge is your equal, and whose difference you respect.


That's not to say that some insecure men would prefer not to be challenged. I have heard guys advise each other: "Get yourself a young girl, one you can mold." And yes, a man might find someone young and vulnerable and try to make this woman fit his ridiculous fantasy of a wife who considers him the lord and master. But he will only make his life harder as a result. He will have a very lonely existence, and he will sorely miss the engagement that a "helpmate kenegdo" would have provided, an engagement that is essential in the process of spiritual growth. All the sadder, because, in this way, he will deprive himself the opportunity of being the living manifestation of G-d expressed through the ability to love, making a space within himself to include a unique other.


In order to love, you need to withdraw yourself from the center and create a space for another in your life. Love starts only when you do that. In other words, if you are self-centered, you are not ready for love. If you are self-centered, you can't make enough space to nurture another. And true love is not only creating that space within your life for another, but also giving him or her that space and respecting and maintaining that space. It is being a part of another life and removed from that life at the same time.

VIVA LA DIFFERENCE
Once we're able to withdraw ourselves from the center and create space for another, we must develop the keen sensitivity for just how uniquely different — just how other — our partners are. We tend to see what we have in common, and we tend to overlook the differences. When people say, "love is blind," this is what they mean.


But true love is not blind. True love is seeing — seeing the differences, the otherness, the good and the bad. True love is seeing and still loving. In Hebrew, the verb "to see" is directly related to the verb "to respect." And that is what seeing with the eyes of true love means. True love requires that we see and accept and respect those we love for who they are, without projecting our dreams and fantasies upon them.


This is very hard, because we tend to want to fit those we love into our imaginary pictures of love. And if they don't quite fit, we want to alter them to fit.


But if we succeed in seeing not just what we have in common with those we love, but what makes us different, and if we appreciate and honor those differences, then we can take the next step toward giving of ourselves to that person. And simultaneously we must enable our partners to do the same for us, which means allowing them to make a space in their lives for us, allowing them to acknowledge our otherness, allowing them to give of themselves to us.


It's like hugging. When you hug another person, you create a space with your arms to include him or her. But, of course, it must be in a manner which allows that person the freedom of opening his or her arms to include you. If that simultaneous giving and receiving doesn't happen, the relationship can't work. It is not love. It is something else, and the something else only creates friction and unhappiness, and eventually the relationship breaks up.


To fulfill the image of G-d that we have be created in we have to be a living manifestation of love  —  creating space in our life for a significant other, respect their unique otherness, give of ourselves to them and allow them to do the same.

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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