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In this issue

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

Living Life's Greatest Joy

By Rabbi David Aaron


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Discovering the ancient technology of iGod




“The purpose and the main point of everything and all that is intended in the entire Torah [Bible] and 613 commandments is to bond through them to the living G-d, and to achieve the truth of the first statement that we heard from the Almighty [at Mt. Sinai]: "I am the Lord your G-d!" As it is written (Deut. 4) "you are bonded with the Lord" — [in other words] all have a connection to this bond because [as it is stated] "a part of G-d is His people. (Deut. 32:9)

And this is a source of constant joy. ... This is a happiness that has no sadness and nothing can interfere or restrain this happiness — that one has merited to be a part of the living G-d.

And even if a person has sunk to a low place and his/her sins immeasurably numerous, still, the connection of his/he root has not been cut off from its source, this is impossible ... as it says, "But G-d does not take away life; instead, He devises ways so that a banished person may not remain estranged from Him. (II Samuel: 14:14)”

                       — Rabbi Tzadok HaKohen (1823-1900); Rasisay Layla 53

Once when I was fundraising in America, a friend of mine arranged a lunch meeting with a wealthy woman. I planned to show her my new Isralight brochure and make a little pitch about scholarships and the like. As we are having lunch, she said to me, "So Rabbi, what do you do?"

Thankful for the opening, I took out the brochure that I had worked on for so many hours, and said, "This is our brochure."

She took it by her fingertips like it was a piece of toilet paper and said, "Rabbi, I have seen so many of these." She put it down on the table. "Please, just tell me what you do."

There went a good chunk of my ego. So I started telling her about Isralight. I noticed from the beginning, however, that she wasn't even listening. While I was talking, she was rummaging through her purse to get her checkbook and was already writing a check. The whole scene was very dramatic. She opened the checkbook, took out her little pen and said with an annoying look on her face, "Rabbi, I don't know why I am doing this." And she handed me the check. [Off went another chunk of ego]. The rule in fundraising is that you don't look at the check. You fold it, put in your pocket and sincerely thank the donor. After doing all of that, I decided that I didn't want to fundraise anymore, and I didn't want to meet with this lady anymore.

Two days later, the woman called me to say that she has decided to host an Isralight fundraiser in her home. Though I couldn't understand why, I gladly agreed. Her home was magnificent mansion, and that night it was packed with people, caterers, butlers with white gloves and incredible spreads of food. The woman and her husband really went all the way with the whole thing, and I was really grateful and excited.

During the evening, I gave a class, which the audience seemed to really appreciate it. But my host — the man of the house — couldn't sit still for a second. I was taking it very personally, thinking to myself, "What am I doing wrong?" He first sat in the front row, and before I got past three sentences he was up and off to sit somewhere else. Three more sentences, and was in the corner of the room. Three more sentences, and he was out the front door. After a while, he came back and stood in the doorway of his study. I figured that I had somehow turned him off.

After the class, several people crowded around me asking questions. Before I knew it, the man barged into the middle of the crowd, holding up one of my brochures with a check sticking out of it, and said, "Here, Rabbi."

As embarrassing as the whole scene was, I knew that he meant well. After all, someone had to write the first check, and he wanted to get things rolling. At the end of the evening, the conversation turned from the topic of the evening to how much the couple's new swimming pool cost. The man told the guests, "I figured that if I swim in this pool every day for the next 10 years, and I do about 10 lengths of about 50 strokes each, then every stroke will cost me a quarter." I didn't know if he was joking, but I didn't think it was funny.

At the end of the evening, I thanked my hosts very much and left. Outside, it was pouring rain. As I got into my car, I saw the man walk out of the house and down the street in the rain with no jacket. I thought, "Where is this guy going?" My friend who had arranged the initial meeting shook her head and said, "Poor man."

"I beg your pardon. What is so poor about him?" I asked her.

"Didn't you see that he couldn't sit for a second? Didn't you see that he couldn't even listen to your class? Look at him now walking in the rain. The poor thing doesn't sleep at night. He often seen walking the streets though out the night."

This rich man was a very poor soul. Although he lived in a mansion — as a soul he was spiritually homeless.

WHO ARE YOU?
Who are we, after all? Are we our work, money, or are we our eternal soul? If we have always defined ourselves in terms of our career, property, social status and what others think of us, then we are not our own person. Our soul, our sense of "I"-ness, is then in homeless; wandering in exile. Our "I" is trapped in our thoughts, our feelings, our body, our money, our social status, and everything else that makes up our image.

One of the main goals a living a Torah life -learning, praying and performing the commandment — mitzvahs — is to release the soul -the inner "I" from its exile and bring it home to G-d. We need to reclaim our "I" and redirect it to its source, the "Universal Ultimate I." When we do this, we discover the true meaning of the first commandment that the Jewish people received at Mt. Sinai 3,500 years ago: "I is the Lord your G-d, who took you out of Egypt." This is the true path to personal freedom and lasting joy.

The great Chassidic master Rabbi Kalonymous Kalman Shapira, who was the rabbi of the Warsaw Ghetto during the Holocaust, taught his students a special meditation that he called "Inner Silence." It starts off by simply observing your thoughts. You're not supposed to think of anything specific, you just let your mind go free and watch the thoughts that appear across the screen of your mind.

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Suddenly, you'll discover how bombarded your mind is with thoughts. As Rabbi Shapira explained, the only difference between you and a mad man is that a mad man actually goes along with all his random thoughts. A sane person, however, can just watch the stream of thoughts go by and not get caught up in them. When you do this silent watching, you will begin to sense the distinction between your "self" as the silent witness — knowing subject — and the actual knowledge. Here lies the difference between you as a soul -your "I" — and your ideas.

Once you reach this stage of awareness — when you have distinguished your "I" from your knowledge and experienced yourself as a soul distinct from your public image — pick a verse from the Torah and repeat it in your mind. The words of the Torah are the words and thoughts of G-d. By meditating on G-d's words, you can become conscious of your connection to G-d — the "Ultimate I."

This process empowers you to take control of your life. When you can step back, stop identifying with your thoughts, feelings, problems, etc., and just look at them, and start communing with G-d, then you can begin to take control of your life. Then you experience and enjoy your bond with G-d - the Master Self.

Our true strength and greatest joy lies in knowing that each and every one of us is an individualized expression of G-d and a unique channel for His presence into this world. This is our service; our purpose and our ultimate meaning.

Can you imagine a greater joy?

To realize this truth, we have to disengage from the outer trappings of our career, money and social status and direct our "I" to bond with G-d and to serve G-d. This is the power of the teachings of Torah and living the mitzvahs. They enable us to consciously anchor our "I", our souls, in G-d and be in service of the Ultimate I.

This is what the Jewish people experienced when they received the commandments from G-d at Mt. Sinai. Imbued with the ability to identify completely with the Master I Am, they experienced the difference between freedom from oppression and freedom to expression. For example, after the Jews were freed from Egyptian slavery, they were then free to be themselves and actualize themselves to serve as channels for the presence of G-d on earth.

We, too, can be freed from being victimized by our addictions or by other people, but that does not guarantee us the freedom to be ourselves. To reach this second goal, we have to find out who the self really is; what is its' eternal root and what is its' purpose on earth.

When you do a mitzvah, you should intend to unify your individual self with the "Great Self" — G-d. Your aim, simply, is to accord and unite your will with G-d's will. Every mitzvah is an opportunity to bond with the Divine, and in so doing you're transformed. You are not longer a slave to your outer trappings and but rather the master of your inner life because you have become a servant of G-d; a channel for the flow of G-d's loving presence into the world.

               — For more on this topic, please see: The Secret Life of G-d: Discovering the Divine within You

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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, among others, 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.



© 2009, Rabbi David Aaron