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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 March 9, 2007 / 19 Adar, 5767

Living for the love of it

By Rabbi David Aaron


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Finding meaning in the everyday



“Keep the Sabbath for it is holy unto you….. because in six days G-d made heaven and earth: and on the seventh day He abstained from work and rested.”

                       — Exodus 31: 14-17

Sabbath is known as a day of rest. Six days G-d created the world and on the 7th day He rested. How are we to understand G-d resting? Does G-d get tired?

In order to understand the real meaning of Sabbath, let's explore the first place it is mentioned in the Torah. This paragraph is from the Book of Genesis and it is recited every Friday night at the start of the Sabbath dinner as part of a blessing over wine called Kiddush:

And it was evening, it was morning, the sixth day. And heaven and earth were completed and all their hosts. And G-d completed on the seventh day, the work (malacha) that He did, and G-d refrained on the seventh day from the work (malacha) that He did. And G-d blessed the seventh day and made it holy because on that day He refrained from all the work that He had created to do. [Genesis 1:31-2:3]

There seems to be a contradiction here. It is common knowledge that G-d created the world in six days and on the seventh day He rested. According to exact wording of the Torah, however, it sounds like G-d did do something on the seventh day, as it says "and G-d completed on the seventh day, the work that He did…" But had it not been previously stated that "it was evening, it was morning, the sixth day, and heaven and earth were completed and all their hosts"? If the world was completed on the sixth day, so what is it that G-d did on the seventh day?

The sages teach us that the six days of creation became complete because G-d stopped on the seventh day and rested.

Sabbath does not really mean to rest it actually means to abstain or refrain from creating. The Midrash tells us that G-d actually did not finish creation He, so to speak, held himself back and stopped in the middle of the work. And when G-d stopped in the middle and left creation unfinished it became a complete act of creativity for the sake of creativity — for the love of each moment.

The Torah teaches that the creation of the world was as an act of kindness. Kindness is when you do a good act that you do not have to do. You do it for the love of doing it. If I dent your car and repair it then that is not an act of kindness that is justice. I owe it to you. But if just out of the blue I decide to wash your car then that is an act of kindness I do it for the love of doing it or for the love of you.

Creation is described as an act of kindness because G-d did not owe it to anybody to do it, He didn't have to do, He simply wanted to. G-d does not have to create and therefore he is certainly not compelled to finish creation nor is He is a rush to finish it.

In addition, since G-d created time and is therefore beyond time it would be ridiculous to think that G-d created the world for the sake of accomplishing some future goal. From G-d's perspective the past, the present and the future are all happening now. G-d did not create the world as a means to an end in the future. G-d created the world for the love of creativity in the now. Of course G-d had an end in mind but the end was not the goal. Just as a painter has a picture in mind before he begins but he doesn't paint in order to finish his picture. He paints for the love and joy of every creative moment. For a true artist creativity is not merely a means to achieve some future end product. Rather the future picture is really the means to accomplish the true end goal that is the joy in every moment of the dynamic creative process. The final picture is not the goal it is really the means for expressing the love for creativity. Perhaps this is why the picture is called a painting and not a painted. A true artist will never feel his/her work is finished rather each piece is part of a series in a never-ending dynamic creative process of painting.

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Think of a mountain climber. He climbs for the joy and the love of climbing. The top of the mountain is not the goal it is the means to get to the goal. The top offers the challenge and gives direction to the climb. But the goal of the climb is every moment of the climb. And if you ask a true climber why are you climbing this mountain. He will not say to get to the top but for the love of the climb every step of the way.

G-d created the world for the love of creativity not because he had some future goal that He needed to accomplish. When you look at a flower and realize all the thousands of types of flowers G-d created —do you really think that G-d created this incredible botanical euphoria for the sake of some future goal? And when you marvel over each setting of the sun and how the sky glimmers with awesome hues of orange, pink and grey in ways that will never be duplicated —do you ask what's the use of all this? How will it help secure a better future? And when you enjoy the fresh smile on a baby's face do you really believe that smiles were created for some future purpose?

Torah teaches us that G-d created and continually recreates this miraculous wonderful world for the love of creativity and the love of the wisdom, kindness, beauty, and splendor it expresses this very moment.

When the Torah tells us that G-d stopped in the middle of His creativity it is teaching us that G-d was not in a rush to finish creation because the purpose of creation was not to finish it by some future date but to do it now. G-d is free to start and start at will He is not in a hurry.

UNFINISHED BUT COMPLETE
If you can't stop on a dime at any moment in your creative process, then you are a victim of your creativity not the master of creativity. If you are in a rush, possessed by an impatient desire to finish then you are a slave to the future rather than free to savour, enjoy and love every moment. Because you have forgotten that the true purpose of creativity is the creativity itself and the self- expression it affords, you have denied yourself the gift of life — the present.

G-d stopped on the seventh day and didn't finish the world and thereby completed it as act of creativity for the love of self-expression in every moment. In other words, when G-d left the world unfinished it became a complete act of creation and manifestation of divinity. G-d completed the six days of creation by stopping on the seventh day and leaving the creation unfinished.

The creation of the world was an act of love because an act of love is an act that you do for the sake of the now and not for something you are going to get out of it in the future. It is not an act that you have to do for some future benefit or to prevent yourself from some future loss but an act that you love to do right now.

G-d didn't have to create the world and He did not have to finish it either. If He had to finish the world, the world would no longer be an act of love. G-d doesn't have to create the world. Torah teaches that G-d wanted to create the world for no reason other than to create the world. In other words, the world is not a means to some necessary end. G-d did not have to create the world He wanted to, and therefore creation is a never-ending act of love.

Sabbath is a day to celebrate this awesome truth and feel G-d's everlasting love.

               — Check out Rabbi Aaron's Inspirational best-seller: 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 the newly released, Inviting G-d In, 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.



© 2006, Rabbi David Aaron