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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. 9, 2005 /8 Kislev, 5766

Your Place or Mine?

By Rabbi David Aaron


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Living in the Arms of Love

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Jacob runs for his life to Charan because his brother Esau was out to kill him. The Bible records that on his way "he reached the place and spent the night there … and lay down to sleep." (Genesis 28:11)


The Midrash -the Jewish Oral Tradition—interprets "the place" to mean "G-d." G-d is "The Place" because according to the Kabbalah He made space within Himself for creation and always holds us all within His loving embrace. Therefore, His loving presence is our ground, context and place. Thus it states:


Why do we refer G-d as "The Place?" Because He is the Place of the world (i.e. we exist within G-d) … G-d is the dwelling place of the world ….


Jacob lived this truth. He always defined himself and his actions within the context of G-d. Therefore, even though Jacob lay down in a physical place, He experienced himself exiting within the arms G-d's loving embrace.

TO LIVE THE IMPOSSIBLE DREAM
The Bible describes Jacob's dream as follows: "He had a vision in a dream, a ladder was standing on the ground and its top reached up towards the heaven. Angels of G-d were (first) going up and (then) down on him. And behold the Lord was standing over him." The Midrash interprets Jacob's dream in a fascinating way:


They were ascending and descending upon Jacob (i.e. the verse is understood to mean that Jacob had a dream and "Behold he was a ladder standing on the ground and his head reached heaven. And behold upon him angels of G-d were ascending and descending")…this must mean that some were exalting him and others degrading him (so to speak, coming down on him), dancing, jumping and maligning him. Thus it says in Isaiah 49:3, "Israel through you, I (G-d) will be glorified." The angels who ascended and saw Jacob's features engraved on high exalted him and those who descended below and found him sleeping degraded him. It may be compared to a king who sat and judged in a judgment chamber; people ascend to there and find him judging, they go out to the yard and find him sleeping.


In other words, Jacob is an absolute mystery for the angels. From the perspective of heaven, he was totally one with G-d and interfaced with Divinity — such was the intensity of his loving bond with G-d. His features were engraved, so to speak, within the oneness of G-d. He radiated G-dliness. The angels, therefore, exalted him because his Divine status was greater than theirs. However, from the perspective of the lower and physical world, Jacob was totally human, a mere physical creature bound to the body. So when the angels found him sleeping, physically vulnerable and very un-G-dlike, they degraded him and jumped with joy that he was lower then them.


G-d, however, praised him, "Israel (referring to Jacob), through you I will be glorified." Jacob revealed the mysterious and miraculous power of G-d's love. He experienced himself at one with G-d and yet still knew that he was not one and the same as G-d. He was able to be both human and divine  —  one with G-d and yet other. He was able to be a ladder connecting heaven (spiritual) and earth (physical). He could keep his feet on the ground while having his head in heaven.


When Jacob awoke from his dream he declared, "G-d is in this place, but I did not know." Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki (Rashi), the 11th century biblical commentator, takes this to mean that if Jacob had initially realized the holiness of the physical spot, he would have not gone to sleep there. In other words, Jacob would have felt uncomfortable to partake in such a purely human and physical act as sleep in such a holy place. But he now realized the full embrace of G-d's loving presence including even his humanness and therefore he went back to sleep after the dream. (see verse 28:18)

G-D'S PROMISE
In the dream G-d came to him and promised, "I am the Lord, the G-d of Abraham your father, and the G-d of Isaac. I will give to you and your descendants the land upon which you are lying." The Midrash explains that Jacob experienced G-d fold up all of the Land of Israel and place it under his head. Next G-d said, "Your descendents will be like the dust of the earth." In other words, just as the dust of the earth is found in every corner of the world, so shall your children spread from one end of the earth to the other. And finally, G-d promised Jacob, "You will spread out to the west, to the east, to the north, and to the south." According to the Midrash this means that Jacob and his descendents would transcend the limitations of space and encompass the world.


This is because Jacob mirrored G-d's love and he too made a space and place in his life for G-d. He too held G-d in his loving embrace. Jacob was a living sanctuary for G-d. Therefore, the Zohar — the Kabbalistic classic — also calls Jacob "the place." In other words, he made of himself a place for G-d and became a living sanctuary for the presence of G-d on earth.


Jacob's intense love will be the inheritance of his descendents, the whole Jewish nation, when they build the third Temple, as it is written in Exodus 25:8, "They shall make Me a sanctuary, and I will dwell in them." Then finally the whole world will become the living sanctuary for G-d on earth. As expressed by the prophet Isaiah 2:2-4: "Come let us go up to the mount of the Lord, to the House of the G-d of Jacob…" At that time we will all know that there is not such thing as your place or mine. There is just One Place. G-d is "The Place" for humanity and humanity is the place for G-d. G-d lovingly accommodates and embraces us and we lovingly accommodate and embrace G-d. We will joyously experience all in One and the One in all.

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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.
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© 2005, Rabbi David Aaron