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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. 1, 2006 / 10 Kislev, 5767

Are You in Love with Love?

By Rabbi David Aaron


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Love is a Choice, Not a Conclusion


Real love is a process of getting to know somebody. To love you I have to get to know you because how can I make a big space inside of me to include you if I don't know who you are? So if I just met you, I can't even begin to know who you are. However, I might spend a great deal of time with you over long periods and still not know you.

My friend David was going out with a woman to whom he ultimately became engaged. Then, one day, shortly before the wedding, he went to see her. It was raining outside and he had borrowed a friend's raincoat, which just happened to be one of those hip Australian oilskins like those that ranchers in the outback wear. He came into her house, and she took one look at him and said, "Just like I've always pictured you."

"What do you mean-in the rain? What are you talking about?"

"That's how I've always seen you-riding on the range."

"But I've never even been on a horse," David said.

At that moment he realized that, with the coat, he looked something like the Marlboro Man, and maybe she was picturing him as somebody else. Maybe she had somebody else in mind and had only projected her image of what she wanted onto him. And suddenly it hit him. The whole time they were dating, she was "cheating" on him. She was seeing another man, and that man was him. She was in love with her fantasy, not with who he really was.

People are often in love with love. They are fantasizing their own love story. What they don't realize is that it isn't this person whom they love. This person merely represents the person they want to love. They love love, not the person they are with. Because truly, they don't even know the person they are with. That's a very serious problem.

There is a wonderful Hassidic story of two men who are enjoying a drink together, and the one guy says to the other. "You know you are my best friend. I love you."

And the other guy responds, "Oh yeah? If you really love me, tell me what's hurting me?"

Of course, he is saying, if you love me, you know me — you know what's hurting me.

All too often when we realize that we don't know the other person that is when we realize that we are not in love.

In the movie, The Graduate, in which a young man is having an affair with the mother of his own fiancÚ, there is a scene that brings home this point. Dustin Hoffman tells Ann Bancroft, who is playing the mother that he can't go on with the affair anymore.

And she looks at him with eyes of love and asks what's wrong. "I love you!" she says.

But he says he can't do this anymore.

She presses: "Why not?"

"Because," he says, "I don't even know your first name, Mrs. Robinson."



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They are having an affair, she loves him, but he doesn't even know her first name! This is actually the problem with the relationship between the first man and woman in the Garden of Eden. It was love at first sight. "And Adam said, ' this is flesh of my flesh, bone of my bone: she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man.'" This was the original fall in love. Only after the sin and the tension it caused in their relationship that Adam recognizes the woman deserves her own name. "And Adam called his wife's name Eve..." Prior to the sin he did not acknowledge her as an independent character with a name. He did not appreciate her uniqueness, nor did he sufficiently respect her as an individual, who is other than himself. He saw his wife only in terms of himself; as an extension of himself. He was man and she was woman. They were essentially one and the same. He was enthralled with their oneness; however, he failed to see that she was other than himself, another human being, with her own character.

Only after the breakdown in their relationship did their quest and work for true oneness and love start. Only then did he acknowledge her as different and other than him. Now he is Adam and she is Eve. Now they are different and now they can do the work to get to know each other, making the space to include each other, help each other and become one. It is very significant that only then does the Torah tell us, "And Adam knew his wife Eve."

Is 'Commitment' a 4 Letter Word?
I remember there was a fellow who was coming to my classes. He had been living with a girl for five years. And I asked him, "So, do you want to marry her?"

He said, "I'm not really sure yet. I still need some more time to get to know her."

I said, "What? A little time to get to know her? How much time do you need?"

"Well, I'm just not prepared to make a commitment." Now that I understood. His feeling that he didn't know her was accurate, because a woman (or man for that matter) will not show all of herself to her partner until she knows that she is safe, that her partner won't run out on her.

True love doesn't come along until after there is a commitment because that is when each really shows the other the stuff that makes them the most vulnerable and the stuff that makes them the most different, the most other.

This guy had it backwards, he wanted to know everything first and then he was maybe willing to make the commitment that is necessary in the first place. There is no way of learning everything about the another person up front. And the truth is that you will never, ever know everything about the other person. Everyday, you will find out something new, but that is good, because you already have made that space to accommodate what you will learn. You already know the art of loving, and I am talking about the real art of loving which is creating that space, and giving that place and space to nurture the other person, and accepting that he or she is incomplete, never expecting that your soul mate would be complete. He or she won't be complete. He or she won't be perfect.

But this shouldn't be disturbing to you if you aren't looking for someone who is the same as you, if you are enjoying what makes each of you different and how your differences complement each other.

There is a very interesting custom in a Jewish wedding ceremony that acknowledges the limits of role of choice and the role of fate in a marriage. Just before giving the ring, the groom is accompanied to a place where his bride is sitting and covers her with a veil. He then turns around and is escorted to the place where the actual wedding ceremony is performed. The traditional explanation for this is that he checks to make sure he has got the right bride. This tradition is related to the story of Jacob who was deceived by his father-in-law to be, who switched his oldest daughter Leah for Rachel the youngest who Jacob intended to marry. Jacob discovered the switch only after he consummated the marriage with Leah in the dark. Not at all happy with being cheated, however he accepted his fate and later also married Rachel. So as the tradition goes today the groom checks his bride apparently so that he too does not have to deal with the fate of Jacob ending up with someone other than the bride of his choice. However when you think about it, wouldn't it make more sense that the groom uncover his bride and walk backwards keeping his eyes on the bride until they get to the wedding canopy and complete the wedding. If he covers her and turns around who knows what could happen in the interim while he is not looking.

Here's the secret to this peculiar ceremony. The groom is actually accepting fate within his choice. The Kabbalah teaches that Leah represents fate — she is the woman who Jacob happened to marry. However Rachel represents choice. She is the woman Jacob chose to marry. When you get married the truth is that although you think you are marrying just Rachel the person of your choice, there is always a surprise and you later discover that you also ended up with Leah, who is the side of your spouse you never knew you were getting. When you get married you have to make the choice and make space also for the hidden and unexpected side of your spouse. And we see that although Leah was not Jacob's choice bride she was actually a great source of blessing to him and in the end the one who he was buried with.

Therefore the groom covers his bride as if to say I acknowledge and accept your hidden side, I chose to accept that part of our relationship which was fated.

Love is a choice, not a conclusion. You can only get to know the other person so much before you have to take the leap and make the choice. Sooner or later, you have to say I know enough to go forward, commit and choose love.

               — For more on this topic see, please see: Endless Light: the ancient path of Kabbalah to Love, Spiritual Growth and Personal Power


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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