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December 2, 2014

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 3 Tamuz (2488)

The day the sun stood still

By Rabbi Yonason Goldson


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | When the Jewish people followed Joshua into the Land of Israel, 40 years after their exodus from Egypt, their lives changed unimaginably. For an entire generation, the manna that fell from the heavens every morning had sustained them, the pillar of fire had guided them through the wilderness, and the clouds of glory had protected them from every danger and enemy.

Upon entering the land, however, all of these miracles instantaneously stopped. Indeed, it had been the Jews' fear of losing the open miracles that testified to the Almighty's presence in their midst that led to the sin of the spies, resulting G-d's decree that they wander in the desert for two score years before He allowed them another chance to enter the land. The transition from a life of divinity revealed through open miracles to a life of divinity concealed by natural law proved too frightening for the generation of the exodus to accept.

Only the next generation attained the level of trust where they willingly gave up the daily revelation of open miracles. To soften the shock of transition, G-d did not withdraw His presence all at once, but concealed Himself gradually, thereby easing the Jews' passage into the new reality that would guide their daily lives.

And so, as the Jewish people entered the land, the Jordan River split for them, just as the Sea had split to save them from the pursuit of Pharaoh's chariots. In their first battle against the inhabitants of the land, the walls of Jericho sank into the earth, depriving the city's inhabitants of their defenses and striking terror into their hearts. And finally, on the third day of the month of Tammuz, less than three months after the Jews crossed into the land, the sun and the moon stood still in their courses, extending the battle of Givon so that Joshua's army could defeat the alliance of five Amorite kings before nightfall.(1)

AN UNNECESSARY MIRACLE?
In contrast to other miracles, however, the miracle at Givon appears to have been unnecessary. The splitting of the Jordan gave the Jews renewed confidence that, despite the withdrawal of the divine presence, G-d remained in their midst; and the collapse of the walls of Jericho showed the Jews that G-d would never allow their enemies to stand before them. But why did the Jews require the miraculous lengthening of the day when the Amorites had already scattered before Joshua and his army?

From a simple strategic point, the battle was not truly won until all the retreating enemy forces had been captured or killed. To allow them to escape and regroup would risk Jewish lives in another battle at the time and place of their enemies' choosing. The lengthening of the day enabled the Jews to pursue and overtake the Amorite soldiers without the increased danger of having to chase them into the night.(2)

Furthermore, the Amorites attacked on a Friday. By extending the day, G-d allowed the Jews to complete their military operation without violating the laws of the Sabbath.(3) And although the need for personal and national security would have superseded the restrictions of the Sabbath, G-d demonstrated to the Jewish people that He rewards those who trust in Him and observe His law by granting them success in all their efforts.

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Perhaps most profoundly, the abrupt cessation of the celestial sphere demonstrated the Almighty's dominion over every aspect of the natural world, that ultimately He and He alone is responsible for our successes and our victories.(4) This lesson was for the benefit of the inhabitants of Canaan, to further break their spirit and convince them of the futility of resistance. But even more so was it for the Jews themselves, demonstrating further that the laws of nature, which would henceforth guide their existence, are merely agents of the Almighty that perform His will.

If this were not enough, the fleeing Amorites found themselves besieged by supernaturally large hailstones, which wreaked even greater casualties upon them than the Jews had in battle. Like the fiery hail that inflicted not only damage but also confusion and terror upon the Egyptians, so too did the miraculous hail drive every last shred of defiance out of the hearts of the Amorites. In the battle of Givon, the warring and fractious Amorite kings had laid aside their petty differences and united against the threat of the advancing Jews. The miracle of the sun stopping in its course convinced them that the power of the Jewish G-d extended to the very workings of nature itself.

Needless to say, it was not the sun that stopped circling the earth but the earth that stopped in its course about the sun. Either way, the lesson is the same. To the Jewish way of thinking, there are no coincidences, there is no happenstance. Just as the earth performs G-d's bidding in its rotation upon its axis and its revolution around the sun, similarly does every aspect of creation perform in accordance with the Divine will. No breeze blows, no flower blossoms, no insect creeps upon the face of the earth in any way other than in accordance with G-d's master plan.

This is perhaps the most deeply mysterious facet of G-d's universe. Everything is designed, guided, and orchestrated by the hand of the Almighty, yet human free will is preserved.(5) The world in which man finds himself is beyond his control, yet each of us remains master over his own actions. Whether or not man succeeds in his machinations is not for man to decide, and G-d measures success in control over oneself, not over the world. To win a battle against one's enemies requires divine consent, but the greatest battle is to conquer our human impulse, drives, and desires. One who proves victorious in that battle is truly greater than the sun in the sky or the stars in the heavens.

SOURCES:

1. Seder Olam Rabbah 11
2. Metzudas Dovid; Rav Don Yitzchok Abarbanel
3. Babylonian Talmud, Avodah Zara 25a
4. Rav Moshe Alshich
5. Pirkei Avos 3:19


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JWR contributor Rabbi Yonason Goldson teaches at Block Yeshiva High School in St. Louis. Comment by clicking here.


Previously:

Nemirov massacres and the Chmielnicki uprising
Independent Judea under Shimon HaMaccabee
The Great Revolt begins
Dedication of new walls of Jerusalem

© 2006, Rabbi Yonason Goldson