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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 June 22, 2006 / 26 Sivan, 5766

Spiritual 7

By Rabbi Berel Wein


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For Jews, the number is not lucky, it's central to life


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | One of the great gifts of the Jewish people to civilized society generally is the Sabbath and with it the ordered idea of a seven-day week.


The seven-day week has become standard throughout human society and adopted by all different faiths. The anti-clericalist, atheistic leaders of the French Revolution at the end of the eighteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth centuries attempted to impose a ten-day week upon their revolutionary society but the attempt never gained popular support. Thus seven-day weeks became and remain the norm in the world.


The original seven-day week is naturally found in the biblical narrative of the formation and creation of the universe, with the seventh day of that "week" being the holy Sabbath. The notion of special seven-day weeks recurs in Jewish law and ritual. Having personally experienced lately two such special weeks, I take the liberty of commenting upon them.


One of these weeks is a very sad and heart wrenching one — the week of shiva (literally, seven) — the time of intense mourning over the loss of a beloved family member. The other special week is the week of shivas ymei mishteh (literally, seven days of food and drink) — the week immediately following a wedding when daily gatherings, tributes, meals and song bring joy to the bride and groom and their families.


Even though these two different special weeks are posed on opposite poles of a human's emotional spectrum, Jewish ritual and custom bind them together with parallel observances and traditions.


The period of shiva is marked by visits from friends to the home of the bereaved. It begins to put in place the social support system that the bereaved will so desperately need in order to continue on in life. The mourners do not leave their house of mourning for the entire week except for the Sabbath, when all public exhibitions of mourning are suspended. The mourners sit low to the floor, their garments rent, their hearts broken. The rabbis of the Talmud enjoined that one is not to mourn excessively over the loss of a family member. It is the Jewish belief in eternal life and the immortality of the soul that allows for such an outlook.


The periods of mourning are clearly defined in Jewish law — seven days, thirty days and for parents, twelve months. Those are the limits of ritual forms of mourning. There is no time limit to the perpetual ache that now resides in one's heart. The seven days of shiva end on the morning of the seventh day, following the Halacha (Jewish Law) regarding the time of mourning — miktzas hayom k'kulo — even a portion of the day is counted as a full day.


In Talmudic times a series of blessings was recited at the conclusion of the meals during shiva> in the house of the mourners.


This custom is no longer observed in the Ashkenazic society, though it still is followed in many Sephardic communities. These blessings eerily parallel the recitation of the seven blessings that accompany birkhas hamazon in the presence of the bride and the groom during shivas ymei mishteh. We are bidden to bless G-d's name on all occasions and under all circumstances, both good and better.


The seven days of rejoicing for the bride and groom are meant to be complete twenty-four hour days. The meals during this week of rejoicing are festive and meaningful. The meals are usually occasions for words of Torah, moral insights, blessings and encouragement to the couple now beginning their life together. The meals require that "new" people — people who were not present at the wedding — be invited and attend the mishteh meal. The presence of the "new faces" at the meal automatically increases the level of joy, satisfaction and support for the bride and groom and their families.


To help other people feel important and happy is a great Jewish virtue.

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The Lord Himself, so to speak, is pictured in Midrash as being the "new face" that helped Adam and Eve celebrate their marriage in the Garden of Eden. Mention of this is in fact the theme of one of the blessings that is recited at the wedding and at the meals of shivas ymei mishteh. G-d is thus the source of our joy and the hope for our consolation as well. Both special weeks — the life-cycle events of Jewish life — march in tandem in the Jewish view of life and the world.


May we also all be blessed, consoled and uplifted by our observance of Torah and our faith in the G-d of Israel.

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JWR contributor Rabbi Berel Wein --- Jewish historian, author and international lecturer offers a complete selection of CDs, audio tapes, video tapes, DVDs, and books on Jewish history at www.rabbiwein.com Comment by clicking here.


© 2006, Rabbi Berel Wein