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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 Sept. 20, 2006 / 27 Elul, 5766

Holy Days: Time for an accounting to the Divine — and man

By Rabbi Berel Wein


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The basis for Judaism and its value system can be summed up in one word — accountability. The gift of freedom of choice and action that G-d granted to humans comes, as do most gifts, with a price. And that price is that all of us are completely accountable for our actions and behavior. We each have an account sheet, so to speak, with columns for both credits and debits. How that account sheet looks eventually determines our fate and our eternity. But, there are those intermediary times when we can take stock.


The Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are such times. Our account sheet is reviewed as we pass before the Heavenly court without cover or pretense. The message of the Holy Days is a clear one. We are held accountable for good or for better for our past deeds and also for our future intents. We are deemed to be responsible individuals and therefore our account sheet is of vital importance in determining our status in life and our future.


Just as all publicly held firms must produce an annual fiscal report attested to by reputable accounting firms, so too during these Holy Days do we individually publish our own annual report. And, the Heavenly court that is aware of all of our actions and behavior attests to that report. Because of this it is completely understandable why accountability is the key word to any understanding of Judaism.


One of the ills of our current society is its acceptance of unlimited freedom of choice and behavior but its refusal to be accountable for the results of this uninhibited freedom. One of the hallmarks of our society is its inability to admit error in previous decisions, policies and behavior. No one is held accountable for all of the great mistakes of the past centuries.


The bankruptcy of those Jewish organizations and individuals who fled from Torah and tradition is evident to all by now, but many of them — those still in existence — continue along their merry way as though there was no past to reexamine and no true future to contemplate. But the law of accountability allows for no exceptions and eventually overtakes everyone. That should be apparent to anyone with even rudimentary knowledge of the story of Israel throughout the ages.


The final parshiyos (portions) of the Torah read in the synagogue over these past and coming weeks concern themselves almost exclusively with this idea of accountability — of reward and punishment and the aspects of the covenant of Sinai between G-d and Israel. The Torah itself declares that this "covenant shall respond to them even till the end of days." In a covenant, as in a contractual agreement, each side is held bound to its agreed upon terms and conditions. We are bound to our end of the covenant and the Lord, so to speak, states that He also is bound to His commitments. Again, accountability is the key word to the entire covenantal experience and challenge.


One should feel that one is accountable not only to G-d and to one's fellow human beings but perhaps most importantly to one's own self. The primary question addressed by Judaism is: "Of what purpose is my life — why am I here and what is asked of me?" If this question is never really addressed or if it is sloughed off and defined in purely material or monetary terms then obviously life has little meaning. If it has no deep meaning then no dutiful accounting of behavior can ever arise in our minds and hearts. For life to have any sense of meaning or purpose then the goal of accountability must resonate within each individual.


True teshuva — repentance — requires this simultaneous look both backwards and forwards regarding our life's actions and our mission and hopes. The concept of rigorous accountability helps us formulate a meaningful answer to our goals and aspirations in life. It allows us to age and mature gracefully and it creates the proper backdrop for our future plans and actions. It therefore is the ultimate blessing in our lives.

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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