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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 July 27, 2006 / 2 Menachem-Av, 5766

Refusing to be comforted

By Rabbi Berel Wein


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The month of Av, which began yesterday, symbolizes in it the angst and challenge of living a Jewish life, of being grateful for what we have and yet maintaining a sense of loss for what we are still missing


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Though the month of Av carries with a title — menachem — meaning comfort and consolation, it nevertheless remains the saddest and most disturbing month of the Jewish calendar. Comfort is a great and necessary word but as a true concept and in reality it is very difficult to obtain. This is particularly true for individuals reeling from the loss of a beloved one but it is also generally true for the national entity of the Jewish people as well. There has as yet been no comfort, even no closure, regarding the terrible national tragedy of the Holocaust, even though more than six decades have passed since the event. This should come as no surprise to Jews, for to a great extent the Jewish people have yet to be comforted for the destruction of our Temple and our exile, events that are almost two millennia old.


No person or institution in Jewish life is indispensable. But neither are they replaceable. It is the void that is left because of this irreplaceability that prevents true comfort from taking hold. Therefore, the Jewish people have remained restless and many times even disoriented over the long exile that we have endured. The sadness of the first ten days of Av permeates and resonates within us precisely because the sense of closure and comfort has eluded us.


The Talmud states that there is a heavenly decree that engenders forgetfulness of the departed by those still living. However, if the object of grief and despair and loss is not truly dead but is only absent — such as was the case regarding Jacob's grief over the loss of Joseph — then this sense of closure and comfort remains absent as well. That is why the Torah records for us the inability of Jacob to accept comfort and solace from his family and friends. Joseph was not dead; the heavenly decree of forgetfulness which allows comfort was inoperative in his case. So comfort could not come to Jacob.


I believe that in an ironic and odd way the fact that the Jewish people still suffer from the anguish of the Holocaust is because of the intense efforts made by the Jewish community to prevent forgetfulness of the Holocaust from settling in. It is the Holocaust-deniers that wish to lull us into a false sense of comfort, to proclaim that it is over and that therefore bygones should remain bygones.


The Bible records for us that our mother Rachel refuses to be comforted over the exile of her children because she is convinced that they are not permanently lost or exiled but will return. There is a positive side therefore to not being comforted. It allows for a connection to an unknown future that will not only provide comfort but even replacement of what and who was lost.


The sadness and tension of the first part of the month of Av are still with us centuries after the event of the destruction of the Temple simply because deep within the heart and psyche of the Jewish people the Temple is not gone, it is only missing. The entire enterprise of the return of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel in their millions over the past two centuries and the establishment of the Jewish state in our ancient homeland is testimony to the fact that to the Jews, the Land of Israel and the Temple were not dead issues. Those Jewish communities and individuals who "proclaimed that Berlin is our Jerusalem" and therefore sought permanent comfort in being "good" Germans, Russians, Poles, etc. did not fare well in G-d's world.


False comfort is far more damaging than no comfort at all. It remained for those Jews who did not forget that they were from Zion and Jerusalem to arise and help the Jewish people survive the worst and bloodiest century in its long history.


The prophet warns us against "being comfortable in Zion." Living in the Land of Israel is not a comfortable experience though it is a holy, challenging and inspiring one. For living in the Land of Israel makes us aware of what we have achieved against all odds and at the same time to appreciate what is still missing. The awareness of what is missing is what prevents us from being "comfortable in Zion." Thus the month of Av symbolizes in it the angst and challenge of living a Jewish life, of being grateful for what we have and yet maintaining a sense of loss for what we are still missing. May this month yet bring us the feeling of menachem — of a better time and the eventual comfort promised to us by G-d and His prophets.

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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