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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 March 29, 2006 / 29 Adar, 5766

As joy becomes freedom

By Rabbi Berel Wein


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With the next page on the Jewish calendar turning tonight, a lesson in distinctions toward a goal-driven life


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The month of Adar is introduced to us by the famous statement that the Jewish people are marbin b'simcha — bidden to increase manifestations of joy. This is certainly understandable since the month of Adar contains within its days the great festive day of Purim and celebrates our deliverance from destruction and annihilation by the wicked Haman. If deliverance from national destruction is a cause for joy, and it certainly ought to be, then the month of Nissan, which begins tonight, should also have as its introductory note the phrase of marbin b'simcha.


For the month of Nissan, with the great holiday of Passover enshrined within it, is certainly the commemorative moment on the Jewish calendar. It contains within it our deliverance from Egyptian bondage and the seemingly inevitable destruction of the Jewish people. Therefore, if there is ever a moment of joy in the Jewish year, it certainly appears that Nissan and Passover should occupy that role.


Yet, even in the description of the holidays of the Jewish year in our prayer services, Passover is referred to as zman cheiruseinu — the time of our deliverance to freedom — while Succos (Tabernacles) is somehow called zman simchaseinu — the time of our happiness and joy. Why is Passover not known as zman simchaseinu and why is there no recommendation for Nissan to be a time of increased joy? What greater joy can be occasioned than the deliverance from bondage and the achievement of national and personal freedom?


I am inclined to think that the answer to these questions lies in the essential differences between Purim and Passover. Being saved from catastrophe floods us immediately with a feeling of joy and exultation. No demands are placed upon us. It is just simply that Haman is defeated and we are able to survive. Purim is a time of unbridled joy, a day when almost anything goes and is allowed. Costumes, satire, shpiels, drink and food, all of the things that are handled with restraint during the year are left unchecked on Purim. To a certain extent, Purim's joy is aimless, if not even purposeless. Ad d'lo yoda — until one can no longer distinguish between the curse of Haman and the blessing of Mordechai — is the description of the joy of Purim.


The joy of Nissan and Passover is not only of a different degree, it is of a completely different kind. Freedom in Jewish life means responsibility, goals, restraint, vision and sacrifice. If on Purim everything goes, on Passover almost nothing goes. The many regulations are meant to bring us to the realization that true freedom requires enormous self-discipline and a tenacious sense of purpose — these are the hallmarks of the joy of Passover and Nissan. This type of joy requires effort, it is not spontaneous and it demands a mindset and preparation. As such, the phrases that characterize the almost purely emotional joy of Purim are not really appropriate when applied to Nissan and Passover.


King Solomon in Koheles (Ecclesiastes) had it right when he asked ulsimcha mah zu osah — "and regarding joy, what does it accomplish?" A joy that does not lead to accomplishments, to positive purposes and the achievement of immortal goals, is not a very purposeful emotion. If after the emotional high of joy one is in a state of ad d'lo yoda — of spiritual and mental chaos, then the joy is short-lived and almost counter productive in the long run of life and its events.


The Jewish calendar thus places Adar and Nissan, Purim and Passover, so to speak, back-to-back. The purposeful joy and celebration of Passover redeems the ad d'lo yoda joy of Purim. Purim would remain, lhavdil, a type of mardi gras celebration without the immediate redemptive qualities of Passover happiness and celebration that redefine its emotion of joy.


Since the freedom of Passover now modifies and describes all times of Jewish joy, Succos can be seen as zman simchaseinu, since Passover has already defined for us the true concept of joy as being purposeful and goal-oriented.


In this spirit, as Nissan now comes upon us with blessings of springtime and Passover in its wings, we can truly add to the welcome of Nissan the phrase of marbin b'simcha as well. Not the joy of Purim, unmodified and uncontrolled, but rather the joy of Nissan and Passover, measured, restrained, purposeful and soulful.


Nissan is seen as the harbinger of the ultimate redemption of Israel. Its type of joy and commitment is certainly the means by which we may hasten that great day of final redemption.

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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