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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 Jan. 19, 2007 / 29 Teves 5767

Great miracles do not change human behavior and beliefs in any meaningful fashion

By Rabbi Berel Wein


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The keys to faith


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Plagues, miracles and natural disasters are all recorded for us in this week's Torah portion. They seem to make little impression, either on Pharaoh or even on the Jewish slaves. These events indicate how difficult it is to alter people's preconceived perceptions and mindset.


Pharaoh is not impressed by the plagues because his own professional miracle makers were able to replicate the first three plagues. He therefore attributes all of the later plagues to forces of nature or superior professional miracle-makers that Moses has somehow employed. The Jewish people also are, relatively speaking, little impressed by the plagues. They are so despondent as to their continued condition of slavery and, in fact, to their worsening situation since the onset of the rain of plagues, that they have little hope that the plagues or Moses can or will deliver them from Egyptian bondage.


One of the hallmarks of a slave mentality is the feeling of hopelessness and ingrained pessimism that is engendered into the psyche of the slave. Though completely understandable as to why this should be so, it is nevertheless most counterproductive to the drive for personal freedom and emancipation that is necessary in order to eventually become a person who is free not only in body but in spirit as well.


The commentators, notably Ibn Ezra, state that this negative mentality persisted throughout the years in the desert of Sinai and was the contributing cause why that generation of former slaves could not enter the Land of Israel. For this reason we can understand the frustrations expressed by Moses to G-d as recorded at the end of the last week's Torah portion. He is performing miracles left and right and no one seems to pay any attention to his feats.


Eventually, Moses comes to the realization that the Lord has been teaching him a basic lesson about human behavior. Great miracles, no matter how awesome and overwhelming, do not change human behavior and beliefs in any meaningful fashion. Pharaoh will be defeated only by force that strikes home to him personally -- his first born child is killed and he is also in danger of being killed. It is not the miracle of the first-born killings that impresses him. It is the fear for his own safety that the miracle engendered that causes him to free the Jews, a decision that he almost immediately regrets. Miracles may raise Jewish faith temporarily but they do not form the methodology for developing lasting faith and commitment.


After all of the miracles, the Jews are still capable of making and worshipping a golden calf and rebelling against the rule of Moses and G-d. Moses realizes that no matter how many miracles occur, faith has to be nurtured and developed and maintained from the inside and not from outside circumstances and happenings.


Study, education, loyalty, and family become the keys to faith. At times miracles are necessary for the physical survival of the Jewish people. But the spiritual survival of Jews is wholly dependent upon Jews themselves. That is what G-d meant when He compared the patriarchs behavior to that of Moses. They, to a great extent, did it on their own. Moses learns to emulate them. So should we.

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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