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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

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 1, 2006 / 1 Adar, 5766

For shame

By Rabbi Berel Wein


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Knowing how and when to apply the integral trait is key to spiritual and personal growth


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | One of the three main character attributes that the Talmud ascribed to Jews is a sense of shame, of reticence and embarrassment. The other two are the traits of being merciful and of being kind to others in an active way.


Indeed, the Talmud goes so far as to say that any Jew who lacks this sense of being ashamed and embarrassed casts doubt as to whether his ancestors truly were present at Mount Sinai for the giving of the Torah (Bible) to Israel.


All of the prophets of Israel decried brazenness, a defiant forehead, the possession of the hide of an elephant. As long as shame existed the possibility for repentance and self-improvement also existed. Therefore the prophets of Israel exhorted the leaders and people to at least "be ashamed of your behavior, O House of Israel!" Only when the sense of shame disappears does hope wane for a change for the better.


Flaunting one's misdeeds and carrying on as though nothing untoward has occurred is a sure sign of the loss of any moral proportion in an individual and in a society. A well-developed and active sense of shame is a defensive wall that protects an individual from inadvertent wrongdoing and moral disasters.


The opposite side of the coin of shame is that of honor and pride. There are things in life that everyone must have a sense of pride and accomplishment at achieving. The prophet tells us that "being wise enough to know G-d, so to speak, is worthy of high praise and a great sense of honor." Because honor and shame make up the two sides of the same coin, it is obvious that dishonorable behavior should lead one to a sense of deep shame and remorse.


In the culture of the Japanese this led to the ritual suicide of hara-kiri because of loss of honor and the shame that followed this. However, over the last half century, the Western world has pretty much abandoned any sense of shame in public or private behavior. Thus, the current slogan of all malefactors caught in shameful behavior is "to tough it out" and brazenly ignore one's own shameful deeds. There is very little sense of shame left in public or political life, in academia and the arts or even in the religious leadership sectors of our society.


Shame has fled from the scene in the entertainment industries. There is no longer shameful speech or attire, attitude or even behavior. We have no longer any higher expectations of our leaders so therefore they have no sense of shame when they actually meet our very low expectations of them and their personal and public behavior. The sense of honor and pride so necessary for effective and inspired public leadership has disappeared from our world to be replaced by a crassness and insensitivity to moral standards and to a traditional sense of selfless purpose.


There are instances when the sense of shame has to be overcome. Not always is it in place. The rabbis of the Mishna warned us that someone who is overly bashful and easily shamed will not be a good student for one will never debate ideas with one's teachers and colleagues because of this overdeveloped sense of shame. Being a member of a minority, being "different" than everyone else, also engenders a misguided sense of shame and of constant embarrassment at being one's own true self. In this respect there have been changes in the Jewish world generally.


For example, wearing a yarmulke at work, something which was practically unheard of a half century ago, is now easily in vogue. So, apparently it is not only the sense of shame that needs to be with us but a sense of sophistication and instinct that informs us what we should be ashamed of and what should be for us a badge of pride and self-worth and identity. As in all things in life a sense of balance and proportion is vitally necessary when dealing with the coin of shame and honor.


The Jewish sense of shame arises from the realization of G-d's greatness and eternity. We, who are but mortal clay and dust, are automatically filled with a sense of unworthiness when we deal with our eternal Creator. Thus, to the believing Jew, a healthy sense of shame should be innate within one's very being. If it is not present, then there is undoubtedly room for doubt as to the truthfulness of one's professed beliefs.


So our sense of shame also becomes our test of faith. That is why it is so important to our spiritual development and quest for becoming a better person.

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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