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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 May 31, 2006 / 4 Sivan, 5766

The (purposely) forgotten holiday

By Rabbi Berel Wein


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It's easy — though painful — to understand why Shavuos just does not exist for so many Jews


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | As Shavuos draws near, it is traditional to think about the importance and impact of this shortest of the three major festivals of the Jewish calendar year.


Unfortunately, in the Diaspora, with the exception of the devotedly observant community, Shavous is a forgotten holiday.


I remember that as a lawyer in Chicago over thirty-five years ago, I attempted to obtain a new date for a trial in which I was representing my client and the Jewish judge, a scion of a great Eastern European rabbinic family, asked me the reason for my request.


I told him that the original trial date was to fall on the holiday of Shavous and as such I would not be able to attend court that day. He sneered at me: "Counselor, there is no such Jewish holiday!" So great is the alienation and assimilation of much of Diasporan Jewry, that his ignorant opinion will find many echoes in the secular Jewish society.


Yet, it is the Shavous holiday that is the backbone of all Jewish life and vitality.


According to Jewish tradition and the Talmud, Shavous marks the anniversary date of the revelation at Sinai and the granting of the Torah to the people of Israel. The Torah itself phrases it thusly: "Today you have become a nation!" The nationality of the Jews is founded upon its shared experience of receiving the Torah at Sinai thirty three hundred and nineteen years ago. This is the import of Saadya Gaon's famous statement that our "our nation is a nation only by virtue of the Torah."


Shavous is the uniquely Jewish holiday. It does not represent the universal ideal of freedom as does Passover, nor is it a harbinger of all human happiness, prosperity and bountiful harvest, all of which characterize the Succos holiday. It stands in splendid isolation as a uniquely Jewish event that attests to our role in society and civilization, as the people who accepted the Torah when others refused.


It is therefore difficult to be assimilated and celebrate Shavous. Shavous prevents assimilation by reminding us of the event that is baked deep into the DNA of the Jewish people — the revelation at Sinai.


Shavous is therefore not just a commemoration of an historical date but rather it poses the challenge of defining Jewish nationhood and of its relation to each and every one of us. Because of this challenging aspect of the holiday, it is easy (though painful) to understand why Shavous just does not exist for so many Jews. It is much easier on one's mind and conscience to simply ignore and then even deny its existence.


There are certain questions that have remained constant in Jewish life over the millennia. "Who is a Jew?" "Why be Jewish?" "Why marry Jewish?" and "Why all of the fuss, anger, hatred and jealousy in the world over the Jews?" are some of these basic age-old questions. Ignoring Shavous and what it represents allows for seemingly easy answers and evasions of these questions. But all of those answers have never yet been able to stand the test of time and circumstance.

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Forgetting Shavous has always led to spiritually dire personal and national consequences The great Rabbi Yosef of the times of the Babylonian Talmud celebrated Shavous with great enthusiasm, saying "if it were not for this day of Shavous, I would not feel chosen and unique, for many Yosefs can be found in the market square."


This is certainly true of the Jewish people generally. If it were not for Shavous we would not be a special people, let alone "a light unto the nations of the world." Shavous therefore becomes our reason for existence, the justification of our intense role in the development of a better and more civilized world. Shavous therefore demands some sort of mental and spiritual preparation to be truly appreciated.


Shavous begins tomorrow night. Now would be a good time to start thinking about it and its personal relevance to one's life and family.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes inspiring articles. Sign up for our daily update. It's free. Just click here.

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