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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 Oct. 26, 2007 / 24 Mar-Cheshvan 5768

The lonely righteous

By Rabbi Berel Wein


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Sodom wasn't destroyed because of the thousands or even millions of evildoers in its midst


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Most commentators dwell upon the compassion for sinners demonstrated by our father Abraham in this week's Torah (Bible) portion. Though this message is undoubtedly the important one, as relating to the tragedy of Sodom, there is an important peripheral lesson, of perhaps equal importance, involved there as well.


And that lesson is that a few good people make all the difference in human society and in the fate of mankind.


Sodom is not destroyed because of the thousands or even millions of evildoers in its midst. It was destroyed simply because it lacked ten good people in its society. And this is G-d's message to Abraham as well. Abraham is a lonely person — he is on one side and everyone else in the world is seemingly on the other side.


Lonely people oftentimes are beset by doubts as to their course in life. "Fifty million Frenchmen can't be wrong!" But history has shown us time and again that the lonely individual is proven correct and the behavior and opinions of the many are proven to be wrong and even dangerous. Abraham becomes the paradigm for the lonely righteous in a world that envies, imitates and glorifies Sodom. He is the father of the Jewish people especially in this regard.


The Jews are a small and lonely group in our world. Their values and way of life are in opposition to those of the many. Yet even our enemies admit — and in fact object to — the prevalence of our contributions, influence and vitality as regards human civilization and history.


The destruction of Sodom leaves a deep imprint on Abraham. It helps shape his attitude towards his son Isaac. He eschews the choice of the many — of Ishmael and the children of Keturah — in favor of the lonely good and pious son Isaac. That is perhaps the message of G-d to Abraham when He told him: "For through Isaac [alone] will you have true descendants."


One Isaac eventually is able to counter — in G-d's inscrutable reckoning of merits and salvation millions of evildoers — no matter how well pedigreed those evildoers claim to be. Sodom eventually is destroyed by its own innate lack of goodness and of a dearth of pious citizens. But Abraham and Isaac, small in numbers and opposed by most of the world, will continue to flourish and proclaim the values of goodness and righteousness in the general world.


The prophet Isaiah characterizes Abraham as "echad" — one, unique, alone, singular. That description is to be interpreted positively and not as a complaint or source of weakness or pessimism. In a world of the many it is the few that really matter. The Lord told us long ago in the book of Deuteronomy that we would be the fewest of all people. Yet in our influence and strength of spirit we are as numerous as are the stars in heaven.


This inner realization of ourselves and our role in G-d's plan for human existence and growth marks us as the true children of Abraham and gives us hope even in a world where Sodom appears all powerful.

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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