In this issue

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 January 15, 2008 / 8 Shevat 5768

Gov. Corzine and I May have different hearts

By Dennis Prager

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine, in explaining his state's abolition of the death penalty, announced that he knew "from my heart and from my soul" that no murderer should be put to death.

As it happens, I know from my heart and from my soul that not putting any murderer to death is a cosmic injustice; it cheapens the worth of human life and greatly diminishes the revulsion society feels toward murder.

So, what does this mean? Does it mean two intelligent and decent people have very different hearts and souls? (This question assumes that pro-capital punishment readers will acknowledge Gov. Corzine's decency and that anti-capital punishment readers will acknowledge my decency.)

Here are possible explanations:

One is that our hearts are either not the same or operate differently.

I am mystified by the hearts of those who wish to keep all murderers alive. While I disagree with those whose values (as opposed to hearts) argue against the death penalty for murder, I can at least understand them. But I have no clue as to what type of human heart wants to keep all murderers alive. What type of human heart knows the pain and horror of murder and doesn't want the murderer to give up his life? It is a heart so different from mine that I admit a complete inability to relate to it.

Conversely, I presume that those whose hearts move them to spare all murderers' lives can't understand my heart. That is why I am convinced that regarding capital punishment for murder there is a gulf more unbridgeable than on almost any other issue. I understand the hearts of those who want the state to take over medical care, even though I oppose it — my heart feels the same as theirs for those who cannot afford health care. I understand the hearts of those who want race-based affirmative action — my heart feels the same pain over the historical injustices inflicted on black Americans.

But when it comes to murder, my heart is entirely preoccupied with the terror and loss experienced by the murdered and the endless pain of those who loved them. I therefore find incomprehensible the compassion for murderers, as expressed, for example, by anti-death penalty activists, when they have candlelight vigils at prisons but not at the homes of the families of those murdered.

A second explanation is that those who oppose and those who support the death penalty do indeed have similar hearts, but looking into one's heart is obviously not a good way to determine one's stance on moral issues. Hearts can lead us to any conclusion we want. If Gov. Corzine has a good heart and I have a good heart, the heart is not a particularly effective place to look for answers to moral questions. In fact, being guided by the heart may be one of the worst ways to live a good life. The heart is very easily moved in wrong directions.

A third possibility is that we have similar hearts but different minds. So while our hearts may feel similarly about murder and murderers, our thinking about them differs. The hearts of opponents of the death penalty may yearn for taking the life of at least some murderers — such as torturer-murderers whose guilt is confirmed by DNA — just as much as pro-death penalty hearts do. But the minds of the anti-death penalty people have concluded that the death penalty should never be applied — even to mass murderers whose atrocities are beyond doubt — for reasons that go against their feelings.

These people say they have rationally thought the issue through and concluded, for example, that the state has no right to take the life of anyone not immediately threatening innocent life. But this is not rational thought; it is an emotional statement disguised as rational moral declaration. The state is simply acting on behalf of the murdered. When people say "the state has no right," they really mean no one has the right. On purely rational grounds, it is very difficult to justify allowing all murderers to keep their lives. By every accepted understanding of the word "justice," it is unjust to be allowed to keep your life when you have deliberately deprived an innocent person of his life.

The fourth explanation is similar hearts but differing values. Some people's value system holds that it is wrong to take anyone's life, even that of a person or an army threatening the lives of innocent people. This is known as pacifism, a value system that denies good and evil and that actually increases murder and unjust suffering in the world. Others' value systems maintain that it is moral to kill in self-defense or defense of another innocent person, but never otherwise, such as when a murderer has been subdued and no longer threatens innocent life.

I suspect that this belief that it is wrong to kill any murderer, even one who has mass murdered and tortured, is at bottom really a feeling — of revulsion at taking a human life. Pope John Paul II opposed capital punishment, and it is difficult, if not impossible, to separate the horrific mass killings he saw as a young man in World War II Poland from his opposition to capital punishment.

Nevertheless, whatever the ultimate source of opposition among some opponents of capital punishment, in the case of Gov. Corzine and many other abolitionists, their hearts are the ultimate source of their opposition to taking the life of any murderer. And in such cases, it remains fair to say that such hearts are indeed different from the hearts of those of us who feel equally strongly that keeping all murderers alive is a cosmic injustice, an insult to the murdered and an ongoing nightmare to those who loved the murdered.

JWR contributor Dennis Prager hosts a national daily radio show based in Los Angeles. He the author of, most recently, "Happiness is a Serious Problem". Click here to comment on this column.

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