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 Sept. 20, 2004 /5 Tishrei, 5764

Down but not out

By Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo

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On Rosh Hashanah Jews reach the zenith of spirituality. Realizing this, Judaism prepares them for what will inevitably come next

https://www.jewishworldreview.com | The Torah reading of the second day of Rosh Hashana is the well-known story of Akeidas Yitzchak (the offering of Isaac by Abraham). Many explanations have been given as to why this portion should be read on Rosh Hashana. There is, however, a problem.

We would expect that the reading on Rosh Hashana would end with the final part of this dramatic story: "And Abraham returned to his lads and they went together to Beer Sheva, and Abraham stayed in Beer Sheva" (Gen. 22:19). Instead, the reading continues with a most unusual and, for Rosh Hashana, "irrelevant" story:

"And it came to pass after these events that the information was given to Abraham saying: 'See, Milcah, she, too, has born children unto your brother, Nachor: Utz, his firstborn, and Buz, his brother, and Kemuel, the father of Aram. And Chesed and Hazo and Pildosh and Yidlap and Bethuel. And Bethuel begat Rebecca ... (Gen. 23:20-24).

These verses seem to be of little importance and are, therefore, a matter of concern to the commentators. The problem is compounded when we realize that the sages included these verses in the reading of Rosh Hashana. Why did they not decide to end the reading with the earlier mentioned verse telling us that Abraham returned, after the Akeida, to Beer Sheva (See Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch ad loc) or even earlier with G-d's blessing to Abraham after he successfully passed the test of the Akeida:

"And through your seed all the nations of the Earth will bless themselves, as a result of you having obeyed My voice" (22:18). which would have been a most appropriate way to end the Rosh Hashana reading, bearing in mind that this is a blessing for all mankind which is very much in the spirit of the Rosh Hashana prayers?

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Rabbi Joseph Ber Soloveitchik, z.l., of Boston is known to have commented that the sages may have included this story in the Rosh Hashana reading as a warning to all those who attend the synagogue prayers on the High Holidays. In his opinion, the inclusion of this portion is to draw attention to the fact that once the Akeida episode had come to an end "nothing had changed," and that commonplace life just continued as normal. An event such as the Akeida should have caused the world to shake on its foundations. It should have caused all those who heard about it to better their ways and start a new chapter, but nothing of this actually happened. Once back home, Abraham was not asked by his neighbors about this episode or how it affected his personality or what there was to be learned from such a shattering experience.

Instead, he was confronted with a world which was immune to religious experiences and had nothing to say other than that another few children were born, a world of religious irrelevance in which nothing else counted but the day to day family affairs. One of the greatest moments in man's history was as such completely trivialized into a spiritual nothingness.

This, Rabbi Soloveichick warns, is the danger that waits us all after Rosh Hashana. While we may be lifted up to the highest level of spiritual exaltation on the day itself, we are warned that "the day after" we may be back to our former lives without having changed an iota. Instead of asking ourselves and our fellowmen what Rosh Hashana did for us, many of us start to discuss the cantorial excellence (or failure) of the chazan (synagogue reader) or the ba'al tekia's (the one who blows the shofar) wonderful musical expertise or failure as a trumpeter. Similar expressions are common after Yom Kippur has ended. One question, possibly the most frequent, is, "Did you fast well?" If we would ask somebody to what extend he was affected by the Yom Kippur prayers, we would be seen as a iconoclast who has lost his religious balance.

We would however like to offer another approach, one that would emphasize the other side of the same coin. Perhaps the Torah reading on Rosh Hashana continues with the day to day affairs of Abraham family so as to inform us that after Abraham's Akeida experience (which took him to other worlds and transformed his personality in a most drastic way) Abraham did not lose the ground under his feet. He stayed a family man, dealing with the often petty things that life entails. He does not close himself up in a spiritual oasis, but participates in all human affairs. Neither does he become absentminded but stays alert to all matters human.

This also may be the message that we need to hear after an elevated Rosh Hashana experience. Even when we have been (hopefully) transformed by its holiness, we should not try to escape our daily duties and interests in our surroundings. The greatness of Abraham was that even after the experience of the Akeida his family was able to approach him and tell him that "Milcah (a distant relative) too has born children."

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JWR contributor Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo is a world-renowned lecturer and ambassador for Judaism, the Jewish people, the State of Israel and Sephardic Heritage. To comment, please click here.

© 2004, Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo