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 Dec 29, 2004 / 17 Teves, 5765

Why is the Divine waiting to hear from you?

By Rabbi David Aaron

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Rabbi David Aaron's recent piece, "Jews Don't Pray" generated much controversy. In retrospect, the title was confusing. There is no question that Judaism has always held that not only does G-d listen to our prayers, but that asking G-d for the things important to us  —  is a mitzvah (religious duty).

Rabbi Aaron is a talented author who has exposed countless people to the genuine spiritual insights of Jewish tradition. His piece was part of a longer essay that should have been published at one time. Here is the bigger picture.

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | My last article hit a nerve. I was inundated with feedback from "This is the most inspirational piece I have read. I am going to buy all your books" to "May the earth swallow you up." Please forgive me if my words were unclear and caused confusion. Please let me clarify.

I surely do not believe that l'hispallel means to meditate and talk to yourself as if you could ever make things happen for your self without G-d. Of course, I believe that G-d listens to our prayers and answers but we are not trying to change G-d's mind we are trying to change ourselves.

If you pray in order to change G-d's mind, then, please for G-d's sake, don't pray. We don't want to change G-d's mind. And thank G-d we can't change G-d's mind because G-d has made up His mind long time ago. G-d only and always loves us and seeks to give us the greatest good. As Psalmist praised, "His compassion (unconditional love) is upon all His creatures."

Of course, G-d hears our prayers and answers but He is waiting for us to hear our prayers and mean them. Prayer is not passive, it is proactive. Through prayer we must inspire ourselves to take action and make changes within ourselves, our community and the world. When we change ourselves for the good we let G-d's never-changing love for us and His abundant blessings become manifest in our lives. The more we praise G-d and acknowledge that He is the source of all blessings and truly want those blessings in our lives the more G-d's blessings flow into our lives.

Judaism describes G-d, metaphorically, as desiring our prayers. In the Book of Genesis (2:5) we discover why. It relates how G-d had yet to bring rain for the vegetation to grow because there was no man to work the field. As the Midrash explains, there was no human being to recognize the goodness of rain and thus to pray for it. In other words, in order for G-d to bring rain, G-d wanted a human being to want the rain.

Examining this concept, the oral tradition describes that an arousal from below precipitates an arousal from above. G-d does not pour His blessings upon us until we arouse ourselves to want to receive those blessings. The same holds true for human relationships: If I give you something that you do not want, you will not enjoy it. Yet the more you want something, the sweeter and more pleasurable it is.

Imagine you want to surprise your friend with a gourmet dinner, so you tell him to come over at 7:00. He thinks, "Hmm, 7:00, that's dinnertime. But I guess he wants to speak to me about something important." On his way over, he thinks that to really be able to focus on what you want to talk about he will need to eat something. He stops off on his way to eat a hamburger and some fries, so he will not be hungry. When he gets to your house, you yell, "Surprise!" and point to the incredible gourmet meal in the dining room. What will your friend do? He will eat the meal so as not to hurt your feelings, but he will not enjoy it because he is not hungry. In the same way, G-d does not give us something unless we truly want it. In fact, G-d orchestrates our life so that we will thirst for His blessings. And, does it ever taste good when we get it because we are so ready for it.

The difficulties in our lives happen because G-d is challenging our will and guiding us to clarify what we want. In essence, G-d is nurturing our will. Everyday, G-d is steering us to want what He wants to give us so that we are ready for and deeply interested in receiving His blessings. G-d is building our will so that we will have a big enough vessel to receive what He has been waiting and wanting to give us.

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The story of the Matriarchs is an excellent example of this concept. Sarah, Rebecca and Rachel had problems with fertility and therefore prayed intensely for children. Giving birth to a child is one thing, but giving birth to leaders of a nation requires a refined, expanded will. Therefore, all the waiting, yearning, and praying prepared them for bringing great souls into the world — the progenitors of the Jewish nation.

The Matriarchs could not have wanted children simply because their friends had children. They had to clarify why they really wanted children because the children that G-d was ready to give them were so historically significant that they had to have the proper will to receive them. We must constantly ask ourselves, how much do we really want what we ask for, why do we want it, and how ready are we to receive it?

Prayer is an act of personal transformation. G-d wants us to make His will our will; want what He wants to give us. Until we want the abundant blessings that G-d wants to give us, G-d will not give them to us. And He is waiting patiently because it seems that too many of us just want mansions, big jobs, and fancy cars. He has so much more He wants to give us but we need to first want it so that we will take full pleasure in His blessings.

We need to clarify our will daily and become receptive to G-d's blessings. A great example of this process is the story of the Wizard of Oz. Dorothy does not appreciate home. All of a sudden, she is thrown far from her home — exiled — only to realize that there is no place like home. The only one who can get her home, she learns, is the Wizard of Oz, who lives at the end of the yellow brick road. Along her travels, she finds friends who all need something from the Wizard because he, they believe, can give them everything they want.

Like in every good story, there is the antagonist — the wicked witch — who challenges and frustrates Dorothy every step of the way. But in the process the witch gives Dorothy the opportunity to determine how much she really wants to go home, and what she is willing to do to get there. Finally, Dorothy gets to the Wizard, who has a balloon that can take her home. She is so excited. But something goes wrong and the Wizard's balloon takes off without Dorothy.

At this point, Glinda — the savior — shows up. Dorothy is crying her eyes out and Glinda is smiling sweetly. Glinda says to Dorothy, "No problem. All you have to do is click your heels three times and say, 'There's no place like home.'"

As a kid, I got very upset at this point. If I were Dorothy, I would have turned to Glinda and said, "Where have you been all this time? Couldn't you have come a little earlier, like before the flying monkeys? Do you know how much money I will have to spend on therapy to get those monkeys out of my head?"

I later realized that Glinda could not have shown up until Dorothy was ready to say wholeheartedly that there was no place like home. She had to clarify what she wanted and what really mattered.

And sometimes, if we are not ready for what we want — and for what we should want — G-d lovingly sends us challenges until it becomes clear.

In summary, prayer is not about changing G-d's mind. G-d's mind is steadfast. He only and always loves us and wants to shower us with His blessings. Prayer is about changing our selves. Prayer is about attuning our will to G-d's will and making our selves receptive to receive G-d's loving presence and blessings into our lives. G-d is waiting to hear from us and invite Him into our lives.

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JWR contributor Rabbi David Aaron is the founder and dean of Isralight, an international organization with programming in Israel, New York South Florida, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Toronto. He has taught and inspired thousands of Jews who are seeking meaning in their lives and a positive connection to their Jewish roots.

He is the author of the newly released, The Secret Life of G-d, and also the author of Endless Light, Seeing G-d and Love is my religion. (Click on link to purchase books. Sales help fund JWR.) He lives in the old City of Jerusalem with his wife and their seven children.

© 2004, Rabbi David Aaron