A Talk with Rabbi Heshy Kleinman
Author of Praying With Fire and Yearning With Fire
As I speak with Rabbi Heshy Kleinman, bestselling author of Praying with Fire and Praying with Fire 2 and the newly-released Yearning with Fire, I can tell that he is, indeed, a man on fire himself – blazing with passion for every single Jew, on fire to help Klal Yisrael. Here, he articulates his vision for helping bring the geulah closer.
ArtScroll: Praying With Fire changed the way tens of thousands of Jews daven. What are your goals for your new book, Yearning with Fire?
Rabbi Kleinman: Especially in our challenging, tenuos world the goal is to hasten the geulah. I began to think about it after the Merkaz HaRav massacre in March 2008. Everyone said, “Moshiach has to come.” Then came the Mumbai terror attack in November 2008. Again: “Moshiach has to come.” So what do we do, and how do we do it? What is going to galvanize us? B”H, we had so much success with tefillah; why can’t we accomplish it with the geulah? There are many things that each and every person can do to hasten geulah in a very practical way.
AS: Such as?
RK: Chazal tell us very clearly what we can do, how to hasten the redemption. In the book we explain the connection certain mitzvahs have to geulah, and give very specific, practical strategies to actualize them.
AS: All this, in five minutes a day?
RK: Yes, even while sitting at your dinner table–your soup won’t even get cold! Think about Praying with Fire, also a five-minute-a-day program. Over 130 shuls have taken part in the “Shul Tefillah Initiative” in twenty-seven different cities like Philadelphia, St. Louis, Phoenix, Toronto and, of course, Brooklyn and Lakewood. Five minutes a day! A world of difference!
AS: Your book talks about strengthening achdus in Klal Yisrael as one of the strategies to hasten geulah. Is that a reachable goal, given all the unfortunate strife among us?
RK: Absolutely! Of course! I’ll tell you how: ruchniyus has the power to do this. Torah is called a “shirah,” a song. A song is enhanced with harmony, many different notes melding together. There were different berachos given to the twelve shevatim, – that’s the mark of Klal Yisrael. We have to focus on our spiritual source; then we can achieve true unity. And we can do it!
A Talk with Rabbi Heshy Kleinman
Nachum Segal Interviews Leah Shifrin Averick About ‘In-Laws: It’s All Relative’ Written with Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski
Nachum Segal spoke with Leah Shifrin Averick, LCSW, a respected Social Worker and an expert on in-law relationships about the book ”In-Laws: It’s All Relative.” Leah co-authored this insightful work with Rabbi Dr. Abraham J. Twerski, M.D, and she had a fascinating conversation with Nachum about the book, including listener calls, and much more on The Nachum Segal show. Click here to listen.
“My Father’s Voice”: Rabbi Moshe Schwab talks about his illustrious father, Rabbi Shimon Schwab zt’l, and his newly released book Rav Schwab on Yeshayahu
Rabbi Moshe Schwab, eldest son of Rav Shimon Schwab zt’l, has adapted his father’s shiurim into the written word, bringing their wisdom and insight to tens of thousands of readers in Rav Schwab on Prayer, Rav Schwab on Iyov and the recently published Rav Schwab on Yeshayahu. Here are Rabbi Moshe Schwab’s memories of his illustrious father and his thoughts and insights on his books.
“My father zt’l taught his congregants almost all of Tanach in his Sunday morning series of shiurim during his 37 year tenure as Rav of K’Hal Adas Jeshurun of Washington Heights. Fortunately, most of these shiurim were audio-taped, so I had a treasure-trove of material from which to work. I selected Father’s shiurim on tefillah as the first to be adapted, in Rav Schwab on Prayer, because these were his last public shiurim and represented his final interpretation of the meaning of our tefillos.
“As my next project, I selected Father’s shiurim on Iyov because of its treatment of the classic dilemma of the suffering tzaddik, and my father’s highly insightful and unflinchingly human, yet emunah-based, treatment of it. He often talked about this problem. In the shiurim on Iyov, my father’s deep-seated, unshakeable faith in the truth of God’s judgment comes to the fore.
“Next, I selected Yeshayahu because of my father’s understanding of the timeless messages of this greatest of our Neviim Acharonim, and his interpretation of them as they relate to our times. Another reason I selected Yeshayahu was because in these shiurim my father wove his vast knowledge of Jewish and world history into the context of the prophecies of Yeshayahu, making them more readily understandable.
“As I listened to my father’s rich voice on the tapes, his voice rising or falling, emulating the Navi’s emotions as he alternated between powerful blasts of condemnation and touchingly beautiful promises of a blissful future for the Jewish people, I transferred these into a literary style which I believe my father would have used had he written his thoughts instead of articulating them in lectures. I chose style and language that were both easy to follow and true to the intent of my father. I wanted my father’s voice to come through, so that those who knew him and heard him could read the text and imagine hearing him speak the words that they were reading.”
Celebrated children’s author and ArtScroll’s director in Jerusalem describes:
1. the exciting fall forecast of new projects
2. how a manuscript becomes an ArtScroll book
Streaming audio – click HERE 12 min
Download MP3 – click HERE 12 min
Aish.com has featured a detailed review of Rabbi Zelig Pliskin’s new Conversations With Yourself. To read the review, click HERE.
To hear a short audio sample from Conversations With Yourself, click HERE.
Rabbi Pliskin has authored numerous motivating books to enhance and improve one’s quality of thought, speech, and action, including his latest: Taking Action: The joyful art of zerizus. To see a listing of all R’ Pliskin’s books from ArtScroll, click HERE. http://www.artscroll.com/Authors/Rabbi_Zelig_Pliskin.html
Rabbi Yakov Horowitz is the dean of Yeshiva Darchei Noam in Monsey and the director of the Agudath Israel’s Project Y.E.S. (Youth Educational Services). He recently published Living & Parenting: A Down-to-Earth Guide,his first book with ArtScroll Mesorah Publications, which features some of his best, most pragmatic solutions for helping all of today’s Jewish youth – mainstream and at-risk – maximize their potential. For over 25 years, he has specialized in reaching out to marginalized Jewish youth and assisting their parents in raising them effectively. His results have been significant and some former students have admitted “this rabbi saved my life”. He spoke to broadcaster Gavriel Aryeh Sanders in this exclusive first-person interview.
GS: Rabbi Horowitz, every book has a process of germination. What was yours for Living & Parenting?
RYH: It wasn’t so sophisticated, actually. I’ve published numerous articles over the years on the subjects of parenting, education and dealing with pre-risk/at-risk youth. I felt that presenting the most practical ones in a single volume would help parents raise their children more effectively.
GS: What’s the meaning behind the title of “Living & Parenting”?
RYH: Parenting is really a reflection of our own lives, as all-too-often, the challenges that we face with our children are really related to issues that we face as adults. I wanted to address the bigger picture and help parents, along with educators, improve their quality of life while equally helping them help their kids do the same.
This book is all about helping parents think outside the box and develop a multitude of approaches and solutions to child rearing. Using a tool analogy, if all you have is a hammer, then everything looks like a nail. My goal is to give students, parents, and teachers more tools to manage their lives better.
GS: You started out at 22 years old teaching a weaker class of eighth grade boys. Did you know what you were getting into?
RYH: Colleagues said I’d be pigeon-holing myself, that I’d never get a strong class. But the naiveté of my youth worked to my benefit. I believed I could do it. More importantly, I believed the kids themselves could rise to my level of expectation. It often took some individualized and unique approaches, but they were often effective with children who had never previously succeeded in school.
GS: How so?
RYH: Rabbi Abraham Twerski told me years ago that spiritual health is invariably linked to healthy self-esteem and conversely that spiritual deficiency was linked to weak self-esteem. Poorly performing students tend to have pretty low self-esteem; they don’t easily trust authority figures, either. I took the approach of empowering my students with incremental successes which affected their educational, social, and familial worlds. I remember one case where I inherited a new class. Nice kids but very passive; lots of quiet desperation in their lives. My first action was to take them outside for a spontaneous half-hour of baseball. That earned me the right to hold their attention on matters of learning.
GS: What is your approach to learning, especially Talmudic skills?
RYH: You said the right word. It’s skill-based. Many kids today are in “sink or swim” mode. They don’t have a solid foundation in the essentials of understanding language, which is the key to understanding thought and meaning! This applies to Gemara, Chumasheven the SiddurThe bright ones figure it out; the average ones lope along; and the rest sink into a malaise of despair, always running but never catching up until at some point, they start dropping out of the race. Adults may view it as defiance; I view it as exhaustion. I’ve worked hard to create systematic, consecutive, and success-based steps which have kids smiling to themselves. Early on in our learning, they sense that I believe they can do it. The tipping point occurs when they believe they can do it.
GS: How did you structure Living & Parenting?
RYH: Bnei Torah. Two chapters comprise a checklist to determine if sending your teen to learn in Israel is in their best interest. Three chapters are devoted to understanding and nurturing your child’s unique learning patterns. Eight chapters detail a methodology for constructive criticism. I discuss life skills, independent learning skills, dealing with kids who’ve lost a parent. I share my experiences of talking to kids who are angry, disenfranchised, confused, and sometimes just plain bored. I even have a chapter on kiruv (outreach) for our children.
GS: You mention mastery of the rudiments of Lashon Kodesh. Why?
RYH: Take the study of Chumashfor example. More than ninety percent of all words that appear in Chumash are variations of only 270 root words! There are 26 verbs and 38 nouns that appear in Chumash more than 500 times each! If we were to give children a proper rudimentary understanding of these, teaching them the shorashim (roots) and the shimushim (prefixes, suffixes, etc.) at the time they start to learn Chumashwe’d be giving them the educational training wheels they need to succeed. One cannot master Rashi’s commentary without this basic knowledge.
The same thinking applies to Gemara. Think about it. Once boys start learning Gemara, we remove the nekudos, introduce Aramaic, and dive into lengthy exchanges of logical interplay. A little time invested up front in the early learning stages can make all the difference when the student reaches the teen years. I believe it’s a significant component of academic self-esteem.
GS: How independent are your methods and views?
RYH: I’m certainly no maverick. My life, work, perspective, and values are based on the best of wise counsel – what we call DaasTorahThe first chapter in Living & Parenting explains what that is and why it’s so important. Perhaps what makes me a little different is that I’ve never become jaded by the job. I still do what I did back when I was 22 in that first eighth grade class – I see students not as they are, but rather as they can become.
GS: Hatzlacha rabbah with the book, the yeshiva, with Project Y.E.S. and with every student and family you help.
RYHThank you. Early feedback on the book has been very encouraging. What makes all the time put into the book worthwhile is when I get a note or email from a grateful parent informing me that they are finding child rearing easier now that they have more tools in the box.
View Table of Contents and Sample Pages from Living & Parenting here.
Order the book online here.
Visit Rabbi Horowitz’s website here.
Hear Rabbi Horowitz’s recent radio interview here.