Weekly Learning Download: Kol Dodi on the Haftaros

Every week, the Official ArtScroll Blog features a free learning download to enhance your shabbos and your learning. This week: Parashas Shekalim.

This shabbos we read Parashas Shekalim, the first of the four special Torah readings between now and Pesach. For our weekly learning download, we’ve chosen to present the Haftara for Parashas Shekalim, excerpted from a brand new title, Kol Dodi on the Haftaros, by Rabbi Dovid Feinstein

In this masterpiece, the Rosh Yeshivah introduces each Haftarah, explains its historical context where necessary, shows its relationship to the Parashah, and offers an enlightening commentary in his own unique, original manner. The reader marvels at the clarity and the depth of the insights. At the same time, the content is easily accessible to everyone, regardless of background. This volume will be welcomed wherever there is a thirst for knowledge. It adds an important new dimension to the Shabbos and Yom Tov Torah readings. And it is an unusual opportunity to be welcomed into the mind of one of the great men of our time and “join him” as he explores the teachings of the Nevi’im in the light of Chazal

Click here to view, download or print: Weekly Torah Download – Parashas Shekalim

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Click here for all titles by Rabbi David Feinstein

 

It’s Not As Tough As You Think: 15 Years of Inspiration

Fifteen years after its initial publication, Rabbi Dr. Abraham J. Twerski’s Classic It’s Not As Tough As You Think is as inspirational and relevant as ever. 

Arranged into short chapters, this iconic best-seller provides quick bursts of inspiration to help you tackle life’s challenges. It’s Not As Tough As You Think has lessons about perspective, relationships, attitude and more, making it ideal for anyone looking for motivation and encouragement in life’s journeys.

“Rabbi and psychiatrist Twerski draws upon his numerous years of counseling experience to offer advice and guidance on approaching the little and big annoyances of life with positive thinking. Interweaving biblical lessons, rabbinic teachings and psychotherapeutic coping techniques into 102 brief anecdotal meditations, Twerski teaches lessons on topics as diverse as how to “Avoid the Need for Regrets,” “Judge Favorably and Act Accordingly” and “Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil.” [...] Twerski’s sparkling wit and animated prose will touch the hearts and souls of his readers.” -Publishers Weekly

If you haven’t yet read this timeless classic, here’s a sample chapter to give you a taste of the wit and wisdom of Rabbi Dr. Twerski:

May You Have Many Worries

(Excerpted from It’s Not As Tough As You Think by Rabbi Dr. Abraham J. Twerski, published by ArtScroll Mesorah publications.)

Life is full of annoyances. You open your washing machine and discover that all your whites have a blue hue, because somehow a dark-blue sock was mixed in with the load. Or you rush downtown to take advantage of a spectacular sale, only to find that there are enormous bargains to be had — in every size but yours. Or you turn the key in the lock and it breaks off, and your husband, who has the other key, is away on a business trip. There are minor annoyances or major annoyances. Obviously you become irritated, but how much irritation is justifiable?

On one of my trips to Israel I visited a friend, and asked him to pray at the Western Wall for my brother, who was ill with cancer. As I was leaving, he said, “May you have many worries.”

I was taken aback by this remark. “What kind of blessing is that?” I asked.

My friend explained, “You see, it is impossible for there not to be any annoyances and irritations in life. Nothing ever goes completely smoothly . But if there is no single problem that is overwhelming, then we are bothered by a number of things that upset us. If there is one problem that is extremely grave, it obscures every other annoyance, and we are focused totally on that one major problem.

“Right now,” my friend continued, “you are so concerned about your brother’s illness, that nothing else bothers you. That is why having only one problem or one worry is not good, because it means that this one problem is terribly serious. If you have many worries, that means that nothing is so bad that it drives away all the rest, and that is about as good as life can be.”

So next time you are irritated — as, for example, it is late at night, say, 1 A.M., and your automobile alarm goes off, and you are simply beside yourself — just think. Aren’t there other things on your mind? Perhaps you just got the bill from the dentist for your son’s braces, or there was water in the basement from the heavy rains this week.  If you have any kind of normal life, you should be able to find a few other irritations. Then give thanks to God that you have many worries. God forbid you should have only one worry! The car alarm going off is not the end of the world by any means. It will shut off and resolve itself, just as the other worries — if there are many — will be resolved in one way or another.

Some psychologists may teach you how to relax by expelling an irritating thought from your mind. My friend suggests another method, one which is much easier to accomplish and at far lesser cost: Bring in a few more worries, and then feel relaxed precisely because you have so many.

Click here for book details, additional sample chapters, and exclusive online savings.

Click here for all titles by Rabbi Dr. Abraham J. Twerski.

Weekly Learning Download: Parashas Vayakhel

Every week, the Official ArtScroll Blog features a free learning download to enhance your shabbos and your learning.

This week’s free learning download is excerpted from Torah for Your Table, by Rabbi Yisroel Jungreis and Rabbi Osher Anshel Jungreis with Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis. This warm volume centers around the Shabbos table and invites the exchange of ideas and discussion.

Whether you are a newcomer to Torah thought or have dedicated many years to its study, Torah for Your Table will enhance the flavor of your every meal.

Make sure to visit the blog every Thursday for the week’s free learning download!

Click here to view or print the FREE Weekly Torah Download -Parashas Vayakhel

Click here for book details and exclusive online savings.

Click here to additional titles by Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis.

Crafting Jewish: Shalach Manot Hamantaschen

Thinking about Shalach Manot? Make these adorable fill-able hamantaschen for a fun and affordable packaging option!

Crafting Jewish by Rivky Koenig helps you prepare for the holidays with creative and inventive crafts geared at enhancing your celebration and giving kids – and adults! – a great time.

To help get you ready for Purim, we are sharing one of the Purim crafts in this book. These adorable hamantaschen are perfect for filling with candy and other treats. Some of the other purim crafts in Crafting Jewish include purim puppets, grand graggers, and lots of DIY costumes, masks and hats.

Hamantaschen Craft  The Official ArtScroll BlogShalach Manot Hamantaschen

What You Need:

dinner plate

1 (12″x18″) sheet of beige or brown craft foam

pencil

scissors

hamentashen, food, or candy

stapler

purple tissue paper or cellophane paper

6″-7″ plate, optional

How to do it:

1.  Place the plate on the craft foam and trace around the plate.

2.  Cut out the circle of craft foam. Place the hamantashen, food, or candy into the center of the circle.

3.  To make the hamantash’s triangular shape, lift up two sides of the circle and staple together on top, where the two sides meet. Lift up the remaining side and staple to each of the other sides (see photo).

4.  Cut out a square of tissue paper or cellophane slightly larger than the hamantash’s opening. Stuff the tissue paper or cellophane into the opening to cover the food.

Optional: Use a 6″-7″ plate as your template to make a smaller hamantash (see photo).

Estimated time: 10 minutes

Click here for exclusive online savings on Crafting Jewish.

Excerpted from Crafting Jewish by Rivky Koenig. Copyright ArtScroll/Mesorah Publications.

Weekly Torah Learning: Parshas Ki Sisa {Free Download}

This week’s free download on the parshah comes from a book celebrating a big milestone this month.

Tales of Tzaddikim is celebrating its 15 year anniversary this month!

This popular series is part of The ArtScroll Youth series. It teaches young adults (and grown-ups too!) about the parsha through stories from our sages and Torah leaders.

In celebration of its 15 year anniversary, we are featuring an excerpt from this Tales of Tzaddikim’s section on this week’s parshah for this week’s free learning download.

Click here to view or download our FREE weekly d’var Torah —->  Weekly Torah Learning – Ki Sisa

Enjoyed the excerpt? You’ll love the book:

Click here to purchase Tales of Tzaddikim – Shemos.

Click here for the entire series.

Introducing: Weekly Torah Learning on The ArtScroll Blog

Introducing a new project on the Official ArtScroll Blog: free weekly learning on the week’s parshah and other timely topics.

Join us every Tursday on the Official ArtScroll Blog for a free downloadable lesson on the parshah, excerpted from ArtScroll’s extensive library. Presented in a convenient PDF format, you can learn it now on your computer, or print it out to learn on shabbos.

This week’s lesson is excerpted from best-selling author Rabbi Yechiel Spero’s popular Touched by the ParashahThe series is split into Volume I - Bereishis and Shemos, and Volume II - Vayikra, Bamidbar, and Devorim.

Click here for our FREE weekly D’var Torah download: Weekly Learning on the ArtScroll Blog – Parshas Tetzaveh

If you enjoyed the excerpt, you’ll love the book:

Click here for exclusive online savings on Touched by the Parashah, Volume I

Click here for exclusive online savings on Touched by the Parashah, Volume II

Kids Cooking Made Easy + Sample Recipes

Your kids will never be bored – or hungry! – again! Introducing Kids Cooking Made Easy – the latest in the popular Made Easy Cookbook series from the dynamic duo of Leah Schapira and Victoria Dwek.

Aimed at teaching children how to cook, the book is chock full of recipes that your kids will love – whether you cook it for them, or your kids cook it themselves! Kids Cooking Made Easy features 60 brand new recipes, each with a beautiful color photo, suggestions, and helpful tips. The innovative page layout of this book ensures that with each page, your children will become better cooks.

sample pages - Kids Cooking Made Easy

(Click here for larger images.)

To get you started, we are sharing two delicious recipes from Kids Cooking Made Easy. First, an easy weeknight supper that kids of all ages (and their parents too!) will enjoy.

bbq nuggets chicken nuggets - Kids Cooking Made Easy

Honey BBQ Chicken Nuggets:

Excerpted from Kids Cooking Made Easy, By Leah Schapira and Victoria Dwek. Published by Artscroll.

Yields: 4-6 servings

1½ lb    chicken cutlets, cut into nuggets

2 Tbsp    oil

6 Tbsp    honey

6 Tbsp    ketchup

1 tsp    yellow mustard

½ tsp    chili powder (optional)

1½-2 cups  panko crumbs

1. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.

2. In a small bowl, combine oil, honey, ketchup, mustard, and chili powder (optional). Use a spoon to stir the mixture until smooth. Pour half the sauce into a separate bowl to use as the dipping sauce; set aside.

3. Place panko crumbs into another bowl.

4. Dip chicken nuggets into the honey mixture and coat completely. Then, press into panko crumbs until chicken is fully coated on all sides.

5. Place chicken on prepared baking sheet. Spray the top of the nuggets with nonstick cooking spray. Bake for 25 minutes. For extra-crispy nuggets, turn the chicken halfway through the cooking time, baking for 12-13 minutes per side.

6. Serve with dipping sauce that you set aside in step 2.

Next, every kid’s favorite food – now in soup form!

pizza soup - Kids Cooking Made EasyPizza Soup:

Excerpted from Kids Cooking Made Easy, By Leah Schapira and Victoria Dwek. Published by Artscroll.

Yield: 4-6 servings

2 Tbsp   oil or butter

1   small onion, diced

1   garlic clove, minced

1   (28-oz) can crushed tomatoes

1 tsp   sugar

1 tsp   salt

1 tsp   dried basil

1 tsp   garlic powder

2 cups   milk

¼ cup   water

½ cup   shredded cheese, plus more for garnish, optional

  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Using a wooden spoon, sauté until onion is soft, 5-7 minutes.
  2. Add crushed tomatoes and cook for 8-10 minutes. Add sugar, salt, basil, garlic powder, milk, and water and stir to combine. Cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  3. Add cheese. Stir until cheese is melted. Ladle soup into bowls to serve.
  4. Garnish with additional shredded cheese (optional).­­

Click here for book details, additional sample pages, and exclusive online savings.

Click here for other books in the Made Easy cookbook series.

NEW Release: My Father, My Mother and Me by Yehudis Samet + Story Excerpt

After learning about the important Mitzvah of Kibud Av V’eim, honoring one’s parents, throughout our school years, we all grow up. As we get older and start our own families, our parents grow older too, and this mitzvah changes drastically from the one we learned about in school.

Many adults struggle with this mitzvah, as life’s changes bring along questions in dealing with elderly parents, parents-in-law and stepparents. Rebbetzin Yehudis Samet, best selling author of The Other Side of the Story, set out to clarify these questions, first in lectures all over the world, and now in this groundbreaking book: My Father, My Mother, and MeThe book features over 200 true stories of devotion, challenges, and success in this important commandment. It also features halacha, practical advice, and other inspiration.

We’ve chosen a sample story to share with you. It’s an inspirational tale of how a woman fully devoted 24 hours to her elderly mother, thus saving her endless pain and suffering – not to mention fear.

Excerpted from My Father, My Mother, and Me:

Dr. Glendall’s expression was impassive. “We’ll just have to open it up again and hope it heals correctly this time.” My mother squeezed my hand as he told a nurse, “Get Mrs. Ellis settled in pre-op.”

“But there are no beds, doctor. We’re full right now. Overfull, in fact. There won’t be an opening till,” she flipped through some papers, “tomorrow afternoon, at two-thirty.”

“Fine. It can wait till then.” The doctor turned back to my mother. “We’ll see you tomorrow afternoon, Mrs. Ellis. Arrive an hour early for admission.” As he swung around to leave the room, I slipped my hand out of my mother’s and raced after him.

“Dr. Glendall, isn’t there anything that can be done to avoid surgery?”

He shook his head as he hurried down the hall. “If a scar heals from the outside in, it must be reopened. Right now, toxic pus is seeping into your mother’s body, filling her with infection. It has to be let out.”

“But is there any way to do that without operating?”

We’d arrived at the elevators. He turned to face me. I guess he was evaluating the type of explanation an 18-year-old required. “Once a scar heals, only surgery can open it,” he said and then added, “Maybe if it was soaked in hot water for twenty-four hours it would open — but that’s, of course, not feasible.”

The elevator arrived and he stepped inside. “Surgery is the only option,” he told me as the doors closed. I quickly turned and raced back to the room where my mother sat waiting.

“What happened?” she asked, her face drawn from pain and fear.

“I just wanted to ask him if there was any other option. And, baruch Hashem, there’s hope,” I told her.

Dr. Glendall may have brushed off the soaking option, but I wasn’t going to let my mother go into another surgery without doing everything I could to prevent it. Not after everything she had been through. And definitely not given how much she feared going under the knife.She has good reason for her fears, I mused as we rode back to the small apartment in Queens she’d moved into after my father’s death. The past decade had been one long trauma of surgical errors and surgeries to fix those errors. Each time my mother entered the hospital, she was paralyzed with fear.

When we arrived home, I set to work. “Come lay on your bed, Mommy, where you’ll be comfortable,” I said, helping her into her room. I raced to the kitchen to prepare some boiling water. Then I gathered towels and set myself up at my mother’s side.The afternoon faded into the night, a long, blurry stretch of constant motion.

Soaking the wound was tedious work. I would take each towel from the pot of hot water, squeeze it out, wait till it had cooled a little before laying it carefully on my mother. Then I would place another towel in the pot so it would be ready when I needed it, and turn back to the current compress, running to the kitchen every now and then to heat more water.

With every compress, I davened that Hashem bless my efforts with success. Dip, squeeze, soak…dip, squeeze, soak, run and make food for Mommy…dip, squeeze, soak, boil more water…dip, squeeze, soak, Mommy’s thirsty, bring a drink of water…dip,squeeze, soak…

Fatigue was not long in coming. My back ached from bending over to hold the compresses in position and keep watch on the temperature, the muscles in my arms screamed in protest as I carried yet another pot heavy with hot water, and my eyelids drooped, begging for sleep. But I pushed myself to keep going.

And I didn’t stop, not when the first pastels of dawn appeared across the sky, not when the sounds of honking cars and city bustle flitted in through the window — I couldn’t stop, I wouldn’t stop, I would do everything I could to spare my mother from this dreaded surgery.

And finally, just as afternoon began, the scar opened. I wept as the wound began to drain.

“It worked, Mommy!” I cried. “It opened!”

My mother struggled to sit up, and we embraced, our tears mingling — tears of relief and gratitude that she would not need another operation, topped by my gratitude to the One Above Who helped me give my mother twenty-four hours of non-stop care, commitment, and love.

Click here for book details, more sample pages, and exclusive online savings.

Click here for all books by Yehudis Samet.

Motivating Force (Book Excerpt)

 In Living Life to its Fullest, Mr. Shulman, a popular speaker, author and life coach, offers us short, insightful and readable vignettes, each designed to provoke conversation and thought. Below is an excerpt about lessons in life’s motivations.

Motivating Force: 

Excerpted from Living Life to its Fullest by Avi Shulman

Ask a group of employers, “How do you motivate your employees?” and before you can finish your question you’ll hear almost all respond, “More money!”

Of course, if a family doesn’t have money to pay for essentials — food, rent, clothing, etc. — paying employees more money will surely motivate them in the short run.

But our question goes beyond the essentials. How do you keep an employee happy, working to his or her full capacity, and remaining in your company? And when we find the answer to this question, can we apply the same findings to motivating students and family members?

Every year a noted management-consulting firm conducts a survey of 200 companies on what motivates their staff. Managers and supervisors are given a list of 10 possible things that most motivated their employees. Here is the list in no particular order:

Job security; good wages; promotion opportunities; appreciation; good working conditions; loyalty from management; feeling “in” on things; understanding attitude; tactful discipline; interesting work.

In almost every response the supervisors thought that what matters most to the employees are the following, in order of importance:

  • Good wages
  • Job security
  • Promotion opportunities
  • Good working conditions
  • Interesting work
  • Loyalty from management
  • Tactful discipline
  • Appreciation
  • Understanding attitude
  • Feeling “in” on things

In almost every case, here is how the employees ranked what was really important to them:

  • Appreciation
  • Feeling “in” on things
  • Understanding attitude
  • Job security
  • Good wages
  • Interesting work
  • Promotion opportunities
  • Loyalty from management
  • Good work conditions
  • Tactful discipline

There are two interesting lessons to be learned from this study.

1. The three top motivators from the employee’s perspective — appreciation, feeling “in” on things, and understanding attitude — do not cost anything in terms of money, just a few moments of time, respect, and understanding.

2. Most of us see things only from our own perspective. You would think that supervisors and managers who work so closely with employees would know what motivates employees… but the truth is, they don’t know.

The lesson here is to realize that just because we know someone well or work with them does not mean we know what motivates them. Considerable thought, investigation, and discussion are necessary to learn what really motivates someone.

Click here for book details and exclusive online savings.

Click here for more books by Avi Shulman.

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Starters and Sides Made Easy + Sample Recipes

“Step aside Main Dishes! The spotlight is now on Starters and Sides with this hot new cookbook from Leah Schapira and Victoria Dwek!”

The second book in the Made Easy Cookbook series is all about making your meal planning easy! With 60 new and exciting recipes for every meal, ranging from everyday suppers to special occasions, this book will banish your mealtime boredom.

We’re sharing two sample recipes from the book. Enjoy them, then head over to our Pinterest board for reviews and additional recipes!

coleslaw bites on Artscroll Blog

Coleslaw Balls with Jalapeño Dip

Excerpted from Starters and Sides Made Easy, by Leah Schapira and Victoria Dwek, published by ArtScroll

Yields: 20-30 balls

16 oz coleslaw mix

1½ tsp   salt

3   garlic cloves, minced

½ tsp   coarse black pepper

¼ cup   flour

3 Tbsp   cornstarch

•   oil, for frying

Jalapeño Dip

¾ cup   mayonnaise

2   scallions, chopped

1   jalapeño pepper, seeds and ribs removed, chopped

2 Tbsp   water

1 Tbsp   lemon juice

½ tsp   salt

•   pinch coarse black pepper

•   pinch sugar

1. Place cabbage into a large colander. Sprinkle with salt and let sit 15 minutes. Using both hands, squeeze cabbage very well to remove the excess water (it won’t look watery to the eye, but plenty of liquid will come out when you squeeze).

2. In a large bowl, combine cabbage, garlic, pepper, flour, and cornstarch. Mix until mixture becomes dough-like. Using a tablespoon and damp hands, form into falafel-sized balls.

3. Heat 2-3 inches oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Fry balls in hot oil until golden on all sides, 4-5 minutes total.

4. Prepare the jalapeño dip: In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, scallions, jalapeño pepper, water, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and sugar. Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth. Serve alongside coleslaw balls.

onion rings on Artscroll Blog

Crispy Crunchy Onion Rings

Excerpted from Starters and Sides Made Easy, by Leah Schapira and Victoria Dwek, published by ArtScroll

Yields: 16-18

           2   medium onions (or 1 large sweet onion)

½ cup   cornstarch

¼ cup   flour

½ tsp   paprika

1 tsp   garlic powder

1½ tsp   salt

•   pinch coarse black pepper

½ cup   water

1½ cups   panko crumbs

•   oil, for frying

  1.  Peel and slice onions into ½-inch rounds. Separate the rings. If your onions have very thin layers, keep two rings together. You don’t want your onion rings to be limp.
  2. In a shallow bowl, combine cornstarch, flour, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Stir in water to form a thick paste (resist the temptation to add more water).
  3. Place the panko crumbs into a second shallow bowl.
  4. Add an onion ring to the batter and use a spoon to help coat. Dip onion ring in the panko crumbs and use a spoon to help coat completely.
  5. Heat 2 inches of oil in a saucepan. When oil is hot, add onion rings and fry for 2-3 minutes. You do not need to flip the rings. Drain on paper towels and serve hot.

Click here for book details and exclusive online savings.

Click here for other books in the Made Easy Cookbook Series.