Readers Write: Maran Harav Ovadia

Review by Chedva Haber of Jewish Joy Reading:

When I first saw that the biography of Maran HaRav Ovadia had been published, I thought, “Nah, this book isn’t relevant to me. He was Sephardi, I’m Ashkenzi. Nothing doing.” But I decided to give it a chance anyway and, whoa, am I happy I did! You can read my full review of Maran HaRav Ovadia on my blog.

Rabbi Heimowitz did an amazing job gathering information on many aspects of HaRav Ovadia’s life. The quotes from friends and family throughout the book gave me a feeling of closeness to HaRav Ovadia. I especially enjoyed reading how HaRav Ovadia related to his grandchildren. Although he was involved in the klal and constantly learning on his own, HaRav Ovadia still made time to sign his grandchildren’s report cards and make sure they were advancing properly. In one case, a grandson was behind in his studies, and HaRav Ovadia arranged for a tutor and also reviewed the material himself with the child.

To get back to the personal relevance, I was awed by the stories of hasmada, highlighting how much a person can push himself and be able to accomplish. HaRav Ovadia lived through many hard times, going from living without plumbing in Egypt to living in Israel during wartime. HaRav Ovadia served as a Rav to many, becoming a dayan and then the Rishon L’Tzion, Chief Rabbi of the Sephardic community in Israel. After that, he became involved in the political party Shas. Being involved, the book explains, meant that he accomplished everything required in only 10 minutes a day, devoting the rest of his time to Torah study.

Sometimes the book read like a thriller, as one very exciting story began in Egypt, but then followed the Ovadias to Eretz Yisrael. It started when HaRav Ovadia was delving into the shechita (or, rather, lack of it) situation in Egypt. To avoid financial loss, many butchers had been taking shortcuts, which is 100 percent forbidden by Torah law. HaRav Ovadia made it very clear that proper shechita is not something the Jewish nation compromises on. Well, not everyone took that so easily, to say the least. One such shochet would not leave his profession, no matter how many warnings he was given. On several occasions, he even tried to have HaRav Ovadia killed so that the shochet could continue to selling non-kosher meat In the 1950’s, when the Ovadias were already living in Petach Tikva, this same man’s name came up as being a practicing shochet in Mevaseret Yerushalayim. It didn’t take long before this evil man learned that HaRav Ovadia was once again foiling his plans, and he threatened HaRav Ovadia, who was compelled to call the police to investigate. Much later, Rav Yaakov Ovadia, HaRav’s oldest son, read that the man had been murdered by a fellow criminal. The part of the story that most impressed me was HaRav’s determination and dedication to the Torah even when his very life was at stake.

Maran HaRav Ovadia is well over 500 pages, but by the end, it is clear that the life of a gadol can hardly be described in such a short piece. This is a book that I highly recommend for each Jewish household. It’s something that can be read a chapter or so at a time and enjoyed at each reading.

Click here to purchase a copy of Maran Harav Ovadia

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Weekly Download: Shabbos Stories

Everyone loves a good story, right? ssth

Rabbi Shimon Finkelman, master teacher, best-selling author and master-storyteller’s best-seller, Shabbos Stories shares an inspirational story for you to enjoy every week, share with your family, and discuss at the shabbos table. Conveniently arranged by the weekly parashah, Shabbos Stories will be enjoyed week after week and year after year.

 

Click here to view, print or download the chapter on Parashas Eikev from Shabbos Stories.

Click here for exclusive online savings on Shabbos Stories.

Click here for all titles by Rabbi Shimon Finkleman.

Click here for the Weekly Torah Download Series on The Official ArtScroll Blog.

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9 Days Recipes from Dairy Made Easy

Stumped by dairy menu planning for the 9 days? Dairy Made Easy is here to help.

During the nine days of mourning prior to the fast day of Tishah B’Av, it is traditional to abstain from eating meat and chicken. It can be a challenge to cook vegetarian for over a week, but with Dairy Made Easy, this task is easier than you think!

Dairy Made Easy by Leah Schapira and Victoria Dwek showcases over 60 dairy recipes, from breakfast favorites like cheese pancakes to suppertime classics like pizza and pasta. Here’s an easy and family friendly recipe to put on your menu: Creamy Cajun Penne. Click here for more dairy recipes from the Made Easy cookbook series.

 

Cajun Creamy Penne

Recipe from Dairy Made Easy by Leah Schapira and Victoria Dwek. Reproduced with permission from the copyright holders: ArtScroll/Mesorah Publications LTD.

4 servings creamy-cajun-penne

Ingredients:

¾ lb   penne

2 Tbsp   butter

2   plum tomatoes, diced

¼ tsp   paprika

¼ tsp   chili powder

½ tsp   cayenne pepper

½ tsp   garlic powder

2   scallions, diced

1¾ cups   heavy cream

½ tsp   kosher salt

¼ tsp   coarse black pepper

 Instructions: 

  1. Prepare pasta according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the sauce: Melt butter in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add tomatoes and sauté over high heat for 4-5 minutes. Add paprika, chili powder, cayenne pepper, and garlic powder. Add scallions and heavy cream; cook an additional 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add pasta to cream, a little at a time, and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper.

Click here to purchase Dairy Made Easy

Click here for the Made Easy Series

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Free Download: Learn the Laws of The Three Weeks and Tishah B’av

Practical. Comprehensive. Vitally important.

With the 9 days starting at the beginning of next week, and Tishha B’av following, it’s important to make sure you’re familiar with the practical laws and halachahs associated with this mournful time of year.

Rabbi Simcha Bunim Cohen, author of Laws of Daily Living: The Three Weeks and Tishah B’av told ArtScroll that the shailos that he commonly gets around this time of year are practical questions that we all encounter. For example:

My favorite store is running a sale, am I allowed to shop now?

I ran out of clean towels. Can I wash some?

Can I have my contractor continue the renovations on my bungalow, or should we wait until after Tishah B’av?

My children are constantly getting their clothes dirty. Can I wash their clothes during the nine days?

What should I do about taking showers during the nine days?

May I water my garden plants to keep them healthy?

In Laws of Daily Living: The Three Weeks and Tishah B’avRabbi Simcha Bunim Cohen answers these questions, along with all of the halachic queries you might have, from the simple to the most complex, This week’s download offers a selection from the laws pertaining to the 9 days preceding Tishah B’av.

We all hope that this Tishah B’av won’t be a day of mourning. But in case it is, it’s important to be prepared by learning the laws:

Click here to view, print and Download – Laws of Daily Living: Three Weeks and Tishah B’av

Click here to purchase Laws of Daily Living: The Three Weeks and Tishah B’av

Click here for all books related to Tishah B’av.

Make sure to come back to The Official ArtScroll Blog every Thursday for a free download on the parashah or other timely topics!

Weekly Download: Yearning With Fire

On Tuesday we fasted for Shivah Assar B’Tammuz, marking the beginning of saddest weeks of the Jewish calendar. During the three weeks, and leading up to Tisha B’av, we mourn the destruction of Jerusalem and the Bais  Hamikdash, the holy Temple, and our current exile in galus.

Our sages teach us the importance of feeling a deep longing for for mashiach and the days of redemption. But achieving that seep inner longing is much easier said than done. How does one go about feeling that burning desire in the depths of their heart? How does one really learn to feel that yearning?

The answers lie within Yearning With Fire by Rabbi Heshy Kleinman, author of the best-selling and revolutionary Praying With Fire books.The deep insights and inspirational messages surrounding this important topic are broken down into daily learning segments. In just five minutes each day, you can change your outlook on life, and approach this Tisha B’av with the proper thoughts and feelings about galus and geulah.

To help you prepare for the nine days and tisha b’av, we’re offering you a sampler download of Yearning With Fire. Download it. Print it. Learn it. Be inspired! And of course, please tell your friends about this valuable resource available from ArtScroll: every Thursday we offer an inspirational Torah download, related to the weekly parasha or other timely topics.

Click here to download a sample chapter of Yearning with Fire

 

Finding a Path in Darkness: The Three Weeks

Mourning came early this year.

The Three Weeks are approaching and as I write this column and our brethren in many parts of Eretz Yisrael are in bomb shelters, missiles are raining down from Gaza, sirens are going off. The shivah for the three kidnapped boys, Hy’d, has just finished and r’l six Jewish boys are in custody for confessing to the murder of an Arab youth.

Now, more than ever, we need the Torah to help us find a path in the darkness; to guide us to the meaning in our mourning. And when a Jew needs to find that path – he turns to halachah.

For tens of thousands of readers, Rabbi Simcha Bunim Cohen‘s books of halachah, Jewish law, are synonymous with extraordinary clarity.Laws-of-the-Three-Weeks

In The Laws of Daily Living: The Three Weeks, Tisha B’Av, and Other Fasts Rabbi Cohen examines the laws of all the fast days (with the exception of Yom Kippur), the restrictions of the Three Weeks, the heightened sense of loss that builds up as we approach the Nine Days, and the climactic mourning of the Tishah B’Av fast.

The book is enriched and deepened by a discussion of the historical background of the momentous events that led to the Temple’s destruction, based on the teachings of the author’s grandfather, the renowned Rabbi Avigdor Miller zt’l. This adds a new and important dimension to the way we mark this period. Rabbi Miller’s thought provides a moving and profound discussion of the Beis HaMikdash, its role in our lives, and the all-consuming loss that the Jewish People suffered with its destruction.

Those who truly mourn the loss of the Temple, say our Sages, are destined to rejoice in its rebuilding. As we study and learn to properly follow the laws of these sad weeks, we bring that long-awaited moment ever closer.

Yes, mourning came early this year. As we mark the Three Weeks, Nine Days, and Tisha B’Av, we pray that in the merit of our mourning, geulah will come early as well.

Click here to purchase The Laws of Daily Living: The Three Weeks, Tisha B’Av, and Other Fasts

Free Download: Pirkei Avos Teachings for Our Times

wavlThere’s something special about shabbos in the summer. The long afternoons afford us all time to nap, socialize, and we still have time to learn. Custom has us learning a chapter of Pirkei Avos, Ethics of our Fathers, every week. Over the course of our many years of publishing, ArtScroll has put forth a large number of seforim on Pirkei Avos.

Pirkei Avos: Teachings for Our Time by Rabbi Berel Wein is a masterpiece. Its large size makes it an excellent and impressive gift, but it’s the masterful content that really makes this book stand out. With a focus on the text of Pirkei Avos (which is printed on the top of each page for your learning convenience), noted lecturer and author Rabbi Berel Wein provides a unique learning experience through innovative commentary and insightful stories. This week’s chapter is Perek Vav, chapter 6, and we’re giving you a chance to experience this sefer with our free weekly download.

 

Click here to view, print or download a sample chapter of Pirkei Avos: Teachings for Our Times

They Won’t Be Bored This Summer: Kids Cooking Made Easy + Giveaway!

Scroll down to the end of the post for instructions on entering a giveaway for a free copy of Kids Cooking Made Easy!

This summer, keep your kids busy in an educational and fun way: introduce them to the kitchen!

kcmep

My mother always said that hungry children are cranky children. Bored, hungry, cranky…these are the less exciting aspects of having children on vacation for three months. But we have a solution: introduce the kids to the joys of cooking with Kids Cooking Made Easy!

There’s a great educational aspect to cooking and following a recipe. As explained by the authors, Leah Schapira and Victoria Dwek. “Kids Cooking Made Easy is a picky eater solution,” says Victoria Dwek. “Kids either become more open-minded when they see how something is prepared, or they learn to prepare their own favorites.” Aside from kitchen skills, learning to cook has hidden educational benefits. As Leah Schapira points out, “Children learn about math and fractions when following a recipe.” They also learn to read and follow instructions – all while having a good time!

Chock full of exciting summer recipes such as Teriyaki Beef Sticks, Peach and Mango Salad and Creamsicle Sorbet and fun crafts and edible activities such as Edible Sand Art and Homemade Button Candy, this book will be a delight for your children and a lifesaver (or at least sanity saver!) for you.

Click here to purchase Kids Cooking Made Easy.

Here’s a sample recipe for you and your kids to enjoy. Make sure to scroll past the recipe for a chance to win a copy of Kids Cooking Made Easy!

Teriyaki-Beef-Sticks

 

Click image to enlarge, or  click here to download a printable version of Teriyaki Beef Sticks

To enter the giveaway for a copy of Kids Cooking Made Easy:

Comment on this post telling us: What is the first dish you remember cooking? 

**Giveaway ends on Friday, July 11th at 11:00 am eastern time. Winner will receive one copy of Kids Cooking Made Easy. Prize can be shipped within the USA. Winner will be notified via email. Valid email address must be provided to claim prize. Limit one entry per person. 

Free Download: Effective Living

elihRabbi Abraham J. Twerski is back with another insightful and inspirational book: Effective Living. Culled from his decades of experience as a renowned rabbi, a noted psychiatrist, and a best-selling author, Rabbi Twerski is here to teach us two very important facts: Change is hard. And change is possible.

This book will show you how it’s done. Learn to be more effective in your life, your relationships, and your Judaism.

For this week’s weekly Torah download, we are offering two sample chapters from Effective Living on the subject of Prayer. Download it, read it, be inspired, share it.

Click here for your free Download – Effective Living

Click here to purchase Effective Living

If you enjoy this series, please spread the word! Let your friends know that each week we offer a download on the Parashah and other relevant Torah topics on The Official ArtScroll Blog!

Please note: To serve you better, the ArtScroll.com website will be temporarily closed for system upgrade from Thursday July 3rd at 5:00 pm through Monday July 7th at 11:00 am. We regret any inconvenience this may cause. Orders can be faxed to 718-680-1875.

 

Free Weekly Download: 48 by Rabbi Nachman Seltzer

Rabbi Nachman Seltzer is renowned for his captivating stories, for their dramatic twists and turns and for their inspirational messages. In his newest release, 48, Seltzer brings his stories to the important topic of the 48 ways to Torah wisdom – and helps you incorporate these 48 ways into your own life.

Each of the 48 ways are explained in their own chapter, each featuring true stories of real people who have internalized and acted upon these messages.

This week’s free download is the chapter on the 25th way: Being Happy with One’s Lot. Enjoy the inspiration and insight in this chapter, then head on over to ArtScroll.com to get your copy so you can start learning the rest of the ways to acquire Torah wisdom.

Click here to view, print or download a free chapter of 48 by Rabbi Nachman Seltzer

Click here for details on 48 and exclusive online savings.

Click here for all books by Rabbi Nachman Seltzer.