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

We love to hear from our readers! If you have an opinion or review to share on one of our books, please email blog@artscroll.com, and you could be featured here. 

 

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

Free Weekly Download: GPS! Navigation For Your Soul

GPS-for-the-soul-blogLife is hard to navigate. And while a GPS unit might help you get around the roads to help you reach your destination, how do you navigate life’s twists and turns?

The answer? GPS! Navigation for Your Soul. Translating the brilliant concepts of the Nesivos Shalom into contemporary and easy to understand terms, GPS! is your guide to navigating life’s challenges.

To give you an idea of the clever layout, engaging design and of course, thought-provoking content that are showcased in GPS!, we’re giving our readers an opportunity to download a sample chapter from this new book.

Click here to view, download and print the Free Weekly Download – GPS

Click here to order a copy of GPS! Navigation For Your Soul. Don’t forget: you can get 20% off this book and all ArtScroll books during our June Sale!

**Did you enter our giveaway? One of our readers will win the chance to choose their own prize!*

Mountain Family in Your Community: Event Dates

Tzirel Rus Berger, author of our best-selling Mountain Family will be continuing her speaking tour over the next couple of weeks. You don’t want to miss her captivating and inspirational talk! Scroll down for a full list of her local appearances.

 

Brooklyn: June 15 –  38th Annual Tea Party to benefit Amshinover Yeshiva Shem Olem, Bayit Vegan, Jerusalem

Where: Cong Bais Yisroel of Sadowne, 1424 51st Street, Brooklyn, NY 11219

When: Tzirel Rus Berger – 2:00 PM

 

Baltimore - June 17 – Etz Chaim Center for Jewish Living and Learning

Where: 3702 Fords Lane, Baltimore, MD 21215

When: 8:00 PM

For detailshttp://www.etzchaimusa.org/

 

Hollywood/Ft. Lauderdale Fl: June 18 – Young Israel

Where: 3291 Stirling Rd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312, United States

When: 8:00 PM

For details: (954) 966-7877

 

Toronto: June 24 – Aish Thornhill Community Shul

Where: 949 Clark Avenue W, Thornhill, ON

When: 8:00 PM

For details: http://www.thornhillshul.com/ or

Call: 905.764.1891 or email: theshul@aish.edu

 

**Don’t forget to enter our giveaway for a chance to choose your own prize!**

Choose Your Own Giveaway!


Here at ArtScroll, we have so many exciting new releases. Too many, in fact, to choose just one title for our next giveaway! So instead…we’ll let you pick!

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Which new title from ArtScroll would you like to win?

1) GPS: By Yaakov Shain and Avi Fishoff – Fun and authentic Torah, GPS takes the thought provoking and brilliant concepts of the Nesivos Shalom and “translates” them intocontemporary terms.

2) 48: By Rabbi Nachman Seltzer – People are following our Sages 48 ways to incorporate Torah into our lives. These are their stories.

3) Maran Harav Ovadia: By Rabbi Yehuda Heimowitz – An authoritative biography detailing the life of one of the great Torah leaders of our times.

4) Look What My Parents Give Me: By Sara Ginsburg – Teach your children the importance of respecting what their parents do through fun rhymes and cute illustrations.

5) Positive Word Power for Teens: By Chana Nestlebaum – Set up for daily study, this latest project from the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation teaches teens the power of their words.

6) Imagine If: by Rabbi Zeegel - Imagine if Hashem hadn’t made the world so perfect. Imagine if you could teach your children important lessons through hilarious rhymes and adorable illustrations.

To enter the giveaway:

Comment on this post letting us know which of these new titles you would like to win.

Want another chance to win? Enter the contest on Facebook too!

**Giveaway ends on Monday, June 16th at 11:59 pm eastern time. 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 on the blog and an additional entry per person is available on Facebook. 

 

ArtScroll’s June Sale – 20% off all books!

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Exciting news! Today marks the start of ArtScroll’s June Sale! From now through June 24th, we’re offering a 20% discount on all of our books! That’s right – any book you want from ArtScroll.com is now 20% off!

Take a look at some of our new releases – now available at 20% off!

Maran Harav Ovadia by Rabbi Yehuda Heimowitz – Maran Harav Ovadia Yosef met with world leaders and politicians, as well as humble Jews seeking guidance and advice. He was the author of numerous seforim, the Sefardic Chief Rabbi of Israel…and the leader who revitalized the Sefardic community. This comprehensive biography allows a glimpse into one of the greatest rabbinical leaders of the last 100 years.

 

Living Kiddush Hashem by Rabbi Shraga Freedman – What exactly is a Kiddush Hashem? How do we sanctify Hashem’s name? This groundbreaking new volume presents practical strategies for making Kiddush Hashem an essential component of our lives.

 

 

Positive Word Power for Teens – Written especially for teenage readers, this fantastic new book will teach you the impact of the words you use and encourage kindness and sensitivity.

 

48 By Rabbi Nachman Seltzer – Our sages teach us 48 ways to make the Torah a part of us. 48 presents incredible true stories for each of these ways, told in the entertaining and education style of Rabbi Nachman Seltzer.

Touched by Their Faith by Rabbi Yechiel Spero – Uniquely touching and inspiring, tens out thousands of people have been inspired by Rabbi Spero’s stories. In his newest collection, we are treated to a wealth of stories that will uplift and encourage your faith.

Upwards by Shami Reinman – this incredible story of a woman’s journey through illness and her spiritual triumph over a dreaded illness has touched the lives of all who read it.

This is just a small sampling of over 1800 titles available from ArtScroll – all at 20% off! Click here to shop.

Shavuos Cooking Made Easy!

**Last day to enter for your chance to win a complete ArtScroll Talmud – valued at $2999! Click here for your free entry!**

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The latest release in our Made Easy cookbook series, Dairy Made Easy, is just in time to help you prepare your dairy meals for shavuos. To help you get started, we’ve prepared a sample menu, compiled from all four Made Easy cookbooks.

You can print the PDFs by clicking the links below, or you can scroll down for image files of the recipes. Make sure to read our helpful tips from the authors and the handy make-ahead and freezer guide!

Menu (Click the links for a downloadable PDF):

Avocado Cigars

Pomegranate and Apple Salad with Creamy Parmesan Dressing

Roasted Tomato and Eggplant Soup

Penne Rosa

Sour Cream Chocolate Chip Pound Cake

Make ahead and freezer friendly food guide:

Many of the recipes in Dairy Made Easy can be made ahead, making your Yom Tov prep much easier. Here is a list of make-ahead tips and instructions.

  • Many appetizers that get fried such as Arancini Balls (page 28) and Broccoli Spring Rolls (page 30) can be prepared ahead and frozen, then fried fresh.
  • Pizza doughs, such as the Bistro Style Pizza Dough (page 70) and the 30 minute Thin Crust Pizza Dough (page 72) can be prepared ahead and frozen, then defrosted before using.
  • For the Roasted Veggie Galete (page 36), let it thaw completely before rewarming. If you try to reheat it straight from the freezer, the dough will thaw much faster than the veggies.
  • Herbed Pull Apart Bread (page 79) can be prepared completely and frozen. Reheat before serving.
  • Many blended soups, such as the Cauliflower and Lemon soup (page 50) and the Broccoli Cheddar soup (page 46) freeze nicely.
  • To prepare the Baked Roasted Veggie Pasta (page 94) ahead, make each component separately and reheat them together just before serving.
  •  Pasta sauces (see chapter on pasta, starting on page 82) can be frozen up to a month. Cook the pasta fresh, and warm up together with the sauce.
  • All desserts in Dairy Made Easy (other than Peanut Butter Crème Brule) can be frozen fully prepared.
  • Three Cheese Quiche (page 34) can be frozen after baking and reheated just before serving.
  • Calsones (page 90) freeze nicely. When you defrost them, leave uncovered for a crunchy dish, or cover it while reheating for a softer dish.
  • Salad dressings can be made up to a week in advance and stored in the fridge.

Holiday Cooking Tips from Leah and Victoria:

There will be enough pastries to go around. Instead, prepare and serve a couple of (easy-to-make-ahead) frozen desserts. Shavuos signals the beginning of summer, and everyone will be appreciative when you bring refreshing treats out from the freezer. I’m making Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream (from Dairy Made Easy) in little mason jars and Rice Krispie Ice Cream Sandwiches (from Kids Cooking Made Easy) for the kids. – Victoria Dwek

Even if you’ll be preparing your meals fresh, get as many components as you can out of the way in advance. For example, prepare your salad dressings in advance. Balance your menu with items you can prep ahead, like Arancini balls (fry fresh!) and quick to assemble sides like cauliflower garlic bites. – Leah Schapira

Print or Share the Recipe Cards:

avocado-cigars
pom-salad-1
soup

penne-rosa

bundt-cake-1

Click here to buy Dairy Made Easy

Click here for the entire Made Easy Series