Rabbi Yaakov Bender is a gifted mechanech, a distinguished talmid chacham, a visionary Rosh Yeshivah, a community builder, a man completely devoted to his talmidim. We have all been inspired by his initiatives, his ceaseless effort for the Klal, his never-ending mission to strengthen Torah learning and give chizuk to those who need it. We admire his warmth, his passion, and his love for Klal Yisrael. Now, we can bring that warmth, passion, and love to our Shabbos tables, through his new book, Rabbi Yaakov Bender on Chumash.
Here’s what Rabbi Bender had to say about his new sefer and about navigating today’s challenging times.
AS: You are busy with so many important projects, yet you found the time to write this important sefer. How did you do it — and why?
RYB: I spent a great deal of time over the past two summers working on it. I have felt a tremendous thirst from parents to hear about chinuch inyanim. If I can help in some small way, I would like to.
AS: The sefer includes beautiful and unusual vertlach, engaging stories, and important lessons and insights. What are some of the themes touched upon in the sefer?
RYB: Middos, middos, and more middos. Rav Yisrael Salanter used to say it is easier to finish all of Shas than to change one middah. There are various programs for more and more learning, obviously all important. But there needs to be a major emphasis on middos.
AS: Your hakdamah speaks about the challenges we’ve faced this year and the heroism we’ve seen. Can you share some words of chizuk during this difficult time?
RYB: The kids hear so many negatives about people dying and people being very sick. I think the children should hear again and again that we can overcome the problems coming our way. Remind them that the yeshivos continue to learn better than ever, talk about the chasadim being done with neighbors, etc. Adults, too, need to focus on positive accomplishments during this time.
AS: What is the most important message a parent can give to a child today?
RYB: Don’t worry, kinderlach, we are here for you. Yeshivos are here for you. We will all be matzliach.