Thursday, July 12, 2007

A Jerusalem Prescription for Elul -

Ascending Jacob's Ladder is a profound volume examining deeper aspects of ruchniyus in relation to the Jewish holidays and Jewish life. Author Rabbi Yaakov Moshe Hillel, Rosh Yeshivah of Jerusalem's Yeshivat Ahavat Shalom, is a renowned Kabbalist and an eloquent writer and teacher. He draws from Torah, Midrash, Mussar, and Kabbalah sources to create an extraordinary spiritual journey through this world and into the next. His commentary on Elul is particularly noteworthy as a personal preparation for the Days of Awe. Written on a popular level, Ascending Jacob's Ladder explores the fundamentals of Jewish life, including Shabbos, the Festivals, prayer, teshuvah, Torah study, the Jewish home and the wisdom of Kabbalah.

Yevamos 3 Hebrew Edition On the Way

Just in time for the Daf HaYomi schedule, ArtScroll is releasing Yemamos 3 in both the Schottenstein Hebrew edition of the Talmud Bavli and the Travel Edition of the Gemara. The distinctive, blue-covered Hebrew exposition of the Gemara has drawn high praise from scholars and lay learners alike, and is enormously popular in Israeli chassidic and yeshivah circles.

Important Note: The Schottenstein English edition of Yevamos 3 was not available during the previous cycle of the Daf HaYomi. Order now to make sure your copy arrives in time for scheduled learning of these blatt Gemora.

Gemara on the Go -

This year summer travelers are trekking lighter since the publication of the Travel Edition of the Schottenstein English Talmud. Each volume of the Travel Edition is less than a third the weight of the regular hard-cover Daf Yomi Edition. While it includes every word of the English commentary found in the full-size edition, it is bound as a durable paperback book that slips easily into a briefcase or carry-on bag. At less than $10.00 per volume, the Travel Edition is as light on the pocket as it is in the luggage.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

The Book that Can’t Be Bought -

Each year, just before Rosh Hashanah, the Mesorah Heritage Foundation publishes the Heritage Desk Diary, a popular volume which cannot be purchased in any bookstore. The Diary includes such useful and valued information as a sixteen-month weekly planner, a nine-year Jewish holiday schedule, sidebars highlighting special prayers for special occasions, candle lighting times for over 100 US and world cities, schedules for Daf HaYomi and Mishna Yomi schedule, weekly insights from classic and contemporary Torah Sages, and information about the festivals. There’s plenty of room, as well, for managing the personal or business details of one’s busy life.

The Heritage Desk Diary is not for commercial sale. It is available as a thank you gift for supporting the advance of Torah literacy through the Mesorah Heritage Foundation. For a contribution of $36 or more, you will receive the beautiful, hardbound sixteen-month Desk Diary. For a contribution of $18, you will receive the pocket edition of the twelve-month Heritage Personal Planner. Rabbi Nosson Scherman comments, “The insights and information in these diaries have inspired quite a few people to enroll their children in Jewish day schools.”

The Mesorah Heritage Foundation has recruited over 100 scholars in America, Europe and Israel to produce an English-language Torah literature that will endure for generations. Three major projects are currently underway: the Schottenstein Edition of the Jerusalem Talmud in English and Hebrew, the Ramban on Chumash, and the Kleinman Edition of Limud Yomi – A Daily Dose of Torah. In the foreseeable future, the Foundation plans to launch an English language elucidation of Midrash Rabbah. Anyone desiring to support the Foundation’s vital research work can contact its office at 1-718-921-9000.

Visit Eastern Europe without Leaving Home –

In Traveling with the Maggid, Rabbi Paysach Krohn takes us on a tour of the Torah heritage of Lithuania and Belarus. This is an exquisite volume with over 150 full-color pictures and Rabbi Krohn's moving depictions of great men and their communities. In this unique book, the Maggid escorts us through the great Torah centers of yesteryear. A gentleman who traveled with Rabbi Krohn says “The book is a virtual time machine. It guides us through the eras and places that produced the Vilna Gaon, Reb Chaim Volozhiner, the Chofetz Chaim, the Gerrer Rebbes, Reb Yerucham and many more gedolim. Rabbi Krohn has recaptured the world that still flavors our Jewish existence every single day.” Rabbi Krohn also produced a three-part CD-Rom video documentary of this moving tour, called “Catching Sacred Letters”.

Monday, July 2, 2007

From the (E)-Mail Bag:

YS of Far Rockaway NY asks, “What’s the best ArtScroll book to give my co-worker who wants to learn more about Judaism?”

Answer: Take a look at Gateway to Judaism: The What, How, and Why of Jewish Life by Rabbi Mordechai Becher. Sensible, contemporary, inspiring, and witty, it is a thorough treatment of the essentials of Torah thought and practice.

Three Weeks – Nine Days – One Purpose –

This week’s fast of Shivah Asar b’Tammuz signals the onset of the Three Weeks, a time to remember tragedy and exile, but also for personal reflection and rectification. Many ArtScroll volumes strengthen that spiritual and moral aspiration.

One of the earliest (1976), authored by Rabbi Meir Zlotowitz and Rabbi Nosson Scherman, is Megillas Eichah, with an anthologized commentary that elucidates Yirmiyahu Hanavi’s lamentations on the Churban. Subsequently (1992), ArtScroll published Tishah B’Av, which incorporates Tishah B’Av sources, a digest of the laws, the history of the period from Tanach and Chazal, and much inspirational commentary on the day. Many readers say this book helps them prepare not only for the Three Weeks, but for the month of Elul and the Yamim Noraim.

Tractate Gittin vol.2 (55b-58a), in the Schottenstein Edition, elucidates the passages detailing the tragedies of the Churban. On Tishah B’Av many learn the Book of the Iyov/Job. Last year (2006), ArtScroll published Rav Schwab on Iyov, in which Rav Shimon Schwab zt”l brilliantly illuminates the profound messages of this very difficult book of Jewish scripture.

For the Tishah B’Av service, ArtScroll offers a complete siddur, available in Ashkenaz and Sefard versions, which includes the Kinnos, with translation and commentary by Rabbi Avrohom Chaim Feuer and Rabbi Avie Gold. This work makes it possible for everyone to understand the very difficult and very moving Kinnos.

To help children grasp the message of the Three Weeks, Yaffa Ganz created Tishah B’Av with Bina, Benny, and Chaggai Yonah. Engagingly and enjoyably, it teaches the major historical themes of the Three Weeks.

May this year bring the fulfillment of the prophecy that these days will be transformed from sadness to joy.

First Printing of Reb Chatzkel Nearly Sold Out!

The Mirrer Yeshivah is forever linked to its remarkable Mashgiach, Rabbi Yechezkel Levenstein zt”l, reverently known as “Reb Chatzkal”. His incomparable leadership preserved the spirit and unity of the yeshiva during the five war-torn Shanghai years, when the Yeshivah blossomed despite privation and danger. After the War, he became Mashgiach of Ponevezh and helped lead the spiritual rebirth of the Torah world. Rabbi Yitzchak Kasnett of Cleveland has written a biographical masterpiece, featuring memories from Reb Chatzkel’s family and talmidim, personal correspondence and never-before-published shmuessen, photographs and documents. Reb Chatzkel’s talmidim call the book a brilliant portrait of the luminous sage. A large second printing is on the way.