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April 20, 2014 / 20 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Shira Smiles’

Reviewing Torah Tapestries: Shemos

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

Title: Torah Tapestries: Shemos

Author: Shira Smiles

Publisher: Feldheim

“Deep down in the heart of the bush, even as the fire of our enemies is raging around, is the spark of emunah. It was true of the Jews in Egypt, and it will always be true of Am Yisrael. The emunah is what is behind our power to renew ourselves.”

This fiery sentence on page six of Shira Smiles’s newest sefer, Torah Tapestries: Shemos, brought tears to this reviewer’s eyes. The clear, authoritative thinking that produced this line is a hallmark of the author’s teaching style. It neatly summarizes the evidence she presents to explain exactly why Moshe Rabbeinu seemed perplexed that the sneh was not consumed by the fire within it. It illustrates and resolves the puzzling “ra’oh ra’iti” response by Hashem to Moshe’s “Madua lo yivar hasneh?”: The Creator used a physical anomaly alluding to an eternal “V’hasneh einenu ukval” quality of the newly forging Jewish nation: As a people, we cannot be destroyed.

The text soon segues into an insightful explanation of why some Jews did not leave Egypt. The classic, timeless lesson leads to examinations of the issues of teshuva, blessings, the imperative to speak and teach only truth, to live balanced, lives and more. Discerning readers will reflect on today’s headlines and find within the text the resolution to many doubts about making aliyah in our times.

Smiles’s analysis of Sefer Shemot is supported with classic Jewish commentaries, including Rabbis Chaim Friedlander, Eliyahu Dessler, and Joseph B. Soloveitchik, the Rambam, Rashi, and other important figures of Jewish thought and philosophy. The comments are clarifying, uplifting, and typical of the author’s live shiurim for her students and community groups. Her conclusions are soundly based.

Anyone interested in meticulously researched writings important to the future of Am Yisrael should add 190-page hardcover Torah Tapestries: Shemos to public and private libraries. Feldheim would do well to 1) improve the fonts in subsequent editions, for easier reading by weaker eyes and 2) to use tapestry cover art consistent with the message of the Torah Tapestries book series. The book’s only other fault is that it ends with suggestions on how “to internalize the blessing of Moshe Rabeinu” while remaining aware that Hashem is “the only source of blessing.” Readers will be hungry for more mind- and soul-building information from the author.

Title: Torah Tapestries: Bereshis

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

Title: Torah Tapestries: Bereshis

Author: Shira Smiles

Publisher: Feldheim

 

   The winner of a Milken award for education, a popular fixture in Los Angeles and Darchei Binah seminary instructor who resides in the Israeli city of Ramat Bet Shemesh, globetrotting Shira Smiles has lent her learning to the public’s reading pleasure.

 

   A compendium of Smiles’s classroom lessons and the gilyonot she shares with attendees of her Shabbat shiurim, Torah Tapestries: Bereshis is an educational opportunity for students of many ages.

 

   Page three’s explanation of why Adam Kadmon and Kayin were sent eastward by disappointed HaKadosh Baruch Hu is a fascinating insight into the imagery and meaning of light, of the sun and of human culpability for evil. Hebrew is not a simple language; it spills over with subtle and not-so-subtle meaning.

 

   Olam Chesed Yiboneh lessons on pages 145-148 are so endearing that many a wife and husband, let alone marriage therapists, will certainly cherish them. By the time you finish pages 184-195, you’ll probably head to the phone or e-mail to share the expert insights about maturity and righteous olam asiya behavior that you’ll have just gained.

 

   Page 190′s lesson on emunah packs a punch to pick up a soul many levels. The lessons there and throughout the book are clearly explained for readers of various learning abilities.

 

   Insights and quotes from Torah figures over time are woven seamlessly into the fabric of Torah Tapestries: Bereshis. The 208-page hardcover will be on sale in the U.S. after the holidays. Israelis have been focusing on every word of the book since its Elul 5770 release. Buy it as soon as you can. Your soul will be better off for it.

 

   Yocheved Golani is the author of the e-book “It’s MY Crisis! And I’ll Cry If I Need To: EMPOWER Yourself to Cope with a Medical Challenge.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/books/title-torah-tapestries-bereshis/2010/09/15/

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