Photo Credit: Mosaica Press

Title: The Wisdom of Getting Unstuck
By Shimshon Meir Frankel
Mosaica Press
Hardcover, 220 pages

 

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Self-help books come in all shapes and sizes. Many Jewish authors base their works primarily on the ideas and ideals of our Sages. The Wisdom of Getting Unstuck by Shimshon Meir Frankel presents the field of psychology to a religious audience through the prism of our Sages. He shares Torah sources that present helpful psychological insights and explains key reasons for certain laws and ideas related to blessings.

From the opening of the book and throughout, Frankel shares personal struggles with the reader and presents issues faced by heroes of the Bible. This approach is key in destigmatizing the seeking of mental-health help. He breaks the work into bite-sized chapters that build upon each other. He helps the reader internalize these ideas by providing key takeaways at the end of each chapter.

The author provides Torah sources that demonstrate how our leaders displayed the principles he discusses. We see many lessons from Yehuda Ben Teima that typify the strategy of how to avoid issues, and learn from King David how to get out of the muddy situations in which we may be stuck. The author further develops the works cited for the reader. He provides texts that seem to be at odds, then resolves them, allowing readers to benefit from multiple sources.

You will find commentary on the Torah explaining key takeaways from Avraham’s mission to leave his household, and taamei hamitzvot, explanations of the commandments, including that of eating matzah and the simple ingredients of which it is made. Yet you will also learn from G.I. Joe: “Knowing is half the battle.”

Frankel gives us strategies for avoiding some of life’s challenges, and tips on how to escape certain situations if we do end up having to face them. We learn that sometimes we have something in our eyes – our vision is obstructed when we value or oftentimes devalue ourselves. Frankel points out that although we often blame our circumstances on others, or on G-d, frequently we are the ones who complicate things.

Frankel also provides insights that might challenge the reader’s common sense. For instance, he includes advice like, “Sweat the small stuff, not the big stuff,” and, “As you continue to stride forward, you encounter many beginnings.”

There is no better a summation of the purpose of this book than the words of the author himself. “Hashem’s Torah is our address, and as long as we keep it at the forefront of our minds, we’ll continue to walk the straight path, and our legs will be compelled to move in the right direction.” This book provides guidance for many situations in life, how to avoid certain situations, and how to come back from others. This book will be utilized and cherished by many different types of readers.

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Rabbi Eliezer Barany serves as a High School Rebbi in Posnack Jewish Day School and a co-Youth Director at Boca Jewish Center.