October’s Winner of ‘A Taste of Torah’

Congratulations TRACY HOOD
and our thanks for being a friend to us here at HIS-ISRAEL!

Please remember to post a new comment each month to participate in the current month’s name selection and for another chance to receive a complimentary copy.

Next selection will be December 1, 2019.

Recommended Torah Commentaries

Ben Bag Bag said, “Turn and turn about in it [the Torah] for everything is in it; and within it you shall look, and grow old and gray over it, and not stir from it; for there is no better portion for you than this.”

Every sentence, every word, every letter, every space – holy holy holy, precious, bursting with understanding and meaning, brimming with life! Oh how I want to more fully embrace and understand every word of our Abba.  

We are on the cusp of a new Torah Reading Cycle. Just the thought of stepping once again into Bereshit causes my heart to tremble with excitment. Every time I read the first words of Bereshit: Bereshit bara Elohim et hashamayim ve’et ha’arets – I know I am  once again home. 

We are meant to study, wrestle, argue, and yes even dance with Torah. Following are a handful of teachers whose insights and understandings have accompanied me in my studies and who have helped me do just that – study, wrestle, argue, and dance. They have become my trusted friends and much beloved teachers.

Chazak, chazak, v’nitchazek – Be strong, be strong and may we strengthen one another!
In Him who loves us with an infinite love,
Cindy

RABBI SACKS – Covenant & Conversation

This summer Rabbi Sacks completed the fifth and final installation of the series Covenant & ConversationDeuteronomy: Renewal of the Sinai Covenant. This five volume set includes a number of profound, illuminating, and inspiring essays on each Torah portion – each inviting us into a conversation with Torah. Rabbi Sacks is a great scholar, philosopher, and theologian. Deeply thoughtful, an intellectual giant, his words require deep thought and contemplation. I often find myself having to read a small portion, wait, then read again. If I were to rate this series I would absolutely give it a 6 out of 5 stars.

SCHMUEL GOLDIN – Unlocking The Torah Text

I wish we had more than 24 hours in a day so I could deeply study with more than one teacher through every new cycle. If I were able to – Schmuel Goldin’s collection is one I would include every year. With each parsha Rabbi Goldin includes a number of studies and thought provoking questions – many, if not most – I never even though to ask. An incredible, very readable work, that compares and contrasts opposing rabbinical points of view. This set is truly a gem!

RABBI SHAI HELD – The Heart of Torah

This two volume set is another favorite. Rabbi Shai Held includes two essays for each weekly portion. He draws from Torah, rabbinic commentaries, contemporary biblical and pastoral studies. He has helped me more than once to read with new eyes, given text new understanding. A very accessible and thoughtful read.

RABBI ABRAHAM ISAAC HAKOHEN KOOK – Gold From The Land of Israel, Sapphire From The Land of Israel

Each book is a collection of essays on the Torah portions, nuggets distilled from the writings of Rabbi Abraham Kook. Rabbi Kook’s writing was both poetic and esoteric and – for myself – at times very difficult to understand. Rabbi Chanan Morrison has made Rabbi Abraham Kook’s writings both accessible (translating them for non-Hebrew readers) and understandable. These books are works of beauty.

AVIVAH GOTTLIEB ZORNBERG – The Beginning of Desire, The Particulars of Rapture: Reflections on Exodus, Bewilderments: Reflections on the Book of Numbers

I will say from the beginning that these books are in a class of their own. Beautiful, arresting, really just glorious. Each of these commentaries weaves together biblical, talmudic, and midrashic interpretations. These are reads I come back to time and time again as there is no way I can fully take in all Avivah Zornberg is communicating. Avivah Zornberg has so often set my heart on fire. 

DAVID EBENBACH – the artist’s Torah

This book by David Ebenbach has become an absolute favorite of mine. A collection of essays – one for each portion – The Artist Torah is a delightful read for the creative soul (of which we all are). Rich, inspiring, and though provoking. I have come back to this read time and time again. Pure joy – this is a ‘kind’ read that truly feeds my soul!

RABBI SAMSON RAPHAEL HIRSCH – The Hirsch Chumash

This five book series is one that has been on my wish list for years. I have Rabbi Hirsch’s Tehillim – a book on the Psalms that I keep out and read from almost every day. I have read that Hirsch’s Tehillim is written in a similar way to his Torah series so I wanted to include just a short note on how Rabbi Hirsch brings unique understanding and light to Scripture. His books are not a fast read – at least for myself, but they are enjoyable and beautiful. Books that one could spend a lifetime exploring.

KEREN HANNAH PRYOR – A Taste of Torah

Last, but not least, is Keren’s classic A Taste of Torah. A Taste of Torah is a much loved friend of mine. I want to include a link to a fuller review of Keren’s book:

A Taste of Torah

Keep your eyes open for – hopefully, and b’Ezrat HaShem, with the Lord’s help – a new publication of A Dash of Drash this year by FFOZ.

September’s Winner of ‘A Taste of Torah’

Congratulations SUZANNA FENELON
and our warmest thanks for joining us here at HIS-ISRAEL!

Please remember to post a new comment each month to participate in the current month’s name selection and for another chance to receive a complimentary copy.

Next selection will be October 30, 2019.

AUGUST’S WINNER of A TASTE of TORAH!

Congratulations GARY PHELPS
and thank you for being a friend to His-Israel.

Gary please email us about your free copy – keciro@gmail.com.

Remember to post a new comment each month to participate in the current month’s
selection for another chance to receive a complimentary copy.

Next selection will be October 1, 2019.

Winners of a Complimentary Copy of an Abraham Joshua Heschel Book

just to be...

Thanks so much to all who joined us on our summer adventure with 
Rabbi  Abraham Joshua Heschel.

We deeply appreciated every comment and each word of encouragement and have decided to select two winners instead of one.

  1. RENA MONHOLLAND
  2. LISA JOHNSON

MAZEL TOV and so much appreciation from both of us  ~ Keren and Cindy.

Please drop us a note with your choice from this booklist:

  • Man Is Not Alone
  • Israel – An Echo Of Eternity
  • The Sabbath
  • I Asked For Wonder
  • The Prophets

The Prophets (3) The God of Pathos and Passion

prophets

The God Of Pathos And Passion – 9.04 minutes

 

To the prophets God was overwhelmingly real and shatteringly present. They never spoke of Him as from a distance.

They disclosed attitudes of God rather than ideas about God.

God does not reveal Himself in an abstract absoluteness, but in a personal and intimate relation to the world.

It was the certainty of God’s love and mercy that enabled the prophets to accept His anger.

 

~ Keren Hannah

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You can purchase The Prophets from Amazon.com
The Prophets (Perennial Classics)

The Prophets (2) What Manner Of Man Is The Prophet?

*Note Only two weeks left to leave your comments and be entered to win a free Abraham Joshua Heschel book of your choice.You are awarded one entry for each comment made on the Heschel posts here and also at the HIS-ISRAEL Facebook Page.

prophets

What Manner Of Man Is The Prophet? – 11.56 minutes

 

Over the life of a prophet, words are invisibly inscribed: “All flattery abandon, ye who enter here.” To be a prophet is both a distinction and an affliction.

The prophet’s duty is to speak to the people, “whether they hear or refuse to hear.” A grave responsibility rests upon the prophet. …Yet, being a prophet is also joy, elation, delight!

The pages of prophetic writings are filled with echoes of Divine love and disappointment, mercy and indignation. The God of Israel is never impersonal. This Divine pathos is the key to inspired prophecy.

 

~ Keren Hannah

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You can purchase The Prophets from Amazon.com
The Prophets (Perennial Classics)

The Prophets (1) Introduction To The Prophets

prophets

 

Introduction To The Prophets  – 12.20

 

The prophet is a person, not a microphone. He is endowed with a mission, with the power of a word not his own that accounts for his greatness – but also with temperament, concern, character, and individuality.

The situation of a person immersed in the prophet’s words is one of being exposed to a ceaseless shattering of indifference. …Reading the words of the prophets is a strain on the emotions, wrenching one’s conscience from the state of suspended animation.

Worship preceded or followed by evil acts becomes an absurdity. The holy place is doomed when people indulge in unholy deeds.

The prophet …begins with a message of doom; he concludes with a message of hope.  His essential task is to declare the word of God to the here and now; to disclose the future in order to illumine what is involved in the present.

 

~ Keren Hannah
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You can purchase The Prophets from Amazon.com
The Prophets (Perennial Classics)

JULY’S WINNER of A TASTE of TORAH!

Congratulations CAROLYN HOBBS
and thank you so much for being a friend to HIS-ISRAEL!

Please remember to post a new comment each month to participate in the current month’s name selection and for another chance to receive a complimentary copy.

Next selection will be September 1, 2019.

I Asked For Wonder (3) – GOD’S PEOPLE

I asked for Wonder

GOD’S PEOPLE  [Chapter Eight] – 16.26 minutes

 

Heschel describes himself as,

“A brand plucked from the fire , in which my people were burned to death…”

The mark of Cain in the face of man has come to overshadow the likeness of God. There has never been so much guilt and distress, agony, and terror. …The taste for the good has almost gone from the earth.

The world [here we can substitute our life, home, government, country] is not a vacuum. Either we make it an altar for God or it is invaded by demons.

Heschel’s childhood was spent among the Hassidic Jews of Eastern Europe. He describes how:

They put no trust in the secular world. …To them life without Torah [the Word of God] and without piety was chaos.

They believed that a bit of spiritual nobility was a thousand times more valuable than all the secular sciences; that praying three times a day, “My God, guard my tongue  from evil,” was more important than the study of physics; that meditating upon the Psalms filled man with more compassion than the study of Roman history.

~ Keren Hannah

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You can purchase I Asked For Wonder from Amazon.com
I Asked For Wonder: A Spiritual Anthology

I Asked For Wonder (2) – THE BIBLE

I asked for Wonder

 

THE BIBLE  [Chapter Six]- 5.20 minutes

 

The Bible is holiness in words.

It is as if God took these Hebrew words and breathed into them of His power, and the words became a live wire charged with His Spirit.

To this day they are connections between heaven and earth.

~ Keren Hannah

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You can purchase I Asked For Wonder from Amazon.com
I Asked For Wonder: A Spiritual Anthology

I Asked For Wonder (1) – PRAYER

I asked for Wonder

Prayer [Chapter Two] – 6.40 minutes

 

Prayer is the border between heaven and earth.

Lord, the dominion is Thine. Take away from me all that would not enter Thy realm.

If not for the certainty that God listend to our cry, who could stand so much misery, so much callousness?

Prayer [in the light of His truth and will] makes visible the right and reveals what is hampering and false. In its radiance, we behold the worth of our efforts, the range of our hopes, and the meaning of our deeds.

~ Keren Hannah

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You can purchase I Asked For Wonder from Amazon.com
I Asked For Wonder: A Spiritual Anthology

The Sabbath – To Sanctify Time (3)

The Sabbath - Heschel

 

To Sanctify Time [Epilogue] – 5.45 minutes 

 

Our world is a world of space moving through time –
from the Beginning to the End of Days.

One good hour may be worth a lifetime; an instant in returning to God may restore what has been lost in years of escaping from Him.

It is the dimension of time wherein man meets God, wherein man becomes aware that every instant is an act of creation.

To witness the perpetual marvel of the world’s coming into being is to sense the Giver in the given, to realize that the source of time is eternity, that the secret of being is the eternal within time.

The Sabbath leads us to a realm of endless peace, or to the beginning of an awareness of what eternity means.

 

Keren Hannah

divider-29115_1280You can purchase The Sabbath from Amazon.com
The Sabbath

 

The Sabbath – A Palace In Time (2)

The Sabbath - Heschel

 

A Palace In Time  [Chapter One] – 5.21 minutes

 

Six days a week we wrestle with the world, wringing profit from the earth;
on the Sabbath we particularly care for the seed of eternity planted in the soul.
The world has our hands, but our soul belongs to Someone Else.

The seventh day day is a palace in time which we build.

What was created on the seventh day? Tranquility, serenity, peace and repose.

 

Keren Hannah

divider-29115_1280You can purchase The Sabbath from Amazon.com
The Sabbath

 

The Sabbath – Architecture of Time (1)

The Sabbath - Heschel

Architecture of Time – Prologue  – 5 minutes 

 

There is a realm of time where the goal is not to have but to be, not to own but to give, not to control but to share, not to subdue but to be in accord.

The higher goal of spiritual living is not to amass a wealth of information but to face sacred moments.

The main themes of faith lie in the realm of time. We remember the day of the Exodus from Egypt, the day when Israel stood at Mount Sinai;

and our Messianic hope is the expectation of a day,
of the end of days.

 

Keren Hannah

divider-29115_1280You can purchase The Sabbath from Amazon.com
The Sabbath