Night Flower – Chapter 41

September 30, 2018

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 41 of a new online serial novel, Night Flower, by Esther Rapaport. Check back for a new chapter every week.  Click here for previous chapters.

Copyright © Israel Bookshop Publications. 

Noa double locked the door and ran to the window. It was a large window with a brown translucent windowpane, which she pushed aside as she pulled the yellowing shutters downward. The street was silent, but her sharp eyes discerned a figure walking down the sidewalk, growing more distant by the moment. Perhaps it was even the same figure that had been walking near her when she had arrived. Noa’s anger at herself mounted. How had she not taken into account that her grandfather would send someone to see where she was going after leaving the Haifa apartment?

She returned to the sheet-covered sofa and sat down. She felt a pang of hunger; the cookies had hardly satiated her. And after all this, she still hadn’t had that drink she had wanted.

She got up again and walked to the kitchen, passing the door, the peephole, the picture, and the note. Who were the “strong flasks”? Which cult did Adi belong to? Too bad that Racheli, who had written that she was available twenty-four hours a day, hadn’t left a phone number. Adi must have it written down elsewhere, or she knew it by heart. Maybe it was possible to call this Racheli right now to ask her a few questions.

The thought suddenly flashed through Noa’s mind that perhaps the note hanging outside was not even meant for her; maybe it was for Adi. She looked around. Where had she put it? On the sofa? On the small table?

After a few minutes of searching, she found it on the floor near the large window. It must have fallen out of her hand when she’d run to see what was going on in the street. She picked it up and smoothed out the wrinkles that had formed when she had clutched it tightly a short time earlier.

You’re not a baby, so please, no games. Deal with it now and we’ll finish nicely.

There was no salutation or signature. Perhaps it was for Adi and not her at all. Keep Reading…


NEW RELEASE! More Power Points

September 23, 2018

Another book on the parshah?”

If that was your thought upon seeing More Power Points, then think again! Because this book is unlike the many other parshah books that are out there.

More Power Points will provide you with beautiful insights to say over at the Shabbos table each week and on each Yom Tov—with minimal time and effort. The beauty of each piece is in its brevity yet clarity.

Take a look at the excerpts below from Parshas Bereishis, and you’ll see exactly what I mean.

Hashem created man in His image… (Bereishis 1:27)

            Whenever Rav Aharon Kotler was driven on the turnpike, he insisted on passing through the manual toll booth and not the automatic ones. He explained that every human being was created in Hashem’s image, and to bypass a human being in order to use a machine shows a lack of appreciation for the value of a person.

Rav Moshe Feinstein was once told that a taxicab was waiting for him. Rav Moshe bemoaned the fact that in earlier times, a person was told that a driver was waiting for him; now it is the taxi that is waiting. The person used to be the focus of conversation, whereas now it is the car that is the focus. Unfortunately we have become so dehumanized, that machines have become more important than people.

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And Hashem saw all that He had made and behold it was very good… (Bereishis 1:31)

            The Midrash says that the term “good” refers to the Good Inclination, the yetzer hatov, while “very good” refers to the Evil Inclination, the yetzer hara.

Rav Moshe of Pshevorsk explains that it is sometimes difficult to determine whether one’s inclination stems from good or bad. He suggests that the way one can tell is by seeing how persistent the feeling is. The yetzer hatov makes a suggestion, and then leaves it to the person to decide whether or not he will follow his advice. The yetzer hara, however, nags and doesn’t let up until he has the person in his clutches. When one feels a desire to do something, and he finds himself obsessing over it, chances are that it comes from the yetzer hara. That is why the yetzer hara is referred to as “very good,” since it is very persistent in its approach.

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…“It is not good for man to be by himself; I will make him a helpmate opposite him.” (Bereishis 2:18)

A young woman complained to Rebbetzin Tzipporah Heller that she was offended because the Torah seems to view the woman’s role as nothing more than a helper to her husband.

Rebbetzin Heller responded, “You have a misunderstanding of what is meant by ‘help.’ You are assuming that the Torah is talking about hired help, where indeed the image comes to mind of an uneducated woman who is paid fifteen dollars an hour to wash floors. But imagine a person who is dealing with serious problems who says, ‘I need some help.’ The image of that type of help is a therapist who may be paid hundreds of dollars an hour. A woman can define her role either way. With the proper attitude, she can exert tremendous influence and accomplish great things for her family and for society. With the wrong attitude, she will feel under-appreciated and unfulfilled.”

Powerful? Check.

Short and to the point? Check.

There you have it, then. More Power Points—everything you could wish for in a parshah book!

Click here to purchase online.


Night Flower – Chapter 40

September 23, 2018

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 40 of a new online serial novel, Night Flower, by Esther Rapaport. Check back for a new chapter every week.  Click here for previous chapters.

Copyright © Israel Bookshop Publications. 

The train car from Haifa to Tel Aviv was half empty, and Noa was able to place her many packages on the seat opposite her without anyone asking her to clear the space.

She leaned back and closed her eyes, ignoring the ringing phone a few inches from her left hand. She heard footsteps beside her; they paused and then continued. Someone must have been wondering why she wasn’t picking up her phone. Let them wonder as much as they wanted. She didn’t owe anyone in the world an explanation or anything.

True, her grandfather would be angry, but he would learn a lesson. He would be on edge, he would turn over the world looking for her, and then she would demand that he promise to leave her alone because they just could not work together. Then she would finally take care of what he was asking her to do, and she could disappear to the other end of the world. Maybe to America, where she’d begin the next chapter in her life.

And maybe it would be more successful than the previous ones.

But until she got there, it was a good thing there were friends in the world.

When her phone finally fell silent, she picked it up and dialed a number, not bothering to check who had just called her. “Adi?”

“Noa? Is that you?” Keep Reading…


NEW RELEASE! Making a Difference

September 21, 2018

I think the story that first did it in for me was the one where Rabbi Winiarz publicly praised the customer service representative he was speaking with on the phone, as described in the excerpt below.

When we call customer service, do we ever think about the fact that there is an actual human being on the other end? Abba did. Before getting down to business, Abba would establish a personal connection with the representative. The conversation would usually begin like this:

Representative: Hello, you’ve reached Chase Bank. This is Jamal speaking, how may I help you?

Abba: Hi, Jamal, how are you today?

Representative: I’m doing well, sir.

Abba: That’s great. Do you think you can help me regarding… 

Only after establishing that connection would Abba work out his business. At the end of the conversation Abba would thank the representative profusely for being so helpful (if he was indeed helpful). One of Abba’s classic conversation endings went like this:

Abba: Jamal, is this conversation being recorded for quality assurance?

Representative: Yes, sir.

Abba: Well, I just want everyone to know that Jamal is doing a really great job!

Try to imagine being a customer service representative. People call them all day and complain. They get yelled at most of the time, and even if everything goes right – nobody says more than a “thank you.” Abba’s validating and appreciative remarks would brighten up the work days of the hundreds of reps he would deal with every year…

I mean, who does this kind of thing?

Then I read on, more and more stories about this incredible person—and I realized that although most people do not march up to the elderly war veterans they see on the street and shake their hands and say, “Thank you for your service,” or walk into yeshivah kitchens to thank the staff working there, Reb Dovid Winiarz was NOT like most people. As a community askan, one-man kiruv machine, husband and father, radio show host, and above all, ben Torah, Rabbi Winiarz was one of the most unique and dynamic people out there, and in the course of his short life, he changed the lives of thousands.

Making a Difference relates the amazing story of this ordinary man who accomplished extraordinary things. It’s a book unlike one you’ve ever read before—because Reb Dovid Winiarz was a man unlike anyone you’d ever met before.

If you’ll be reading one non-fiction, inspiring book over Sukkos, make this the one. You’ll be exceedingly grateful for it!

Click here to purchase online.


Great Sukkos reading for tweens! Among the Stars

September 20, 2018

The great outer space… Millions of luminous galaxies orbiting in the vast blackness of the atmosphere… Newly inhabited planets… It’s the stuff kids (and adults?) can fantasize about endlessly. And now they can do so while reading a great science fiction book geared just for their age!

Among the Stars is a thrilling, suspense-laden story of a frum family about to colonize a brand new planet…if they can get there in one piece. Danger lurks in every corner, and with a certain curious child who can’t seem to quell his adventure-seeking spirit, it isn’t long before the whole spaceship faces trouble…

Read all about it in this exciting book for tweens!

Click here to purchase online.


Night Flower – Chapter 39

September 17, 2018

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 39 of a new online serial novel, Night Flower, by Esther Rapaport. Check back for a new chapter every week.  Click here for previous chapters.

Copyright © Israel Bookshop Publications. 

Dina Struk tiptoed into the children’s room. She opened the upper cabinet silently to take out a new notebook for Yaakov. A rustle from behind made her spin around.

“Naomi? You aren’t sleeping?”

The girl rubbed her eyes. “I don’t think so.”

“You don’t think so?”

“Maybe I slept a little earlier; now I’m not sleeping.”

“So first of all, don’t rub your eyes. If you slept, you need to wash your hands, so you shouldn’t touch your eyes with your fingers before you wash negel vasser, because they are tamei.” She approached the bed and sat down. “What’s the matter, sweetie?”

“Dunno.” Naomi looked at the notebook in her grandmother’s hand. “Is that notebook for me?”

“No, it’s for Yaakov. He just remembered that he needs a new notebook for tomorrow. Do you need one also?”

“No. We don’t even have notebooks in my class. We have a loose-leaf,” Naomi said, and then she closed her eyes.

“Do you miss them?” Dina asked carefully.

The girl’s eyes opened in a flash. “Who?”

“Maybe Ima?”

“What’s there to miss?” Naomi hurried to deny. “I know she went away for a few days and then she’ll be back. You don’t need to miss someone who goes away for a short time.”

“And what about someone who goes away for a long time?”

“You mean like Abba?”

Dina nodded. Keep Reading…


Night Flower – Chapter 38

September 12, 2018

Israel Book Shop presents Chapter 38 of a new online serial novel, Night Flower, by Esther Rapaport. Check back for a new chapter every week.  Click here for previous chapters.

Copyright © Israel Bookshop Publications. 

Chapter Thirty Eight

Wearing dark slacks and a black wool sweater because of his court appearance made Shlomo look much better than he did in the green prison uniform. Chaiky looked at him as he took Yisrael Meir out of the carriage and hugged him, but she did not allow herself to cry. It was enough for her to see his lips trembling for her to know that she mustn’t break down now; she couldn’t show even the slightest crack in her veneer of strength. The ten days that she was here was supposed to help Shlomo be strong, not the opposite. “He’s cute, isn’t he?” she asked.

“What’s the question!”

“Look how he’s staring at you!”

Shlomo smiled at his son. Yisrael Meir gazed at his father for a long moment with a solemn face, and then returned a small, tremulous smile. Chaiky lowered her eyes for a moment and then raised them. Here was her husband, looking almost like he usually did. He wasn’t shackled, there were no jailers in sight, and he was cuddling his son. Shlomo gently laid the baby back in the carriage. What would happen if they’d try to just walk out now? Yes, they’d just walk down the corridor, go down the stairs—Shlomo would pick the carriage up and carry it down—and they would get to the first floor. Then they could just stroll to the door and exit the building… Keep Reading…