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.


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.


NEW RELEASE! The Shabbos Kugel Turnaround

August 1, 2018

Ask any new mother, and they will agree: One of the really nice “fringe benefits” of having a baby is…receiving meals from friends and family for a few days (or, if you have really amazing friends and family, weeks) afterward.

Yes, you could cook up the same pot of spaghetti and meatballs or chicken and rice as your sister-in-law or across-the-street neighbor, but isn’t it always nicer to eat food that you didn’t have to cook? And let’s not forget, of course, that when you make spaghetti and meatballs for your own family, you don’t usually include a soup and a salad and a container of cubed fruit and a plate of cookies to go along with it, do you? But your sis-in-law or neighbor oftentimes will—not when they make it for their own families (hey, they’re not any better mothers than you are!), but when they send it to you, the new kimpeturin.

It’s one of the beautiful things about Klal Yisrael—we’re always doing chessed, and that’s especially so when the chessed involves making sure everyone has what to eat. And although a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich does technically constitute “what to eat,” no self-respecting Yiddeshe Mama would ever want a new mother and her family to subsist on that while the mother recovers and gets back her strength.

Maybe that’s why The Shabbos Kugel Turnaround makes such a pleasurable read—because it highlights the chessed that goes on within our communities. In this fun children’s book, a mommy who’s not feeling well receives not one or two or three kugels for Shabbos, but many, many more than that! And that’s just the beginning of the chessed train that follows…

The book brings out another very important lesson, too: emunah in Hashem; realizing that whatever happens is His doing, and He knows what’s best for all of us.

Now tell me: with such integral lessons a part of this book, and with such a delicious storyline (you’ll have to take my word for this, but I’m sure you’d agree)—could you be blamed for wanting to buy this book for your kids??

Click here to purchase online.


NEW RELEASE! My Family Is Moving

July 31, 2018

I was recently going through a box of memorabilia from my childhood (all those cute coloring pages and old report cards…ahh, nothing like nostalgia!), and I came across an interesting letter that I’d written as a kid.

Dear Zeesy,

Even though I’m moving to a new house, we’ll still stay friends, okay?

The letter was both amusing and eye-opening for me. For years I had lived on the same street as my childhood friend Zeesy, and then, at some point, my family had moved to a different neighborhood, about a ten-minute drive away. When I wrote that note, I knew that nothing else would be changing—Zeesy and I would still be in the same class at school, would spend most of our day together, and would see each other on many occasions after school (as most of the shopping and “places to go” were back in my old neighborhood)—yet clearly I was still worried. Would my family’s move negatively affect my friendship with Zeesy?

Reading the letter now, as an adult, gave me a glimpse into my mindset as a child. Change isn’t easy for anyone—but it’s exponentially harder for a kid.

But what can you do? Families do need to move, sometimes more often than we’d like! How can parents ensure that their children have a smooth transition when they are in the process of moving?

Well, folks, being that this is not exactly a psychology or parenting article, we won’t be getting into the particulars of that answer right here and now. But one thing I can tell you is that there is an excellent book out on this very topic, and it can do absolute wonders for a child whose family is moving.

In My Family Is Moving, the fears children have of the changes brought on by a move are expressed and validated—and then reassuringly soothed. The book has a charming storyline, told in rhymes, and the cutest illustrations ever. If your family is planning a move, this is a book you’ll want to keep by your kids’ side in the car (along with the cardboard boxes and anything else you managed to squeeze in there!)!

Click here to order online.


NEW RELEASE: Torah Tavlin on Tishah B’Av

July 18, 2018

Brand new for the Bein Hametzarim!

Torah Tavlin needs no introduction—it’s got something for everyone, from satisfying divrei Torah and savory stories of our gedolim, to the “spicy” quotes of famous Chassidishe masters, and everything in between. A delectable dish is comprised of a vast assortment of ingredients, and in much the same way, the secret to Torah Tavlin’s popularity seems to lie in its diverse variety of stories, parables, and divrei Torah. Now, for the Three Weeks and Tishah B’Av, we present Torah Tavlin on Tishah B’Av—a special volume with stories, sayings, wit, and wisdom on the Three Weeks, Megillas Eichah, and Kinos. The book also includes the full text of Eichah and select kinos, with explanations from Hagaon Rav Chaim Belsky zt”l.

Make the most of this special time period. Sad and heavy as they may feel, these weeks hold the potential for so much uplift and blessing, too—if we choose to use the days properly. With Torah Tavlin on Tishah B’Av providing a steady stream of inspiration, you will find yourself emerging from the Three Weeks feeling encouraged, stirred, and closer to Hashem.

And isn’t that something every Jew wants for himself?

Click here to order online.


NEW RELEASE: Building Tomorrow

July 18, 2018

It’s the Nine Days. It’s hot and sticky, and there’s no swimming or trips or barbecues…and the kids are fighting. What else is new?

“Kids,” you say, for the umpteenth time that day, “don’t you know this is the time of year when we’re supposed to be extra nice to each other? Do you know the Beis Hamikdash was destroyed because of sinas chinam, because Jews did not get along with each other? The way to rebuild the Beis Hamikdash is by working on our ahavas Yisrael—like by being mevater to your little brother…”

By now you’re a pro at giving this little speech; after all, you do it practically on the hour when the kids are home. But the truth is, it’s not just our children that need to hear this mussar—we adults need to take our own words to heart.

Adults are not immune to feeling resentment and animosity toward one another. Of course we tell ourselves that we’re not fighting over petty things like little kids—oh, no! We’re only standing up for our principles, for making sure justice has been meted out!

Well, we can call it what we want—but one thing is for certain: ahavas Yisrael it is not.

That is why Rabbi Y.Y. Rubinstein’s newest book, Building Tomorrowis such an important work. In this book, the much-beloved author offers practical advice on how to combat the presence of sinas chinam in our communities. It provides an eye-opening analysis of how sinas chinam starts and how we can stop it for good. Of course, as per Rabbi Rubinstein’s inimitable style, stories are related by the dozens, and with the humor threaded through each chapter, you’ll find this book entertaining and engaging, besides for practical and educational.

Best of all, by reading this book, you’ll be taking positive steps toward putting an end to sinas chinam—and to our bitter galus.

May we merit to see the rebuilding of the Beis Hamikdash, speedily and in our days!

Click here to purchase online.