Category Archives: Torah

Gifts From Hashem by Rabbi Moshe Goldberger

Opening the mailbox to find a review copy of Gifts From Hashem, by Rabbi Moshe Goldberger, was such a joy!

cover gifts from Hashem


The sefer is now parked next to our dining room table for a daily session of it at dinner time.

We highly recommend you get a copy do the same.

This book is adapted from the classic, hard-to-find “Apple Book,” the sefer Speak in All His Wonders, which is based on the teachings of Harav Avigdor Miller.

The material has been revised and expanded. It is arranged in short daily lessons that are meant to help readers achieve joy through being aware of Hashem’s presence in the world. Each lesson — most are less than a full page — is followed by a thought for the day.

The sefer has six parts. The first explores the concept of bechinah. The second helps readers put it into practice by appreciating the wonders of the human body. The third turns its focus on Hashem’s amazing creations in the world around us. By this time, readers must be experienced  bechinah practitioners, so Part IV raises the stakes. It is about appreciating pain, suffering, poverty, etc. Part V addresses a gift from Hashem that many people hardly stop to dwell on: The gift of being Jewish.

Appreciating Gifts from Hashem Through the Morning Blessings

The last section of the book leads readers through the Morning Blessings in a way that may forever change how we recite them.  In fact, the publisher promises an upcoming booklet that will contain only this section of the sefer, for those who want to use it in their morning tefillah.

There’s also a classroom edition of Gifts From Hashem in the works, which is wonderful news.

As Rabbi Goldberger writes in the introduction, “Through bechinah, we learn how to see the world through the Torah’s eyes and how to appreciate Hashem’s gifts. We develop an ever-increasing happiness and love of Hashem.”

We couldn’t think of a better goal with which to start a new year.

Published by Simchas Hachaim (which is the official publisher of Harav Avigdor Miller’s books and lectures.)

We received a review copy of this sefer.


How Free Will Works by Dovid Lieberman

The quality of our lives comes down to the quality of our choices. That’s the bottom line that prompted How Free Will Works: The Blueprints to Take Charge of Your Life, Health and Happiness, by Dovid Lieberman.

How Free Will Works by David LiebermanDr. Lieberman is a psychologist, with many other books to his belt.

This is not just a philosophical work. The book doesn’t try to prove the existence of free will – it assumes that, within certain parameters, there is always a responsible choice to be made, and goes from there.

As the subtitle indicates, this is what many would probably call a self-help book. Dr. Lieberman takes readers through practical steps to help them actualize their potential.

From the back cover:

Drawn from classic sources, How Free Will Works explores the elegant relationship between Divine providence and free will — and illuminates the connections among themes such as: miracles, mazal, happiness, cause and effect, Heavenly decree, nature, success, tikun, self-esteem, destiny, teshuvah, prayer, mental illness, anxiety, mitzvos, emunah and bitachon, suffering, fear, pleasure, anger, and will power.

How Free Will Works sheds fascinating light on the cosmic network of interlacing forces that operate in creation — such as Divine providence, mazal, and prayer — and reveals the power and parameters assigned to each.

More valuable still, this groundbreaking achievement explains how free will intersects with, and impacts on, these forces — which give us the practical and near-magical ability to maximize opportunities,sidestep unnecessary hardship and heartache, and transform our emotional, spiritual, and physical health.

As the dazzling design and sweeping influence of free will emerges, we move in a world that offers us a different experience. and it will become increasingly difficult — if not inconceivable — for us to ignore the one truth that will become so patently obvious: we control the quality of our lives.

This is a book that has enormous potential to improve people’s lives in a very meaningful way. It shows readers ways to find fulfillment, to engage in life, to reignite their purpose, no at matter what stage in life they may find themselves, by reconnecting with their neshamah.

Dr. Lieberman was interviewed about his sefer on the OU’s Savitsky Talks podcasts. You can listen to it here.

Published by Feldheim.

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Dr. Lieberman is also the author of 10 previous books, which have been translated into 26 languages and include two New York Times bestsellers. Among them:

Real Power by David Lieberman






Get anyone to do anything book cover by David Lieberman

Patterns in Genesis and Beyond by Rabbi David Sykes

Patterns in Genesis and Beyond by Rabbi David Sykes is a stunning book that turns a familiar intellectual journey into a revelatory one.

Patterns in Genesis - Rabbi David SykesRabbi Sykes likes patterns, especially patterns in Torah. The sefer is devoted to patterns that weave the Torah narrative together through Chumash. It could have been an esoteric endeavor, but part of the magic of this sefer lies in how the information is presented.

The cover copy – and massive 600-page length – suggest an obscure, heavy tome, but the book is anything but that. Outstandingly well-written, the text is so clear and simple that it often lulls the reader into feeling he’s simply reading a retelling of a familiar story. And yet, almost certainly, he will come to the end of each section with a new, breathtaking insight that suddenly seems so obvious.

The patterns Rabbi Sykes uncovers literally left me going oh wow! on many occasions. I would reach the end of a chapter only go back and read it again, nodding as I read, feeling that I was seeing things in a completely new way.

The rewards are not only intellectual. Many of Rabbi Sykes’s insights are spiritual and emotional. For example, the parallels he finds between the shidduch of Yitzchak and Rivka, and that of Moshe Rabbeinu and Tzipporah lead to the teaching that an element of a successful shidduch is performing above-and-beyond acts of chessed for one’s spouse. Through the study of Chumash, the sefer can have an immediate impact right in our daily lives. Time and again, Rabbi Sykes shows how the negatives can, through teshuva and following the correct path, be turned into brachos, thus leaving the reader with a positive, uplifting experience.

As we head into Pesach, I find it profoundly meaningful to review the story of Yosef Hatzaddik. Much of the sefer is devoted to Breishis, but as the words “and Beyond” in the title promise, there are extras, such as a chapters about David Hamelech and Batsheva, Moshe Rabbenu, Yocheved and Miriam, the concubine of Gibea, and a fascinating discussion of water and the Exodus.

From the cover:

In his Book of Psalms (19:8), King David declares: “God’s Torah is whole.” These words have been the guiding light for this book’s approach to the interpretation of the Torah. In this work, verbal and thematic links between Biblical accounts, especially in the Book of Genesis, are noted and expounded upon, and are shown to be present in a consistent and systematic way. These connections also combine to form a network of patterns, an integrated whole. Throughout the millennia, many commentators have pointed out such connections; in this work, their observations are adduced and built upon. The uncovering of patterns in the Torah has no end, as the holy Torah is of infinite depth.

When I reached the end of the sefer, my first thought was: Is there another volume to look forward to?

According to the forward by Rabbi Menachem Davis, Rabbi Sykes has been perfecting Patterns in Genesis for thirty-six years. Interesting that it took that long for the hidden lights illuminated by his work to be revealed. It would be worth waiting another thirty-six years for another volume. But in the meantime, there is plenty, plenty to discover and delve into here.

Much of this sefer formed the basis of Rabbi Dr. Sykes’s PhD thesis at Yeshiva University. Since then, Rabbi Sykes has moved to Monroe, New York, where he is a certified life coach and Torah teacher.

You can listen to Rabbi Sykes being interviewed about his sefer here.


We received a review copy of this book.

Purchase now from Amazon.

The Seven Fruits of the Land of Israel by Chana Bracha Siegelbaum

The Seven Fruits of the Land of Israel With Their Mystical and Medicinal Properties by Rebbetzin Chana Bracha Seigelbaum is the perfect book to launch this blog on Tu BiShvat.

Seven Fruits of the Land of IsraelChana Bracha Seigelbaum is the founder of Midreshet B’erot Bat Ayin, a place of Torah learning for women. In this unique work, which is part sefer, part cookbook, she posits that the seven fruits for which Eretz Yisrael is known have tremendous spiritual power that can be tapped to enable us to do more mitzvos, heal our bodies and express our creativity.

First, lets start on the outside. This is a physically beautiful book. The cover is gorgeous – yes, I’d buy it just for all that glorious color! Fortunately, I didn’t have to buy it, as it was a birthday gift, lucky me. The inside of the book is replete with full-color photographs and more of the same artwork as on the cover. Just turning the glossy pages of this book is a soothing, calming experience.

Inside, the book requires serious study. This isn’t light reading – for each of the seven fruits, the author delves into what we can learn from Torah pessukim about that fruit. She provides nutritional information, covers how that fruit is used in traditional and natural medicine, what Chazal and other sources have to say about it as well as mitzvos and brachos related to the fruit. Should you want to delve further in a particular direction, all sources are carefully listed in end notes at the close of each chapter. Each chapter of learning is followed by healthful recipes that highlight that particular fruit.

Experiencing this book is a wonderful way to focus on the spiritual aspects of Eretz Yisrael and the wondrous produce with which Hashem has blessed the Land. I say “experiencing” because reading is obviously not enough in this case. The work takes reading, study and, of course, cooking and eating the recipes, too, to fully appreciate it.

No wonder The Seven Fruits of the Land of Israel won two Gourmand Magazine Awards for 2015: Best Fruit Book and Best Jewish Cuisine.

A beautiful sefer. A beautiful cookbook. A beautiful work. Many thanks to my dear friend – you know who you are! – who gave it to me for my birthday.  This is a great gift, but here’s a hint if you’re buying it for someone else: Get two. Once you buy one as a gift, you won’t want to part with your only copy.

Published by Menorah Books.

Haskamos from the Biala Rebbe, Rav Kohn, Rav of Bat Ayin, and Rabbi Avraham Greenbaum.

Purchase now from Amazon.

Rebbitzen Chana Bracha Siegelbaum shiurim can be heard on  She is also the author of:

Ruth Gleaning the Fallen Sparks
(Self Published)
Women at the Crossroads
(Menorah Books)
The Nameles Chicken from Judea
(Self published)