I write for Farbrengen because of the person who might read something inspiring and smile, or say hello to someone homeless, or start lighting candles before Shabbat, or put on Teffilin for the first time, or ask what is Teffilin? and then attend a class and realize that Jews actually do believe in Heaven and an afterlife, and reincarnation, and the fixing of the world and that every single recognition of G-d, especially a recognition that is joined by a Holy action like eating Matzah on Passover, or fasting on Yom Kippur, or dancing on Simchat Torah or on any day of the year with someone, or alone in a forest or alone in a crowded room, is a huge mitzvah, and that being happy is a huge mitzvah, and for the one who asks or hasn’t yet asked why was I born, and why was the world created, and for the one who refuses to accept that Jews have been living and dying for thousands of years for nothing, and for the one who knows or doesn’t yet know that the Torah is not a book, but is the blueprint of reality, and that all of time and space, and all the souls of the world both Jewish and non-Jewish are woven from its Holy letters, and for the one who knows or doesn’t yet know that if something can be broken it can also be fixed, and that G-d loves us to pieces, and that the whole reason He created the world was to give us a way to become even closer to Him, and for the one who knows or who doesn’t yet know that the world is still in the process of being created, and that if you see injustice or evil it’s because the world isn’t finished yet, and that the mitzvot are the ways in which we bring the world to perfection, and that a person is never rejected, and that the Holy ones of previous generations used to wake up every day and say, “Today is the day I’m going to get it right,” and for the one who knows or doesn’t yet know that it’s better to be poor and happy than rich and miserable, and for the one who knows or doesn’t yet know that G-d is creating and recreating the world every instant, and that science is still catching up with Torah, and that it doesn’t matter how G-d created us, but why G-d created us, and that it’s okay not to know everything and that even if we wanted to know everything we still couldn’t, and that we don’t want to worship a G-d we fully understand because that would make us just as smart as G-d which is kind of ridiculous and for the one who knows or who doesn’t yet know that there are 600, 000 root Jewish souls that correspond to the 600,000 letters in a Torah scroll and that if one is missing the entire scroll is unusable which means that if one of our brothers or sisters is missing that invalidates everything including ourselves, and that therefore we cannot rest until we’ve opened our eyes to who and where and what we are and that we can’t stop until we’ve cried out to G-d to let us be who He created us to be and do what He longs for us to do, and to never ever give up until we return to the Holy land and proclaim with all of our hearts, and minds, and souls and might that G-d is one.
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Holy Brother: Inspiring Stories and Enchanted Tales about Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach
This may be my favorite Jewish book of all time. It’s a collection of first person accounts of people’s encounters with Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach. You’ll literally laugh, cry, be inspired beyond belief and want to be a better person.
The Wisdom in the Hebrew Alphabet
From the very first Kabbalistic work, through the Talmud, through an impressive array of rabbinic literature, great minds have found the Aleph-Beis to be a gold mine of wisdom and guidance. This fascinating best-seller weaves these golden threads into a glorious tapestry, presenting hundreds of ideas and comments on the Aleph-Beis, including: the Aleph-Beis as the force of Creation, as a primer for Jewish living, and as a fountainhead of Torah insight and mystical meaning. The product of decades of learning, thinking, and teaching by the revered educator, lecturer, and community activist Rabbi Michael L. Munk. A treat not to be missed.