Author Archives: Shmuel Sofer

In God’s Footsteps

Rabbi Morey Schwartz in his authorial debut has chosen to tackle one of the most vexing philosophic/hashkafic problems facing the believing Jew. His book “Where’s My Miracle?” looks at the age old question of “Tzadik V’Ra Lo” (as well as the converse “Rasha v’Tov Lo) ie why is it that the righteous suffer and the wicked seem to prosper? Rabbi Schwartz attempts to glean from Jewish Tradition an approach if not an answer to this dilemma.   Rabbi Schwartz comes to the task with much personal experience. At the relatively young age of twenty he found himself bereft of both his parents. This book is the culmination of his personal search for an answer. Along the way Rabbi Schwartz earned his degree in psychology and  later entered the rabbinate, as a pulpit rabbi and more recently as an educator in Israel after having made aliya. He  recounts several personal experiences with suffering and tragedy in his personal life, his professional career and during his residence in Israel during the years of the Intifada. Likewise, he recounts episodes of human tragedy which effected others with whom he shared no connection other than a common humanity. As a rabbi he had the task of attempting to comfort bereaved families and trying to make sense of their personal tragedies, an admittedly impossible task.

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Torah Tapestries

Guest post by Shmuel Sofer Review of Torah Tapestries by Shira Smiles In her first volume of a planned 5 volume series Mrs. Shira Smiles has taken some of her popular oral presentations and adapted them for the reading public. Mrs. Smiles is a highly popular lecturer and teacher. She has taught for many years at a number of schools ...

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For God’s Sake

For God’s Sake: You don’t have to be “right” to be correct by Chaim Burg Reviewed by Shmuel Sofer This book, written by American-Israeli Chaim Burg, deals with a very important and controversial topic. It is his polemic about the trend towards increasingly strict observance of halacha and why the phenomenon seems to be so prevalent and increasing. The author ...

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The Shmuz on the Parsha

The Shmuz on the Parshaby Rabbi Ben Zion ShafierPublished by Feldheim Reviewed by Shmuel Sofer The Mussar Movement made famous by R. Yisroel Salanter and his students held that pure Torah study might not adequately train students and adults to perfect their lives and align them with the ethical principles and worldview that is befitting of a “Ben Torah”. Its ...

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Truth and Faith: A Companion

Emes Ve’Emunah: A Sfas Emes Companion by Dr. Chaim Nosson LeffPublished by Targum Press with approbations by R. Reuven Feinstein, R. Mordechai Willig and R. Zev Leff Reviewed by Shmuel Sofer Imagine if you were to discover Einstein’s notebooks containing his thoughts as he prepared his lectures, papers and experiments. Chances are the finder would be excited to hold in ...

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Hashgachah Pratis: A Book Review

Guest post by Shmuel Sofer Hashgachah Pratis by Rabbi Aryeh Leibowitz, published by Targum Press, with approbations by R. Zev Leff, R. Hershel Schachter and R. Doniel Belsky. There is a popular criticism that yeshiva students studying in contemporary yeshivas are exposed to in depth study of Talmud, commentaries and codes with too little exposure to issues of philosophy, Jewish ...

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Book Review II: Cassandra Misreads The Book of Samuel

Guest post by Shmuel Sofer (cross-posted to Jewish Book News) Cassandra Misreads The Book of Samuel (and other untold tales of the prophets) is a collection of 8 short stories. The first seven are based upon or loosely connected to different books of Tanach, while the final selection is a contemporary story related to prophecy. As I read through the ...

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