New Release: With All Your Might by Rabbi Nachman Kahana

Dear Friends,

I am so happy to share with you the following announcement!

The Talmudic Commentaries Foundation is proud to announce that Rabbi Nachman Kahana’s new book, “With All Your Might,” is now in print. The title is taken from the verse in the kriyat shema prayer (see introduction below for explanation).

The book is based on Rabbi Kahana’s weekly parasha and holiday messages of the past several years, and will be available b’ezrat HaShem in the next two or three weeks. The major thrust is to show that the Torah was given to the Jewish people to be kept in Eretz Yisrael, and that the 2000-year-old punishment of exile has ended.

Great effort has been invested in producing an esthetically-pleasing Torah work whose profound ideas are clearly and easily conveyed.

The hardcover, two-volume edition – Bereshiet-Shemot and Vayikra-Bamidbar-Devarim, contain over 900 pages.

Regular List price for the two-volume set is:

  • $40 plus $13 for handling and air mail outside of Israel
  • 150 NIS plus 20 NIS for handling and mailing within Israel

The pre-publication discount of 25% for orders until Rosh HaShana 5770 is

  • $30 plus $13 for handling and air mail outside of Israel
  • 120 NIS plus 20 NIS for handling and mailing within Israel

Checks should be made out to TALMUDIC COMMENTARIES FOUNDATION and mailed to:

In the US   In Israel
c\o Gelbart
3499 Harold Street
Oceanside NY 11572
      POB 6761
Jerusalem 91067 Israel

August 31st Update: I’ve included a link to an order form for your convenience.

Following is the text of the outer covers followed by the introduction to the volumes:

From the enclosed approbation by Rabbi Dr. Sholom Gold, shlita
Founding Rabbi Kehilat Zichron Yoseph, Har Nof
Dean Avrom Silver Jerusalem College for Adults

“Rabbi Kahana’s message is presented through the medium of beautiful and brilliant Torah insights on Parshat Hashavua, that are oftimes simply startling in their depth and creativity.

We are the generation that has merited to be the beneficiaries of Hashem’s great gift to His people — Medinat Yisrael. Rabbi Kahana calls on Jews everywhere to rise to the challenge.”

Excerpts from WITH ALL YOUR MIGHT

Bereshiet 5767
The return to Eretz Yisrael should have been led by the greatest rabbanic leaders, marching at the front of a mass movement of loyal Torah Jews; just as rabbis lead when a new sefer torah is placed in the holy ark. How much more so when HaShem returns the holy people of Israel to the holy ark of Eretz Yisrael.

Bereshiet 5768
There is no prophecy in chutz la’aretz, for prophecy emanates in Eretz Yisrael and terminates at the gates of the Holy Land; just as those who stood outside the ohel moed could not hear the thunder of the Torah beyond the thin walls of the tent.

Bereshiet 5769
The Book of Shoftim (Judges chapter 7) relates that HaShem commanded Gideon to bring his army of ten thousand to a river bed, and there reduce the number significantly through a test. Those who will draw the water up to their lips will be suited to be in the army of HaShem; those who will bow to drink the water will be rejected.

HaShem is bringing the Jewish communities in galut to the river bed of their future. Many will prostrate themselves before the reality of their lives and remain there; but there will be some who will take their future into their hands and return to the Promised Land.

Excerpts from the INTRODUCTION

The title is taken from a verse we recite three times a day in the Kriat Shema declaration of acceptance of our special role as God’s chosen people (Devarim 6:5):

“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your life and with all your might

I understand the verse as follows:

  1. There are choices in life which stem from one’s subjective evaluation of the facts and the alternatives at hand, and other choices which are reflexive, stemming from the deepest recesses of one’s soul. A man can meet 100 women in his quest for a wife and feel nothing; then he meets “the one” and becomes engulfed with the feeling that he has found his soul-mate. This applies, as well, to an ideology or great moral issue where many people remain unmoved, but this particular individual feels an inner compulsion to become involved.
  2. After the initial meeting between man and woman – or man and ideology – there is a desire that the relationship develop. He sends flowers to the woman he loves and devotes his time and energy “With All Your Might” to the ideology of his initial attraction. If the relationship stagnates with no apparent development, he might choose to leave the object of his love or he might continue in the hope that eventually there will be mutuality.
  3. If he continues, this unrequited relationship might cause him great anguish. The woman of his life can be cruel and heartless, or the moral ideal he has dedicated his life to could cause him to be harshly punished. At this point one can leave the relationship or choose to continue despite the hurt and anguish.

The Midrash relates (Otzer Ha’Midrashim, Eisenstein; Pesikta 884) that prior to presenting the Torah to the Jewish people, HaShem offered the Torah to the 70 basic races. The children of Esav refused, as did the children of Yishmael and all the other nations of the world. But when offered the Torah, our ancestors replied spontaneously and unanimously “na’aseh ve’nishma — we shall do and we shall understand”

This is the intent of the first phrase, “with all your heart” — the compelling need to have God in our lives. For over 2500 years we have been serving HaShem in unparalleled loyalty with no explicit reciprocity. We desire that our relationship with our Father in Heaven develop in mutuality, but there is silence at the other end. We feel that the relationship is not developing; nevertheless, we continue to worship HaShem in total love and faith. This is the intent of the second phrase, “with all your life”. Despite our total submission to God, our relationship has caused us untold anguish and pain throughout the two millenia of galut leading to the unspeakable Shoah. Yet we continue without weakening our resolve to cling to HaShem at all costs. This is the intent of the third phrase, “with all your might”.

A short story to depict what “with all you might” means… The testimony of this incident that occurred during the Shoah was brought to the attention of Dr. Shlomo Zalman Kahana, who established the Holocaust Museum on Mount Zion, by a survivor of one of the extermination camps and was published in a book. The survivor related that once a week the Germans would inspect the prisoners; those who could still work were given one more week to live, and those who were too sick were sent to be gassed. And he continued,

“One day I came upon my close friend, Reb Aryeh, who was crying. ‘Are you crying because of tomorrow’s inspection?’, I asked. Reb Aryeh replied that sadness overcame him because tomorrow will be Sukkot and ‘…we don’t have a sukkah to sit in, nor the four species to hold (lulav, etrog, hadassim and aravot)’. The following morning Reb Aryeh came to me with a happy look. He cried out ‘Thank HaShem, we have a sukkah and the four species to hold. I thought Reb Aryeh was losing his mind. ‘Where are we to get a sukkah and the four species in this hell-hole?’, I asked.

Then Reb Aryeh took my hand and said very slowly, as a teacher would to his student, ‘The Gemara says that one of the reasons for sitting in a sukkah is to recall the clouds which covered the Jewish camp in the desert. Look! A cloud is covering our camp. It is the cloud of smoke ascending right over us from the crematoria. We shall sit under that cloud and it will be our sukkah. And the Midrash states that the four species parallel the major organs of the body. The etrog represents the heart; the lulav the spine; the hadassim the eyes and the aravot the lips. So I will hold you and you will hold me and we will fulfill the mitzva of the four species while under the cloud of the crematoria.’

That day Reb Aryeh was taken away to the gas chamber.” This is to love HaShem “with all your might”.

Nachman Kahana
The Old City, Yerushalayim Tammuz 5769
Copyright © 2009 Nachman Kahana

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