Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Elephant In The Room, Short Essays of Large Importance

Mosaica Press did well with R' Eisenman's The Elephant in the Room. (He already put out another book with them, For Everything A Time) This book is short thought provoking compositions, regarding current events, but age old concepts.

Judging the Book by its Cover -  a first glance review:

The cover is done very well. It depicts the shadow of the elephant that hides in nearly every room or news topic. It shows that the book is not your typical Jewish publication. 

Some Details I Liked:

Each article or entry in this book is original. R' Eisenman gives over many personal accounts, perspectives and brainstorms first hand. His words reveal his sensitivity to others and how events do and should affect us.

Who This Book is For:

This book is great for someone looking for a good read, but doesn't have time to read cover to cover. With the individual essays, you can read just a few pages and enjoy the material, within a few minutes. 

Who This Book Isn’t For:  

This book touches on some sensitive points. If you don't like getting teary eyed or you'd rather sweep issues under the carpet, then you should just ignore the elephant in the room.

What I Didn’t Like/Would Have Made it Better: 

The only issue with this book is because it discusses current events, in a few years, it will be outdated. Hopefully, the interpersonal issues discussed will also be a thing of the past.

In Conclusion:  

Rabbi Eisenman did a great job in shedding light onto issues that are usually kept in the shadows. He does so with a literary fineness that is hard to come by. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Bnos Tzalafchad, The Daughters Victorious

If you love Torah stories and always wanted to imagine them more vividly, The Daughters Victorious is for you! Romantic, emotional and full of Torah, this historical novel is an amazing read for a more mature audience. 

The Daughters VictoriousJudging the Book by its Cover -  a first glance review:

The cover shows a painting of the five daughters of Tzalafchad presenting to a council. One of the daughters is in front, representing the group. That is Milka, the oldest daughter & main character in the story.

Some Details I Liked:

This book has a beautiful balance of fact and fiction woven together to give a glimpse of what might have been. Rabbi Wexler uses his knowledge and imagination to recreate what it might have been like camping in the desert and living with greatness. 

Who This Book is For:

This book is for someone that is familiar with the Torah passages and would appreciate the nuances that the author expounds upon.
There is also quite a bit of halachic detail as far as permitted relations (although no explicit acts are described) and family purity, so I would suggest that only religious, married women read this book.

Who This Book Isn’t For:  

This book is not for someone who will take it as fact or near fact. Rabbi Wexler lists whatever is taken from true sources and beyond that, it is his theories. 
It is important to remember that we do not know the personalities of these great people from generations ago and we can not begin to imagine what their life was for sure like. 

What I Didn’t Like Book/Would Have Made it Better: 

This book was very sweet. I know I say this a lot, but a prequel to this story would be amazing. That way, we can understand how Tzalafchad got to be who he was and then appreciate this book more.

In Conclusion:  

It takes talent to take an over 3,000 year old episode and make it easy to relate to nowadays. This story kept me glued through the ending and satisfied after reading it, something that I rarely get from most novels.